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As an entrepreneur, you are your brand—an intangible marketing concept that shapes people’s perceptions of individual’s, companies’, and products’ reputations. As such, it ranks among your most important assets. Your online presence is an extension of your brand and often can be your customers’ first impression of your reputation. Maintained and protected, your online reputation can attract new business, strengthen existing customer loyalty, and lift your ROI (return on investment). Left unguarded and open to online attack, though, it can break your business.

Why Protect Your Online Reputation?

Whenever you post for business purposes, you are putting your brand and online reputation on the line. If you want the market to see you as honest, transparent, and professional, make sure your post reflects that. Write in your brand voice; if your brand is active and adventurous, keep it light and full of action. If it’s cooperative and collaborative, make sure you credit others for helping you succeed. The way you “sound” when people read your post reinforces their perception of your brand.

It’s a fact of business life that potential customers read Google, Yelp, social media, and other online reviews before deciding to buy. What you’ve written and what others have posted about you feeds into that decision-making process. Therefore, a positive online reputation is critical for business success.

What are Legal Issues in Online Reputation Management?

Criminals stalk the internet looking for identities and intellectual property to steal and websites to hack. Consider the benefits of archiving your information. Archives can be used to verify the validity of patents and copyright claims, help build new websites to replace hacked ones, and trace the history of your company. A website archive is preserved for future reference and is a snapshot of the past, captured in PDF or MP3 formats. These archives can help protect your online reputation from any legal matters, such as identity theft or false claims against the organization.

What are Ways to Monitor Online Reputation?

Watch what others are saying about your business on review platforms and your website if you have a comments page. Some of their comments can give your online reputation a boost. Others can do serious damage to your brand. With continuous monitoring of customer feedback and online reviews, you can see what strategies are working and which ones are not.

Some elements of continuous monitoring can include:

  • Respond to positive and negative feedback alike. Don’t try to suppress complaints or defend yourself against them. Instead, own them and reply to the dissatisfied. customer with an invitation to make things right. Online reviews are conversations that others listen to, and transparency builds trust.
  • Keep up-to-date on current market trends.
  • Promote your positive feedback for more online exposure.
  • Make adjustments or changes to products or services to better suit the customer’s needs based on feedback.

Protecting your online reputation and continuously monitoring it is a business mandatory. A proactive approach will help keep the business looking and operating professionally.

Think of protecting it as a marketing strategy that will provide more customers and increase sales when functioning well. It is a critical part of online business, and companies should not take it lightly.