Your Online Reputation: Don’t Be Left In the Dark!

With more consumers relying on the Internet to shop for products and services, a business’s reputation is vital for success. Time to get serious about online reputation management.

According to, the average American will spend 30 hours online every week, and for “Millennials”, that number rises to 40 hours – frankly, I’m bugged-eyed just thinking about it! Amazingly, about half of Internet surfers interact with businesses on their social network sites such as Facebook and Twitter, reports Folio Magazine.

If your business does not have a strong online presence, and favorable online customer reviews, you may find yourself at a competitive disadvantage. Whether your business has negative online reviews or simply doesn’t have much of a Web presence, doing nothing can impact your sales without you even knowing it.

So, knowing and controlling your online reputation is the most effective way to keep your opportunity costs down.

Know your online reputation

For a starters, you have to find out what people are saying about you. Searching through the Internet for items related to your business can be frustrating and time consuming. Fortunately, there are ways to automate the process.

Enter Google Alerts. This free service does all the leg work, keeping you abreast of anything related to your specific keyword phrases. Monitor your Internet reputation, and that of your competition, without spending a lot of time doing it by hand. Create alerts for your business name, employee names, etc. and learn something about your online reputation.

Want more? There are many other local social media monitoring services out there. Take a look around the web and see what fits your specific needs.

You know your online reputation, now control it!

Once you have a handle on your online reputation, you may find there is not much out there about you. Now is the time to act!

First, be your own online reputation manager. Establish a system for encouraging your customers to give you positive reviews. Whether this means collecting comments on paper customer surveys, or subscribing to a reputation management system, having those positive online reviews is a must.

Next, get involved in the conversation. Establish a presence on Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites. Establish yourself as an authority in your area of expertise by writing a blog and commenting on other people’s blogs with a link back to yours.

Finally, let your customers know if you are mentioned on the Web or have contributed something you are proud of. By establishing yourself as an authority and starting a dialogue with customers and prospects, they will feel more compelled to support your business.

If this is all too time consuming, consider hiring professional Internet marketing consultants to take the reins and manage your reputation for you. But the worst thing you can do is nothing.

Author: Clifford Yurman

Clifford Yurman is the principal behind Cliff is a creative and business professional skilled across a broad spectrum of communications disciplines including marketing, web design, producing and directing, podcasting, Search Engine Optimization, Search Engine Marketing and Strategy. He is president of Media Consulting Services. Through MCS, Cliff has provided SEO services to professional practices and small businesses, and written and produced major video and interactive projects for such clients as Pfizer, BASF-Pharma, Bristol-Myers Squibb, AIG, KPMG, American Express, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, and other global enterprises. Cliff completed an MBA in Finance and Marketing at Columbia Business School in New York where he received the Distinguished Service Award upon graduation. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Economics and Management from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. In his last staff position before starting his own agency, Cliff served as Director, Corporate Development for News America Publishing, Inc. (Rupert Murdoch’s holding company). Reporting to the Vice Chairman, he managed communications and business functions including mergers and acquisitions analysis, industry analysis, and corporate communications. At CBS Corporation, Cliff was Financial Manager for the CBS Television Stations Division and CBS Records Division (now Sony Music); Editor, Standards and Practices for the CBS Television Network; and Writer/Story Editor for WCBS-TV/New York. Cliff began his career in advertising, first as Senior Media Planner at Lintas Advertising for such clients as Citigroup, Johnson & Johnson, Bayer, Tropicana and Mennen. He later moved to Bates Advertising, serving as Account Executive on the Panasonic Consumer Electronics business. Cliff is a member of the Greater New York Chamber of Commerce and the Better Business Bureau

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