The New York Times features a great article on reputation management for small businesses. To summarize, the key points made in the article are:
- Start by monitoring your reputation
- Use local search sites to manage your reputation
- When addressing negative feedback, don’t get emotional or take it personally; respond only after you’ve had a chance to cool off and reflect on it a bit then send a professional, courteous response to your critic
- Promote yourself through local search sites
Online reputation management is an ongoing activity, not a one-time reaction to negative feedback. The place where most people make the biggest mistake is in responding to negative critics. If you are professional and courteous you’ll find that many critics will soften their critique of you. You could win them over. Site like Citysearch, Yelp, and Superpages are great for local small businesses that want to be proactive in managing their reputations.