Do you keep track of your business’s online reputation? If not, you might be making a serious mistake. If you don’t want to own one of the 20% of businesses that fail within the first year, it’s time to make some changes.
We want to help you out so you can get on track. Read on to learn about a few common online reputation management mistakes so you can avoid them.
1. Not Making a Plan
All businesses should have a plan in place for reputation management. Even if you know that you offer top-of-the-line services or products and that your customers love you, planning ahead will save you from serious problems in the future.
But what should this online reputation management strategy look like?
It should start with your brand image. Your brand image is going to be the first impression that potential customers and clients have of what you can offer them. The “voice” and imagery that you use will set the tone for your future reputation.
You should make sure that your employees know how to handle customer problems before they happen. Whether it’s negative online feedback or bad customer behavior, they need proper training to ensure that a small problem doesn’t turn into a major catastrophe.
You need to be careful when you’re trying to jump onto trends. You may come off as tone-deaf or insensitive without meaning to. There are a few ways that this can happen.
When the 24-hour news cycle draws so much attention, it’s tempting to take advantage of trending topics and use them to promote your services. Even if your products or services are relevant, however, hopping onto a serious topic to sell items isn’t a good idea. Most potential customers will think that it’s in poor taste.
For example, it wasn’t uncommon for brands to come under fire when the COVID-19 pandemic first started because they tried to capitalize on it.
You also need to be careful when you’re addressing sensitive topics such as disabilities, illnesses, LGBTQIA issues, and race issues. Again, it’s common for brands to try to capitalize on these things (like selling rainbow merch during pride month), but this can look insensitive if you only speak out on topics when they’re relevant to your bottom line.
3. Being Unwilling to Admit Mistakes
When something does happen and you damage your own reputation, it’s important that you own up to it and find a way to atone. Ignoring the problem will only make things worse.
Your admission should be authentic. Many brands are guilty of coming out with apologies that are clearly just for show. You need to prove to your clients and customers that you’re sorry and that you’re ready to make things right.
Come out with a public apology and consider setting up a donation for a local relevant cause. You have to do damage control.
4. Not Responding (or Responding Poorly) to Negative Reviews and Posts
Speaking of damage control, how do you handle negative comments, posts, and online customer reviews that are directed toward your business?
While there are some instances in which it’s appropriate to ignore reviews, most of the time it’s in your best interest to respond in a kind and professional way (even if you know that the review, post, or comment was inaccurate).
If the review, post, or comment was written by someone with legitimate complaints, a thoughtful and honest response may help you earn their trust back. It’s helpful to offer a way to make the situation right.
If the review seems dishonest, you should still attempt to respond. Do not lash out against the person who wrote the review. A professional and well-thought-out response will show other potential customers that you can keep cool and that you’re willing to improve.
5. Not Monitoring
Are you monitoring what people are saying about your business on the web? If not, you’re making a mistake.
Monitoring starts with positive and negative reviews, but it doesn’t end there. Remember that people may talk about your business on social media and other websites, even if they don’t tag you directly.
Keep your ear to the ground, so to speak, so you always know what people are saying about your business. If it’s positive, you’re doing something right. If it’s negative, you know that it’s time to make some changes.
6. Ignoring or Criticizing Your Competition
It’s tempting to criticize your competitors, but resist this urge. When you criticize other businesses within your niche, you’re making yourself look worse.
You want to come off as professional. Attacking other businesses is not a professional move. It looks petty and it will make it seem as though your business isn’t able to stand on its own if you feel the need to tear down others.
Even if the other company is criticizing you, don’t do it back. You can clear the air with a professional statement, but that’s all.
You should, however, pay attention to what people are saying about your competitors. What do people like about other businesses within your niche? What do they dislike?
You can use this information to better your own company.
7. Not Hiring Professionals When You Need Help
When your business is still quite small, you can handle most of your reputation management needs on your own. When you grow, you should hire professionals.
You can’t possibly keep track of all of your reputation management needs on your own. Even your in-house marketer may struggle to keep up.
Find a qualified reputation management company to help. Check out ORM Company reviews for an example.
Avoid These Reputation Management Mistakes
These reputation management mistakes could ruin your business. Keep them in mind when you’re creating your online reputation management strategy.
Remember, as a business owner, your reputation is everything. Make it a good one.
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