It seems there is no end of services available to today’s business owner, online reputation management services among them. Do you need the services of an expert or is this something you can do yourself?

As someone who offers online reputation management in Georgetown, TX, it behooves me to insist that you need these types of services, right? And in some cases you just might, but in many other instances you can get started on this project without the intervention of “professionals.”

It is true that the modern business owner has much to attend to including social media, blogging, videos, info graphics and the like. There’s much to do to be sure, and it’s not easy deciding where to start. But, that’s where I hope to shed some light for small businesses.

If you don’t know where to start, forget tweeting and video marketing, blogging and SEO and get your feet wet by determining the path for your firm regarding reputation management.

I am not implying that none of those other areas are important. They most definitely are, and we hope to share a great deal of information with you regarding them, and, if the mood strikes, sell you some services regarding them as well, as it relates to our mastery of the subject. But you don’t have to know everything to get started.

If common sense is to prevail it stands to reason that you have to start SOMEWHERE with SOMETHING.

Let me point out, then, that starting anywhere is better than starting nowhere. And in that sense, beginning with reputation is at least as good as any other for most companies.

Additionally it can have some really great, far-reaching effects on all those other tidbits of promotion, and so it is where I suggest a business make a start. It will impact SEO, rankings, social media, video marketing, and pretty much every other aspect of your online marketing.

So, if I’ve convinced you to quit worrying about keyword research, and link building, let’s get to it, shall we?

online reputation management services georgetown tx
We can’t all be Joan Jett, not worrying about our reputation.

A brand reputation manager is concerned with managing all aspects of your reputation online and in popular notions about you. You can hire someone to do this (like Gibson Girls Marketing for example), or you can tackle the 4 main components of this yourself or with a team where the various aspects of this task are divvied up.

No matter which of these solutions you decide to use to tackle reputation, you will find you need a good grasp of the following as a part of your strategy:

1) Building Your Reputation
2) Monitoring Your Reputation
3) Safeguarding Your Reputation
4) Repairing Your Reputation

I think most people think the whole of the matter to be about reputation repair, but the first three are just as important.

Consider that you can’t repair a sullied reputation if you aren’t monitoring it. And nothing is safeguarded by accident. And if you are expecting the stars to align and folks to spread the word about your great and awesome service without some encouragement, you still think that “build it, and they will come” is a good business plan.

All four of these are important to your online or local business. You need to manage them all.

We could talk for days about each of them because there’s always room for improvement and ways to do more, but let this serve as an introduction, food for thought, if you will.

Building A Good Online Reputation

You need some way of getting your customers to spread the good word about you and your products or services. There are things you can do to engender good will, for example, like rewards programs, or buy 10 get 1 free types of things, of course. But you can simply ask, too. Look for ways to work that in, maybe on forms they fill out, or in advertising. “Leave a review.” It’s a simple, but straight-forward call to action. This can be included in videos, blog posts, social media posts. (See how this is already working into other aspects of your marketing?) 🙂

Part of this includes giving them a place to leave these reviews. This is a preemptive step. There are mobile apps built for this which make it super easy for your customers to spread the word, like YELP for example, FourSquare and many others. Do you have a presence on these sites? If not, you know what to do next to start building your reputation.

If you are interested we will provide a list of the most essential places you should have profiles so your customers can review you. Just head to our Facebook page and let us know you want one, okay?

Monitoring Your Reputation For Grins and Giggles (Or Not)

Once you have places for people to leave reviews you need to check them occasionally. Makes sense, right? Is that super hard? Not really. All you have to do is copy the webpage address for each place you make a profile and put it in a spreadsheet or Word document. At a predetermined time, like weekly, or daily, click the link and look at the page. Monitoring doesn’t have to take up huge amounts of time, but it has to be done regularly like sweeping.

You can also set up Google Alerts to notify you of any mentions of your business by email or RSS feed. Very easy to keep an eye on. Just check them regularly and you can mark “monitor” off your list, okay?

Safeguarding Your Reputation – Be Vigilant, But Kind

Let’s face it. Not everyone thinks we are as awesome as our mother does. I mean, some folks see things differently than we do, and some are just plain ornery. There’s not much you can do with folks like that except try and stay out of there way. But, on occasion, they will cross your path.

In today’s world of technology these folks can reek havoc on our online reputation. We have to be monitoring so we can catch at the git-go, if you know what I mean.

All that vigilant watching will at times turn up some crackpot who wants to cause us a problem. Managing your reputation in this instance means addressing the concerns or complaints they share for the whole world to see.

Couple things to keep in mind. The whole world can see… I will say that one more time, the whole world can see what they wrote and what you write. Don’t get into a “shouting” match. Don’t tell them they are stupid. Don’t be that guy. It will not do wonders for your reputation. You will come off like a buffoon. You will. Believe me.

Understand that they have the right to their opinion. And they have the right to voice it. And they are doing you a favor. That’s how to look at it. They are doing you a favor because they are helping you improve your business. Their feedback is welcome. Whoever is in charge of safeguarding your reputation has to understand this most of all.

Do welcome it. Be polite. Be apologetic and diplomatic. Try and fix it, if it should be fixed. You DO want to offer great service and products, right? If you are less than genuine then know that others will jump on the bandwagon and drag your name through the dirt.

If your monitoring brings to light someone who is unhappy or dissatisfied, find out why. Try and fix it. Sometimes they will change their tune. That’s okay. In fact, that’s great.

People want to see the real nuts and bolts of who your business is. They don’t believe you are perfect and live in an ivory tower. They don’t trust those folks.

For the most part, the general public understand things happen. What they want to know is if you’re a jerk or not. Don’t be a jerk. ‘Nough said? I hope so.

Repairing A Bad Reputation

What about jerks who won’t be happy? Who just want to cause a ruckus and fuss? Well, we have to quietly remove them, and by that I don’t mean remove them at all. Don’t, whatever you do, delete the posts, comments or negative comments of those who have an issue with you. This breaks the reputation rules.

This will make you look like the cad they already suspect you are. But there are steps you can take to quietly push them from the public’s eye.

This includes getting more good reviews. (And we’ve come full circle! See how this works?) The more good reviews and comments you have, the better. One rotten apple or two won’t spoil the bunch.

Getting more good reviews on more than one review site will help push results off the front page of Google as well. (Whoops! that sounds a bit like SEO! Told ya!)

And of course you want to address grievances and try and make them happy customers. This can also help repair your bad rep.

The Importance of Reputation In Marketing

Not only do I think this is the best place for a company to start marketing their business online, it’s so important. More and more people judge a company solely on their reviews easily found with a quick Google search. They trust these reviews more than a write up in the New York Times. Yes, these times, they are a changing. Rethinking reputation is in order. We share ways of marketing brand reputation that are innovative and effective with our customers. Call to find out more.

The long and short of it is you need some policies and routine systems in place to handle all four aspects of reputation management for your company.

If you want to know more, please feel free to ask us for a consultation. We are located in Georgetown, TX, and we’re happy to help.