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The Age of Online Reputation Management: 3 Tips for Entrepreneurs

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Managing business marketing has always been standard, but what about in the age of social media and online presence? In today’s digital world, online reputation management is now a business unto itself.

The practice as a standard endeavor began in the early 2010s. In 2011, The New York Times ran a piece about a divorcee who found that, as he tried to date, a simple search of his ex-wife last night brought up a dearth of revealing photos. He hired Reputation.com to repair his online presence, one of the first companies of its kind. Today, online reputation management has become big business. When it comes to the Internet, information travels fast. Whether it’s a tweet, such as the case of a PR professional whose career was ruined in 140 characters, or a bad review, online reputation makes a difference to customers. Here are three ways for entrepreneurs to effectively manage your online reputation.

1. Put out Content You Want People to See

Online reputation is a constant battle between outside objectionable content, versus the good stuff you want to pop up in online searches. While it’s not advisable to try and stifle all content you don’t control, it’s also worthwhile to blot out content that’s targeted to harm you. Entrepreneur suggests the best way to do this is to create your own content, producing valuable information like articles, videos, and slideshows that your audience is likely to pay attention to. The baseline idea is to control content by pushing the bad stuff to the bottom with a landslide of your own. This not only works with analytics by rearranging search results but also contributes toward forming an identity that customers can buy into.

2. Crossover of Personal and Professional Reputations

It’s common for entrepreneurs to use their individual name in the name of their business. Inc. names such small enterprises as photographers, wedding planning, and realtors as some of the more prominent ventures where SMBs may use their own name as their business. If you find yourself in this camp, then it’s essential to monitor not only the content on your business’s social media accounts but also on your personal accounts. The fact of the matter is that the first go-to for people looking to gauge the trustworthiness of a business is Google. Inevitably, these search results will not only bring up your business activities, but also all other personal activities attached to your name. The lesson to take away from this is that, while people looking for information about your business may not be interested in your personal life, they will still see it with a simple online search.

3. Authenticity Goes a Long Way

While one approach to online reputation management is to fight back, some companies actively embrace the negative and are able to turn a flaw into an attribute. Business 2 Community gives examples of corporations like JetBlue and Zappos that went on record answering customer complaints on social media and Yelp with personal, validating responses. Online reputation management can potentially not only be a glowing assortment of positive results but also reveal how your company graciously handles conflict. If there’s one thing customer’s value, it’s authenticity.

Online reputation management is something that can’t be ignored, whether you’re a startup or a freelancer. Google yourself regularly, and keep a close watch on what’s being said about you online. Your business is only as good as its reputation.

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Mansi Rana is managing director and story teller at EZ Rankings - SEO Reseller Company. She enjoys connecting with people, keeping herself updated with the latest in the field of business, technology and fashion and spending quality time with her family.

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