How much weight does your brand hold online? Are you in control of your company’s name, or is it entirely up to the Internet masses?

We pose these questions to really point out how significant it is to manage your online reputation. If you’re not actively overseeing the conversations surrounding your brand, you’re making it much easier for naysayers to impact your business. By monitoring what people say about your brand, you’re getting greater insight into how your brand is portraying itself, how you can improve its messaging, and the specific demographics of those people.

In order to help you keep track of your potential audience, we’ve collected some of the top tips from experts in the niche. We hope you enjoy this roundup, and more importantly, learn a lot about what you can implement into your own online reputation management (ORM) strategy.

1. Blog as much as you can on a regular basis.

“Blogging is great for several reasons. First and foremost it is great for your reputation because it allows you to demonstrate expertise and thought leadership in your field.” – Adam Binder, founder of CreativeClick Media

2. Promote good reviews.

“When there is positive news about your company, get the word out there. Online press releases get quickly picked up by search engines and news aggregators (e.g. Yahoo! News, Google News, and many smaller outlets).” – Blue Fountain Media

3. Never underestimate the power of reputation.

“You should never underestimate the cost of a poor reputation. For example, Sorensen notes he once consulted with a company that had a severe online reputation problem. After careful review of their rankings and prior-year revenues, he estimated the venture was losing nearly $2 million a year in sales because of negative search engine results.” – Cheryl Conner, entrepreneur and founder of Snapp Conner PR

4. Listen to what your customer has to say.

“When responding to online complaints or bad reviews, seriously consider that there may be some weaknesses in your process that need to be addressed — particularly if you get frequent negative feedback about a specific thing. Remember the adage that “the customer is always right”? Don’t be inflexible; come up with a creative way to give customers what they’re wanting without creating friction.” – Chris Silver Smith, President of Agent Media

5. Keep your customers happy with your service.

“It’s very hard to generate positive reviews if your customers aren’t happy. Do you know what customers really think about your products and services? If you don’t have customer contact on a daily basis, ask for the views employees or staff in the front line.” – Craig Timmins at Website Planet

6. React quickly and politely to feedback.

“In case of a customer complaint via Twitter, for example, a prompt and simple “We are aware of the problem. We are working on it and will get back to you as soon as possible.” is better than a late reply with more information.” – Dan Virgillito, freelance content strategist

7. Don’t try to cover up your mistakes — address them head on.

“ didn’t have the best launch, and still has issues to this day. It’s a good reminder not to cut corners or push something out that is “half-baked”. It’s harder to manage your reputation after you’ve given a bad initial impression.

“If you have amazing products, put in effort to build great service, you’ll build a great rep,” [Andy] Beal said.” – Danny Goodwin (and Andy Beal)

8. Know your legal rights.

“What if you have a particularly persistent fake reviewer?  Know the policies and terms of service for every site. As your last resort, you can sue for slander.  Keep in mind that legal action should only be taken when all else has failed.” – Dwight Zahringer, founder of Trademark Productions

9. Filter your blog comments section.

“Keep your blog comments well under control to make sure none of them cause irreparable damage to your reputation. You need to be very careful in removing blog comments, though. Refrain from doing so simply because they put your business in a bad light.” – Emma Julie-Fox, writer at PitStop Media Inc.

10. Claim your brand’s name.

“The first step to managing your online reputation is to claim your brand name online. Whether your brand is your name itself, your business name or your product name, you need to make sure that no one else has control of misrepresenting you online by controlling a piece of your brand.” – ImForza

11. You are your brand.

“Remember; in the eye of your customer, there is no difference between you and your company. If you are the owner of your company, you want to make sure that you are representing yourself in a way that positively reflects who you are in your connection to your business.” – JP Marketing

12. Everyone should participate.

“Make sure your customers are receiving top notch service from every staff member including management and the business owner.” – Kimberly Yow, Owner of SocialCRO

13. Take the steps to nullify negative mentions.

“Once a negative mention has been identified, here are a few basic steps in dealing with it:

  • Research the situation – is there merit?

  • If not, provide the facts and ask for corrections

  • If yes, then offer to discuss

  • Be ready to respond with your own blog

  • Be honest, be transparent and LISTEN”

Lee Odden, CEO at TopRank Online Marketing

14. Participate in online discussions related to your brand.

“Once you have developed a routine to monitor your online reputation, it is almost mandatory to become a stubborn participant of online discussions. One needs to make sure that participation is done in a way that is most conducive to improving that reputation.” – Levente Szfarli, seo strategist

15. You don’t need to be that aggressive in your reputation management.

“With brand searches there are real opportunities for a brand that it can look better, namely by having other content in the search results that represent the brand in a positive light. For instance just having a Facebook page is a good thing even if it doesn’t really convince you to buy. “ – Nick Garner, founder of 90 Digital

16. Keep an eye on social media for reviews.

“Certain networks, like Facebook and Google+, allow users to leave reviews for businesses on the business’ page. Pay attention to any new reviews (you can set up email alerts) and respond to all reviews, both positive and negative reviews.” – Rachel Cunningham, iMatrix

17. The more mentions, the better.

“Try and get as many mentions as you can on influential websites that are likely to rank well. This includes blogs, press release sites, reviews websites, sites that are giving you a chance to make a personal or company profile, as well as YouTube and everything along those lines.” – Radomir Basta, CEO of FourDots

18. Eliminate negative content from the search engines.

“Where negative content exists, contact the websites directly if the content is defamatory or untrue.” – Simon Wadsworth, founder of Igniyte

19. Be clear in your goals for ORM.

“Jumping in, head first, in a hurry, without being clear on your objectives, will totally screw up your reputation management campaign and could potentially make things worse. The last thing you want to do when trying to improve your online credibility, is to ever seem disjointed, confused, or unfocused.” – Vee Popat, founder of VPDM

20. Don’t let public sites speak for your brand.

“If a potential client looks for you online and all they see are directory listings, reviews sites and other such public sites, they may start to get concerned about the legitimacy of the business or the person who is providing them with services.” – Walter Halicki, CEO of JW Maxx Solutions

 Take these ORM tips to heart when dealing with your brand! If you have any other expert tips to share, let us know in the comments section below.