If you’ve been following my blog lately or have seen one of my presentations, then you already know I’m doing what I can to teach small business owners about online reputation management – something that can make a bigger impact on your bottom line than you might think.

I’ve already shown how things like online reviews can affect sales and recruiting, but today I want to show how the little things sometimes do make a big difference. Here are four subtle but important ways to improve your online reputation:

  1. Don’t badmouth anyone (especially former employees, customers, or competitors). There’s an old saying that when you wrestle a pig, you both end up in the mud. That’s certainly true when it comes to reputation management, because badmouthing others makes you look petty and unprofessional.
  1. Don’t use profanity. The business world has relaxed in a lot of ways, including a greater acceptance of profanity and “edginess” in marketing. Be that as it may, using profanity online makes you seem less serious, and will definitely alienate a certain percentage of customers. Don’t do it.
  1. Watch your grammar. Even if you struggled in high school English, it’s a good idea to learn a bit about proper spelling, grammar, and punctuation. Know the difference between your and you’re, there and their, and so on. They aren’t hard to master, and small mistakes make marketers seem uneducated and unprofessional.
  1. Don’t use ALL CAPS or anything similar. Nobody likes an obnoxious blowhard who’s always shouting, and that’s what over-stylizing your text amounts to online. Stand out for your message and ideas, not your use of the shift key.

Monitoring and cultivating your online reputation is important, but you don’t want to undo all of your hard work by failing to pay attention to the details.