Are you afraid of what people will say about you online? Some businesses are so scared they don’t do any online marketing… however there is a major flaw in that strategy and thinking!

Potential customers and clients are online and will comment regardless of what your business does or does NOT do!

But, luckily creating and managing an online business reputation is easier than many believe. By being proactive and taking specific steps, you can successfully manage your business image online. In the process, you can develop a steady business brand and reputation that crosses over both offline and online arenas.

Creating your company’s message and taking it to the world on the internet is just a very valuable and effective marketing tool in your overall business “marketing toolkit”. In this day and age, many believe this is one of the top strategies you can implement for your business.90% Impact

Check out this 5 step game plan to start increasing your online reputation:

Game Plan Element #1: Determine Your Current reputation status

Begin with a totally honest evaluation of your current online image and reputation. Do Google searches (and other search engines, like Yahoo, etc) for your full name, company name, brand and/or other key phrases. You’ll need to look at the first couple pages of results on Google and other search engines. Use a excel spreadsheet or Google doc to record your findings – list the urls, position on the page and the comments you find on each of the web pages. You can also use a tool of ours to help collect information from some of the traditional review sites.

Game Plan Element #2: ID Changes That Are Needed

Review each result on your findings spreadsheet, then determine the comments or results you want changed. You’ll definitely want to put any negative feedback on the top of your priority list. A great strategy is to either have the negative stuff deleted or pushed down further in the results. For good feedback, you’ll want to promote so flagged those comments and to remind you that you want to push them up in your overall ratings.

Game Plan Element #3: Determine Your Best Strategies and Online Assets

While reviewing your list, ask yourself where your business showing up the most. Is Facebook, or maybe Twitter providing your best ranking urls? It could be your business is showing up most on a blog (personal or business) or on videos in YouTube. These areas will provide a good road map of places where you should be publishing more content about you and your business, to have the greatest opportunity to positively influence image and reputation. Another important thing to determine is where your target audience of current, and potential new, clients or customer is hanging out on the internet. The goal is to be found and seen online where it is most likely to help you develop the positive reputation that will help your business be seen as a top market leader.

Game Plan Element #4: Create a Reputation Game Plan

Now that you have a handle on what your current situation is, regarding your business reputation, it’s time to create a game plan for tackling the reputation you desire. The plan needs to be laser targeted on both what your content needs to say and look like, as well as where it needs to appear to give you and your company the biggest impact. Specific strategies could include posts for your blog, Twitter or Facebook, article and press releases, videos and interviews (audio and video). These are the fundamentals, the blocking and tackling, of your business reputation building game plan. Determine how you will leverage your content, and create a publishing strategy to get it done.

Game Plan Element #5: Implement Your Plan

The fifth and final last step in elevating your online reputation is, as Nike says, “just do it”. Implement your strategy and begin producing your content and pushing it to search engines and elsewhere. A few things to remember when creating your content is be sure get credit for it! Include your name, brand or business name as the creator for each piece of content. As your create posts, videos and more, don’t forget to continue your online monitoring. It’s the way you “keep score” and make any adjustments to your game plan that may be needed and so you can react fast to any negative comments.

Once again, take inventory, create a game plan, implement your plan and don’t forget to keep measuring your progress. It won’t be long before your strategies will help you grab control of your online reputation and proactively manage your business image. Stay consistent in your posts and content and you’ll win a great reputation for you and your business.

Get our FREE eBook with more tips on improving your business reputation by requesting it HERE.

Clark Schafer is Chief Marketing Strategist with Strategic QB, helping business win at the marketing game.