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.
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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
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