And if someone makes a mistake online, then the ripple effects can be sudden and devastating.
Luckily, there are plenty of ways to ensure your business’ online reputation stays squeaky clean. From effective complaint responses to staying open and transparent with your customers, getting into the habit of proper online etiquette is an essential part of bolstering and maintaining your reputation for the better. Here, we’ll go into seven things you can do to make sure your business stays on the right side of its reputation on the web.
Providing you offer a good service let potential customers know by encouraging your existing ones to leave positive reviews on your website or social media channels. Whether it’s a sign instore, at the bottom of a receipt, or online itself, a gentle nudge towards positive reviews can work wonders for you.
Not only does it boost your business’ credibility, positive reviews help to increase search engine rankings, establish trust and is an excellent way of showing potential consumers that you’re a quality business. It’s best to establish this practice early before you get any negative reviews, the positive ones might offset the discontent, but if you’ve already got a bad reputation, the rave reviews might not look so effective.
Engage with your customers and take heed of what they say. It’s important to listen to their opinions, that way you can identify recurring problems and see where improvements can be made. Creating specific social media accounts to address specific concerns is a good way of showing you care about their needs. Satisfaction surveys are an excellent method of gleaning areas of your business, site or presence that can be worked on and improved. When customers know their opinions are being heard and know they’re valued, the knock-on effect towards your reputation is undoubtedly a good thing.
If you are faced with negative comments or reviews, then be sure you’re responding to them in the appropriate manner. First of all, don’t attempt to cover up or ignore any less-than-savoury comments. Likewise, don’t jump into a response without first investigating the issue further. Take a step back and formulate a considered, genuine response instead of leaping in with something you might regret later.
Additionally, resist the urge to go on the defensive. Own your mistake and look towards resolving the problem rather than drawing attention to it with a negative response. The same goes for trolls, if you find someone posting inflammatory remarks on your social media, don’t be fooled by the bait. Either ignore, delete or report these comments, but avoid rising to them; you’ll only be giving them what they want.
It’s important not to let the personal side of you or any of your employees encroach into the professional aspects of the business. Make sure you don’t accidentally post the photos from your last holiday to your business’ Twitter feed. Although it’s common sense, this embarrassing faux pas is easily done and tends to look a little unprofessional to outsiders.
Likewise, though family members can help out by sharing links to your business, err on the side of caution when asking them to chip in. Your customers don’t want to find personal info and details that relate to you or your employees on the business’ social media accounts.
Similarly, stay away from politics, religion or touchy subjects surrounding current affairs. Your business is your business, and its social media accounts are not an outlet for you or your employees’ beliefs. The end result is to gain new customers and business, not the opposite. If you have a hot take on something in the news, best to keep it to yourself before you leave your business’ reputation in tatters.
Although hashtags are a great way to make the most out of your social posts, and are a great way to advertise your business, they have to be handled with care. If something’s trending on Twitter, make sure you know why it’s trending and any connotations or implications that might be apparent if you’re using it in a tweet.
What might seem innocuous at first may well relate to something larger, such as political unrest or the outcome of a court case. It is best to be 100% sure of any connotations of a hashtag you use, otherwise your business could face negative publicity and significant backlash.
Finally, it is important to ensure every member of the team with access to the social channels is fully trained up to act in a responsible and appropriate manner. Whether your business has a dedicated social media team, or responsibility is passed between employees on an ad-hoc basis, they will need to understand the basics.
Training needn’t be exhaustive, just a run-through of things they can and cannot say on the business’ social media. A brush-up on the brand’s tone of voice would be helpful too, so the business’ ethics and values are retained in all posts, tweets and engagements.
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