The Impact of Your Online Reputation

Small businesses that have taken the time to properly set and create a rich social media presence along with a stunning and easy to use website may feel as if their work is now done. This could not be further from the truth. Once you have established a strong and viable online presence you will now need to protect your online reputation at all cost. The impact that a negative online reputation can have on a brand can be devastating. Essentially, it is all of the positive benefits of having a strong online presence REVERSED! As a small business owner, you will need to actively monitor and address any issues with your online reputation as soon as these issues are discovered.

Unlike in the past when the internet was full of websites that were basically static brochures designed not to provide the customer with a voice, modern sites are heavily reliant on user interaction and commentary. User-generated feedback is now a must and social network interactions are mandatory for any business (regardless of size) that is looking be effective online. Best believe that your customers are talking about the experience that they have had or continuing to have with your company in the form of pictures posted to social media, tweets, Facebook posts, and comments that are left on your blog. All of this activity can be very promising and positive for your company, however negative posts or comments may turn out to be extremely damaging to the reputation of your brand.

Many small businesses make the mistake of addressing complaints and criticisms made using social media privately. It is very important to understand that the world is watching. When a customer leaves a post or comment in a public forum discussing their concerns or displeasure, they are putting their issues on display for everyone to see. Taking the matter private by addressing the poster directly sends a message to the public that you have something to hide or that you are neglecting to address the issue altogether since the public is unable to view your response. Addressing a public complaint privately is also a missed opportunity to put your awesome customer service skills on display. Knowing that all of your customers are potentially watching, it is important for you to understand that when you respond in a public forum that you will be addressing all of your followers. Capitalize on the opportunity to show that you respond immediately to all issues and that all matters are resolved quickly, publicly, and professionally. This is a great way to gain the respect of your customer base that will help to improve and protect your online reputation.