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When it comes to sound, business-conducive reputation management, many businesses remain passive and oftentimes clueless.

In the current business environment where the majority of lead generation happens in the digital realm, passiveness in monitoring and managing your online business reputation may prove highly damaging, if not fatal, to the survival and growth of your small- or medium-sized business.

(Check out: “What NOT To Do When Monitoring and Responding to Online Reviews”)

To best understand how you can improve online reputation, you must first explore the business practices that may be hindering your ability to thrive on popular review sites that are well-known to generate buzz, traffic, and leads for your business segment.

Here are the 5 signs that you are sabotaging your online business reputation. These behaviors and business practices are widely recognized as deterrents for business growth.

The Hands-Off Reputation Manager

Doing nothing is not an option. Great companies thrive in the digital era by implementing best practices in the way they participate and relate to popular review sites.

From taking ownership of your profile to becoming an active community member and responding to reviews, every little bit of engagement counts in your favor. A negative review can easily be converted into a display of high customer service and commitment to resolution when you decide to be hands-on and take ownership of your digital brand footprint.

The Pick-and-Choose Reputation Manager

Every customer that has taken the time to give feedback about your business deserves the courtesy of a response or acknowledgment. Many novices in reputation management make the great mistake of only responding to negative reviews and barely acknowledging positive reviews, or vice versa. Both extremes are highly detrimental for business. Smart reputation managers engage with positive reviews as an opportunity to further their brand and improve their SEO performance, and they reply to negative reviews to make amends and demonstrate to potential customers the level of professionalism of their organization and commitment to make things right.

The Defensive Reputation Manager

This is a horrible move and one that we see way too often. Many business owners take reviews personally and at a highly emotional level, failing to see things from the customer’s perspective. This often results in review responses that are dismissive, defensive, and not customer-centric.

No business is perfect, and acknowledging shortcomings as well as learning from feedback demonstrates a commitment to building a strong reputation rooted in excellence and focused on shaping your product and service against the needs of your customers.

The Isolated Reputation Manager

Looking only at your reviews without understanding the trends for your segment and the performance of the competition makes for a very frail online reputation. To maximize business opportunities and deliver product and service excellence that will convert into superior reviews, you need to know where you stand against others holding wallet share for your niche.

Make it a point to track performance metrics that consider the behaviors of the competition. That will set the stage for your business to take the lead and will help you understand best practices and promotions conducive to capturing a larger market share.

The Partial-Picture Reputation Manager

The number of environments where customers can voice their opinion online just keeps growing. Focusing exclusively on one or two popular review sites such as Yelp or Foursquare is not a healthy, long-term business practice.

Implement functional tools aimed at providing you a complete and easy-to-analyze picture of your online reputation. Have a scorecard that is frequently updated and systems in place that alert you of the most recent mentions and reviews. It is essential to getting a full picture and tackling your business processes of taking into account the totality of opinion available to you.


Kevin Kent

Kevin is the Director of Finance and Operations at ReviewTrackers. Every day he finds creative ways to solve business owners' problems and identifies key issues to help them achieve top results.


  1. Heinrich Sture

    It looks like I am a defensive reputation manager. I will try to change that as it is leading me to nothing so far. I will work on becoming a lot better as I have realized that reputation management is a mighty tool and can benefit my business a lot.

  2. Farzad H.

    Such a great reminder that a negative review can be turned into an opportunity to advertise your commitment to customer satisfaction and conflict resolution.
    Negative feedback is inevitable, but what we do with it is the key to success or failure.