Everyone is online nowadays, including your company and your customers. More importantly, your potential customers are also online and the chances are, if they are looking for a company to take care of their needs, they are doing some researching online. This is why you have to do everything in your power to ensure that your online reputation is untarnished and that your potential customers discover a company that will provide them with exactly what they need.
Unfortunately for those of you who thought this can be done in a 15 minutes, online reputation management is actually a whole science and it takes a lot to do it the right way. Today, we will share a few tips with you, stating points from which you can research some more and avoid the direst mistakes.
Start with your product
We live in an age where many companies live on their image, especially early on. They spend enormous amounts of time and money on branding and it works for a while. People buy into it and it starts to feel like the company is doing okay.
Then, after a while, people start to realize that the company in question has nothing of value to offer. Their product or service is subpar in quality, the customer service is lackluster and the company’s relationships with suppliers and partners is revealed to be dilettante-like.
In order for a company to have a great reputation, it has to do what it advertises to do. Your product needs to solve people’s problems and a smart approach to your customers’ needs to be at the forefront of your operation.
When you have a decent product or service as the cornerstone of your reputation, building upon it becomes that much easier.
Make use of your website
For many companies, their website is aimed completely at conversions. They see it as simply a part of their sales funnel and while this may be good for business and direct revenue, it is also a missed opportunity. Namely, a company website can become an integral part of the company’s online reputation management in a number of ways.
For one, you can provide the general public with information on your company on your website. You should always share the history of your company as well as any past successes that your company achieved. In addition to this, you should always feature your employees prominently. People who know them will know what your company is about if you decide to boast about your employees.
You should also use your website to produce and publish content that relates to your industry. Insightful blog posts, expansive white papers and helpful studies will only increase your reputation and show the world that you know your industry inside out.
If you have the time, you can also do some guest blogging that will lead people back to your website after they read fresh insights that you provide on other people’s websites.
Be smart about security
Cybersecurity has become one of the most sensitive issues for companies as they operate with more and more customer data that can get stolen or published by attackers. In such situations, a company’s reputation suffers greatly as they are seen to have betrayed their customers’ trust.
Considering the fact that even the smallest companies are nowadays targets for hackers, it becomes obvious that you cannot leave this to chance. In other words, you need to beef up your cybersecurity and install as many mechanisms as you can to protect your customers’ data. You should also educate and train your employees so as to avoid data breaches caused by human error.
Finally, if you should suffer a breach despite your security measures, you need to have a response process all figured out so as to do damage control. There are numerous ways in which you can handle this, but the best advice you can get is to never try and cover up a data breach. People will learn about it and your reputation cannot recover from something like that.
Your company will be mentioned online, there is no doubt about that. If you have any kind of online presence, people will comment on your company and give their opinions on the products (services) you provide. Your current and past employees might also have a word or two to say about your company on websites like Glassdoor and the likes.
Much of this will be happening on social media and the important thing is not to lose head if you notice someone badmouthing your company. Depending on the reason for this bad press, you will want to act accordingly. If you have really messed up, own up to it. Car manufacturers have been doing this for decades and they still sell cars. If someone is just being mean and trolling you, you should consider talking to moderators of the social media channels where this is happening.
The important thing is to be prepared for bad press and prepare steps that you will take when something like this happens.
Reputation has always been a huge part of a company’s chances for success, but nowadays when bad press spreads like wildfire, it has become more important than ever before. The good thing is that with a bit of preparation and levelheadedness, you can stay in control of your company’s reputation and prevent any catastrophic developments on that front.