» Build Your Online Reputation: Step 1

This post written by Sonny Ganguly, CMO of WeddingWire, you can follow him on Twitter @sonnyg. A full version of this article is available in the Education Center. Sonny leads WeddingWire’s marketing strategy, customer acquisition, and business development.
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Reputation matters!  We care about the reputation of our businesses and work hard each day to strengthen it.   Word of mouth and referrals have traditionally been a significant source of business for wedding professionals. People trust recommendations from other consumers, especially from their friends and family, and this is very apparent in the wedding industry.  Engaged couples and newlyweds are talking about wedding businesses all the time, sharing both positive and negative feelings.  A solid reputation amongst customers can help drive success for years to come.

What happens when these conversations happen online? All of a sudden people are tweeting, posting, blogging, commenting, reviewing, and discussing your business online.  The rapid rise of social media has made it easier for customers to quickly share their opinions, while it has made it more difficult for business owners to have control of what their customers are saying.  However, technology provides easy ways to monitor and manage what people are saying about your business. You can build your online reputation in 4 easy steps which will be posted here over the next week.

Step 1: Know What People are Saying

The first step to building a positive online reputation starts with knowing what people are saying about you and your business.  Technology had made it easy for us to quickly and easily monitor what is being said in the online world.  The best places to know what people are saying are on Facebook, Twitter and Google.

Facebook Search – Facebook has been increasing its emphasis on search over the past couple years.  Once you log in to your account, you will find a search box in the top left.  You can enter your business name or any other topic into the search box and quickly see what the Facebook world is saying.  Once you see the search results, you will have an option in the left column to see ‘Posts by Friends’ or ‘Posts by Everyone.’  The latter option will allow you to see what everyone with public profiles is saying about a topic.  Facebook has over 600 million people sharing updates, which means there are a lot of people talking!

Twittter Search – Twitter makes it easy to monitor people’s chatter.  The power of what Twitter offers is real-time search.  You can type in any topic into the search box and automatically see what people are saying.  It is a great way to stay up to date on current events, but also a useful way to see if people are talking about you and your business.  Best of all, you don’t need a twitter account (time to get one!) to see what is going on.  Just visit http://search.twitter.com to see real-time search in action.

Google Alerts – Google provides quite possibly the easiest way to monitor what people are saying.  You can set up ‘alerts’ for your business at no cost.  Any time someone mentions you or your business anywhere on the web you will receive an email notification.  Easily set up alerts by visiting http://www.google.com/alerts.  The first box you will see will be for ‘search terms,’ which is where you can enter your name, business name or anything you would like to track.  After that you can determine how often you want to receive notifications and specify an email address for alerts to be sent to.  Google Alerts allows the news to come to you.

Written By: Sonny Ganguly, the CMO of WeddingWire, you can follow him on Twitter @sonnyg.