Protecting Your Digital Footprints


It’s been noted before that the biggest and most profitable websites, like Facebook, Google, and Yelp, don’t actually do anything. They are merely platforms for aggregating content that’s been added by individuals – user-submitted content.

A clean listing on search engines can be one of the biggest points of ROI for your business. Since people are actively looking for information on a service you provide, it’s very important to get them the right information and quickly. If you’ve convinced a user that your business is the best, and they call or click to visit your website only to find the wrong information, chances are they will not try you again. Ever.

Your brand is already live.

Even if you don’t have a Facebook account, or plugged information into Google, those platforms already exist and contain information about your business. Whether inaccurate, outdated, or missing, users are actively looking for information, and trust the information available on these major websites. By claiming your accounts and becoming a moderator (or creator) of your profile, users will be more apt to trust your listing and pursue your services.

It’s also important to understand how you are claiming and establishing your footprints, so you can protect your entities. Occasionally, businesses claim these listings or domains behind locked-down platforms, which limits your ability to leverage the tools to your benefit, or hold them hostage should you decide to change your business objectives.

We strive to accommodate your business preferences; whether you put us behind the steering wheel or in the passenger seat, or as your on-call your mechanic. We maintain a transparent and flexible approach that works for you.

Google My Business & Yelp

Claiming your Google Business location allows you to add information and regulate what other people suggest. You can also respond to reviews as your business from this platform.

How to claim

Open a new browser, go to Google, and search for your business name. Any information that appears in the right-hand side is controlled through Google’s management tool, “Google My Business.”

Verify: do you own this listing? If you see a “Claim this business” in the listing, it hasn’t been claimed. If you don’t see that line, someone, hopefully from your establishment, has claimed it.

Make sure you are logged in to Google using your preferred business-related gmail account, and visit google.com/business. From here, you can “Add locations” and you will see a series of steps to verify you are the owner.

A similar process should be followed for Yelp listings. Yelp powers search engines like Bing, and is a search platform in itself.

Facebook

Converting a Facebook location into a page allows people to follow your brand and potentially see posts you generate. You can also respond to posts users submit, as well as reviews. By setting up a page, you can also start running ads to audiences.

If your business location receives enough hits in Facebook through check-ins, tags, etc, Facebook will start aggregating content into a “location”. You can claim this location as a “business” and create a page which you can post from, and users can follow.

How to claim

Verify: do you own this listing? If you see a “Is this Your Business?” under the cover photo, it hasn’t been claimed. Click the link and follow the prompts.

If you don’t see that line, someone, hopefully from your establishment, has claimed it. You can try to message the page to contact the owner, or you will need to contact Facebook.

LinkedIn

By claiming your LinkedIn page, you can add branding and descriptions that will be tied to employees who list you as an employer. This helps when recruiting employees to your business, so they can find and learn about your brand through people connected to it, and see who currently works there, or has worked there in the past. You can also run ads and setup job openings in LinkedIn.

If your employees are on LinkedIn, chances are a page has been aggregated in LinkedIn. Users can add their current or past employers, and if the name they enter exactly matches another person’s name, a page is created that aggregates all other employees who have also entered the exact same name.

How to setup

Once logged into LinkedIn, click the “Work” icon and drop down in the upper right. At the bottom, click “Create a Company Page” and follow the prompts. Employees will need to re-enter and select your page to be linked.

Domains

Isn’t my website my domain? Kind of. Your website lives at your domain. Think of it as the PO Box for your website. You can buy fun and branded names to assign to your actual address, which is your domain, and you can assign multiple domains to one address (proceed with caution here). Or, you can take your domain, and remove it from one address and add it to another.

Domain ownership is often overlooked during the website building and launch process. If you aren’t careful, you may build brand equity behind a domain that you don’t own. If you decide you want to transfer or rebuild a website with a different partner, your domain could be held hostage, or you may be at the mercy of the owner as to when and how they transfer your domain.

As you launch a new website with a new domain, make sure you understand who owns your domain, what future access you have, and keep clear documentation of which domains you own. If you don’t cancel a domain you no longer own, you could pay hundreds of dollars you don’t know about.

The next step: Review & Testimonial Acquisition

Now that your major website listings are claimed and owned, you can take protecting your business identify to the next level. The one piece of user-submitted content you can’t regulate is reviews and ratings. Because it’s common for users to take their complaints to the web, rather than resolving them with the business, we can help manage your ratings. Our systems will prompt and request reviews from all users, and just haven’t ever thought about leaving a review. Since you are in business, chances are your customers are happy. They have just never been asked, or are unaware your rating is important to your business.

As the quantity of reviews grows, the one-time, abnormal negative reviews will be drowned out by all the glowing reviews you’ve gained. However, we can’t stress enough the importance of acknowledging and responding to reviews, no matter if they are positive or negative.

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