The Internet has provided an information- sharing arena where neither time nor space is a barrier. This power can be harnessed to spread a brand’s message far and wide in a relatively short amount of time. While these technological developments are advantageous for business owners, they can also have detrimental effects if not managed correctly! For example, if your business receives a bad review or posts an advertisement, which is perceived as misleading, this too will spread to a wide audience in no time. For this reason, you should have a plan to protect your business’ reputation online!
In order to find out what your current online reputation is, you can search online. Doing research using common search engines such as Google will show you what your potential clients will find if they search for you themselves. You can use a variety of search terms such as the name of your business e.g. “Tom’s Plumbing Excellence” or related terms such as “Best plumbers in Sydney” to see where you rank in relation to others. You can also set up a Google Alert for particular search terms so each time there is a news story containing that term, you will be alerted via email.
Watch your social media pages like a hawk
It is your responsibility to monitor your social media page. In order to protect your reputation, you should routinely check on any comments, responses, shares or reviews. You can respond to, remove or report these depending on their content.
Enforce a company-wide social media policy
Ensure you have a social media policy in place and educate all employees on this policy. Employees tend to respond better to policies that encourage certain behaviors so you can take this kind of approach to your policy. For example, you could suggest that employees speak about a certain aspects of your business online.
Google My Business
Another way to protect your reputation is to use “Google My Business”. Google My Business is a free service provided by Google, which aims to connect your business with potential clients. It allows them to find you through various Google search functions such as maps, Google + and search. This kind of exposure helps to legitimize your business and may give your clientele a better first impression of your business. You can find this application at https://www.google.com/business/.
Separate your business and your personal profiles
In order to maintain a positive online reputation, it is a good idea to separate your business brand from your personal brand. Creating separate personal and business online profiles can do this. While the profiles are separate, you should ensure that your personal profile still appears professional as potential clients may look up your name instead of your business name when they are searching for you.