This post was originally published on 11/29/10 but revised and expanded today.
Many times, I am requested to quote on website projects for businesses that have long been established but have never had a website. I always start by Googling the business name and most of the time, find many results about the business. Do you find this unusual considering these businesses do not have their own website yet? No Facebook page, no LinkedIn profile – nothing that they themselves have published. I am never surprised by these results considering the digital age we are living in and the lack of understanding about reputation management.
With social media and smart phone usage exploding, everyone and( anyone has the ability to create listings and enter comments – positive and negative about any business they chose. The infographic below by Craig Smith shows that on Facebook alone, there are 1.11 billion users as of 5/1/13! (Don’t forget to see instructions on how to set up a Google Alert which is found after the Infographic below!)
Go and type your business name or personal name into the Google search bar and you may be surprised by what you find. How did your business get listed on sites such as Foursquare.com and Yelp.com? Most of these sites allow anyone to add your business information. Yelp’s information about this is:
We license basic business information from third party data providers who gather this type of information from public records and other sources. We also get business information from our users, who are helpful enough to correct the info we have, or let us know about a new spot that just opened down the street. Please feel free to let us know if our information is out of date!
Even if you feel that your business type does not warrant a full blown website, at least by claiming your local profiles on the major search engines and getting correct, current information out there, you are not leaving people guessing. Other places that you should claim your business listing and put up a current profile would be any site where a customer of yours would either search for you or leave feedback.
All business owners should have a reputation monitoring system in place so they are alerted as soon as new information is published to the Internet about their business. It is easy to monitor any fresh comments by setting up a Google Alert which will monitor keywords and phrases for you and send an email to you when something new is found.