7) If someone mentions something positive about you on a site such as Yelp, reward him or her with a coupon, freebie or a simple thank you. "People will remember and they'll become brand evangelists," according to Clayburn Griffin, senior SEO content strategist, 360i.
8) Brandon Seymour, owner, Beymour Consulting, suggests getting as many positive online reviews as possible. "Not only do consumers usually trust online reviews, but Google usually gives higher search result placement to listings with a higher number of positive reviews."
9) If your customers are active on Twitter, "make sure you have someone on your team [who is] dedicated to responding to them," says Young of EntirelyPets. "Customers on Twitter generally expect a quick response to their requests."
10) Optimize brand video with your company name on YouTube, which is widely considered to be the second largest search engine. "In some cases, Google ranks YouTube videos higher than actual websites," according to Brandamos's Brietstein.
"Google Images also display for some search results," Brietstein says. "In some of our clients' cases, there are negative images, such as mug shots, that rank for their names." Posting video and image content related to your business or personal name can help push the negative content further down in search results.
11) Be cautious about your personal activities, both past and present. "More reputations have been compromised by nonbusiness activities than actions taken on the job," says Karen Kessler, founding partner, Evergreen Partners."It's the doctor's social calendar that gets her in trouble, not her dermatology practice. The CEO's out-of-control behavior as a Little League parent caught on someone's cellphone video is what goes viral, not a decision to downsize the company."
Even if you're a Boy Scout now, Kessler says, "you have to worry about what you've done in the past." Be on the lookout for "old friends who, in a fit of nostalgia, post photos or reminiscences of wild escapes of their youth -- the usual sex, drugs and rock-and-roll stuff -- and who drag you into it, linking your name to the good times on their social media site."
12) Andrew Herrault, lead strategist, Connective Insights, says quality content is key. "The more awesome blog content you publish and promote, the more authority your brand name will carry. It will also serve to help push down in search results any negative reviews you may have accumulated."
13) Connect with the media. "Developing relationships with journalists locally and in your field should be part of your overall marketing and reputation management plan," says Anthony Kirlew, co-founder, Imagine WOW! "You should also use trusted resources such as Help a Reporter Out, which can help you get positive media exposure."
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