What Reputation Management Means for Your Small Online Business
Reputation management is not quite the same as branding your company name, although it does involve getting information about your company out to the public eye. It more specifically entails the tracking of your company’s activities and opinions from sources outside your business regarding your activities. The internet is used as a means for expressing opinions and it can be an exceptionally valuable tool, but take heed – it is a double-edged sword in the sense that bad news about your business can spread around the globe like weeds on fire before you even know it’s happening.
Share the Good News
Emails, blogs, forums and social media venues such as Facebook, Twitter and MySpace, to name a few give people the opportunity to say what they think about your business affairs without the option for you to screen what’s being said. The online Better Business Bureau service provides instant access for other business owners and potential customers to read about you, whether it’s good bad or ugly. Your reputation is based on just about anything that is said about you, regardless if it’s real or based on someone’s misinformed perception. The worst news of all is that there are actually organizations in existence for the sole purpose of making public statements to make you look bad.
The fact is, the internet has made reputation management a huge deal. Just do a search for reputation management and you’ll come up with more than 3 million results. The great news is that you don’t have to hire a reputation management firm to counteract public opinion that’s detrimental to your business. You can handle this yourself by implementing a regular program of publishing your successes and achievements on the World Wide Web.
It’s not good manners to take issue with another’s opinion and more often than not it simply adds fuel to their fire. (Consult with your legal advisors if you believe you have observed statements about you that you believe could be considered slanderous.) It is inevitable that you won’t be able to please everyone – 2-3% of the population is simply hostile and unwilling to change.
Take charge of your reputation by sending out press releases and posting on social media venues with all the good news about your company. Get involved in community service activities and make generous donations to charities. Join your local Chamber of Commerce. Ask your associates and customers to give you testimonials and publish these on your website. Become the ultimate bearer of good news.