Before you spend a big wad of cash on some reputation management company or create some cheese ball scheme to give away free hot dogs in exchange for a ravingly false review on Google or Yelp, you might consider this little known reputation management tip, be legitimately good, every time.
You can't be everything to everyone, I get that. In the golf industry, there are only so many Augusta Nationals, Troon Norths, and, I will shamelessly throw Maderas Golf Club in there. However, everybody can find a niche if they give it some tender loving care. You just may need to actually try some things to see what isn't and subsequently what is your niche. How about, excellent service? How about clean bathrooms? What I am talking about here is controlling the controllables. Stop letting who you are not destine you to mediocrity and try to find what you are good at, and do it. Maybe you are expensive, but your attention to detail is off the chart. Maybe you are less expensive, but you are consistent and bring great value.
I went to a golf course the other day, and it was a decent golf course; decent condition, decent layout, decent value for the money, decent service, but nothing exceptional, except that their clubhouse smelled of the sour dank from too many warmed hot dogs. I put the round of golf on my debit card, then decided I wanted something from the concession stand. I was told if I didn't meet the minimum charge for my card, they would charge a $2 fee. No worries, but I thought, perhaps, since I just spent the money on 18 holes, they would allow me to get the drinks and kind of roll it together. They suggested I put the drinks on my friends card when he purchase his golf. I suggested I would drink the water provided on the course. It was an opportunity for that course to do something better than just decent, something exceptional, but they did not.
What would the value of a good review on Google+ local been to that course? Or a big thank you on Facebook? Much more than $2, I assure you. This is the best method of reputation management, actually being legitimately good all the time, and exceptional within your niche. So, before you run out to manipulate your online reputation, treat the fundamentals and actually be excellent.