Online Reputation Management: Making the Most of It In Boston

Ours is a noisy world, with opinions and “popular thinking” bombarding our every move.  Oft times, it’s easy to take the “I don’t care what people think,” approach.  But in business, you don’t have that luxury.  It is essential that you care about what you say, how your treat your customers, and ultimately, what is being said or written about you.

In other words, your reputation.

The following are seven tips for proactively managing your online reputation.

  1. Be Transparent. In order to build a reputation for you and or your company that you can be proud of, it’s essential that you be as transparent as possible. Allow public discussions of your business between both yourself, your staff, and your customers. Honesty shows all your current and potential clients that you don’t have anything to hide and they can trust you with their business.
  2. Don’t Take It Personally. When receiving feedback on your company, the feedback isn’t directed towards you. The feedback is an opportunity for you to strengthen your business plan, not to tear you down. You have to separate yourself from your business at times so that you can focus more fully on building a better company.
  3. Be Respectful and Respected.The phrase “you get what you give” comes into play when talking about respect. No matter who talks about you, criticizers or clients, or how they talk about you, with malice or not, you must stay respectful. When you give others respect, even if they don’t give it you at first, they always return it. The way you conduct yourself reflects on your company. When you show potential clients that you are patient and respectful, they are more inclined to give you their business because it shows how your company will interact with them. So, if you’re respectful towards everyone, even of they don’t deserve it, you will earn more respect from everyone else.
  4. Address Criticism. When criticism does emerge, and it will, it’s crucial to take it, but not negatively or defensively. Ignoring criticism will lead to larger problems in the future, so it is better to address it when it arises. When you ignore it, the customers will build up anger towards your company because they were not recognized and it may lead to some thinking that you have something to hide and aren’t being transparent. When you do address it, you shouldn’t be defensive because that tells clients that you aren’t adaptable to change/ feedback and would crumble if anything were to change for your company. If you are negative with the feedback, it also shows that you can’t take opportunities to grow and evolve to fit your clients’ needs.
  5. Respond Quickly and Politely. This applies to any concerns and complaints you receive. The quicker you address the problem, the sooner it will put your client’s mind to ease. Even if you do not know the answer, by replying, you acknowledge the concern and let your clients know that you take their input seriously. These comments have to be important to you because you would not have a company without your clients. If they want you to change something, it is best to look into doing so. Being polite demonstrates respect and, going back to being respectful and respected, you must have some towards others to gain some back. For example, if given a concern, responding with “We are aware of the problem. We are working to fixing it and will get back to you as soon as possible” shows politeness that reflects positively on your company.
  6. Monitor Feedback and Incorporate Constructive Criticism. By monitoring feedback, you can achieve all of the aforementioned tips. By using social media to see what your clients have to say, you’re able to establish a clean line of communication. Keep in mind that not all comments are bad. Some praise your company and give you a better reputation and it’s important to see these comments as well. Some criticisms do not need to be addressed either. You have to be able to know when you have to respond versus moving on. But, again, use all of the aforementioned tips to respond if you see fit to do so.  Monitoring feedback will keep your name clean. Before hiring you or giving you their business, people tend to use a simple search to see if you’re the type of company they want to invest in. Every so often, type your name into a search engine and see what comes up. If you found something relating to your company that you don’t like, work to fix it. From there, you can access different websites that will help clean your name. Keep monitoring no matter what, and if it helps, you can get Google Alerts so that you can see what the internet associates with your website.
  7. Be Patient.  Change will not come overnight. As you work to improve your reputation and your business, don’t expect everything to go exactly how you want it to. After you follow these tips, your reputation will still need work. It’s a perpetual process that you cannot ignore. Remember to be persistent and consistent to continue building your reputation.

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