Why Entrepreneurs Should Know Basic Online Reputation Management
Reputation matters, now more than ever. This is the first thing customers look at online, after checking out the product offering. And this is applicable not only to businesses.
For entrepreneurs, the prospect of losing their reputation online can lead to significant damaging consequences. Executives have lost positions or had to do damage limitation due to poor behaviour, misunderstandings, and a lack of proper communication strategy during a crisis.
As a new entrepreneur, it’s important to understand how fragile one’s reputation can be. It doesn’t take gross misconduct to damage your personal and your brand’s reputation. Even an honest mistake or a misunderstanding can do incisive damage.
Be on Social Media
In today’s world, it is essential to have full control over your social media presence. Even if you don’t plan on being active on social media, you should have control over accounts associated with your name and your business name.
Not doing this opens up the risk of anyone misrepresenting you or your company online. While you can get these accounts suspended, it takes time and damage might have already been done. You may also find some speculators taking control of social media account only to sell at a heavy premium.
Set up Google Alerts
You may already be using Google Alerts to track industry news, follow competitors, and stay on top of trending topics. As Google is the biggest search engine, it’s a good practice to use Google Alerts to find stories mentioning you or your company. This way, if a negative situation breaks out, you will be able to address it promptly.
Own Your Mistakes
Part of reputation management is learning how to handle things when you or your company really has done something wrong. When you identify the fault is with you or your brand, the best way is to take responsibility and be transparent about it.
Maintain a Professional Tone
In the online world where anyone can share their opinion in a pseudonymous way, it’s inevitable that there will be unpleasant interactions as well. It happens to every business owner. You go online to find a review that isn’t just negative, but dishonest. You open your email to find a message from a customer full of personal insults.
You might feel personally attacked and willing to immediately respond. However, this can easily backfire and cause even more damage. As an entrepreneur or executive, professional communication is critical to the health of the business.
Managing your online reputation must be a proactive process. In order to minimize reputational risks during crisis situations, you should pay attention to news that mention you and your company, address issues promptly and maintain control over your social presence.