We live in a search-happy world. A large portion of your potential customers are already in the habit of researching a company online before even considering contacting them. So, don’t worry – it’s not just you. This is true for everything from pizza places and ice cream shops to gyms, banks, realtors and, yes, commercial property inspectors. What they find can make or break the potential relationship.

Research shows that businesses risk losing 22% of potential customers if one negative review or article is found on the first page of search results. That number increases to 44% with two negative reviews, and 59% with three. It only takes a few comments from dissatisfied clients for you to see your online reputation headed down the drain. Here are a few tips on how to manage your online reputation as a commercial property inspector. For more information about online reviews, read CCPIA’s article, Do Online Reviews of My Business Matter?

Search for Yourself Online

Have you ever Googled yourself? You’ll never know what’s going to come up in those first few pages. It’s certainly a good idea to do that every once in a while, for both yourself and your business.

Are your social media pages broadcasting too much personal information? Does someone else share the same name? Know what you’re up against so that you can respond appropriately, and delete where necessary.

Ask yourself if you’re content with what is appearing in the first few pages of a Google search. If you’re not, determine what your goals are to address the problem, and be proactive. If you’re confident about where to start, there are many companies that can help you better manage your online reputation. Start by asking your current website developer. They will often utilize the blog feature on your website or implement better SEO on your existing webpages.

Reserve Your Name on Social and Business Platforms

Social media and review platforms are an important marketing tool that’s used by virtually every industry. Platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter provide potential clients with insights into your brand, messaging and personality. Other sites may include Alignable, Yelp, Google, and My Business. Make sure your personal/non-business social media doesn’t make a bad impression, either. Adjust your privacy settings accordingly.

Even if you’re not ready to start using social media or review platforms, or build a new website, it’s still a good idea to buy domain names and reserve social media properties by opening accounts and using your name and/or your commercial property inspection business name. That way, no one else can claim them, and there will be less confusion once your social media strategy is underway.