Does your business have a reputation strategy? If you think that only large brands need to worry about their reputation, you're mistaken. Today, businesses of all sizes must be concerned about what their customers are saying about them, according to an article posted on

 A sterling reputation can carry you far and help you build your business quickly. A poor reputation, on the other hand, can be fatal. Building and maintaining your reputation is more complex than it first appears. If you have the attitude that all you have to do is provide great products and customer service, you leave yourself open to problems. Here are some of the key areas to consider for creating an effective strategy for reputation management.

Monitor Online Reviews and Comments

Every business needs to track online reviews as well as comments on social media sites, forums or anywhere customers may be talking about you. The simplest way to do this is to set a Google Alert for your business name. You can also use more advanced reputation management or social listening tools. If you aren't already listed on review sites such as Google and Yelp, make sure you set up accounts. On Google, for example, you need to claim your listing on Google My Business. This not only lets people review you, it makes it easier for them to find you on Google Maps.

It's a good idea to respond to reviews and comments. You always want to address complaints even if it's uncomfortable to do so. Not all negative reviews are fair or even rational. Some are written by impossible-to-please customers. Others could even be placed by unscrupulous competitors. In some cases, you can point out that you have no record of a customer's order.

Never get into arguments with customers. No matter how rude the comments, always respond in a reasonable manner. Remember, you're a public business and have a lot more to lose than a relatively anonymous customer posting a review. Also, don't forget to thank people for leaving positive reviews. I see some businesses that only answer negative reviews. While you need to address complaints, you also want to show your appreciation when you receive compliments.

Marketing and Content Affect Your Reputation

Reputation management overlaps with the fields of marketing, PR and brand management. All of these have an impact on your public image. You may have noticed brands getting into trouble by offending people with insensitive ads or inappropriate tweets or other social media content. Your ads, blog posts, tweets, videos and everything else you publish all contribute to your public image and reputation.