Posted on September 16, 2009
Filed Under (General Business, Social Media) by jennifer

If you or someone you know owns or manages a small or mid-sized (or even larger) business, my latest article — — titled “How to Manage Your Business’s Online Reputation” (published on is MUST reading.

The article features tips and advice from several social media-savvy small business owners, as well as great advice from a social media guru who works with small businesses.

Highlights include:

* tips on how much time you should be spending on Twitter, Facebook and social media in general

* who should be monitoring your business’s online reputation

* why it’s important to know what customers are saying about you

* how, when and where to respond when someone says something positive or negative about your business

* how monitoring your business’s online reputation can translate into sales

PLUS there are my

Top Ten Tips for Creating a Positive Impression with Social Media

  • Get to know your customers. Find out which sites your customers frequent and join the conversation. And don’t limit yourself to Facebook and Twitter. If you are in the retail business, look at sites like Yelp. Similarly, if you are in the hospitality business, monitor and respond to comments on TripAdvisor.
  • Sign up for Google Alerts. By subscribing to searches for our company name, we receive daily e-mails with links to pages containing our name, said Fernandez. We’ve been surprised with how rapidly we are informed about a mention of our company name – often within hours of the posting.
  • Watch and learn. I sat and watched Twitter for a couple of weeks before I ever started interacting, explained Seaman. Once I was comfortable there, I found a way to start automatically sending updates from the blog as well as my own conversations. The same with Facebook.
  • Listen. Know what people are saying about you, your competitors, and your industry, said McFeeley.
  • Establish yourself as an expert. Every Thursday Ruby Jane’s Thomas tweets about the show Project Runway, where designers are given 24 hours to create an amazing outfit. Every Friday I post my review of the show on my blog. Project Runway is always a trending topic on Twitter on Thursday nights, which means my tweets often turn up on Twitter’s home page. Similarly, Project Runway is always a top search term on Friday mornings, which means that my blog post will turn up in search results. This season two of the contestants are from my area, which means I can also submit press releases to local media about my ongoing coverage of the two local contestants.
  • Be disciplined about posting. Social media can be quite addictive, noted McFeeley. You need to be disciplined about your time on sites and the content you post. Most experts agree that you should post only once or twice a day and keep posts brief and to the point, including links if relevant.
  • Give. If you have a helpful hint, share it. If you see something interesting [such as an article], pass it on, advised McFeeley. Thomas, for example, is currently Facebooking, tweeting, and blogging about Halloween costume and decorating ideas.
  • Don’t always make it about you. Don’t use your social networking strictly for promotion, advised Thomas. Use it to inform and educate. Of course I tell my Facebook fans about sales or new products, but I also link to free patterns, tutorials, craft industry news, start discussions and hold contests. Added Fernandez, If all your posts are pushing your product, you run the risk of being seen as a Facebook/Twitter ‘spammer,’ and you will be ignored.
  • Say thank you. Send an e-mail or post a response when someone says something nice about you. If a customer leaves an especially nice comment or testimonial, send a card, via snail mail, said McFeeley. Appreciation marketing is a growing trend. Be an early adopter.
  • Know who is minding the store. If you have employees posting to Facebook and/or Twitter, make sure you have written policies about who is authorized to do what and if certain things are prohibited.

For more great tips and advice, read the article, “How to Manage Your Business’s Online Reputation.”

Wishing you continued success…

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