Why Small Business Owners Should Work on Reputation Management
As a business owner, whether you like it or not you are a public figure. As a public figure, you and your business are going to appear on the internet at some point, whether in self managed ways such as through the creation of personal and business related social media accounts, or in others, including user submitted reviews on rating and local listing websites. It’s these latter ways that things can get scary and unpredictable, and when a bad review or some negative press appears out of the ether, it’s really frustrating to think that an anonymous person has created something that can potentially damage your livelihood. Digital reputation management can be achieved by a combination of methods. There are a few components that make up your online reputation.
The first is ultimately how you act and how your business operates in the real world. If you are getting a ton of complaints about an aspect of your business on the internet, you might need to face the music and admit that you are doing something wrong. As a business owner, it’s your duty to take bad feedback in stride and fix whatever is wrong, as well as know when something is not your fault.
The second thing that you should consider is how to promote positive reviews and PR on the internet. Linking to positive press through your website and promoting it through social media is a good way to make it appear higher in search results related to your business. This in turn will create a much more attractive first impression when a customer looks you up for the first time, as they will see not only your website (ideally) but also all the accolades you have received pop up, compounding on your positive reputation.
Third, how you manage negative PR when it appears is also very important. Small business owners should realize that some bad reviews are pretty much inevitable. If you are running decent business, it’s still probable that someone is going to come in who is having a bad day, gets into a dispute with an employee or does not like their product and then decides to vent on the internet. In these instances, you should try to reach out and follow up with the customer. Chances are that following up can find them in a more reasonable mood, and you may even be able to take their negative review and turn it into a positive one once they see that you are committed to customer service.
Photo Credit to Reputation Repair and Management on Flickr