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Online Reputation Management Guide for Freelance and Small Business Owners

By jiathong on March 10, 2020

A Guide to Online Reputation Management for Freelance and Small Business Owners

As a business owner or marketer, you already recognize the value of your reputation and probably work to manage it. Also, you have most likely been around long enough to witness the growth of online commerce and website profiles highlighting the world’s companies.

Now more than ever professionals and consumers rely on the internet. This means that as the world economy quickly digitizes its operations, online reputation management is more crucial to success than ever before.

Staying conscious of your online reputation should be no different from staying conscious of your real life reputation. They are, professionally speaking, one and the same and the benefits to giving just a little attention are worth the net gains you will see without costing them.

While online reputation management is more crucial than ever, it is also easier than ever. Anyone can have success and save time with a bit of education and a little help from industry friends.

We’re going to be one of those friends and in this article, we’ll breakdown the process and provide great resources for building and maintaining your brand reputation.

We hope to help people like you – small business owners and freelancers – recognize the untapped value and utilize the effective marketing tools needed to stand strong in an online universe often dominated by giant companies who have staff dedicated solely to reputation management.

First, what is included under the large umbrella of online reputation management? What aspects of online presence are vital for a successful and respected business?

Vital tips for online reputation management

I. Diversified digital marketing is key!

There are a ton of different ways to market online, but behold this one fundamental:

Frame your marketing around SEO by looking through the eyes of the people you hope to have as clients. Instead of only your perspective, ask yourself, “What keywords might others use to find my business?”

To do this, you’ll need some help from Google. Open up your Google Search Console account, click on search result under the performance tab.

There you’ll see the list of exact keywords your visitors used to find your business, no more guessing game.

II. The Power of the Press Release

Press releases are content-rich pieces of copy that provide news and updates and can easily be shared and spread far and wide. One great thing about the press release format is that it helps tie important keywords to your company. This increases visibility in search engines.

Backlinko shares an easy-to-read guide on how to write a good press release in 2020. This content from Fabrik is also helpful, we have also created quite some blog posts on the same subject, remember to check them out as well!

A few quick points for press release:

1. Just like any content, you need to have your keywords in there. Do some keyword research and make sure they are included in the headline and the start of the press release.

2. A press release should be straight to the point and no fluff. Press release ≠ sales letter, so facts only, no empty promises.

3. Keep the tone neutral. A press release is an official statement, it needs to read like one.

III. Activate and frequently update your social media

Become an active presence on social media platforms. You can do this by frequently sharing worthwhile content and engaging with followers.

Social media is where you have your two-way dialogues with your clients, potential clients, trolls, haters and more. It is also a great, free platform to build or ruin your brand reputation.

An example,

If you think that’s bad, here’s something worse.

This is what happens when your brand reputation through social media is so bad, someone makes an account on that same platform, just to make you look even worse.

Take control of your own social media presence, and don’t ruin it.

On a brighter side, a great example of social media brand-building win is everyone’s favourite double braided girl, Wendy’s!

Being sassy on their social media account isn’t just an entertaining way to portray their brand, it also translates into cold, hard cash. The fast-food chain grows its revenue more than 4 times in the same quarter when compared to the previous year, when they haven’t started this genius social media strategy.

A classic Wendy’s roast that paved their branding.

IV. Providing quality copy is the single most important part of digital marketing.

Sharing useful copy makes your business an authority on information within your respective niche. Quality and reliable copy brings you consumers that believe in what you offer and will think of you when it is time to spend money.

Good copywriting also strengthens online visibility by empowering SEO. Consumers may even look past weaker parts of your online presence (i.e. design, ease-of-use). Certainly having it all in in order will contribute to your success.

Do you want to know more about implementing strategies to build your reputation? You can find specific brand reputation management strategies in this Walker Sands article, but for ease, we’ve quickly highlighted 7 Ways to Build Brand Reputation from Marketing 91 :

1) Be Proactive – approach marketing with foresight and fast course-correction when plans need tweaking

2) Be Specific – “Under Promise and Over Deliver”! With so many alternative options, your business needs to be on its game with issues like delivery and customer service.

3) Be Authoritative – Don’t be shy when highlighting what makes your business or product better than the rest!

4) Be Consistent – Whether customer service, product quality, or sharing content, being reliable goes a long way.

5) Deliver Promises – If you say you are going to do something, do it!

6) Collect Feedback – Learn from your strengths and your weaknesses. Implementing quality feedback is vital for growth.

7) Indulge in Corporate Social Responsibilities Activities – Give back to society! Participate in worthwhile organizations and causes quarterly, semi-annually, or annually.

Free Marketing Tools to Boost Your Marketing and Reputation Management Efforts

Next, we will share a short marketing tools list that is sure to help your business level up. Effective marketing tools are the foundation of any high-level marketing success. Any job and profession are made better with the right tools.

Simply knowing what marketing tools are out there will give you an advantage. These tools will help you build and maintain an online reputation. They will also save you money in the long run because they’ll provide a way to be more strategic in how you spend your marketing dollars.

An underrated, but vital tool is a good copywriter. It’s either hire someone good or learn to write effective copy yourself! Copywriting is your first line of offense.

With that out of the way, let’s talk about Google. This super company offers three tools you can easily use to help maximize SEO and boost ranking and visibility.

I. Have you ever heard of Google My Business?

Google My Business is the program that helps you drive local customer traffic across Google Search and Maps. It is specifically powerful in helping business owners direct their marketing to ideal audiences and to fine-tune SEO presence.

An example of a local search result that returns the Google Map and local businesses directory.

We suggest Google My Business be apart of the online foundation of any business website. If you haven’t already, check out how it can help you improve your flow. Visit these sources for in-depth strategies and tips on how to optimize Google My Business.

More and more of us turn to Google when deciding on paying a local business a visit, if you’re missing your Google My Business profile, you’re missing out your first line of online presence and we’re not even talking about your online reputation yet. So make sure to claim and set up your Google My Business profile if you’re running a local business.

II. What about Google Analytics?

Google Analytics allows you to run web analytics and measure advertising ROI on your website and social media accounts. It is a very handy report system that calculates multiple considerations. It even allows business owners and marketers to fine-tune equations to reach the right people. This makes it a must have tool for every businesses with an online presence.

III. We can’t forget Google Trends.

Google Trends will give you access to the world of popularity and search queries. If you want to hone in on the perfect search words or industry phrases, this tool will let you. The applications are endless.

Once you have some ideas from Google Trends, you can use the last great SEO tool we will share to really make the best of your online presence.

IV. LSIGraph, your keyword research booster.

LSIGraph is a freemium service that helps you find the perfect keywords for your niche. Their websites boast that you will get the “most profitable, semantically related keywords for all your SEO and paid marketing needs”. We vouch for them.

One great thing I like about LSIGraph is that they acknowledge me being an SEO Champion.

Okay, jokes aside, LSIGraph provides me localized data on my keyword. For our global readers, they also support a bunch of other languages like Japanese, Hindi, Mandarin and more. So that’s handy.

Doing a good job on keyword research and targeting the right audiences is the basic of creating a good online reputation. So having a keyword tool such as the LSIGraph can be a major help.

So why does online reputation management even matter?

Do you remember that terrible, 2.5 minute Pepsi ad starring Kendall Jenner a few years back? Pepsi thought they would show how tolerant and open-minded they were, but their ad projected an entirely different message. It’s so terrible I won’t even show any screenshots here.

They spent a ton of money on a risky ad that was not rich in content and did not have a clear message. Their ad was like a Coca-Cola sponsorship because it didn’t inspire confidence in the Pepsi brand.

Had Pepsi taken proper preliminary measures, they may have prevented such a negative backlash. Reputation management is about cleaning up the past, projecting quality in the present, and carefully planning the future.

It matters if you want to be respected and remain limitless and unshackled in your ability to grow your business.

Here’s the Reputation Management for Dummies recap on what we covered today:

  • Stay Conscious of your Online Reputation by Managing It!Remember: Your online reputation is no longer separate from your personal reputation.
  • Diversified Digital Marketing Is Key!
    1. Press Releases are Gold!
    2. Improve your Social Media Presence
    3. Quality and Reliable Copy is King!
  • 7 Ways to Build Brand Reputation
    Be Proactive, Be Specific, Be Authoritative, Be Consistent, Deliver Promises, Collect Feedback, and Indulge in Corporate Social Responsibilities Activities.
  • Reputation Management should matter if making money matters!
  • A few effective marketing tools:
    1. Good Copywriting
    2. Google Products: Google My Business, Google Analytics, Google Trends
    3. LSIGraph

We hope this article, doused with high-quality resources, will be the fuel that flames your online makeover. May your steady and sincere effort to build and manage your online reputation pays off!

Updated: 8 April 2020

Lo Jia Thong

About Lo Jia Thong

A polyglot plummeted into the deep blue world of SEO and inbound marketing armed with a burning passion on letters and a fascination on how thing rolls in the world wide web.

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