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In this age of instant media coverage, once a news topic breaks, it spreads to every social media platform on the Internet. The same holds true for your business reputation. When good news breaks over social media sites and forums, it can mean potential new sales rolling into your business. Yet negative press can drastically impact sales, causing customers to steer clear of your business as no type of promotion or marketing technique can hope to bring them back. Supercharged by social media platforms, nothing travels as fast as the speed of a customer complaint in 2015.

Online reputation management is a part of daily operations

Running daily operations usually means providing services to customers, selling products, invoicing clients, managing workers and overseeing inventory. Yet it should also involve handling your online reputation. Never let negative comments go unaddressed, and always take advantage of positive comments to further your brand reputation. Here are 4 tips to handle your online brand that will empower you to handle reputation issues from both online and offline customers.

  1. Receive alerts when someone mentions your business. You simply won’t have the time every day to scour the Internet looking for comments about your company. But you can use online tools to receive alerts when someone mentions your business as you will receive an email notification. Then you can take the appropriate response. Check out Google Alerts and monitor what’s being said about your brand.
  2. Respond quickly to both positive and negative comments. A quick response shows that you are concerned about your company and want to strive to offer the best services. Even if you need more time to work out the issue, by thanking the person about their concerns and then telling them you will look into the matter further will show you are taking the initiative and their comments to heart. It’s a real tragedy when a business works really hard to build its reputation and by ignoring just one customer complaint can cause untold damage. Don’t ignore customer complaints.
  3. Control your search engine results. It can be difficult to wipe out negativity, especially for people who are out there throwing out false information just to be a social media troll. Yet keep in mind that you don’t want the negative feedback as the only thing found on the first page of your search engine results page (SERP). The interesting thing about the internet is that most people only pay attention to the first two pages. So continuing to post positive information about your company while providing relevant and shareable content will allow you to push the negativity off the first results page.
  4. Be active in social media: Claiming your business name on all social media sites and posting relevant updates can build your reputation and the website traffic. In addition, people can ask questions about your company as they can learn more about your causes, motives and industry news. You will be able to build your presence across all networks and encourage your loyal customers to leave positive reviews.

Online reputation management takes time, and can leave you frustrated when you find negative opinions about your business. Yet by remaining polite and professional at all times, you can take the right actions to build a positive image that will have customers seek out your business for products and services. Online reputation management can have a significant impact on your revenue when you take charge of it.

The above 4 tips to handle your online brand should be considered to be bread and butter activities – these are the times we live in and all businesses have to realign their thinking to take on board these must-do activities.

Marc O'Dwyer

After completing a Graduate program in Marketing, Marc’s impressive sales career began at Allied Irish Banks, Pitney Bowes and Panasonic where he received numerous Irish and European sales performance awards and consistently exceeded targets and expectations. In 1992, Marc’s entrepreneurial spirit led him to set up his own business, Irish International Sales (IIS). Initially, this company was a reseller for Take 5 Accounts and Payroll software. Within four years, IIS became the largest reseller of Take 5 in Ireland, acquiring four other Take 5 resellers. He also found time to set up two mobile phone shops under the Cellular World brand and a web design company offering website design services for small businesses. In 2001, he bought the majority share in a small Irish software business, Big Red Book. At that time, the company was losing money. The company became profitable within two months, and Marc then acquired a payroll company to compliment Big Red Books Accounting products. In 2003, IIS were appointed as Channel Partners with SAP for their new SME product, SAP Business One. Marc sold his Take 5 business and concentrated on developing this new market for SAP As a result, by 2007, IIS was recognised as the largest Channel Partner for SAP in EMEA (Europe Middle East and Africa). In 2008, the IIS Sales Manager bought the Company from Marc in an MBO. He launched Big red cloud in June 2012, the online version of big red book, to date the company successfully converts 59% of trials into sales and the number of customers is growing rapidly. Marc continues to run both Big Red Book and Big Red Cloud which now support 75,000 businesses. He is a very keen sportsman, having played rugby for 20 years, represented Leinster at under 16 and under 20 levels, and league squash with Fitzwilliam Lawn Tennis Club for 10 years. Marc has competed in 11 Marathons, including the London and Boston Marathons, and has completed several Triathlons and Half Ironman races. He has also completed six Ironman Races in Austria(x2), Frankfurt (Germany), Nice (France) , Mallorca (Spain) and Copenhagen (Denmark)

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