5 Tools to Protect Your Businesses Online Reputation

What do you do these days when you need to buy something or retain someone’s services? You go online.

Even when a person comes recommended by a flesh and blood person you know, you still should check it online. Maybe it is self-interest that prompted that recommendation? How well do you really know the one who recommended?

You go online and type in the company name.

The website that appears looks sleek and professional. Can you trust it? A nice site does not always translate to nice service.

The next step is to google the company name, the doctor, the lawyer or the plumber. What you are looking for is peer to peer remarks, especially the bad ones.

Now let’s imagine you had an employee or a customer that was a lot of trouble. It didn’t work out and he/she was let go. If this employee makes it a mission to smear your name, he or she can do it by investing time and posting it online in any way possible.

A week or two later, when you google the company’s name, those bad reviews pop out first. You lose business and it’s very difficult, yet possible, to reverse the action.

Enters ORM – Online Reputation Management. It deals with everything that has to do with your business that appears online. It includes everything: search engines, forums, blogs, news, and social networks.

Yes, there are companies that can help you ‘clean it up’. But if you own a small business, the first thing you need to do is be aware of it. Know what is happening with your brand. Know what people are saying about it, what are the latest news in your field, what are they talking about when your business is mentioned etc.

Here’s how to find out (Important FREE Tools to monitor your online reputation)

Google Alerts – A free service that is very easy to set. In the search query you put the name of your company, your personal name or your business type, and Google will send you a message every time those query words are mentioned. You can track web results, news, blogs, videos and groups.

Yahoo Alerts – The same idea. Just to cover more bases.

Twitter Search – Twitter has become one of the main sources of online monitoring. People tweet and retweet content with or without a hashtag.

Social Mention – This is the social media version of Google Alerts. It helps monitor your reputation. It works across different social media platforms. You can subscribe to the feed or get email notifications. You can also download it in an Excel file.

If your name, company, brand, or products get a bad reputation, it would probably spread to all other online platforms.

What to do?

Build up your brand. Branding is key to ORM. Building your brand can start by getting all the social media usernames with your brand name in them. There’s a site that will do it for you called Knowem.

Grab the opportunity to register it. These accounts will boost up your presence and together they might fill the first page of the search results, pushing the bad ones to page 2, a place that people rarely visit.