You might think that corporate reputation management isn’t something you ought concern yourself with. I would urge you to reconsider!

According to eMarketer 83% of consumers declare that online reviews influence their opinions about a particular company, and 8 of 10 of these individuals added that a negative entry on the internet has caused them to change their mind. One negative review, whether true or untrue, can thwart all of your best efforts if you don’t have an online reputation strategy set up. Bearing that in mind, we’d like to offer five strategies your small business can use to monitor and improve your online reputation management.

  1. Monitoring your corporate reputation – Listening what’s being said about you and your organization is critical. There are a number fantastic free tools to help in this regard. Check out Google Alerts, Hootsuite, and Social Mention among others.
  2. Claim all of your social properties – Unclaimed social media sites can be used by your competition for nefarious exploits. Be sure you claim all social sites that apply to your brand.
  3. Own as much of page one of Google as you can – One assertive way to make certain what individuals learn about you when they Google you is to own most if not all of Google page one for your brand names. This will make it much harder for flyby attacks to have much if any impact.
  4. Ask for customer reviews – Customer reviews aren’t just going to magically appear: you need to actively court them. Make a point of prompting your clients to write reviews, and do everything you can so that it’s easy for them: links to review sites, examples from other customers, etc. Of course, if you offer incentives, make it clear that you’re not trying to bribe them or affect their review!
  5. Engage with your people – Interacting with those writing comments, Facebook posts and tweets is an excellent strategy to head off any damage from the get-go. Don’t participate in mud-slinging however, regardless of how justified you’re feeling! Thank them for their contribution to the discussion, and politely disagree, standing up for yourself. (If they’re not right, of course!)

Corporate Reputation Management is far more important than ever before, in this day of instant communication. Don’t neglect yours!