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May 2, 2014
3 Steps to a Better Online Reputation
Online reputation management is a growing field as both businesses and individuals realize that one bad search engine result can haunt them for years. For businesses, “branding” has taken on all new meaning in recent years, with traditional print advertising making way for social media and search engine marketing.

Whether your goal is to remove a negative online posting or simply build your brand online, here are three essential steps to take to improve your online reputation.

Step 1: Knowledge is Power
Before you can improve your online reputation, it’s important to first be aware of it. A Google search is an essential first step in any online reputation management work. Look up search terms related to your industry and determine which terms are currently ranking highest. Look on social media sites to determine words that are trending at the moment, as well as studying the news to learn the topics people are talking about today.

Once you’ve begun building your online reputation, take steps to stay on top of things by setting up Google Alerts or Yahoo! Alerts. You can even set those alerts to come directly to your mobile device, letting you know instantly when something has been posted about you so you can take action.

Step 2: Participate
It isn’t enough to simply set up a social media presence. To maximize your online impact, you should regularly post to those sites, as well as interacting with customers. If a negative comment is posted, offer to make restitutions. Doing so will show other customers that you care what they think.

In addition to keeping a blog or news area on your own website to make announcements, you should also use a news distribution network to post press releases about your company’s activities. This can broaden your reach, bringing new customers to your website or physical location.

Step 3: Know Your Customers
It’s never been easier to get to know your customers. Ask for feedback from everyone who makes a purchase through your website or in person and use that feedback to make improvements. You can also gauge customer interest in new products or services by posting polls on your website or social media pages. This mini-focus group approach shows your customers you care about their opinions, while also helping ensure each new item has maximum success.

In today’s Internet-based business world, online reputation is more important than ever. By being proactive in creating a positive online presence long before negative posts appear, a business can minimize the impact of any negative information.

Most importantly of all, be sure you regularly update your company blog, website, and social media sites. Stagnant sites make a business appear outdated and out of touch with their customers. When new customers search for information about your product or service, regularly updated content will appear more prominently in results. Plus, consumers will know that when they visit your social media pages or website that new information is being posted regularly, giving them a reason to keep coming back.

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Blake Jonathan Boldt has contributed effective and educational content to a variety of businesses and organizations. He provides writing, editing, social media and content strategy services for both domestic and international clients. His articles have been featured in numerous magazines, newspapers, and digital media outlets.
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