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How are you managing your online reputation?

Everyone has an online reputation, but do you know how to manage yours online?

In this day and age who hasn’t Googled themselves to see what comes up in the search-engine results page? Individually, we make sure that we manage our online image, but when it comes to businesses, checking up on what people are saying can be forgotten in the larger scheme of looking at the bottom line. But the two are connected and one thing is certain: if you’re not managing your company’s reputation, then the market will determine it for you.

So Ashley, how can I manage my company’s online reputation? Glad you asked, here are ­­­five tips to get you started:

  1. Find out what’s being said. Search your company’s name to see what comes up. Simple, but powerful. Go past the first page of results. Consider setting up Google Alerts, using an online tool like Trackur  or adding the “Me on the Web” tool to your Google dashboard account to keep watch.
  2. Optimize your website with your company’s name. Third person references work much better for search engines like Bing and Google, which will recognize your site as the voice of authority for your company. I’ll use our site for example, instead of writing “We are a collection of talented, experienced and creative strategists, writers, designers, project managers, content managers, programmers and production experts;” we wrote in third person. “Parthenon Publishing is a collection of …”  Be sure to use your company name in your HMTL title tag and URL, about us, contact us sections as well as any other content pages. Your company’s name in these spaces  improves your rankings and reinforces your company’s presence to search engines.
  3. Spread your web presence with care. It is definitely important for your company to brand itself through several channels, including related blogs, social media such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+. But does your YouTube channel or Pinterest account showcase what your company does, or is it just an attempt to be a part of the social crowd? Think, evaluate, and then decide which channels work best for your company’s business and goals. LinkedIn is non-negotiable; you must have it.
  4. Listen to your audience. Utilizing social media is as much about branding your company, as it is an opportunity for you to build a relationship with your consumers that includes getting feedback from them. Listen for opportunities – to improve your service(s), engage with your customers (to see what they need from you) and respond to their issues— and that action alone will improve reputation.
  5. What’s your offline reputation? You can take all of the steps listed to manage your online reputation, but if your company’s services aren’t up to par, then well – all these online reputation tips won’t mean much until you fix the offline problem(s). The good news is that if you are paying attention to what’s being said about you online, you’ll know what needs fixing.

As a company, it’s important to know what words come to mind when your name is entered into the world, but a surefire way to make sure that your company reputation is what you want it to be is to stay consistent across all of your branding channels and keep your eyes and ears open.