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From choosing the best hotels and restaurants in town to consulting the right doctors, most people rely on online reviews. In fact, we rely on online reviews so much that a single bad review can completely tarnish the online reputation of a company. A study suggests that 88% of people trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations—as long as the reviews are authentic. But about 20% of reviews are fake. So can you really trust online reviews?

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Of all the categories involved in managing a business’s online reputation, reputation repair is the one most fraught with confusion.

As humans, we tend to hate criticism, founded or unfounded. Any sort of negativity directed toward your business—earned or otherwise—holds an immense power to inflict damage in both the present and the future. How you respond can either mollify the situation or exacerbate it, and with the stakes so high, not many businesses can afford a misstep.

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Brand touch points are like digital fingerprints; they tell a story. What are brand touch points and how do they affect business? Whether you realize it or not, your brand's customer touchpoints are working to help, or hurt, your organization's reputation with consumers. If a potential customer sees brand-related content and it piques their interest, what will they do next? They may perform a branded search (using your company name), in which case it's up to Google what your customer sees. How dost Google love thee?

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