The How And Why Of Online Reputation Management
Taking control of your online presence is critical. Arguably, it’s even more important now than it was only one year ago. With so many people isolating and working from home, the digital interface is often the first point of access or inquiry, so mastering your online reputation has got to be an ongoing priority.
It’s an ever-changing landscape, so do not consider it a one-and-done task. The old adage about first impressions is just as true online as it is in person, so you’ve got to stay on top of this.
Initial Steps to Manage Your Online Reputation
Set up a Google Alert for your company name. If your business shows up anywhere online, you want to know about it. If it’s positive press, you should share it; if it isn’t you should consider damage control.
Control your profiles in online review sites and industry forums. Depending on your industry, you could be on a variety of review sites like Yelp, Angie’s List, and Better Business Bureau. In many cases, the first person to review you essentially builds your profile. Google your business name (and maybe a few close variations) to find where you are listed. Then go to those sites if they are in the first couple pages of your SERPs (Search Engine Results Page) and fine tune your profile with current info. Some might be obscure sites, and you might be happy to let them sink into oblivion. In other cases, you might want to promote this site as a place for customers to leave reviews.
Control your profiles on any social media sites you use. Whether it’s LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook or Instagram, you should use it or lose it. Better to delete a tired, dormant profile than to have prospects find it and be unimpressed. Remember, big global sites like Facebook will show up at the top of your SERPs, so make it shine or take it down.
Set up your Google My Business profile. Since Google is such a big player in searching, it’s vital that you optimize that profile and seek reviews on it.
When setting up profiles, put in lots of info. Don’t tell yourself “they can find this out on the website” because there is NO guarantee they will ever go to your website. Consumers are very accustomed to relying on other resources such as social media sites or review sites. That said, DO link to your website if you can.
Your website has to be user-friendly, optimized for mobile, and embrace SEO (Search Engine Optimization) best practices. Make sure it’s accurate, easy to navigate, and offers testimonials from contented customers. Search for it (from an incognito or private window, so the search engine functions as it would for anyone else). If it doesn’t show up close to the top of your SERP, get SEO help to get it up there!
Professional Reputation Management Might Pay for Itself
Reputation Management is a thing! You can hand this all off to professionals, or explore software options that will help you keep great reviews coming in.