What is the first thing you generally do before signing up for the services of a company or meeting a prospective company partner? You do an online search.

It’s precisely what most individuals are doing before they agree to work with you. This implies that you may lose fresh career or company possibilities without even realising it because of what appears online about you.

If you want to be a successful company owner in 2019, you need to be able to create and sustain a favourable online reputation for your company. This is a very significant thing to learn, and the truth is that most company owners do it. According to a 2018 research by TripAdvisor, 97 percent of company owners agree that management of online reputation is essential.

The reason why the online reputation of a business matters is due to the reality that many customers think and trust what they read online. A 2018 study conducted by Bright Local indicated that 84 percent of customers trust internet reviews just as much as personal recommendations. What this means is that if there are adverse things published about your company online, it can have a adverse effect on all parts of your company.

Your online reputation is an important part of your personal brand. By protecting your online reputation, you protect your brand and can only cement a good career or company on a rock-solid brand base. Here are ways you can use to monitor and safeguard your reputation online:

Rule #1: Conduct a simple Google search.

Looking up on Google is the easiest move you can take instantly to protect your reputation, and you often must do it – ideally once a month.

If one of the search results damages your reputation, contact the site directly to remove the information. Usually you can reach the correct individuals by clicking on their privacy or contact page.

No luck in having the adverse content removed. Create fresh content that is likely to rank high on Google’s search results. You could:

  • Share articles on Blogger (Google’s blogging platform) and Google+.
  • Create an SEO-friendly LinkedIn profile.
  • Update your Facebook and Twitter profiles.
  • Upload videos on YouTube.

 Rule #2: Make Sure All of Your Online Data Is Secure.

One of the biggest mistakes that company owners make is not correctly securing their internet information. If your internet data is not safe, then you run the risk of becoming public knowledge of all your client data and information. If your clients find out that the information, they believed was private is now public, it really sheds a negative light on your business and its online reputation. Therefore, ensuring that all your client information and data are safe and secure is something every company owner should do.

The way to do this properly is to use the security of the database. By using database security, you are making it almost impossible for your customer data to become public knowledge. Ensuring that all your customer’s information is safe and secure will not only safeguard your online reputation, but also safeguard your company in general.

Rule #3: Set up a comprehensive Google Alert.

Google Alerts will notify you of the stories that are linked with your name. To get started, just go to Google Alerts and follow the instructions. You should at least set up an alert for your complete name. If you are a company owner, also set an alert for your company name. Once you are aware of what has been written about you online, you can then act accordingly, and protect your online reputation if the situation calls for it. Knowing when things are said about you and your business online is extremely important, and there is no easier way to find this information out than by setting up a Google alert.

Rule #4: Respond to Customers.

If a client communicates directly with you online, whether through social media or otherwise, you should always attempt to react to them. Responding to clients is a great way to safeguard your online reputation as it enables you to defend yourself and resolve any questions or issues they may have immediately.

By reacting to adverse remarks, you show that you care about your clients, not only the person who posted the adverse remark, but anyone else who reads it. If someone leaves a negative review of your company online and you do not respond to it, anyone who reads the review may think there is some reality to it, and consequently, your online reputation may be adversely affected.

However, if you respond to a negative review, it not only shows clients that you are listening to them, but it also offers you the opportunity to protect yourself. By defending yourself, you increase the likelihood of individuals disregarding the initial adverse remark published.

Remember that you want to make sure you do it in a way that doesn’t make you look bad when you respond to these adverse remarks. Be careful about what you’re saying, and don’t say anything that can be considered controversial, and you should be okay. Responding to clients is an excellent way not only to safeguard your online reputation, but also to boost it.

Rule #5: Install Live Chat Services on Your Webpage.

Another way to safeguard your online reputation is to install live chat services on your website. Not only will this boost customer engagement, but it will also boost consumer confidence. If there is a true person logged into the website of your company, it causes customers to think that their information is always well protected. If consumers think their private information is safe, your online reputation will only be favourably affected.

Rule #6: Take advantage of people search tools.

Use people search tools like pipl.com or whitepages.com to do thorough searches on your name. See if your phone number, email, or date of birth comes up; if they do, it makes it difficult for you to safeguard your identity.

These websites compile their data from various other sites, and they generally provide a link for you to directly contact each of their sources. Contacting each site and asking to remove your data will take some time, but it’s worth it.

Rule #7: Think before you post.

Before pressing the “share” or “comment” buttons, ask yourself if your action is aligned with your brand. As a rule; when you’re upset, never post on social media, and regardless of your privacy settings, never post adverse remarks about co-workers, company partners, or clients and always spell-check your comments and posts to keep your brand strong. Finally, keep in mind that what you post on the internet is your face to the world.

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