Smart biz owners know their reputation

For businesses that rely on Internet searches, their online reputation is invaluable. How searchers perceive their business online will have a great impact on whether or not they choose to patronize that business or not. So what do smart business owners do? They Google themselves. They manage their online reputation. Here’s how to do it.

Google your business. Actually Google yourself. If you have a Google account, sign out of it first so you can see the results others will get. Try different variations for your search terms. Maybe add in your location and industry name as well.

Fix any mistakes. You will likely find your name on some business directories. Make sure that information is current. If it’s not, contact the appropriate directories and even the major data providers to ensure that your online information is correct.

Manage your social networks. How you are seen on social media is also a part of your online reputation. Use helpful tools like HootSuite to manage multiple accounts with ease. Use a comment application like Disqus to manage your website comments.

Respond to any criticism. There may be times where you get a negative review or comment. How you respond to that criticism will tell consumers a lot about your business and your customer service. If the commenter is very upset, do what you can to resolve the issue. Do not get defensive, simply fixing a negative situation right away is the best response you can give.

Be available. Unfortunately, many negative comments stem from poor communication and poor customer service. When consumers get frustrated, they turn to social media to vent their concerns, which often lead to businesses looking bad. To avoid situations like this, make sure you are readily available and respond to inquiries right away.

Build your credibility. The best way to manage your online reputation is to boost your credibility. If you don’t have reviews on online directories and on your website, get some up immediately. Collect reviews from your repeat customers and track any positive comments on social media.

Smart business owners know that how they are perceived online is important. They watch their online profiles and actively manage their reputation. To make sure your online reputation remains positive, use any or all of the tips above.

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