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facebook_logoThere are so many opportunities for small businesses to really make an impact online, whether it’s through a well designed website, regularly updated Facebook page or portfolio full of great work.

We’ve worked with all kinds of businesses, from not-for-profit organisations to retailers to service providers to help them improve their online presence.

So, we’ve collected together some top tips about getting started and most importantly, protecting your online reputation so you don’t rush into anything or make any mistakes.

1. Take small steps

It’s really tempting for small businesses to try lots of things when they first decide to build upon their online presence.

We’ve spoken to businesses who have tasked a web team with building their website and signed up to every social network they could find all in the same day.

However, it is often better for businesses to take small steps and not rush into anything, as this is when people make mistakes and could damage their online reputation in more ways than one. You could fill in important details about your company incorrectly, or reply to a potential customer without checking your spelling. Although some of these problems could be easily rectified, they’re easily avoidable.

We suggest working on a plan and deciding exactly what you should do, when and what you’re hoping to achieve. This will really help in the long run and will ensure you’re not wasting time or making mistakes.

2. Research

A big part of finding out how you should be engaging online comes down to research. It’s important you know what similar businesses and companies are doing so you can learn from them and set yourself apart in what is increasingly becoming a rather crowded space.

This will also help with your initial planning, as you can rule out platforms that you maybe once thought were important but actually aren’t in practice.

This initial research will also tell you who’s talking about your industry or type of business, whether it’s competitors, bloggers, journalists or just vocal members of a community.

3. Monitor what’s happening

Continually monitoring your space and industry is important and will involve carrying on with the same kind of research we’ve discussed in step two.

You should also add in other important long term monitoring activity, like setting up Google Alerts for specific keywords related to your industry and setting up Twitter search terms too. This will help alert you to any problems or concerns within the industry, which will ensure you’re always on the ball and saying the right things on your online channels. So if you’re a building merchant and there are lots of problems with your suppliers, you need to know and potentially address the issue to show you’re active and aware of your own industry.

It’s also important that you monitor your own activity too, so set up Google Alerts for your company to make sure you’re the first to know whenever anyone mentions you elsewhere online.

4. Start engaging

Being present on social networks and having your own dedicated website is great, but remember it’s not just about broadcasting information, it’s about engaging with people too. So make sure you’re always monitoring what’s happening, finding people who are important to you and starting meaningful conversation with them.

All of the points above feed into this, with the right research, monitoring and planning you will learn who the right people to talk to are who are concerned with your industry and business and what to say to them.

To talk to us about protecting your online reputation, researching the space and ensuring all of your online assets look good and showcase your products and services effectively, then get in touch with one of the Codastar team today.

There are many ways to protect your online reputation, but knowing the space inside out, taking small steps and monitoring everything as you go will really help.

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