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Today, managing and improving your online reputation has become essential. This is due to the advent of Google Search and the ability of anyone to look for you online and find out information about your company and your personal life. Even if there is something out there that you don’t want people to dwell on, you can make it better. It takes a little bit of work but it can be done. In fact, everyone who wants to be known online should be doing these things.

1. Monitor the Buzz

People are talking about you and your business. You can (i.e. should) use Google Alerts and other online apps to monitor your business name, personal name, product names and more to know what is being said about you online.

2. Listen to Your Customers

So many business owners conduct surveys, read their online buzz, check out rating sites and so forth but never really listen. It’s important to show your audience by your actions that you’re listening.

3. Respond Quickly

When a customer has an issue or complains about you online, always respond quickly to the complaint. Even on social media, if you don’t answer a complaint they’ll see you as providing poor customer service regardless of whether you planned to provide customer service there or not.

4. Remain Positive

No matter what a customer, client, or review says, it’s imperative that you never allow negativity to take over. Stay positive and try to read between the vitriol. A good tip is to copy and paste their complaint or reviews into a word document, then delete anything that takes away from the complaint. Then only answer to the complaint.

5. Apologize

Even though business owners know that sometimes customers are wrong, in public they are right. If you’re serious about improving your online reputation you must apologize to them in public and offer to make it better. It’s the only way that you can regain the confidence and trust of the public. Better yet, ask the customer what you can do to make it better and you might be surprised at how little it takes.

6. Be Everywhere

You need accounts on YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, Google My Business (especially if you’re a local business), LinkedIn and whatever else happens to come up where your audience likes to discuss anything to do with your business. Then interact and engage with them.  Social media is not going away, so if it isn’t your cup of tea, or a bit overwhelming, hire an online business manager to manage your online presence.

7. Solicit Reviews

When you send information to your buyers in a follow-up, always ask for positive reviews and give them the link to the place you want the review to be posted. This will help increase the positive and counteract any negative reviews that might exist.

8. Publish New Content Regularly

Blog on a regular basis, posting new content as often as you can: at least three to five times a week if you’re new to it, and once a week if you already have over 300 pages of content. Consider guest blogging on high-ranking authoritative websites too.

9. Avoid Making Social Media Mistakes

Sounds easier than done, but all this means is you need to think twice about anything you put on social media, positive or negative. Even innocent jokes can get you into trouble if you don’t know your audience well enough. This has happened to me occasionally and with countless others in the online space. *Pro Tip: Keep your personal account(s) separate from your brand and business.

10. Don’t Neglect Your Accounts

Once you have a social media account, do not allow it to remain dormant. Keep it updated on a regular basis – at least once a week, and if you enact some smart automation or enlist the help of a virtual assistant, it will appear that you’re more active.

Regardless, if anyone has said anything bad about you, it’s important to continually be improving your online reputation in order to protect it. By building out every aspect of your online presence, you’ll soon have an excellent online reputation that cannot be torn down or paralleled.

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