Is Your Company’s Reputation on the Line?
For the smallest of business owners to those running large companies, the reputation of their business is as if not more important than anything else.
In the event that your company’s reputation comes into question, how do you go about putting out the brush fire before it turns into a full-raging inferno? Remember, your company’s image goes a long way in determining how successful a business you will be over time.
When your company’s reputation has been called into question online, some ways to go about dealing with it include:
1. Acknowledge the problem - For too many businesses, the idea of taking the time to deal with an online problem falls by the wayside. In smaller companies, where the boss is wearing many hats and employees are few and far between, when and how to deal with such a problem can oftentimes be overwhelming. Not addressing it, however, can be extremely dangerous. You first need to determine why your reputation has been brought into question, how great the fallout potentially can be, and what steps need to be taken to quell the potential damage;
2. Why me? - The next step is to try and determine why your business was targeted. Is it an issue related to customer service, a disgruntled employee, or a competitor trying to make business tough for you? Once you are able to determine why your company’s reputation is being brought into question online, the next step is how you will go about fixing it;
3. What’s next? - How you handle such an online reputation problem is as important a decision you may ever make. Keep in mind that how business is done today is much different from even a decade ago. While the Internet has been around for some time now, the abundance of social media networks has made life even more challenging for many businesses. You simply can’t wish away an online reputation problem, hoping that your business will not suffer from it. It is important to have a game plan in place BEFORE such a problem even exists;
4. Spread the positive word - One of the best ways to deal with a negative online image is to get out in front of it, promote the positive things your company is doing, and lessen the impact of the negative stuff. If you are not already doing so, make sure to put out press releases, relevant and interesting blog content, and be active in social media. All three areas will allow you to gain positive recognition with the search engines, giving you the opportunity to push negative news down in the rankings;
5. Get help when needed - Especially for those individuals running small businesses, time is often an issue. If you find yourself lacking time and/or the knowledge to deal with online image issues, turn to outsiders for assistance. There are numerous companies out there that deal with this problem on a daily basis, so there is help if you know where to look for it.
6. Prevent the problem from happening again - Last but not least, while you may not have 100 percent certainty that this issue will not come around again, you can certainly decrease the odds substantially by practicing good Internet habits. Monitoring your online image, producing positive content regarding your company, and knowing when you need help are three keys to eliminating one of the bigger problems in today’s online business world.