There has been a revolution in the way customers find products or services over the last few years. We all know about Google and Bing, but customers have several other ways to find a business — from mobile apps such as Foursquare, to review sites like Yelp, and local city guides such as Citysearch. What does this mean for your online marketing efforts? On the one hand, you are able to create new ways for your customers to find your business. On the other, it means more complexity and some management issues. Unfortunately, you have little control over how these listings are generated on most platforms, which means that some may contain out of date or otherwise incorrect information. However, you do have several tools and methods at your disposal to correct these issues. Here are five ways you can take control of your online listings and reputation for your Chicago business:

Identify the hotspots within your industry

Not all audiences will search for information in the same place. Your industry may have a large share of the market that prefers to use Bing over Google, for example. The same principle applies to listing directories. Finding the most relevant directory for your industry is simple. All you have to do is perform a Google search to see which publishers show up at the top. This strategy also has the added benefit of trimming the costs of listing management by allowing you to focus your efforts on the most important platforms.

Claim all of your listings

Top publishing platforms give companies the option to “claim” their listings. Claiming a listing will allow you to control the information that is displayed on the platform. Listings platforms gather business information automatically, and in some cases, this information can become outdated, leading to missed sales. Once claimed, you can update a listing manually by adding photos, changing contact information, and even sharing promotions and special offers.

Optimize the location information on your website

While some platforms gather location information from third party sources in order to populate their listings, others, such as TripAdvisor and UrbanSpoon, will gather this information directly from your website. In order to take full advantage of these platforms, you’ll want to create and keep your website’s contact page up to date.

Relay location information to data aggregators

Since many publishers collect business information automatically from various sources, duplicate listings with inaccurate information may start to pop up. Needless to say, this is detrimental to your business. Once these inaccurate listings propagate throughout the internet, they can keep propagating to the point where nobody can find your actual contact information online. This is why it is important to take matters into your own hands every now and then to update data aggregators with the correct information about your business.

Encourage your customers to leave reviews and recommendations on social media platforms

Search engines will take social media commentary into account when they rank your website. This means that having positive feedback and interaction with your customers will help spread your business information throughout the web, giving your brand more visibility. Make sure that you encourage customers to leave reviews and recommendations on your social media pages to take full advantage of this feature.

Need help with online listings and reputation management in Chicago?

There are many other aspects of online listings management and reputation management that we did not cover in this article, from using automated tools, to detecting bad listings, to creating a strategy that will ensure that positive listings propagate better throughout the various platforms. If you need help with online listings management or reputation management in Chicago, or if you have any questions about this marketing practice, contact us today to request more information!