If you didn’t already know, a business’s online reputation is something that should be taken very seriously. It’s here where people go to get information on your company before they ever pick up a phone to call, or actually stop in to see what you have to say. How you are portrayed on the Internet is huge to your customers and if, for some reason, you’re not being portrayed in a positive way, it’s your responsibility to take action and do something about it. There are a couple of ways to not only ensure that you’ll be talked about in a positive manner, but also fix any negative remarks that people have made about you or your company in the past. The process takes time and effort, but your company’s reputation is worth it, so get ready for a fight; it’s about to get started.

Business Quality Survey as a keyboard

Become Aware

Step One would be to sign up for alert systems like Google Alert, Yahoo! Alert, Social Mention, Trackle, or LinkedIn Signal. All of these sites (plus many more) have been created in order to discover and track what people are saying about you through all mediums available. Sign up and enter a variety of keywords that you’d like the systems to track. Remember to include not only your company’s name, but also the industry you’re in and names of some of the important people who work there. It’s a good idea to include common misspellings of all of the above too to ensure that you’re receiving all possible results. Most of these sites have a daily evaluation that can be sent to your email with results. Remember to keep track of these and to check your sites at least once a week. It’s not enough to just know it’s happening; you also have to take action.

Reach Out

If you don’t like what someone is saying or has said about you, tell them! Reaching out to the person who wrote the information about you and telling them that you think it’s hurtful, unjust, or untrue can be the simple resolution to all of your problems. Try to work things out with the person; perhaps apologize and try to fix whatever it is they think you did wrong. Chances are they will appreciate you reaching out to them and you two may be able to work out a deal.

Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. Sometimes you’re not able to reach the person who wrote this content about you, or worse, they’re not willing to take it down. Don’t worry, you do have another option. You can contact the web site and calmly and tactfully ask for them to take down the information. Explain your situation to them and enlighten them on why you think it should be removed. The website may have the jurisdiction to remove the content, and if you plead your case well enough this could work; however, sometimes they might not be able to remove this content or are just unwilling to do so. While this is upsetting, don’t dwell on it; you’re not going to be able to convince them.

Create New

If Step Two fails, it’s time to move on to Step Three: Creating new, positive information about yourself that will drown out the negative. Create a company blog where you showcase positive aspects of what the company has done or is doing. Create company Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest pages to gain the customers attention in a new way. Give them new and intriguing information to read and learn from, or perhaps create YouTube tutorials on your newer products/ services. Showcase any press releases that your company has issued lately, and make sure to remind people of any awards or achievements you’ve earned. By creating all of this new content you’re able to bury the old, hurtful information with the new, exciting stuff. It’s also important to remember that even if people do find the old information, chances are they probably will have already read all the new and exciting facts about you, so the bad news will seem like a small blurb amongst a sea of greatness.

After you remove (or at least attempt to) the harmful information and then start to create new and positive information about yourself, your reputation should start growing tremendously in an affirmative way. Remember to keep a steady eye, though, and keep monitoring on a weekly basis; you never know when someone could strike again.

[Related Article: 7 Reasons to Update Your Website]