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What Your Community Can Do for Your Online Reputation

Jenn Kovacs - Monday, August 27, 2012

Presenting to a group of non-profits in Miami last week I realized how people were more aware of the personable relationship with their community, but not their online relationship.  If you are one of those business owners involved in multiple Chambers, networking groups, partnership arrangements and such, this needs to be a factor in your online reputation.  Just like in the real world you want people to know you are involved, well the same goes for the web world.

If you are affiliated with a community group you want to ensure that information is online and searchable.  As a best practice you should Google your business name or professional name to see what relationships have been established online.  So for example, with your local Chamber(s) you want to make sure your business is listed in the directory. If you are registered with any of the big directories like Manta for businesses, Yelp for restaurants, Wikipedia for notoriety etc.  To achieve top rankings on the search engines part of the equation is creating a bigger online footprint. 

Registering your business with reputable organizations and directories creates a sense of credibility beyond the simple search.  If a potential customer finds your information on a reliable source the more likely they will be to contact you. It’s another form of word of mouth.  Research and discover ways to build your reputation on the web.  Your online profile is like a dating profile; your business needs be attractive and engaging to the prospective date.

The other day I sat with an associate in my Wednesday networking group to have a long overdue one on one.  She showed me a list of her online credentials including groups she is involved, boards she sits on and awards she has won.  Knowing this business owner for years, I already knew about her personable reputation but I had no idea of her real commitment to community and customer service.  The proof was in the pudding, and the pudding was proudly displayed all over the internet.  The business name showed up on at least a dozen different sites from business groups, non-profit sites and of course Social Media sites.  Imagine I didn't know this woman and was looking for her services online; who I would be more likely to give my business to, her or her untraceable competitor?  She had been written up in papers and congratulated numerous times for her achievements on important website (resources).  This type of publicity sells itself.

As mentioned earlier, I was hosting a seminar for arts groups regarding their participation in a new online directory being launched and there seemed to be a lot of questions.  The only question should really be, why wouldn’t you register?  Get your business on as many community and professional sites that are relevant to your success as possible.  Make sure to display that information on your own website as well.  Create a community page or Blog about your involvement. 

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