Advice on Protecting Your Business’ Online Reputation

As a small- or medium-sized business owner your professional reputation is everything. If you don’t make the effort to maintain a positive reputation new clients and customers won’t be attracted to your brand, and your business will fail.

Consider your own consumer behavior, such as when you book a hotel, for example. You most likely look at the company’s website, social-media platforms, read reviews and look at search listing. If your decisions are swayed by what you read online then you understand how easily readily-available information can either help or hurt your business.

While managing your reputation is perhaps the most crucial thing you will need to do as a business owner, your online reputation is even more important in today’s digital marketplace. With so many people becoming more savvy about doing their homework on a business before they hand over their cash, it only takes one or two bad reviews to cause major damage to the reputation you worked so hard to build. The good news is there are several things you can do as a business owner to protect your online reputation. Here are a few tips:

Craft Quality Content
Focus on writing high-quality content that will be helpful to your customers, and not self-promoting sales copy that will turn them off. Consider what would be helpful if you were in the customer’s shoes.

Get Social
Social-media platforms, when used properly, are a highly effective way to shape and grow your company and its reputation. Don’t try for or expect instant results, but instead be strategic and take your time in creating a genuine profile that will resonate with your target clientele.

Closely Monitor Your Reputation
Preform online searches for reviews of your business on a weekly basis and keep track of how you are preforming in search results as well as any feedback your customers leave. Bear in mind, there is only so much you can control. As such, consider using the services of a reputation-management company, and there are also a number of apps available if you prefer to do it yourself.

Be Genuine
Aside from stock-market investors, no one is interested in reading a corporate spiel. Make sure you come across as trustworthy on your social media platforms by making your message relate to the people reading it. Be open and transparent in your message, and be humble when responding to negative comments.

Engage and React
In order to maintain your good reputation you must be interactive by being accessible to your customers. Always respond quickly to comments and questions to prevent getting labeled as having lacking customer service.

Get Listed
Before the internet became available on every device, a business would never have even considered not taking out listings in hard-copy directories. Today it is even more crucial that your business utilize online directories, as it makes it much easier for your customers to find you when preforming searchers.

Encourage Reviews
Customer feedback is perhaps a business owner’s most valuable tool in protecting their online reputation. Feedback shows you who is making the effort to interact with you online, providing you with essential insight. Welcome reviews with open-arms, as according to studies almost 90 percent of customers make a buying decision only after reading reviews. As a word of warning, don’t engage in the dubious practice of paying for positive reviews, as this will violate the terms of service of many online directories.

Write a Blog
A blog can be a great way for you to develop a positive reputation through providing your customers with helpful news and tips related to your industry. Making regular blog posts will also establish your credibility as a company so customers will see your as an expert in your industry.

Be a Publicity Seeker
Protecting you online reputation requires you to take a proactive, and not just a reactive, approach. It’s okay to use social media to attract customers to your business, as long as you don’t go for the direct hard sell. A great way to generate online publicity is by writing articles for other blogs, helping to further establish your company as an expert in the field.

Be Positive
As the saying goes, you can’t please all the people all the time; however for the sake of your online reputation you have to try. Whether the complaint is based on an honest mistake or the customer is having a bad week and you just happen to be a handy punching bag, if someone posts a complaint about you online you must take immediate action to correct the situation to the best of your ability.

Handling Complaints
The most effective way to remedy a bad review is to reach out to the customer directly with an apology and ask how he wants the situation rectified. You can usually turn a negative review into a positive rating by reacting professionally and not being defensive. If his proposed solution is within your power you should give the customer what he wants, provided it won’t take you to bankruptcy court, as a bad review will cost you much more in the long run.

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SMB Reviews
SMB Reviews 473 posts

SMBReviews is committed to providing small and mid-sized business owners with the information and resources they need to select the best service or product for their company.

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