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I know what you are thinking – Online Reputation Management (ORP)? Yet another foreign concept you need to learn in this fast moving world where business and the Internet is increasingly done in tandem.

The words may appear unfamiliar but reputation management has actually been around as a PR term. It is defined as the practice of (1) building a brand’s reputation (2) shaping/maintaining a brand’s positive reputation and (3) minimizing a brand’s negative reputation.

Reputation management used to only be relevant to multinational brands in the tri-media space (TV, radio and print). But in the age of the Google and social media, small business owners can no longer ignore the need to protect and maintain their brands within their audience scope.

Let me skip to an example that hits home to many entrepreneurs: When you google your company name, what shows up on the first page of results? Take a moment to do this.

Does your website show up on the first page of Google results? Does a different page show up altogether? Do bad reviews of your product or service come up on search results?

You may not be a huge business known cross-country, but in a business scenario where an overwhelming 73% of the people looking to make a local purchase research online before proceeding to purchase, traditional limitations no longer matter.

Taking control of your online reputation should now become your top concern.

If search results of your brand on Google was less than stellar (for example: search keywords don’t bring the audience to your website, or an unfairly negative user review of your company is visible high up on the search results), take comfort in the fact that there are easy ways to manage your online reputation. Below are two basic methods you need to know as you begin:

Blog often!
If your current website is little more than an online version of your brochure, begin to compose your company blog. How does a blog help? Firstly, a blog is a venue to generate fresh content for your site. The more you post on a regular basis, the higher the likelihood that your community gets bombarded with new information closely related to your business terms. Maintaining a regular blog (go for at least one entry every two weeks) will help keep search results on Google and other engines feature new products and services. It will also help flush down negative results (such as bad reviews) as time passes and readers click on fresh news and forget about the old ones.

Defend Your Brand w/Social Media
Social media is one other great way to manage your online reputation. I will talk specifically about Facebook in this post since this is the favorite among majority of your client base. Before implementing your rep management campaign, let me first point out the obvious: your number of social media subscribers will work like a charm only if you have a high subscriber base. Mass membership is key for showcasing your reputation to a big audience. This means that you must have a big-enough subscriber base to before you go about posting content to bolster your online reputation. Having said that, you have to work on coming up with fresh content for your Facebook page to help your audience warm up to the idea of your brand. In much the same way that writing good blog content improves your search rankings, constantly posting product information on you FB page will help a lot towards pushing for better keyword search engine results. Social media networks like Facebook provide a means for increasing the speed at which good news is spread, only because liking and sharing content requires little effort.

Video is the way to go.
Creating and maintaining a video channel, specifically on youtube will help a great deal with your online reputation. Video is far more easy for end-users to consume. At the same time, video content is easy to produce these days. A beginner business owner can do a low-resolution video of his wares using a basic phone camera and upload the file to youtube in minutes. It’s simple yet effective. Populate your video channel with new product information, quick reviews, demonstrations or testimonials. Fancy effects are not required. The important thing is to showcase videos that speak to your customer’s wants and it will be sure to generate hits.

Google has already established the practice of showing top videos on first page of search results. Your customers, will most likely click and view a video compared to text-based search content.

These two are just the tip of the iceberg in the increasingly progressing world of online reputation management. I will take up more ORP tools that can directly improve the way you manage your brand. ORP tools are not created equal, and I will cover only the ones that fit best into the special needs of entrepreneurs.

Reference links:
http://whatis.techtarget.com/definition/reputation-management
http://smallbusinessmavericks.com/online-reputation-management.htm
http://www.flyte.biz/resources/newsletters/09/04-online-reputation-management.php
http://outspokenmedia.com/guides/orm-guide/

There’s no need to fear – Bliss Drive can help you navigate the world of ORP. Call us for a free consultation via (949) 229-3454 – we’d be happy to let you know how you can leverage your online brand in these modern times.