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A How-To Guide for Online Reputation Management for Businesses

Posted on the 10 January 2014 by Zafar @seompdotcom

A How-To Guide for Online Reputation Management for Businesses

It’s inevitable that if you get big enough online, you will start to have detractors to your business. There’s nothing that can be done to stop this, so don’t worry about being liked by everybody because it simply won’t happen. However, while many detractors can be safely ignored, there are at least a few that could do serious and lasting damage to your brand if you’re not careful and handle then with care. That’s why you should have a reputation management plan worked out in advance just in case you find yourself in the position of needing to counter somebody’s claims about you.

The very first thing you need to do is to claim your name on as many social networks as you can. Even if you don’t plan on actually using that network, you don’t want people able to simply go and share with however many people are there how terrible you are under your own name. Even the smallest of social networks have sometimes millions of users, and that’s a big audience by any measure. You may even want to consider a service to find and claim your brand on as many social networks as possible.

Next, it’s important to be active in engaging with your audience. Once you start your social networking, you will theoretically get followers who will be able to read and respond to your stuff. That also means that you have opened up an avenue of communication to them that they expect you will use. If somebody tweets you a complaint or mentions a problem on Facebook, be active and respond to them immediately to solve their issue. Set up alerts so you get an email when people are talking about you, that way you can deal with any issues before they’re even brought to you. Don’t be passive and wait for people to actually come to you, seek out people who may have a problem with you and don’t let it grow.

Make sure that you’re on the lookout for incorrect information as well. It’s very common for people to either innocently or maliciously attribute bad behavior to companies that may not actually be the case. Again, make sure that you have alerts set up so that when somebody mentions you online, you know where it is and can decide whether it’s worth responding to. In most cases, it’s best to take the person’s complaint seriously and investigate it quickly so that you can determine if it’s true. If that will take a while, say who you are, explain that you’re looking into it, and stress your commitment to making things right. Often the best way to diffuse complaints is to simply address them directly and professionally.

Sometimes, a public relations firestorm may just be getting out of your hands. There is no shame in not being able to control every person on the internet who may have a problem with you and your company, so rather than letting things rage on out of control, you may want to consider a professional reputation management company. These are people who have encountered almost every type of situation you’re likely to encounter and have dedicated employees ready to deploy time tested plans to deal with them all. These are the people you call for really tough problems, like a popular blogger who is dedicated to ruining your business and will not be reasoned with or real life incidents that have captured news cycles all over the web. Many of these type of issues can be dealt with and even short circuited before they begin with smart handling from talented professionals early on.

While there are other things you may be able to do to maintain your online reputation, following these simple tips will help you in most of the more common situations. In the vast majority of cases, the trick is to be focused on providing the best service you can and not letting small annoyances linger until they explode all over the blogosphere. Instead, seek out ways to refine your business and don’t let people walk away with a bad impression of you. If you’re willing to put in the effort to make sure every problem you can solve gets solved, you’ll avoid most of the worst attacks on your reputation and will have earned the positive image you want to portray.


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