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Online Reputation Management and What NOT to Do!

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First off let’s start with the obvious, what exactly is online reputation management. I feel like everyone is talking about reputation management, but very few are explaining what this is. Online reputation management involves managing reviews, mentions, conversations about your company, across many different websites. It requires active involvement on sites like Yelp, Google Hotpot, CitySearch, Angies List, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and so on. Really its about protecting your business or personal reputation online and not leaving it up to your consumers and clients to determine your overall online reputation for you.

Keep in mind that in todays online marketing environment, it's often difficult to stand out from your competitors. And if you are in a volume business, negative reviews are most likely going to happen at some point. Even if you are not in a business that has lots of customers, one bad review can cause your prospects to hesitate to do business with you even before they even get a chance to read one word on your website.

Lets lay out exactly what NOT to do in regards to online reputation management in 4 easy steps

1) Ignore Negative Reviews – ignoring negative reviews on some of the top review sites is a great way to drive away potential business. Your prospects are going to find reviews about your company, and if you have not responded to those reviews, it looks like you don’t care about your customers.

2) Fight Back – fight fire with fire! If someone leaves you a negative review, another great way to drive away business is to be negative back. Tell the customer that they are the one that was wrong and to stop complaining, get a life, go away, find something better to do, etc. Responding back negatively is a sure fire way to lose even more prospects and customers.

3) Your Web Site is the Only Site That is Important to Your Business – continue to ignore review sites like Yelp, and Google Hotpot and social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Don’t claim your Google Places page or your Yelp page, Bing Local…etc etc These sites are just fads and will eventually go away and will just amount to a big waste of time for your business or marketing team. Your web site is the only site that people will go to when searching for keywords related to your business or when looking for more information about your business. Don’t worry about establishing a web presence across multiple web sites, that’s too much work and will never help you acquire more customers or manage your reputation.

4) Don’t Look at Analytics – continue to ignore all the great built in analytics data that exists on your YouTube Channel, Google Places page, Facebook Fan Page Insights data, Google Analytics, and Twitter. Knowing where your customers are coming from won’t help you adjust your marketing strategies, or tailor your products and services to what your customers actually want. Also, you won’t need to know exactly who your customers are (Men, Women, Age, Income, etc) as that will have little value to your business.

As you can see, the above 4 steps will certainly help you drive away more customers and continue to sour your brand and reputation online. If that is what you are looking to do, then follow those 4 steps for success (if that’s the type of success you want). Online reputation management can be a lot of work if you don’t have the right tools and strategies in place. Logging into 20 or 30 different accounts can be a daunting process and not monitoring or engaging on the right websites can leave you with little impact.

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