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Controlling Your Social Media Message Stealthily Marchex helps small businesses track and elevate their social media profiles.

By Jason Ankeny

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Nine percent of small businesses use Twitter to market their businesses, according to a recent BIA/Kelsey survey. In addition, 32 percent plan to expand their marketing efforts into the social media realm, branching out to sites such as Facebook and MySpace. Here's the problem: Just because your business isn't already on Twitter or Facebook doesn't mean customers aren't talking about you on the web. Thanks to the rise of local user review and search sites such as Yelp and Citysearch, consumers are ranting and raving about your services across the digital landscape, and while they can be effusive in their praise, they can be merciless in their criticisms.

That's why local search and performance advertising firm Marchex introduced Reputation Management, an online marketing tool that lets small businesses track their virtual reputations and presences and leverage that customer insight to more effectively operate their businesses.

"There are a lot of places where people are talking about businesses and where they're going to decide what products and services they're going to use," says Marchex senior product manager Ryan Fritzky. "But while consumers have their hands on all this great information, it's not easy for a small business to bring it all together. We're giving them information on what customers like about their products and services, and how they can use that information to improve their online footprint."

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