There’s helpful article out today from the NY Times directed at SMBs about how to manage their online reputations. Nothing new to people who work in this industry but useful for SMBs who may not know much about these things. The piece mixes anecdotal information from businesses with data and practical advice:
- Do a vanity search of your business name and see what comes up. Are you easy to find? What is the first impression? Do you have a Web page and blog, and are they kept up do date? Is your business reviewed in online forums or blogs?
- Try to see your business through the eyes of a customer . . .
- Study local search sites like Yelp, Citysearch and Yahoo! Local . . .
- Build systems to stay on top of this online buzz. A Google alert can automatically inform you when your business is mentioned in a review, blog or online publication. Some review sites have features that automatically send e-mail alerts to business owners when a review is posted.
- Twitter is becoming an increasingly popular microblogging platform for businesses and customers and you can keep track of what is being said about your company with tools like search.twitter.com, TweetDeck, or Twendz.
- Claim your listing on the local search sites.
- Responding to reviews is a delicate act of customer relations. A snarky review may make your blood boil — if so, step away from the keyboard and calm down until you can respond graciously.