Managing the Reputation of Your Business

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You need a finger on the pulse of what’s being said about you. Today, that goes deeper than setting Google Alerts for your company. Between Facebook, Twitter, Google Alerts and Analytics, you can accumulate a lot of data very quickly. Since Facebook’s addition of hashtags to their engine, search has become a valid method of seeing what is publicly said about you. Business pages also come with insights that help show you the demographics of who is reading your material and opportunities for you to grow that readership. All of these changes or tools give you a space to glance at your efforts and process your work. If you spend too much time chasing down your data, you end up in a constant state of scrutiny, unable to actually launch a new campaign.

Distinguish You from the Brand

You should have a blog and pages set up to promote yourself in addition to your brand. In a perfect world, your brand has a community manager who takes care of community interaction. In the real world that person is often you or one of your partners and it’s easy to get that work confused with branding yourself.

Your work on the brand should be independent from your work on yourself as a thought leader. Therefore set aside time to write a guest post written from your perspective. You can use your business as a case study, but make it about something you’re passionate about. Shop the guest post around to the blogs you read, or post it on a reputable site like Entrepreneur or Forbes and milk it for link juice.

Control Where You Post

You can’t control what people say about you, but you can control what you say and where you say it. Assume that every new contact you meet, especially consumers, are going to search your brand on Google or Bing. Also assume that those search engines will return results from providers like Facebook, Yelp, Twitter, WordPress, Tumblr, Pinterest, Instagram and every other trendy sounding network around the Web.

Those are just the basic places you need to claim. If you want to take advantage of search engine markup to make your listings stand out with profile pictures and review data, you will need to verify your business and yourself using Google + and Google + Places.

If you claim your profiles now, you can shut out the fakers trying to cash in on your brand. You can also control the messaging from your brand and set monitors on various networks to see where the most traffic is coming from.

Spread Your Content

If your product is popular with women you might find success posting content to Instagram instead of Facebook due to the demographics, something that will require testing to verify. Can you turn your “how-to” articles into YouTube videos or slide shows? Think about methods you can use to repackage and spread your content around the Web to get maximum mileage for your contributions.

Your content will extend your reach, and help you outrank any negative reviews about you from sites that are less than reputable. For higher quality review sites that have negative reviews, focus on outranking them with your own work.

Audit Yourself

If you’re serious about reputation management, here are some questions to help audit your brand:

  • Do you need to manage reputation or grow it? Growing reputation usually involves aggressive content marketing. Managing reputation involves highlighting accomplishments and outranking naysayers.
  • What are the bounce rates of your blog posts, and average time spent on site? High bounce rates and low time spent on-site indicate poor content.
  • Which social network currently sends the most traffic? Use that network as a testing ground for new ideas.
  • What is the source of your issue? You’re getting hate mail, but what is the cause? Figure out the source of the original dispute and address that issue with a well-thought response.

Identify the cause and work toward addressing that issue. Management is as much containment as it is celebrating your accomplishment. The best brands know when to apologize and when to brag. Be careful not to make your responses personal either. Remember that the disagreement is over the brand, not the people involved.

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Author: Kevin Anderson

Kevin is an account director at Online Rep Management and has been working within internet marketing and public relations for over 8 years. Kevin got his start working online in SEO, link building, and some affiliate marketing. Kevin is most passionate about helping good brands become online entities. Check out ORM or follow Kevin on twitter!

55 thoughts on “Managing the Reputation of Your Business”

  1. Excellent post Sherryl!

    And since actively maintaining our reputations are a lot like blogging, in the sense,
    their not static!

    We’ve definitely got to play an extremely active role in both, initially growing them and them maintaining them a well!

    And I’ll be the first to readily admit, that early on in my blogging journey, I didn’t even enough to realize that this issue was even worth paying attention to!LOL!

    But I really like what Kevin shared about extending our reach through content! And how he suggested converting ‘how to” articles into both videos or slideshares.

    I could certainly be taking more advantage of high page ranking sources like slideshare!That’s an awesome and extremely practical tip!

    Thanks so much for sharing it! And thanks so much for featuring Kevin Sherryl!
    Mark recently posted..How The Alluring Rabbit Hole Of Affiliate Marketing Trips Up So Many Promising Newbie Marketers!My Profile

    1. Hi Mark,

      It’s always so nice to see you here. I’m glad you found Kevin’s post interesting. He has such a straight forward approach to reputation management and he’s realistic in that most of us already have our hands full keeping up managing our blogs and our businesses.

      I like what he said about “If you claim your profiles now, you can shut out the fakers trying to cash in on your brand.” I’ve been in discussions with bloggers who disagree with me that you should claim your brand profile on as many social networking sites as you can. You don’t have to build your presence on all of them but it does prevent others from posing as us and potentially damaging our reputations.

      I need to repackage my content too! I think using SlideShare is a good idea for both of us. The other thing that I’ve been thinking of doing is publishing short “teaser” posts on LinkedIn to help drive traffic to some of my posts. That strategy is working for some bloggers.

      Thanks so much for taking the time to weigh in on this. I’ll be by your place soon to see what you’ve been up to too. Enjoy the rest of your weekend. I hope you have a great week ahead.
      Sherryl Perry recently posted..Do You Want to Consolidate Multiple Websites?My Profile

  2. Sherryl — excellent post. Our reputations are our basic currency. One wrong move — like posting an embarrassing image or rant — can damage your reputation and take years to repair. When I learned that even the most popular and respected social media gurus have high bounce rates, I stopped worrying about that too much. To me, how much time people spend on specific posts or pages is much more important. Search engine traffic is the source of most of people who leave immediately. They were searching for something else and you weren\’t it. Direct and referral traffic is more important and if those people are taking the time to read your content, then I think you\’ll be fine.

    1. I don’t worry about bounce rates on my blog either Jeannette. I just tell myself, they may have just found what they were looking for. 🙂 The number of returning visitors is more important to me as is time spent and pages visited. I think (as usual) you and I are on somewhat of the “same page”. As always, thanks for dropping by.

  3. Excellent advice,

    It’s very important to promote yourself and not only your brand, because people relate to people not businesses. For example, on twitter, I have the habit to follow back each person that follows me, but I do not follow back companies, because I suspect that they are just following me to get to me, and then will unfollow.

    Spreading content is vital for my freelance writing but it’s important for any business as well.
    Sylviane Nuccio recently posted..Living, Writing and Making Good Money as a Freelance WriterMy Profile

    1. That’s the perfect way to say it Sylviane. I agree with you. People like to do business with people who they like and trust. That’s why referral networking is so important.

      I will follow back companies, especially if they’re sharing information that is relevant and of interest to my blog readers. I’m verly leary that they could be a business that I don’t want to associate with. For example, I will not follow anyone who is selling followers. Usually, a quick glance at their recent tweets discloses that.

      Thanks for dropping by!
      Sherryl Perry recently posted..Building Your Personal Brand OnlineMy Profile

  4. Hello Mr. Anderson,

    Sophisticated post. Reputation seems to be essential from the beginning. However, I believe that most bloggers don’t even think about their reputation in the first few months. It is understandable. There are so many things you need to learn and do so you reputation may be last on your to do list.
    You can control what you say and where and you can monitor what is publicly said about you. I like the audit yourself part. If you answer those questions properly, it will be much easier to manage and grow your reputation in the future.
    I can say that this post is different than the usual ones. It is an expression of a different mindset than the one you usually find in the blogosphere. It looks more like corporate culture than simple small business owners and bloggers. Well, everything depends on the target you had in mind for this post.

    Have a wonderful day
    silviu recently posted..How to Record a Podcast and Pay NothingMy Profile

    1. Silviu,

      I can definitely see where you are coming from and would agree. I think that the steps taken for a blogger rep and a company rep can be quite different, quite frankly some bloggers may not need to worry about their blog’s reputation for years! Rarely are you finding blogs bad-mouthing other blogs, and if you do, its usually months/years after the site is born. A blog will need traffic/readers/opinion before it can think about growing!
      Kevin Anderson recently posted..Transparency: Lessons to Learn From AppleMy Profile

  5. Really great post, that I am going to bookmark as a reminder to myself…2 Lessons for our product and myself1) We have to spread our content to more sources (and not just social media) is something we are constantly working on.2) Distinguishing myself: In a small team there is not a lot of time for that, but it might just actually be another way to give another angle to the brand.
    Amiti recently posted..Great Blog Post Title and Picture: Do I Have your ATTENTION?!My Profile

  6. Couldn’t have said it better myself.

    To make sure you know what’s written about you and your company is essential in our online world. Never, ever write anything anywhere you would not be happy with everybody in the whole world reading. If you do, you could end up in trouble and get a bad reputation.

    Am constantly surprised at how some educated executives prove themselves at others expense. Or worse bully other people online. Don’t they understand that search engines record everything and forget nothing?

    Personally use Google Alerts but, most important, google myself on a continouos basis. So far, so good:-)
    Catarina recently posted..Do you know how to communicate to harvest ideas?My Profile

    1. Hi Catarina,
      Thanks for weighing in on this. It is surprising how some people post things online that they would probably never say face-to-face. How can they be unaware that the digital footprints that they are leaving are going to be there long after they’ve left them?

      Congratulations on keeping your reputation intact! The skills that you developed in journalism surely help you.

  7. Kevin, I could not agree with you more about paying attention to brand. My philosophy on the web is that you are what you write. This pertains to posts on your own site, comments you leave on other sites, or simply how you engage through social media.

    In our interconnected world it is easier to establish a brand however, it is also easier to damage that brand. Sometimes keeping silent or not reaching out as you mentioned can be as damaging as saying the wrong thing.

    Alex Smith recently posted..How to Create a Web PageMy Profile

  8. Kevin and Sherryl,

    Important stuff here. Unfortunately I know I’m not branding myself as I should. It’s one of the many things I’ve got to improve on and this post helps 🙂

    Your reputation online and in business is so important and I’ve learned that how you perceive yourself is not always how others perceive you so it’s good to know what’s being said. Perception is everything, right?

    Love the audit questions too.

    Liz McGee recently posted..5 Not So Ordinary Tips for Free Traffic To Your BlogMy Profile

    1. Perception is everything Liz and the Internet presents its own challenges. Unlike face-to-face interactions, online we don’t have visual clues that can give insight into our true meaning. So, we need to be especially careful how we’re presenting ourselves.

      Thanks so much for contributing to the conversation and for letting us know that you enjoyed Kevin’s post. This is his first guest post here but I’m hoping he’ll be back.
      Sherryl Perry recently posted..Do-Follow Social Media Sites and a Filter for Facebook | FridayFindsMy Profile

  9. Sherryl- I think everyday we try to market ourselves. My first blog was purely product and I didn’t receive one comment. My recent blog site is about comparing my business to what is going on today. I have people now say they want to stop by to see my analogies. So I am starting to get my own brand recognition. No one can do you for you, as it has to come from the person representing the brand.
    Arleen recently posted..Bar Rescue Saves the Day with Souvenir CupsMy Profile

  10. Hi Sherryl, reputation is something a business strives on. You can’t buy a good reputation in the industry, but you can pay heavily for a bad one. I believe we must keep an eye on the reputation our business makes in the market.

  11. Hi Kevin,As you rightly said, “Social Media is tough to find time for” and I know how hard it can be to be at so many places and manage the brand identity especially when market demands almost a real time response on social media.Well, that gave a rise to so many awesome social media management tools and I use a few of them as well. Branding is absolutely important for an entrepreneur and yes, it’s tough but then that is what business is all about, isn’t it? Thank you for these tips and I must tell you, I enjoyed reading it along with all other wonderful comments.Regards,Kumar
    Kumar Gauraw recently posted..Time Saving Apps For Bloggers For Increased ProductivityMy Profile

  12. Kevin, great tips. I always try to think before putting “anything” out there online. My rule of thumb is that anyone can find it at anytime. If you think it’s just there for one person – what if that website is compromised and your information gets out there?
    It can be sometimes harder to be yourself and a brand, you really have to put your “Feelings” aside about “issues” of the day.
    Lisa recently Builds Traffic To Your Blog and Goes Beyond CommentsMy Profile

    1. Hi Lisa,
      Thanks for dropping by. I have the same mind-frame as you do about the possibility that anything we put online could potentially be seen by anyone. (Also, it can be out there “forever”.) I think it’s smart to take that attitude. I truly believe that we are our brand.

      One rule that I always keep in the back of my mind is a mantra that I used to hear when I was a member of a BNI group: “Everything you do is either a relationship builder or a relationship destroyer.” I try to keep that in mind all of the time. It helps to keep me out of trouble. 🙂

  13. Hey Kevin,

    Great subject and glad you’re sharing it here at Sherryl’s awesome blog. Branding is a huge thing that everyone should be doing and I’m probably still not doing it to the best of my ability because to me I am my brand.

    Cheesy sounding right but I don’t have a business that offers services like SEO or writing. You connect with me and then I can help you through consulting but trust me when I say we have to like each other. If not then my goodness, that just won’t work at all.

    I do have my Alerts set up and I pay attention to what people are saying about me the best I can. I’ve got a pretty clean reputation online so I’m hoping that it remains positive in that way.

    I love helping people and spreading the love so for now my brand is looking good.

    Great share Kevin and hope you two are having a wonderful week so far.

    Adrienne recently posted..22 Ways To Create Compelling ContentMy Profile

    1. Hi Adrienne,
      Thanks for dropping by. I’m glad that you liked Kevin’s article. I thought it would be a nice topic to cover here.

      I think you’re doing an awesome job of branding yourself You’re definitely a well recognized and respected blogger. You do a great job of keeping “top-of-mind” awareness on all the major social sites in addition to consistently providing quality content. Sometimes, I wonder where you get your energy from! 🙂

    2. Adrienne,

      thanks for the “love” haha. I wouldn’t say not having those services is “cheesy” you are just in a niche! When you say consulting do you mean that you are a brand-consultant?

      Alerts are equally important and useful, I am happy to read so many people commenting that they are using them! From my professional opinion a clean online rep is easy to maintain, usually things go South when you take some less than honorable actions, essentially ruining a rep is something you have to do yourself.


  14. Hello Sherry and Kevin This article is impressive and an eye opener.I personally think it’s difficult to brand who we are and at the same time take our business to another level. Currently I am on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. My time is limited, so I do not give myself to social media as I should.I am currently trying to grow my business. This will help me to re evaluate where I am and where I want to go.Gladys posted

    1. Hi Gladys,
      Thanks for dropping by. Even though it’s difficult to find time for social media, it certainly builds awareness and can be instrumental for developing mutually beneficial relationships. (As you know, we met on a Facebook group.)

      I clicked on the Twitter ID that you left with your comment but I realized that I was already following you on an different Twitter account. The account that I was already following has your profile pic and over a hundred followers. (It contains your last name.) Let me know if you’d like me to edit your Twitter ID here and I will.
      Sherryl Perry recently posted..Time to Tweak Your Twitter StrategyMy Profile

  15. Hi Kevin,

    Thank you for all these tips! Auditing myself is something I’m working on at the moment. I’m keeping a check on which social network is getting the most attention. It’s a job, but someone has to do it!
    So far it looks like Facebook and Google+ are my two main engagements with the highest rates. Phew…I’m still in the middle of deciphering this.

    donna merrill recently posted..Blog Like A SuperstarMy Profile

    1. Donna,

      that is an interesting tip right there all alone, the fact that you receive more interation on G+ than elsewhere. G+ seems to be the silent network that has yet to explode. In my opinion companies can do the best on facebook and individuals on twitter, but your success on G+ is great!
      Kevin Anderson recently posted..Transparency: Lessons to Learn From AppleMy Profile

    1. Hi Jason,
      Thanks for dropping by and for letting us know that liked Kevin’s guest post. Sometimes, I’m amazed by the tone that people use on their blog. When I first started blogging, I tried to follow as many of the “gurus” as possible to learn the ropes. One of the female bloggers who I followed obviously knew her “stuff”. She has a huge following and appears to be a respected authority. However, the language that she uses is enough to make my mom blush. Eventually, I found other bloggers to follow and I stopped visiting her site. I’m sure she doesn’t even realize that I left but I can’t be the only one that finds the tone of her posts to be offenseive.
      Sherryl Perry recently posted..Friday Finds: Backlinks, Social Media Profiles, Landing Page ConversionsMy Profile

    2. Jason,

      good point on keeping them separate. I think people can run into trouble when those things are one in the same or when they reach a status of online popularity where they just can’t distance biz-personal.

      It seems like the more successful you are, the more you need to censor yourself, which is a shame because sometime honestly and strong opinions are the reason people find success. hmmm, thanks for the comment!


  16. Hello; Thanks for this insightful post. I was thinking about the main social networks and the results from each. I get more visits from face book but more actual leads from linked in. And most of the sharing of my blog and its posts happens on twitter. I just recently started with interest and don’t have much of a following there yet; so its hard to say how effective it is for me. And I have to work on a combination of building the site and maintaining it. And I find my most successful blog posts either cover a personal accomplishment or a post that includes mention of something personal at an appropriate point in the post. thanks again and take care, max
    Maxwell ivey recently posted..Just trying to help my friend MarkMy Profile

    1. Hi Maxwell,
      Thanks for taking the time to let us know that you found Kevin’s post valuable and for sharing your social networking strategy with us. I’ve met several clients through interactions on LinkedIn but Facebook does not drive much traffic to my site. (Then again, I maintain a presence there but I don’t spend as much time there as on other sites.) I agree with you about sharing and Twitter . . . and then there’s Triberr too!
      Sherryl Perry recently posted..Facebook Graph Search Privacy Concerns – Be Careful What You LikeMy Profile

      1. Hello; I’m never sure how to reply to a guest post. I usually visit the author’s site and comment on their most recent post there. and if i really like it, then I will subscribe to their email alerts. as a blind computer user i find twitter and linked in to be more accessible than face book. For this reason I don’t spend as much time on there either. I do most things through their email notification system. I post status updates on the mobile site but that’s about it. When I have gotten leads through face book its been because a friend of a friend forwarded one of my links to someone they new. I just find linked in so much more professional in nature. and a note to site maintenance people if fb would leave their site alone so I could get familiar with how to use it again i would use it a lot more. Please don’t update your site just to say you updated it. Thanks for sharing the post with us. Keep them coming, max

        1. Thanks again Max for taking the time to engage here. That’s wonderful that you’re able to engage in Twitter and LinkedIn. I wouldn’t worry much about Facebook if I were you. It’s totally geared to advertisers as far as I’m concerned. I think maintaining a presence there is helpful as far as building awareness goes but unless you’re one of the bloggers who has already established a large following, I personally think a better use of your time may be to connect with people on Google+. Is that site accessible?

          LinkedIn is great. (I just sent you an invitation to connect.) If you’re interested, there’s a LinkedIn group called “Bloggers Helping Bloggers” that you might find helpful. I’m one of the managers there and many of the readers who comment here are active there as well.

          1. Hi Sheryl; Thanks for the kind reply and the linked in invite. I have already accepted and am surprised you would wonder if i would be interested in connecting with you there and or joining the blog group you mentioned. google+ is accessible in my opinion but i have to remember that they take their noncommercial attitude seriously. so i have to be careful what I post. I do enjoy sharing posts there and it is simple to add new members to your google circle. I still depend heavily on email alerts as it keeps me from having to spend loads of time on the various social networks. I hear about people who have apps that let them track all their networks in one place and I keep hoping i will find one of those that works for me. I tried buffer and it was simple enough to install and use but it started interfering with the speech prompts from some of my favorite website. I guess next I’ll try hootsuite unless you have a better suggestion. I can’t really give up on Facebook unless they finally decide to give up on me. A lot of people in the amusement industry are on fb but not on any of the other social sites. And a couple of small sales were made this year because of someone on Facebook referring a post to a friend they knew was looking. but you are right I get far better results out of linked in and twitter. I love meeting new people and making new friends so if anyone in your community wants to connect with me; just send me a request. I hardly ever turn one down. The only people I don’t accept are amusement equipment brokers and that’s mainly just because they don’t generally play nice with others. smile Well thanks for the linked in invite and the group recommendation. take care my friend, max
            Maxwell ivey recently posted..Just trying to help my friend MarkMy Profile

            1. Maxwell,

              Thanks for the connection and for joining the LinkedIn group. I think you’ll like it there. I was pretty sure that you would accept my invitation to connect. I just try to take a friendly approach to invitations rather than sending out the canned standard request to connect.

              One of my blogging buddies, Adam Connell from, will soon be publishing an article where he’s compiling recommendations for social media tools. I’ll try to remember to either post it here or send you a link on LinkedIn. I may even include it in my next #FridayFinds post (which Feel free to start a new discussion in the Bloggers Helping Bloggers group asking what tools everyone is using to manage their social networks. We encourage discussion there (which is the main reason that we start a weekly discussion for sharing posts rather than having them clutter the main discussion area).

              Take care and I hope you have a great weekend!

              1. Hi Sheryl; thanks for inviting me to connect and to be a part of the group. I would appreciate it if you would send me the link to his post when it comes out. several of the people i follow use buffer so i was hoping it would be the answer. I am not happy with some of the changes on linked in. Especially the groups area is getting trickier to navigate with my screen reader. You may have seen my comment where i mentioned that the only way i can reliably click on a link to someone’s post in a linked in group is to catch it in the email notification. But this means i have to post a comment in order to get the email alerts. Its a good thing I have friends who will look out for me and let me know if something is happening on my social media sites i need to know about. i love night owl for twitter and wish i could find an accessible ap that would give me equally good and easy access to the other networks. There does seam to be a wide variety of subjects and people represented in the bloggers helping bloggers group. You have a great weekend too. thanks, max
                Maxwell ivey recently posted..Just trying to help my friend MarkMy Profile

  17. Diana, good point! True that some killer writers out there are not getting the eyeballs or comments they deserve, perhaps an SEO/engagement post will be next!

    thanks for the compliment too! I agree with your point, being “real” in the words of many SEO analysts is quite important!
    Kevin Anderson recently posted..Transparency: Lessons to Learn From AppleMy Profile

  18. Nice post, Cherryl – all god tips, thanks Kevin! 😀

    One remark though – high bounce rate does not necessarily mean you have poor content. Poor reader engagement yes. But if you content is brilliant but your website is not optimized for the reader to continue reading and browsing, your loyal readers may just come to the blog, read your post and leave. Then your bounce rate would be VERY high – although your content is good and you loyal readers – happy 😉

    Just a thought…
    Diana recently posted..5 Things a Freelancer Should Never Say to a ClientMy Profile

    1. Hi Diana,
      You raise a good point about the possibility that a high bounce rate could be due to lack of optimization. One thing that bloggers don’t always embrace is the value of internal linking. It’s an effective way of keeping someone on your site a little longer. (I always open those internal links in new tabs/windows. That way, the reader is apt to go back to the original article.)

      Another factor that contributes to a high bounce rate is that the content met the need. For example, the bounce rate on some of my “how-to” articles are higher than other posts because the reader found their answer and has gone off to complete the task at hand. (If they’re satisfied, they’ll probably be back.) 🙂

      Thanks for dropping by. I’ll be over to your site soon!
      Sherryl Perry recently posted..The Ultimate Guide to Generating Backlinks – Part 2My Profile

  19. Thanks for this perspective Kevin, I couldn’t agree with you more. This thought process opens the door to many more topics and subjects to write about. I have been trying to work out how to promote my business, but how to let people know my own personal thought processes such and ideas that I am personally thinking or am involved in and this post says how to go about this.

  20. You are so right Kevin.
    The challenge for many businesses is that they are the business and therefore the brand. Often the challenge for small business is they get tied to their product and selling it becomes impossible. Creating the right persona for a business is a real challenge.

    1. Roberta,

      Thanks for letting us know that you agree with Kevin. I’ve worked with small business owners before who have been reluctant to reveal themselves as being behind their brand. I remember one woman in particular who was adamant about using the business logo as her profile pic and not revealing her name. The problem that I saw was that there really was not a brand there yet and she was trying to use social media to engage potential donors. (This was a small non-profit organization that was starting up.) She finally came around and decided to reveal herself. Bottom-line, people like to do business with people who they trust. As you say, creating the right persona can be a real challenge
      Sherryl Perry recently posted..Friday Finds: Google Hummingbird, Social Media Strategies, Facebook ContestsMy Profile

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