Building a solid business reputation is important to your overall success. If you fail to do this, customers will not trust your brand, and they will instead do business with the competitors. Things are bound to happen occasionally, and it’s important that you know as much as possible about reputation management.

Before putting too much effort in reputation management online, check to see how much you need, if any. Search your business with Google and Bing. Do negative results come up? Do the websites and blogs your business runs only show up on a few hits or none at all? Answering yes to either question means that you have work cut out.

To help increase your online presence consider using social media. Sites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn will help you build business presence both online and offline. To use social media effectively you must post statuses regularly. When posting information through a social media website, use keywords, and give your readers information that they actually need.

Try your best to be personable when you are online. Unless you are truly communicating, people won’t care what you write online. If you receive a question on a social media site, be sure to respond immediately. Tell your follower the answer to their question immediately.

Set realistic expectations with your customers. If you own a small business, let your customers know when you will respond to their questions. If you cannot answer every question immediately, place a banner saying that all questions will be answered within a certain amount of time, such as within 72 hours.

Social media accounts should be professionally managed. These pages are a representation of your company, and that’s why it’s a good idea to make sure people see things which will make a positive impact. While you want to avoid sounding too much like a robot, it’s okay to be somewhat personal, so long as you strike a good balance.

Watch what you say. This applies to both online and offline interactions. Avoid having any discussions about illegal activity or making derogatory comments. You also want to avoid having yourself and your business tied to images that are explicit or inappropriate. Also, try to avoid doing or saying anything negative that will be on a news station. Potential investors and customers may see these things as red flags.

Write articles on other sites for a better online business reputation. This can help many people see you as a professional. End your articles with your name, company, and a link back to your website. Where you write will depend on the purpose of your business, your niche, and your target audience. Try to keep the content as relevant to these items as possible.

After having read some about reputation management, you should start putting a plan into action. It’s only going to be more in-depth as your business grows, so you better get a hold of everything now. Otherwise, you might find yourself treading water one day when you get some negative publicity.

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