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5 Tips for Managing Your Online Reputation

by Sharon Vornholt on March 4, 2014 · 12 comments

  
managing your online reputation

I have a question to ask you: How Is Your Online Reputation?

There was a time when if you had a little bad PR or a glitch in your customer service the only people that knew about it were your customer and the 12 people they were supposedly going to tell about the incident. That magic number of “12” was the number everyone touted as the “reach of bad news; 12 people.” I don’t know if that was really accurate, but I believe that number might have been at least in the ballpark before that invention called “the internet.” If you think about all of the people close to you that you might have complained to about your problem that sounds about right to me; a dozen–more or less.

However, since the invention of the internet, that has dramatically changed. If someone complains about you or your products or services, thousands of people can know very quickly about these complaints or even a single bad experience.

You have heard the saying “bad news travels fast?” That could not be more true today. So, I will ask the question again; how is your online reputation? Do you even know? Here is how you can easily find out along with 5 tips for managing your online reputation.

Google Is Your Friend

Do a Google search for your name and your business name and see what comes up. Do you see any complaints? To be sure you hear about anything that might come up in the future, set up some alerts in Google. It’s pretty easy to do.

When you do this, in addition to learning quickly about anything negative that has been said about you or your company, you will also get notifications about anything positive floating around on the internet.

While you are setting up these notifications, be sure to set up alerts for keywords that relate to your business, your niche and brand names related to your business. This is a great way to “spy” on your competition so be sure to look for mentions of you biggest competitors.

Create Eye-Catching Profiles Online

Not only should you update your social media profiles and make sure they are correct, but they should make people want to know you and work with you. Having a profile that grabs people’s attention will do that.

A number of people recommend that you use the same profile and profile picture across all of the platforms for branding purposes. In addition to Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn don’t forget about YouTube, Google+ and Pinterest.b

Making the Best Use of Social Media Channels

Related: How to Develop an Online Social Media Voice People Want to Hang-Out With

Using Google+. I have a great podcast interview over on my blog I did last week about why using Google+ is so important. You can find out how you can improve your search engine rankings and get branded more quickly by using Google+ Hangouts (over YouTube) to make some simple videos. Google owns both platforms of course so both are important, but with Google+ you have the ability to effectively use keywords in your video descriptions through the use of hashtags. There is a lot more about using hashtags in that podcast.

Pinterest. If you think Pinterest isn’t important, think again. Everyone should have some type of presence on this site. But rehabber’s in particular can benefit by posting before and after pictures of their latest projects on Pinterest. It only takes a minute to set up a profile and upload your pictures.

The thing to remember about Pinterest is that you aren’t specifically looking to build an audience there as much as you are using it for credibility. The goal is to just have a solid presence on these sites when someone looks for you there. If these are platforms that are important to your customer or your client and they find you there, that solidifies your online reputation with those particular folks. And those folks will be more likely to refer you in the future.

Facebook Business Pages. It doesn’t take much time to set up a Facebook business page. If you don’t want to do this yourself, you can get a basic page up for $5.00 by hiring someone from fiverr.com to do it for you. All you need is an online business presence for this audience.

Create a YouTube Channel for Your Business. This is a pretty easy thing to do if you haven’t already set one up. Just create 4 or 5 short videos about your company and what you do. They can be as short as 3 to 5 minutes each.

All you really need is your smartphone or laptop to crank out the videos in an afternoon. Be sure to title your videos with the name of your company, and use the URL to your company website in my title. Do this in addition to Google+ hangouts.

Become a Thought Leader in Your Industry

You can do this through blogging, but that isn’t the only way. Jump in and join the conversation on sites like BiggerPockets and other similar real estate investing forums. Everyone has something to contribute, and you might be surprised how much other people will think so too. Be careful not to be “that person” that is always negative or critical of others. Manage your online reputation by managing what comes out of your mouth.

Create Some Buzz about Your Brand

There are a number of sites where you can get free PR for your company. And let’s face it; it just doesn’t get any better than when someone else says good things about your company.

You can subscribe to a site called “Haro” which is free. Several times a day they send out a notification from reporters from different publications looking for stories. I have been a contributor for a number of these folks. It might just be a simple as asking for your thoughts on a particular subject that will be compiled into an “expert” post. When these are published you will get a valuable backlink to your site.

Some other sites you may want to check in to are PR Web or PRNewswire.

Related: Tips for Building Your Brand in 2014

The Compound Effect

All of these things have a compound effect on your online reputation and building your expert status. You can read about a great little book with the same name here; The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy.

To a big extent you as the business owner are responsible for creating the image and the online reputation you want to portray. Managing your online reputation doesn’t have to be hard. Just implement a few things at a time and over time you will have a strong online presence that can withstand any of those “glitches” that might come along.

Do you have some additional tips for managing your online reputation? Comment below…

 

Photo Credit: Ray_from_LA

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Suzanne De Vita March 4, 2014 at 12:02 pm

Sharon,

Always enjoy reading your posts. You have a unique take on a variety of topics – love that this one ties into one of your previous commentaries on building your brand. Bravo!

Reply

Sharon Vornholt March 4, 2014 at 2:53 pm

Thanks Suzanne -

It does indeed. It takes some focused thought to build and then to protect your brand and your company. We used to think that everything would be fine if we just did a good job. Folks today expect much more than “average or good enough”. It really is critical to know what is being said about us online and to step up our level of service.

Thanks for reading.
Sharon

Reply

Lisa Phillips March 4, 2014 at 12:27 pm

Solid advice! Thanks for the article.

Reply

Sharon Vornholt March 4, 2014 at 2:54 pm

Thanks for reading Lisa. I enjoy your posts.

Sharon

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Frank Iglesias March 5, 2014 at 9:03 am

Its also a good idea that when you hire someone to do your “social media thing” it’s better that they know about your brand, can make a customize branded contents… better yet hire someone that has some graphics background, as nowadays social media and graphics goes hand in hand.

Reply

Sharon Vornholt March 5, 2014 at 7:36 pm

Frank -

Outsourcing your social media is something a lot of folks do. If you aren’t quite at that stage, you can schedule everything through Hootsuite which makes it easier too.

Sharon

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Priscila Argaez March 6, 2014 at 1:32 pm

Sharon, thanks for your article. Building your brand online is definitely very important!

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Sharon Vornholt March 6, 2014 at 2:05 pm

Priscila -

Your reputation is the most important thing you have (next to your health) when it comes to business. Everyone needs to be managing their brand and their reputation. Thanks for reading.

Sharon

Reply

Rachel March 7, 2014 at 10:01 am

Fascinating topic, Sharon!

It’s amazing how far the web has come. I remember the days when emails and the real estate forums were the “hot” topics. Now, we have all these tools available including social media outlets!

To be honest, it’s been pretty challenging for me to keep up with everything online. You know I’m not much of a technical person. I’ve learned a lot from you (as well as others) about technology and the tools that are out there. I do recall some of our mutual blogging pals encouraging me to join and try out different platforms. So, here I am!

It’s good to know the tools are out there. For me personally, just by focusing on building and creating strong relationships has helped propel my online presence. Without it, I probably would not be where I am today.

One thing about social media I like is the convenience factor. Should I meet someone who shares the same interests in what I do, I can always just give them my twitter or facebook handle. I’ve done this multiple times in the past (even with folks I meet on airplanes!).

Thanks for keeping us all up-to-date on the technology aspect. It seems like our industry is beginning to utilize many of the tools available.

p.s. Will have to check out your podcast on Google+. Still very new to the social media scene, so many new tools! :)

Reply

Sharon Vornholt March 7, 2014 at 5:25 pm

Rachel –

It can be overwhelming. There is so much to learn! I have come to the conclusion that none of us can do everything. I’m trying to get better about outsourcing some of these things. If you ever want to brainstorm just let me know.

Sharon

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Michael March 12, 2014 at 7:34 pm

Funny I remember that like it was yesterday. “They will tell 12″. The bottom line is take care of customer complaints. You will get more business in doing so. Besides it’s the right thing to do.
Excellent article Sharon!

Reply

Sharon Vornholt March 13, 2014 at 7:50 am

Michael -

It’s really funny how that statistic stuck in my mind too. Boy have things changed since the internet!

Your answer is indeed the solution. Just take care of your problems so you don’t have dissatisfied customers. It really is just that simple.

Sharon

Reply

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