Why You Need To Protect Your Brand and Your Online Reputation
July 12, 2016
In high school, not caring about being popular or what other people thought was good life advice to help young adults get their first taste of the larger world they would have to deal with outside of school. As a business, however, this doesn't work. Both your online reputation and the health of your brand are critical parts of your business success and you need to defend them vigorously.
Online Presence Is Critical For Business
A 2014 survey released by Adweek suggested that 81% of shoppers would do at least a little bit of research before making an online purchase. 
Many of those same online shoppers would search more than one website before finally making a purchase, and when it comes to online searches, over 90% of people don't go past page one, meaning you had better get one of those early coveted spots on page one. 
Not being online simply is not an option for any business that wants to thrive. That means that you must understand how to be found by the search engines, as well as knowing how to protect your reputation once you are online.
Reputation Trumps First Impression
If your reputation is bad, many potential shoppers or clients won't even give you a chance to make a first impression. Look at all the brands that frequently make the news for terrible customer service and going above and beyond to combat customers. These are brands that struggle every time there is any other choice for their services in a given area.
Online shoppers will often ignore lowly-rated companies or services without even looking at them, which makes reputation management all the more important.
How To Protect Your Online Reputation
The first few steps are pretty basic. Make sure to own the domain name that is the same as your business name. Create basic social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and other platforms to make sure no one else makes them under your name.
After that, immediately take advantage of Google's business and map claiming. This can tie together the right accounts to your business and make it much more difficult for any fake or troll accounts or websites to claim to be you.
Finally, don't pigeonhole yourself to one website or one media. Create a YouTube channel and make multiple videos to make yourself an online expert. Have a blog where you can post new content and get yourself out there. Be active in guest posting when appropriate. The more information you personally create, the more you control what people can find about you and your brand on Google.
How To Repair Your Online Reputation
Online reputation management can be an effective tool for helping to cultivate the type of top search engine rankings that are all positive. Reputation management or repair services often refer to the practice of adding tons of online content to knock a negative review or news story off of page one and further down the rankings where very few people will actually see it.
These services can be effective but just remember that if your business is struggling to serve its customers, then this will be an on-going fight so be sure to fix any internal problems and take only as much business as you can handle. Once you get the right systems in place, you can begin repairing any past damage and begin rebuilding your reputation.
Guest blogger, Patrick Godknecht, is a successful entrepreneur and business owner. He operates an online marketing agency serving local businesses. One of the key services offered is a Positive Review system for local business. It guarantees 10 positive reviews in 60 days.
I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!