How to Repair an Online Reputation
“Are you making these 3 mistakes with your online reputation?”
Making mistakes is natural. After all no one comes the Internet knowing everything there is to know about websites, WordPress, web content or online marketing.
We all know that there is a learning curve (unfortunately) to just about everything. But I keep seeing small business people make the same mistakes – over and over again, when it comes to managing their online reputations.
The problem is that many small business people underestimate just how important it is to have a positive online presence – until it’s too late.
If you have been reading this blog for any length of time, you probably know that I don’t like social media as a marketing channel.
But this doesn’t mean that I ignore or discount the power that social media can have on a small company.
If you’ve ever wondered if you are taking a misstep with your online marketing, then checkout my “greatest mistakes” list below.
Mistake #1 – Not Having a Web Presence that You Can Control
If you are using a “free” source like Weebly, Wix, Tumblr, Blogger, LinkedIn or Facebook as your main or only online presence, then you have probably stepped in it. And by “it” I mean a hot, mess of crappola.
I say this not to be mean to you or anyone else.
But using “free” blogs as your primary internet presence can be damaging to your business.
I know, I know. This goes against what all the social media wonks, and well-meaning but clueless media professionals tell you.
Social media and “free” blogging websites are supposed to be some the best ways to market and promote your business online.
Those folks are wrong.
First, let lay some facts out on the kitchen table where we all can see them.
Fact One – free sites are NEVER really free.
Network systems, web servers and technical staffs cost money – BIG MONEY. So no one is letting you host your business on their system for “free”.
They (blogging platform owners) are making money off you, you can depend on it.
Blogger and Tumblr, all make money from ads displayed on their free offerings (especially Blogger using it’s parent company Google’s Adsense program).
Wix and Weebly along with other free “site builders” offer premium upgrades (paid web hosting that offers more and better features) on top of their basic freebie sites. And the kicker is that Google at one point actively de-indexing a lot of these sites.
So you can see these sites are NOT free – which means in order to make money they can and will change the terms of service (their rules for what content you can and cannot have on their site).
Not to mention almost all free-based companies change their their privacy rules to suit themselves (these are the rules that “restrict” what they can do and can not do with the information when they collect about you).
So basically free sites change what they want to when they want it, in order to increase their revenues. You can bet that few of them are concerned about your small business success.
Many a small time company has woken up to find that their free-based website has be banned, suspended or de-indexed – essentially it vanished overnight – through no fault of their own.
Mistake #2 – Not Monitoring Your Online Reputation
The other single biggest mistake people make is failing to monitor what is being said about them and their business online. Most people don’t know that a damaging smear campaign or stinging review has been posted online, until it’s too late.
So to protect yourself, you need to set out some “tripwires” in order to get as much early warning signals as you can. Check out the 5 tips below:
- Create Google Alerts for your company, products, and the top members of your team.
- Create social profiles on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ and closely monitor what’s being posted there.
- Create an account on Yelp and closely monitor what’s being posted there.
- Create positive press releases and use them often.
- Create a YouTube channel and add videos it early and often.
Mistake #3 – Don’t Tease the Trolls
WARNING: While it is almost impossible to stop yourself from unleashing the dogs from hell on someone who has who has unfairly posted something negative or untrue about you or your business online…DON’T DO IT!
More than one small business people has made a crappy situation worst by dropping the bomb (especially an F-Bomb) on a pissed off customer, online heckler or internet troll.
Just wait, take some deep breathes and if you still feel you must, the you can CALMLY respond to their comments in your very best professional manner…JUST THE ONE TIME!
Yes, just once. Speak you peace, clearly and professionally and then leave it alone. Don’t respond again, no matter how tempting. Trolls love to hate and will stir the sh*t forever if you let them. The best option is to ignore them.
As for ticked off former customers, offer to fix the problem if you can. If it’s just a whine, remember people are entitled to their opinions…unless they accuse you of some sort of criminal activity…in which case it’s time to call your attorney. Let them handle it from there.
So there you have it. Now that you understand a little bit more about these two mistakes, you can use these tips to fix and repair just about any damaged online reputation.