As a small business owner, It’s your job to build, maintain and protect your brand name. Legendary investor Warren Buffett once said, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.”
But what do you do when your reputation has been attacked? A failure to address threats such as bad customer reviews could result in lost sales and lower productivity.
Here are six ways to help repair your business reputation:
1. Assess the current state of your brand reputation
“Whether you’re managing an established business, a new brand or even an individual, it’s important to evaluate the current state of their reputation before making any changes. This will inform your overall strategy and let you know which areas to invest in.
For instance, perhaps the business lacks search results and needs significant content creation to build up its reputation. Or, perhaps there is a noticeable amount of damaging or false information online that needs to be managed or removed. It might sound simple, but start the process with basic keyword searches across various search engines and social media platforms to determine what, if anything, already exists online.”
2. Identifying the source
“What specifically damaged your company’s reputation in the first place? You can’t effectively fix something if you don’t know the root cause.
There are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of unique scenarios that could hurt a business and its online perception. Examples include:
- Faulty or unsafe product
- Offensive marketing campaign
- Insensitive public comments made by owner or CEO
- Poor customer service
- Data breach that leaked sensitive customer information
- Bad press instigated by a competitor or other external source
One review about a single employee or broken product is not typically the source of a bad reputation. Typically, the source is something that had a more significant impact on a larger group of people.”
3. Have a plan before fixing your reputation
“Managing your reputation is a manner of organization and foresight. Make sure to set up Google alerts for all titles in question using brand names, product tags, popular misspellings (use analytics to find these), competitors, senior team leaders and key industry terms and popular search phrases. By discovering the problem, you can develop a solution.
Always have a well-thought-out plan for how to handle a reputation crisis. Sometimes the best fix to a problem is not to respond to the problem at all. Look to see if the offending website that hosts the negative comments about you will gain popularity by the rebuttals from the company or person trying to defend himself—if the site performs on other people’s comments it may be a good idea not to respond at all.”
4. Resolve the problem
“Find the root cause of the problem and resolve this. Implement preventative measures, such as revising current processes and training your employees, and share these efforts with your customer. Letting the reviewer know that you’re creating a long-term solution helps repair your online reputation because this shows them that you’re serious about providing optimal service to your customers.”
5. Ask Google to remove a page or site
“Once negative information hits the web, it can be difficult to remove. However, if someone posts inappropriate, defaming content or images about your business, you can contact Google and ask them to remove the page or website from its listings.
Check out Google’s removal policies for more information about what kinds of content they will remove. It’s important to remember, though, that even if Google removes content from listings, you may still need to contact the site’s webmaster to remove the content from their site. Just because information doesn’t show up in Google results doesn’t mean that it no longer exists on the Internet.”
6. Get some positive reviews and publicity
“Let folks know the good things you do. Post them on your site and social. Publicize your community involvement, and perhaps most critically, ask for help. Get your happy customers to write positive online comments about your business. As these will be more recent than the old bad reviews, they may get found first in a search.”
Source: USA Today
Need Help Improving Your Business Reputation?
Your reputation is the single most important aspect of your business. At First Union, we want to see you succeed—if you need help with implementing a social media plan or boosting marketing efforts, we’d love to discuss our financing programs with you. Call today. We are here to help!