In business, as in life, your company’s reputation, online and off, is of the upmost importance. Managing your business’ online reputation can seem like a daunting task, but with proper planning and tracking you can effectively protect your online reputation; Alyssa has gathered some excellent resources on the US Bank blog to help you track and manage your online reputation.

With consumers relying more and more on online research and social media reviews before making a purchase, online reputation management is a must. Gone are the days when businesses could handle any disgruntled customers behind the scenes, today’s business owner must deal with public comments and issues publically to show that they respect and value their customers.

The importance of online reputation management is at the forefront of everyone’s minds these days, so Outspoken Media put together a comprehensive online reputation management guide that breaks down everything from why you need to be monitoring your online presence to providing real tips and printable sheets any business owner can use to manage their own online reputation.

Small business owners are busy people, many of whom have busy home lives to balance with their businesses, so the best choice for them may be to purchase online reputation management services that will track all of your social mentions in one place. Inc. recently took a look at a couple of reputation management services to give their readers a clearer view as to whether using a paid service to monitor your reputation is worth it.

In 2011, Google launched their own tool to help business owners monitor their web presence via their Google dashboard. With this tool, Google users can search for their businesses, set up alerts for when the business name appears on the web, and even remove some unwanted content. This is a great tool for the small business owner who is managing everything on their own.

As Read Write Web points out, online reputation management is less about erasing all of the negative content about your business, but rather putting a spotlight on the positive in a way that overshadows the bad. Small business owners must learn to address issues, both positive and negative, in a timely fashion and in the public forum in which they were posted. This provides them with the opportunity to turn a negative situation around and gain a more positive final outcome.

Being a business owner in the 21st Century means constantly learning as you go, being vigilant in your reputation management, and highlighting the positive aspects of your business. By setting up and following a reputation management plan, you ensure your small business will not be caught unprepared in times of crisis and that the positive reputation will still prevail.

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