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We all want to stay on top of what people are saying about us. Humans are social animals, always seeking the approval of their peers. It can get quite discouraging if most of what others say about you is negative.

Especially when it’s not you they are targeting, but also your business.

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You want to maintain a positive image on the internet about yourself. A good reputation builds the trust of the customer. It is also how you grow. If too many people are badmouthing you, it doesn’t matter if it’s legitimate or not. It’s still going to keep you from growing. Instead, you’ll be losing the share of the market that you already take.

Hence, you want to do everything in your abilities to eliminate any kind of trash-talk that goes on behind your back. It might seem a bit daunting, the effort to keep an eye out for every mention of your name and make sure it’s all flattering. But fear not. There are ways you can go about it. This is how you can find out who’s talking about you online:

1. Use Websites

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Start with Google search. Try your name, your companies, your products etc. Try everything that relates to your brand. Now of course, especially if you’re a small firm, you can’t be patrolling the internet to look for every instance where your name pops up. For that purpose, you can set Google Reader or Google Alerts to filter keywords and phrases, and thus let you know. They’ll send you a notification at every mention. Yahoo Alerts is a similar tool.

You can also use tools like Social Mention, Technorati, and Blogpulse. Nutshell Mail will send you emails to alert you at whatever time you prefer. Just set a schedule in your account and turn the alerts on accordingly.

2. Build A Force

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Have you laid a claim to your brand identity yet? What are you waiting for? Surely, you don’t want any hindrance in your credibility that’s being portrayed on the internet. Yes, there might be a chance for someone to own a disappointingly similar URL as you. For example, you might own DannyPublishers.com and there could be a DannyPublisher.com out there. But it’s not a coincidence when there’s also, DannyPublishers.org, DannyPublisher.net, and DannyPublisher.tv. I could go on, but you get the point. Look out for what’s being done on purpose. Just lay a claim to what’s yours. Legitimize your baby.

3. Work From Within

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Here’s the thing. Maybe your worst enemy is you. You’re being all sneaky and defensive, trying to seek out people who’re talking about you. But maybe it’s you who is opening up the floor for self-initiated trash talk. Look at all of your social media pages. Scan through every post. Have you made any slip-ups? Any loopholes? Are people giving you crap for your typos? Or are they offended by a product description?

Also, make a habit of occasional tidying up on all of your pages. If you think something isn’t right, take it down. Read the Privacy Policy on every app. Move accordingly. Move smartly.

4. Post Positive Content

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Be a good sport and interact with your peers. Leave compliments, reply to comments and post uplifting material. Don’t bring a rival down or badmouth someone. Make your qualifications seen, and design your pages in such a way that they feel welcoming for each visitor.

5. Be Highly Responsive

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Customers and Competitors are always looking for a loophole. One good opportunity and they’ll bash you, leaving no room for recovery. You don’t want a customer to leave without satisfaction and you don’t want to give your rivals the power.

So make sure you respond to both. Post open apologies for every legit complain that a customer posts online. Even if they may be faking it. Even if they aren’t your customer in the first place. Never argue online. I repeat, Never.

6. Tweet of death

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You know that Twitter is a scary place. People say things in a handful of words and leave. That one bad, minimally worded tweet can turn into a significant review if paid enough attention to. It’s the number of retweets on that 20-second tweet that can mess up your 20-year long reputation. Here’s what to do:

  •  Actively search Twitter for mentions of your name.
  •  Respond to negative tweets briefly and professionally.
  •  Request the tweeter to continue the discussion with you outside of Twitter.
  •  If you feel like an account is being used intentionally to harass you, report it to Twitter directly. It may be able to stop the traffic under its fraudulent-use policies.

Conclusively, the best way to stop people from badmouthing you online is to keep them off of the internet. Don’t let matters worsen enough to make people feel the need to talk about it online. Keep your customers satisfied and your social media squeaky clean.

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