By Steve Mehr, CEO of WebShark360
Once upon a time my mother cautioned me not to hang out with people of ill repute. This advice still rings true today as consumers do not want to be associated with businesses that have a bad reputation. The problem is that sometimes, good businesses can also take a hit in their reputation, from which they may not know how to recover.
When it comes to your reputation, it can take a lifetime to build and only seconds to destroy. In today’s increasingly wired world, it’s become easier than ever to destroy your business’ reputation with errors in judgment online or worse. Instead of suffering as your reputation takes a hit, proactively take steps to build and monitor your business’ reputation online.
Handle It- Manage Your Reputation Online
Reputation management gurus have begun popping up across the internet in response to worried business owners. When a bad review has cast a negative light on the business in which you’ve invested your heart and soul, it can feel as if there is no hope. However, the good news is that your business can recover from dings in your reputation online. And you can come back stronger than ever to dominate your marketplace. Instead of waiting until after you’ve suffered a crisis of reputation, take steps to establish a strong and valued reputation online. Using the following tools, your business can proactively manage its reputation online:
- Review sites. Review sites can feel like a double edged sword for business owners. When your business is new and shiny, it behooves you to reach out to your happy customers and ask them to leave you a review. This can help to alert others to your presence in the community and establish you as a trusted business. Before someone wanders online to express dissatisfaction with your business, you should reach out to happy customers for a review. That way, if you do eventually incur a negative review, you’ll hopefully have a stack of positive reviews that have already established your business as trusted and valuable.
- Social media. There’s nothing better for your online reputation than creating a thriving positive online community around your business or brand. Reach out to your customers, fans, and followers and engage them online. Share the positives about your business, highlight your products or services, and recognize the people who made your business as strong as it is today. Ask your customers and fans to share the content they love, to tag your business in its pictures, and to engage engage engage.
- SEO. Your business can use search engine optimization (SEO) to strongly associate your brand with certain keywords. Do you want to be known as dependable, reliable, best, top, trustworthy? Using SEO you can associate your business with these keywords as well as your business’ products and services. By proactively establishing your business as a trusted retailer or dependable widget maker, you can curtail any negatives about your business. By changing the conversation to be more positive, you can proactively establish an excellent online reputation.
- Public relations. What better way to tell the world about your wonderful business than to publicize its good works? If you’ve won an award, launched a new product, or gained new business, public relations can help you to position your business favorably in the minds of consumers. Using the power of the press, your business can establish a great reputation and spread the word to potentially millions of consumers.
- Guest posts and articles. When consumers search for your business’ name, you want them to find massive amounts of quality content online. When you are featured on multiple sites for your insightful and witty articles, this helps to position your business as an industry leader. By proactively positioning yourself as a leader in your industry, you can help to counteract any potential negatives with evidence to the contrary.
When it comes to managing your reputation online, it’s best to establish a good reputation upfront and from the start. By waiting until after someone has slammed you online, you do your business a disservice. Don’t ignore your business’ brand. Boost your brand and highlight your business’ value to establish a quality reputation.