Defending Your Reputation Online

A wise man once said, “Steal my money and I can earn more but let no man steal my good name.”

In today’s world where anyone or anything can be easily “Googled”, hard-earned success can be wiped out overnight if companies fail to actively manage their reputation. After all, online, we “are” what people say we are!   Now take a deep breath, and do a Google search for your company name, your domain name, and your personal name.

What do those results on the first page or two in Google look like?  Hopefully, it’s all good, but there could even be whole sites devoted to the myriad ways in which you “suck“.

A Neilson Report shows that  “People are more likely to leave negative reviews than positive.”  So it’s not uncommon to find negative listings within the first few pages of Google, but it’s very likely that many of your customers are finding them too. And that will to have a dramatic effect on whether or not they decide to do business with you.

If your results aren’t as good as you’d like, then my Small Business MBA might be for you!   Each cohort is a small group of business owners focused on growing their ability to create inexpensive or free leads that convert to business and streamlining their operations to save operating budget, especially now when navigating the “new normal.”

How NOT To Start a Conversation Online

My friend Casey is in Network Marketing. It’s a tough business but he’s the best and excels. Why? One reason, he never talks about sex, religion or politics online and very rarely with his clients. They are third-rail topics, like abortion, and just like you avoid those topics at family dinners, his philosophy is that a social media post won’t change anyone’s mind. But in today’s “new normal” and especially with a contested election it’s unavoidable.

Breaking Casey’s Rules – Political Tangent (you’ll get used to it, I do it frequently but I have a good point): I’m a sensible middle independent. Last cycle I was a Bernie delegate (and before that Ron Paul girl). I experienced being on the pointy end of the DNC spear first hand when I live-streamed (aka war corresponded) the stealing of the Democratic nomination at the Nevada Democratic Convention. I’m fiscally conservative and socially progressive. Back then, my conservative friends giggled, asked questions, giggled some more, and said “have fun with that!” They listened to my rationale for backing a “socialist” and loved me anyway.

This cycle, I’ve lost countless friends and followers (numbering in the tens of thousands) because when riots, looting, and violence broke out I supported the notion of putting boots on the ground to quell the insurrection. My Facebook post was about applauding the President for bringing in my friends in the Israeli Army to teach our National Guard non-violent crowd control tactics. Did you catch the “non-violent” part? Dozens of my liberal friends went postal and instantly blocked me without any conversation. I support free speech, I support protests (although truth be told I prefer the ones like the hair dryers in the tree in front of Nancy Pelosi’s house because it’s clever, viral and really got the point across).  Why am I saying this?

Because before you start to build a reputation online you need to figure out how you want to be perceived? What is your level of risk tolerance for standing in the fire? Are you willing to allow strangers to come up and talk to you because they feel they know you from your online presence? This is step one. Some of my clients do not want any personal publicity, they want everything in the name of the company to be able to franchise it. Others have smaller businesses and want people to know their names. It’s up to you. There is no right answer and that’s why cookie-cutter programs don’t work!

YOU need to control the conversation and have the ability to generate word of mouth at the click of a button.

Why is all of this critical to surviving?  A recent business owner phoned me up at 10 pm. I answered like I always do. Since 2008 I’ve answered middle of the night calls from frantic business owners desperate for help with Yelp, often already in tears of frustration. This was no different, but there were a few even more troubling concerns than her battle with Yelp that I soon discovered.

This is a business owner with 20+ years of experience, earned 1000+ Five Star Reviews, an A+ rating on BBB, been named #1 in her industry… So basically, a legit business owner who does good work. But on Yelp, only 29 reviews showed and most were not good.

She’d lost millions of dollars worth of clients because of it. But as we were talking, another thing became evident. She didn’t “own” her business online. Yes, she owned the corporation, the building, and that, but online, a Google Partner she had used for 14 years owned everything. She was not the owner of her listing on Google. Another vendor owner her website and controlled the hosting (which they canceled when she brought me online and deleted the backups).

I bring this up because before we could really do anything, we had to secure her Intellectual Property. She was held hostage to a PPC vendor charging her $20/click and spending $30,000 a month on ads. She was drowning. Talk about standing in the fire! When she brought me on board he was not happy, and it took two months before we could get him to relinquish the listing.  He finally left after I started driving 20x the traffic at $1-2/click and spending $500/month and pissing him off. How? Attraction Marketing.

Like most of the business owners who hire me, she had no organic traffic. Her vendors had put it all into bad lazy PPC. But what happens when you run out of ad spend?  How can you continue to get leads with no ads? You need organic funnels, you need social media oomph! You need a strong memorable brand.  She didn’t have that. I adore her, and the quality of her work, but online she looked worse than the tacky Chinese import stores that don’t care about typo’s and clipart from the 80s for branding. It was bad.

Within days of her hiring me we had a brand new skeleton website within 2 weeks she was getting 80% organic traffic generating more leads than from PPC. As we continued the work and built the sales funnels and more content it continued to grow. And now 2 months later, more than 50% of her leads that convert to sales come from free traffic.

If you are ready to become the CEO of your Small Business and start putting technology to work for you, you should join us.  The Small Business MBA is heavy on marketing and sales, yes, but it’s so much more than that.

About Adryenn Ashley

Adryenn Ashley is the unabashed author of several bestselling books including the award winning, "Every Single Girl's Guide to Her Future Husband's Last Divorce", as well as an award winning film producer and mediagenic business consultant. Her company Wow! is Me transforms everyday entrepreneurs into wildly successful business celebrities.

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