What do people think about your business? Curious about using social media to improve your online reputation? In this article we’ll give you some tips on how to research, manage, and protect your company’s reputation online.

How Online Reputation Management Impacts Your Business

Your online reputation is what determines how the public perceives your company when they find it online. That said, online reputation management (ORM) influences the information that those folks see.

For example, certain strategies can help push negative content further down into Google’s results by outranking them with your own positive material. Why does that matter? Because the first five results returned by a Google search get about 2/3 of all clicks.

Online reputation management isn’t only about trying to control search engine content, though. It’s just as much about managing negative reviews and making sure that your happy customers are leaving positive feedback. In fact, according to BrightLocal, over 84% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. Furthermore, 50% of consumers look for at least a four-star rating before they going with a particular business.

With these stats in mind, it’s clear that both your personal and professional online reputation is important.

So What Can We Do?

First, decide what you want your reputation to be. Want to be the industry authority and market leader? Or maybe you want to be known for amazing customer service and responsiveness. You can start by figuring out what your current reputation is. Ask family, friends, customers, or random townsfolk what the first thing that comes to mind is when talking about your company. What do these people already think about you? Does your presence online mirror your real world reputation?

The Brand Grader can give you an understanding of your company’s online presence for free. It takes a look the most influential news sites and blogs that have featured your business content in the past 30 days. It also shows recent social media mentions and will give you a grade that can help identify strengths and weaknesses.

Google Alerts is another great tool for tracking mentions of your company, or of you for that matter. Additionally, you can keep an eye on your competition and what’s happening in your industry. This can be helpful in identifying new opportunities for articles and commenting. All it takes to create a new alert is entering a keyword/phrase and choosing how often you want to get notifications via email.

Creating A Social Media Strategy

A social media content strategy will help to outline the topics your business wants to focus on, which keywords to use, media types (text, photo, video, etc.) and who on your team will handle creation and implementation.

The first step here is to clearly define your social media goals. Do you just want more followers? Do you want to increase sales of an ecommerce store?

Decide which platforms will help you reach your goals and find your ideal customers. Social media is one of the most powerful avenues of digital marketing. To build a great online reputation you need to identify which social platforms are the most relevant for engaging with your current and future customers.

For example, if you’re prospecting C-level executives, focus on LinkedIn and possibly Twitter instead of Snapchat. If you’re a lifestyle brand then Pinterest and Instagram will likely be more beneficial.

Consider The Competition

If one of your direct competitors has a large, well engaged following on a particular social media platform, chances are that platform will be a good fit for your business, too. There are some tools out there that can evaluate where you and your competition stand in the social-media-sphere but none that we would recommend over our own web analytics platform. You can also find a number of platform-specific tools that will give a good behind the scenes view of your audience and competitors.

Facebook, for example, has in-house reporting that gives you access to post statistics and demographic data. You can even add other pages to a watch-list to get some insight on how well they’re performing. Instagram and Twitter also provide extensive insights through their own analytics tools.

Schedule, Post, Interact

Statistics have shown that it’s important to be active and consistent on all your profiles. Take some time to set up a social media content schedule or calendar to help keep track of it all.

When appropriate, encourage your followers and fans to interact with your content. Always reply to their questions and comments as quickly as possible. It makes a huge difference.