Thursday, May 19, 2016

From Reputation Management Set Up in 3 Steps

3 Steps to Setting Up Your Reputation Management Today – Packed with Pro Tips, Helpful Links, and Easy-To-Use Tools

As a business owner or manager with a full plate, you may have been putting off adding reputation management to your list of processes and problems to handle every day.  Your online reputation is so vital to the future success and growth of your business that you can no longer risk leaving your online presence solely in the hands of any person with an internet connection and a thought about your business they want to share.

Don’t put it off anymore!  We’ve laid out a link-packed 3-step guide to set up your reputation management and automate most of the process today.  In just a few hours you can:

  • Find out what your online reputation looks like right now
  • Check to ensure you’ve optimized your on-site and off-site online presence
  • Set up and automate a system that monitors and manages your online reputation

Setting Up Your Reputation Management Process in 1 Day

1.  Audit Your Online Reputation

What does a search engine or review site user see when they search for your name?  Is your business mentioned when someone runs a local search for your type of business, product or service?

With your ideal customer in mind run a Google search of your business name and your services the way a prospective new client or customer would.  Take notes on when your business shows up, what is being said or seen, and where it is ranking.  Do the same for your top two or three competitors.  Be sure to run searches on your desktop, smartphone and tablet to see how that affects ranking.

Google both your businesses top keywords and primary keywords related to your type of business.  Does your business show on the first page of search results? Do you see competitors ranking higher? Use the free tools list in “6 Free SEO Audit Tools for Your Website” to find software that will give you an SEO audit report on your website and competitor websites.  Compare results to find areas where you can make improvements and rank higher.

2.  Optimize Your Online Presence


Build (or rebuild) a website that search engines and users love by incorporating these SEO tips from the pros:

  • Use SEO friendly URL’s that are short and keyword rich
  • Start title tags with the keywords you want to rank for
  • Use engaging images, graphics, and video, properly tagged with keywords
  • Use internal and external links to related website pages
  • Incorporate social sharing buttons on your web pages
  • Consistently publish helpful, unique, search engine optimized blog content

ALSO READ: Local SEO Checklist: 9 Basic Tips to Get Found in Local Search

OFF-SITE OPTIMIZATION with Review Sites, Business Listings, and Social Media

Review sites are often the doorway to new customers.  Over 90% of consumers frequently use reviews as a guide to finding new products and services.  Claim and optimize your business profiles on the review sites that your customers rely on to make their buying decisions.  Encourage happy customers to post their reviews on the review sites that matter most to your business. Respond to professionally to negative feedback and thank customers for five-star, detailed reviews.

Business listings and citations are used by search engines and customers to find and verify contact information, location, hours and more.  With hundreds of business directories available, save time and ensure accuracy by using a business listing management service.  This ensures your business is listed where it needs to be and that the information is consistent across the internet.

Optimize your Google My Business listing and direct reviewers to your page.  An overwhelming majority of internet searches happen on Google.  Rank higher and increase visibility by giving Google all the information it needs to put your business at the top of search results.

Optimizing and monitoring your business’ social media accounts gives you control over a large part of your online presence.  Reputation management is about monitoring and controlling the conversations and mentions involving your business. To do that you need to be where your customers are spending their time.  Businesses are on LinkedIn and Twitter, millennials are on Instagram and SnapChat, and baby boomers are on Pinterest and Facebook.  Regardless of what industry you are in, your customers are on social media.

3.  Have a Process for Monitoring and Managing Customer Reviews and Online Mentions of Your Business

You “own” some of your online presence, meaning you control what is being said and where and when it can be seen. This includes your website content, business listings, and online business and social media profiles you claim and fill in.  Then there is “earned” content.  Good or bad, earned content is information posted online by others.  Earned content includes customer reviews, online complaints on third-party sites, and social media and forum comments and images.

Own Earn Online Reputation

Controlling earned content is near impossible, but it can be influenced and must be monitored. 

  • Note negative trends during your reputation audit and make improvements where customers say they are needed.
  • Automate your customer review management with software like Reputation Loop to automatically gather feedback, get reviews posted where they matter most, and to ensure you are notified in real-time when reviews are posted online for your business on various review sites.
  • Designate who is responsible for managing customer reviews and have a process in place to handle negative reviews BEFORE they happen.
  • Monitor social media mentions with the help of tools such as Hootsuite (free) and Moz Fresh Web Explorer (Moz Pro $99/month feature).
  • Set up Google Alerts to notify you whenever your business name or the name of notable employees shows up on the internet.

Reputation Management is Just the First Step

Once you’ve set up reputation management for your business, you’ll see that much of the process can be automated to save time and take a lot of the work out of the building and protecting your positive online reputation.  With a positive reputation across the web, you will be able to market your business and attract new customers and clients who look for social proof in the form of customer reviews and search engine results to make their buying decisions.

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Zach_Color_Trans_small_CroppedAbout The Author

Zach Anderson is the co-founder of Reputation Loop (helping small businesses grow by generating customer feedback and online reviews) who loves online marketing and golf.

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