As a new business, you want to get started on the right foot. For almost all of your potential customers and clients, you’re an unknown quantity. They need to know something about you before they decide whether or not to buy from you or to work with you, so it’s absolutely in your best interests to make sure that any information out there about your venture is positive and accurate.
That might seem an easy thing to do. After all, why would anybody engage in spreading inaccurate or negative information about a new business? All you need to do is get your website up and running, advertise, and maybe work on getting some good publicity going on. These are certainly all things that you should be doing, but at the same time, you also need to watch out for any posts that might put people off your business before you’ve really even got started.
What does Google say?
These days, we all check out a business online before engaging with them. This is as easy as pulling out our phones and typing the company name into the Google search bar. What comes up on the first page – even, in fact, the first two or three results – will determine whether or not we proceed any further.
With a relatively new business, this is especially the case, as there’s less chance of people having heard of you already. What comes up will hopefully include your company website and social media sites. However, people will also be looking for online reviews, and it’s these, more than anything else, that will determine their opinion of your business.
The impact of customer reviews
The thinking goes that at least online reviews are written by real people and accurately reflect their genuine experiences of a company. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. Bogus reviews exist, though the most prestigious review sites work extremely hard to weed them out and are generally successful. Nevertheless, a few bogus reviews can slip through. Although these are rare for a new business, you still need to look out for them and report them when they occur.
More of a concern for you will be genuine reviews that paint your business in a bad light. These can come about for several reasons. As a new company, you will inevitably face teething problems. You’re still finding your feet, and in your first few months of doing business, you will make mistakes. Hopefully, you’ll learn from them and not make them again, but that’s scant solace for the customer who’s been affected. If they post a bad review of your company as a result, then that can stay online and affect your reputation even as it no longer reflects your working practices.
An accurate picture
I’m sure that you can see now why online reputation management is a major concern for new businesses as well as more established companies. ReputationDefender can help businesses and individuals to manage how they are perceived through the internet. This involves both preventative steps and damage limitation in order to make sure that a more positive and accurate picture of your company prevails.
Sometimes, a bad review can be based on a misunderstanding, or a low score could be given that doesn’t really reflect a customer’s actual experience. In such cases, it can be worth engaging with them to see if the matter can be rectified. At the very least, a polite public response will show that you take customer satisfaction seriously and will always go the extra mile to resolve any difficulties. In other cases, however, engaging can just raise the profile of the negative post and should be avoided.
Think before you tweet
As a new business, it’s also important that you give all of your staff appropriate social media training. What they say online reflects back on your company, and what to them may seem an innocuous bit of humour or blowing off steam could prove offensive to others, especially if it’s picked up and blown out of all proportion by other social media users, or the mainstream press. Similarly, make sure that all emails and company communications are appropriately worded as they all ultimately reflect back on you.
Online reputation management isn’t about “spin” or trying to distort the truth in your favour. It’s about making sure that the picture of your company that’s presented online is fair and accurate, and about giving you a say in the conversation. It’s easy to overlook the fact that this conversation is going on at all, which is why sometimes it’s worth taking expert advice so that you can concentrate on running your business and doing what you do best.