It doesn’t matter whether you’re just starting out in small business or the leader of a global organization – your reputation is everything. These days, most consumers refuse to purchase a product without first reading the online reviews. This means that if anything negative pops up about you or your company when a user searches, it can spell disaster for your business.
It might feel impossible to maintain a pristine online image when so many people seem to complain for the sake of complaining, but by proactively managing your brand, you can avoid most of the issues that can harm a business.
Read on for three ways you can protect your image by confronting problems before they arise.
Acquire Domain Names
The best way to prevent disgruntled former employees, dissatisfied customers, or ill-willed competitors from dragging your name through the mud is to buy up all relevant domain names that could be associated with your brand. You should certainly own “yourname.com” as well as any offshoots of the original name. Most experts recommend purchasing the URL’s with “news” and “reviews” at the end of the brand name. A national financial education company, Online Trading Academy, opted to purchase the URL “tradingacademy.com” in addition to “onlinetradingacademy.com”, so they could better control their search traffic and prevent competitors from capitalizing off the popular name.
Set Up Google Notifications
This is one of the easiest ways to keep an eye on your brand’s image. Simply go to google.com/alerts and opt to receive notifications about your name, the name of your business, and any other relevant industry key words or terms that would be wise to be aware of. There is an option to receive alerts at the end of each day, once per week, or immediately. Choose the third option so you can stay ahead of the curve and be aware of news as it’s happening.
Ask for Reviews from Customers
While it’s unethical to pay for positive reviews, there is no harm in requesting online reviews from frequent customers. Typically, those who choose to write about a company online are either extremely pleased or extremely displeased. There is no middle ground. To lessen the blow of irate, dissatisfied customers writing 400-word rants about your business, it can help to build up a repertoire of honest, positive reviews. Not only will this minimize the damage of negative feedback when it inevitably appears, it can help build up the company’s online reputation and legitimize the business as an established service provider. There is no shame in asking for reviews. Make it easy (include a small note next to the register with the Yelp page for all to see) and happy customers will likely submit their opinions.
When it comes to reputation management, the sooner you start, the better. Take these three tips into consideration and start protecting your business and your brand today!
Brian Patterson works with Online Trading Academy, the world’s most trusted name in professional trader education. Online Trading Academy provides training on stock, forex, option, and futures trading.