The Small Business’ Guide to Online Reputation Management

At the same time, there are some reputation management companies who’ll use black hat tactics[19] such as posting fake positive reviews, a technique known as astroturfing[20]. While these can bring about positive results in the short term, they’ll do more harm than good in the long run[21].

There’s no right or wrong decision. If you have the time and cash to invest into a reputation management company, it’s worth a shot—but always do your research on the firm, first.

The 6-step guide to manage your online reputation

While hiring a reputation management company might not be right for you, this doesn’t mean you’ll have to let your online reputation fend for itself.

Here are five things you can start doing straight away to give everyone the best possible impression of your brand.

1. Stop guessing, start monitoring

You can’t build, maintain, or improve your online reputation unless you know what shape it’s currently in. That’s why you’ll need to start by monitoring your online presence—to understand:

  • How people currently perceive your brand
  • Where your strengths and weaknesses lie
  • Where the conversation around your brand is happening, so you can join in

The best way to go about this is to use a monitoring tool such as Mention or Ahrefs. These tools allow you to keep tabs on all your mentions from one place, whether they happen on social media, on a review site, in the press, or elsewhere.

Click on the Alerts tab, select Mentions, and add a new alert:

Then, add your name (or your brand name) as a search query, and choose how often you’d like to be notified if there’s a mention:

Ahrefs and Mention are both paid products. But if you’re not ready to invest money in a monitoring tool just yet, The Brand Grader[22] (powered by Mention) can give you a good overview of your brand for free.

Key in your brand name and email address and the tool will generate a report for you. You’ll be able to see:

  • The three most influential journalists and bloggers mentioning your brand
  • The top sources where your brand was mentioned
  • The percentage of positive vs. negative brand mentions
  • Which locations your brand mentions are happening in
  • How many mentions you received over the last few weeks

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