Sunday, November 23, 2014

Protect Your Online Brand Reputation

Maintaining a Positive Brand Image in the Digital World

online brand management, brand reputation, online reputation
It is no secret to anyone, especially business owners, that the introduction of the Internet has changed a lot of things from our social interactions to how we make purchases. Before the World Wide Web came into existence, a reputation was something a business worked to build and did not necessarily worry about managing. Now, a lot of how a company is perceived has to do with how they are presented on the Internet, whether the company is Web based or not. In a world where anyone can write anything about anyone or any business in any forum, it is important to make sure your business’s brand reputation is being monitored to protect it from defamation and other damaging instances online.

Know the Importance of Protecting Your Reputation

While online review sites can be great for businesses, they can also be very damaging. All it takes is one disgruntled customer, a computer, and an audience of other current or potential clients and the business’s entire reputation can be ruined with a single keystroke. This is why it is vital for business owners to know the importance of brand reputation and how they can effectively protect it. One way is by hiring a reputation management company – these organizations will use different tools to help monitor what is being said about your business online and report back findings so you can take action.

Another, more cost effective way to handle protection is to utilize some free or inexpensive tools to do the same thing. Some of these tools include TweetBeep, Social Mention and Google Alerts among others – all of these tools will help you to locate and monitor when your business is being mentioned and help you to counteract any negative posts or comments. If you choose to hire an outside company to monitor this for you, make sure they do not employ tactics like creating social media simply to flood the Web with positive comments about the business. These tactics are generally frowned upon and can sometimes be more damaging to the company than negative comments from actual customers.

Be Realistic About What You Can Control

The truth is, no matter how much you monitor or counteract negative feedback online, there is no full proof way to prevent unhappy clients from posting potentially damaging things. This is why it is important for you to know what exactly you have control over and what you do not, which will help to not send the business over the deep end when it comes to preventive measures. Although there is no way to stop negative comments, there are ways to stop potential new clients from seeing them. While it may be easy to send someone looking for more information about the business to a review site to research the information themselves, this is probably the worst thing a business can do. Never point customers directly to a source that could potentially have a damaging effect on your reputation.

Do Not Ignore the Internet

The Internet is everywhere – on our computers, our smartphone, and our tablets or iPads, and everyone is using it to do pretty much everything. While it may seem like a good idea to just ignore its existence and pretend nothing bad is being said about the business online, this can actually do more bad than good. Unanswered negative comments or lack of improvement in areas being complained about online can lead to speculation from clients and customers – this laid back attitude about online review sites can lead consumers to believe that you simply do not care about what is being said, and worse, you do not care about your customers. Being proactive in knowing and counteracting any negative feedback is the key to making sure the business’s reputation is not smeared across the Internet.

If you found this small business tip useful, you should read Stacy O'Quinn's blog! Stacy has helped many small business and home business owners create a more successful and profitable business. For more information about Stacy, click here.

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