Managing how the world sees your business is easier than you might guess. You can take specific actions to manage your online reputation and develop a consistent brand name and image that bridges the offline and online world of your business. A key component of marketing is developing your message and delivering it effectively online – possibly even the most important business strategy that can be put into use.

Follow these 5 easy steps to start building your online reputation:

Step 1: Assess Your Current Reputation
Begin with a thorough assessment of your current reputation on the Internet. Search for your full name, your company name, brand name, product names and other keywords in Google and major search engines. Start by reviewing the results on the first page, and put this information into a spreadsheet along with the URLs and their position, and comment on what each of these URLs contains.

Step 2: Identify Changes Needed
Now review the spreadsheet you created in step 1 and start identifying things that you need to change. If you have discovered negative information or poor representation of your business, flag the entry to later focus on removing or pushing down in search results. For the results that contain a positive message, flag these items as key points to work on promoting and increasing the visibility of.

Step 3: Determine Your Best Arenas
Now you can review all of this data and determine where you are showing up in search results, and where your highest ranking links are. You might find that your Twitter and Facebook pages are ranking well, or maybe you are showing up on a popular blog or in YouTube videos. Whatever you find – these are the places where you can focus on publishing and emphasizing the positive content that can influence your reputation. While doing this, you can identify places where your target audience is focused. Once you identify where your target audience is, you can zone in on these places to emphasize your strong points.

Step 4: Create a Reputation Strategy
With all of this information in hand, you can start to develop a long-term strategy for building the image for your business that you want. Keep your focus on where your content is being displayed and what your message is. What type of content is going to work the best for you? You might discover that blog posts, directory articles, Twitter updates, Facebook updates or press releases are the most effective means of communicating. Determine where you will be publishing the content and how you will publish it – such as which specific social networks to focus your energy on, or which blogs or news sites to get your message out to.

Step 5: Start Building
Now that you have a strategy in hand, you can follow through and start building your content and promoting it on the sites you have identifies. By doing so you can establish a stronger presence in search results with the message that you want to get across. Remember to include your business name, company name and branding details listed as the author on any content that you publish so that credit goes back to you. As you develop and publish content that can help influence your reputation, continue monitoring over time and tracking the progress of your work in search results. Keep an eye on all of the factors you identified in your research and always respond to any negative comments/feedback immediately.

Now that you have developed a solid assessment of your current reputation and have a strategy to follow, you can start to take control of how your business is viewed online. Keep your message as consistent as possible in all of your content and you will establish a solid base that will help your business for years to come.

For help with managing your business’ online reputation give us a call at 630-296-6932 or request a free proposal.