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Strategies to Improve Your Online Reputation

Be active to keep the chatter about your business positive.

These days, the Internet is where all the word-of-mouth chatter has migrated.

Gone are the days when it was only a bit of water cooler mention that might include your business or product name, along with a positive or negative assessment about it.

Those conversations reached a few people. Today, word can travel far and wide quickly regarding your business or products, influencing others from around the globe in mere seconds.

Business reputations, therefore, are often boosted or busted in today’s online realm. With social media sites, community forums, and blogging venues, it’s likely your business or product can become a topic of public discussion. To help you keep the conversation positive—and the public outlook of your business rosy—here are some strategies you can employ to help lift your reputation to greater heights.

Alerts give you an opportunity to see who’s talking about your business and what they’re saying

Be alert

First off, you need to determine if there is already chatter about you and your business.

It becomes a chance to find out what’s being said, how you might get involved in the conversation and if there are any issues that you need to address quickly.

There are plenty of tools available to alert you of comments or conversations about your business. You can start with easy-to-use tools like Google Alerts, Twitter search and Social Mention. They’ll alert you whenever there’s online mention of your business brand, name, products or other keywords you specify.

Alerts give you an opportunity to see who’s talking about your business and what they’re saying. You might learn a recent new product or promotion you’ve launched is having terrific reach. Conversely, you might discover there’s a dissatisfied customer out there airing a grievance.

The alert can help you get in quick contact with him or her, rectify the situation, and keep bad word from spreading.

Be pro-social

With your alerts established, your next move is to take proactive action. If you haven’t already, get to the top social sites and create a presence for your business or product. This way, you can initiate and manage information about your brand.

You’ll want to go to:

  • Facebook: It’s still the front-runner in the social landscape, and most businesses have seen the value of gaining easy and immediate reach to customers, and their friends. Share your business’ background, new products or services, and keep an open line to customers to field their questions or complaints.
  • Twitter: Next in line, start your own Twitter feed to let folks know what’s going on today with your business. Give them privileged insight into recent developments, upcoming releases, and promotional offers and incentives. Keep the feed going daily to keep your followers engaged.
    Take charge of your reputation and create your own presence at these key social sites, allowing you to become involved with your customer base.
  • LinkedIn: Professional relationships with others are important. Connect with contractors, vendors, suppliers, big clients and more. LinkedIn can put you in touch with the professionals you need to maintain, improve, and grow your business or brand.

Don’t wait to see if someone else starts a social presence for your business.

Take charge of your reputation and create your own presence at these key social sites, allowing you to become involved with your customer base. Chances are they’re waiting to hear from you already.

Be accessible

Oftentimes, customers would prefer to contact you, or your staff, directly. They’ll look for contact information in hopes of reaching out to you with their inquiries.

If, however, they can’t find a way to reach you, they’ll sometimes visit the online venues to tweet or blog about their fruitless attempts to make contact. You can prevent this potential for bad sentiment by ensuring your business address, phone, email, and so on are always visible on your site and within your customer correspondence.

Provide several different methods to reach you, and be sure to monitor and respond quickly.

Be responsive, relentlessly

While you need to respond to any customer complaints or criticisms, also be on the watch for positive customer comments

Yes, responsiveness is usually at the crux of expressed customer sentiment and will serve as the foundation of your online reputation, good or bad. With immediate access to businesses, products and information, customers rightly expect immediate response to their inquiries.

Whether they contact you at your business site or through a social forum connection, they’re looking for an answer, or acknowledgement within an hour or less. Be sure to monitor such activity throughout each business day, and provide response to each comment or question you receive.

If you’re not available for around-the-clock response, post when customers can expect responses, thereby setting their expectations without leaving them wondering to themselves or aloud in the public forum.

Accentuate the positives

While you need to respond to any customer complaints or criticisms, also be on the watch for positive customer comments.

These are the mentions that let you know what you’re doing well, and you need to let those customers know their efforts to post such sentiments are appreciated. Respond with thanks in the social places and look for any opportunity to make direct contact.

Ask if you can post customers’ comments as testimony for other customers to see. When you do well, customers will often let it be known. When they take the time to do so, you should thank them for their support.

In short order, you’ll have the recipe for establishing and fostering your business’ online reputation, made all the better thanks to your active attention and involvement.

About the author

Dennis L. Prince
Dennis L. Prince has been analyzing and advocating the e-commerce sector since 1996. He has published more than 12 books on the subject, including How to Sell Anything on eBay...and Make a Fortune, second edition (McGraw-Hill, 2006) and How to Make Money with MySpace (McGraw-Hill, 2008). His insight is actively sought within online, magazine, television and radio venues. Opinions expressed here may not be shared by The Online Seller and/or its principals.

  • OBVAVirtualAssistant

    Awesome. I am totally going to use this. I’ll have to bookmark this article and go back and slowly read it.

    But thanks for sharing.



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