Small business owners have long been concerned with the way their companies are portrayed on the Internet--but recently, more and more of them have been choosing to do something about it, taking their online image into their own hands through reputation management. In many cases, small businesses choose small-scale, DIY reputation management campaigns, using various tools and resources available on the Web.
This trend is highlighted in a new report on Yahoo's small business division. Yahoo currently boasts more than 10 million small businesses among its clients, using products such as Yahoo Finance and Yahoo mail. Due to increased demand, Yahoo has just unveiled new online marketing and reputation repair software, aimed squarely at small businesses. The technology promises to be popular among those who go the DIY route, while other small businesses still prefer the professional approach of an agency like Reputation Changer.
The reputation defense tools introduced by Yahoo come as part of its new, integrated small business dashboard. The dashboard includes a variety of tools, among them online reputation monitoring software that pulls from 8,000 different sources--including major social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter--to let small business owners see how their brand is being portrayed on the Web.
Mark Reffert, the Senior Strategist for Reputation Changer, says the new Yahoo tools should prove handy for many small business owners.
"The first step of any reputation management campaign is a careful assessment of what's already out there, and this Yahoo software seems like it will allow business owners to do exactly that," he says. "Of course, the evaluation we do at a firm like Reputation Changer is much more thorough and far-reaching, but for smaller-scale campaigns, the Yahoo tools can make for a good start."
While Yahoo's software will allow business owners to gain a better understanding of their current online reputation, Reffert says they are on their own when it comes to altering that online reputation--unless, of course, they choose to hire Reputation Changer.
"Monitoring your Google listings, as well as your mentions on Facebook and Twitter, is an important first move," the Reputation Changer strategist says. "However, small business owners need to move on from there, either combating attacks against them or else defending themselves against any possible, future attacks."
This is where many companies realize the need to move past DIY tactics and enlist the help of a professional, though Reffert says there are some simple steps that small business owners can take on their own. "Buying up exact-match domains, and starting accounts on all major social networks, can go a long way toward warding off possible attacks," he notes. "Meanwhile, creating tons of compelling content on those domains and social networks will erect a wall of positive publicity, keeping negative search listings out of the picture."
Many small business owners lack the time to create such high volumes of positive, brand-enhancing content, which is why many of them turn to professional reputation management companies, like Reputation Changer. "Reputation Changer offers high-level benefits that a DIY reputation defense campaign simply cannot offer," Reffert claims. "From our thorough reputation analysis to our custom action plans, as well as our arsenal of resources, we can provide clients with results they could never achieve on their own."
Some of those resources include access to national press syndicates and newswires, which Reffert says are essential for suppressing bad publicity. Companies like Reputation Changer also keep up-to-date with the latest and greatest SEO techniques, meaning they can provide maximum impact for clients seeking to remove unwanted listings from the first page of Google, Yahoo, and Bing.
Reffert says these are ultimately services no small business owner should ignore. "Whether you're hiring Reputation Changer or trying to do it yourself, with the tools offered by Yahoo, online reputation management is invaluable to a small business," he concludes. "Your online reputation is what will make or break your company, and a good reputation management campaign can establish you as the desired brand among consumers--ultimately helping you boost sales in a big way."
Founded in 2009 by a team of online marketing and sales professionals, Reputation Changer is one of the premier providers of online reputation management. The company works 24/7 to provide comprehensive reputation management strategies to its clients, which have included politicians, public figures, Fortune 500 companies, and more. Reputation Changer owns several media outlets, and is known for its innovation in positive SEO techniques, social media implementation, and other strategies. The company is also unique for the custom, individualized process it takes for every client and every campaign.
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