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How's Your Reputation?
By John Jantsch, creator, Duct Tape Marketing

Everything on the Web about you, your products, and your company is true - unless you manage otherwise.

The onslaught of user-generated media, blogs, and discussion forums has changed the flow of information about people, products, and brands forever. Anyone with a computer or video camera can post information, reviews and comments about you and your brand on dozens of highly visited online destinations.

Itís no longer enough to create a Web site and assume that prospects will get their information about your firm on your site. In todayís online social media world, companies of all shapes and sizes must actively participate in something commonly called online reputation management.

Of course, the best way to manage your online reputation from a business standpoint is to put out great products and services, provide great customer service, and honor all your commitments. Thatís certainly a great start, but you may still need to develop the practice of monitoring and responding to whatís being said online about your organization, both good and bad.

Reputation management, however, isnít simply about responding to the negative, itís equally important as a way to amplify the positive.

Here are some simple ways to get started creating a reputation management program.

New Alerts
Google allows you to set up customer searches on Google News for any phrase, such as your name. When you subscribe to this search, either via RSS or email, you will receive an alert any time your search phrase shows up in the news.

These sites, BoardReader.com and ForumFind.com, allow you to keep track of whatís being said on bulletin boards and forums.

If you really need to monitor whatís being said online closely use the search.twitter.com feature of a micro-blogging site called Twitter to follow whatís being said in real time from this growing community.

Participate in Social Media
One of the ways to combat any potential negative comments is to make sure you have lots of positive content showing up for searches on your name or company.

Practices such as adding a blog to create frequently updated content, creating well written LinkedIn and Facebook profiles, and writing and submitting articles to article directories can help assure that you have lots of content online thatís attributed to your name.

Hosting a blog and inviting all manner of comments from customers is another great way to keep an eye out for potential issues. If a customer has an issue and you help them get the answer by way of your blog, you may very well turn that issue into a real positive and stop them from posting negative comments elsewhere.

Social Search Engines
Claim and enhance your business listings on search engines such as Yelp.com, InsiderPages.com, CitySearch.com, and JudysBook.com. These sites allow you to enhance your business listing and allow users to rate your services and write testimonials. The best thing you can do on these sites is create a great profile and then encourage your customers to post positive reviews. More and more these reviews are being picked-up by search engines like Google and shown in their local directories.

Build Your Reputation
Recently, a number of sites such as Naymz.com and Rapleaf.com launched with the sole purpose of allowing you to build an online reputation by inviting people to write reviews about you and your work. LinkedIn, the professional networking community, also allows and encourages this practice.

---Source: John Jantsch is a veteran marketing coach, award winning blogger and author of Duct Tape Marketing, a small business marketing system (http://www.ducttapemarketing.com).
 

 

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