10 Mistakes That Devastate Your Online Reputation

From the city’s best soccer programs to which auditing firm you should hire come tax time, consumers go online to research virtually every type of business. A few clicks can access a world of information, including the good, the bad and the downright ugly. Is your cyber reputation hurting your business’s ability to succeed?

Your online reputation is infinitely important and must be handled with ongoing care. While big businesses have entire departments dedicated to these important tasks, it is no less important for small to midsize businesses to manage online activity. If anything, it’s more important, because one instance of negative feedback from a customer can be posted online and go viral, perhaps nagging you for months or years.

Don’t make these 10 mistakes when it comes to managing your business’s cyber reputation:

Downplay the Internet’s importance

Even if your business isn’t based online, it does have an online reputation. The Internet magnifies every blemish. Google your company name, read reviews and monitor social media regularly. Know what’s going on out there.

Wait and be reactive

Waiting to react until there is a problem is a recipe for disaster. Always be proactive in managing online profiles and any issues that arise.

Ignore SERPs

Your search engine results page (SERP) is critical to your business’s success. Control as much as possible on page one. Ignoring it can result in top spots going to critical reviews and even competitors.

Limit your social media accounts

While some platforms may have more benefit than others, set up social profiles on all major networks (Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest are essential) to avoid brand hijacking and control more SERP spots.

 Don’t do any social media outreach

It’s not enough to just own the accounts; you must be active on your social media accounts to engage audiences, disseminate messages and build your online reputation.

Disregard employees’ online reputations

Employees’ online reputations, particularly top-level execs, should align with the company’s values. The reputation of the business often goes hand-in-hand with the reputation of its employees.

Have no reaction plan

There will always be negative posts. Whether it’s a competitor’s attempt to smear your reputation or a legitimate business mistake, have a course of action that is designed to make things better, and won’t make the situation worse.

Avoid useful tools

Managing online reputations takes time, but fortunately there are more tools than ever before to streamline the process. Check out Google Alerts, Social Mention, TweetBeep and MonitorThis.

Ignore your blog

A blog is a business necessity and key tool for managing your online reputation. If you don’t have one, start one. If your blog is inactive, make it your goal to post at minimum once a week.

Invest no time or money

If you don’t have the time or expertise to manage your business’s online reputation properly, hire professionals to do so. From content creation to social media management, experts can get the job done right so you don’t have to worry.

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