We can probably all agree that Benjamin Franklin was a smart man and it was he who said the following:
“It takes many good deeds to build a good reputation, and only one bad one to lose it.”
He was right. He was totally and completely, 100 percent right on this. The chances are that Franklin talked about personal reputation, but if you think about it, his quote can easily translate to business reputation.
Today, businesses have another kind of reputation to worry about – their online reputation. Like in so many areas, the web can be quite brutal as well, in that it is ridiculously easy for a company to fall into disrepute. Luckily, with a bit of care and tact, business owners and managers can keep their company reputable online.
Do your Company Website Right
A lot of business owners and managers believe that the company website is something that is created at a specific point in time and that this is the end of it. It is something that exists and it is going to be good for the company. Nothing could be further from the truth.
The company’s website needs to be maintained in the same way as the company’s offices are. If there are new developments in your company, update your website. If you change your address or your phone number, update your website. If you have new members of the team or if some have left you, update your website.
Of course, if you think that your website has become outdated, talk to someone about refreshing it. Keep in mind, however, that your brand still needs to remain recognizable.
Run a Company Blog
Another way to send your word across and to tell people what your brand and your company are about is to have a company blog where you will not only share news from within your company, but your world views and your expertise as well. A number of companies have raised their profile among customers and potential customers by sharing engaging insight on their blog and by becoming online experts in their field.
You might also want to consider writing a blog post or two for other people’s websites, perhaps the leading blogs in the industry, letting people know that your company is all about expertise and knowledge. There are plenty more reasons why you will want a company blog and why you will want it to be as alive as possible.
Patrol Social Media
Social media have become a rather important part of the business ecosystem, with companies and their customers alike sharing their opinions and news. For a business owner or manager, it is particularly important to find out what their customers and potential customers are saying about them. You are not going to react to every little provocation, of course, but if you believe that the truth is being bent a bit too much, you should probably react.
You will also want to avoid sending out content (tweets, statuses, videos, vines, etc.) that has not been thought out and then thought out again. There have been a number of cases where businesses (often huge corporations) suffered serious blows to their reputation thanks to their own social media blunders.
Before you say anything, try to predict every possible outcome and if you are not certain how it is going to come across, better keep your mouth shut, so to say.
Another big part of the company’s social media reputation is the number of people who consider you to be the “fountain of wisdom”. Tools like TwetFavy can be of immense help here, growing your audience and your reputation as a result.
Tighten Up your Security
With the ever-increasing number of data breaches in companies of all sizes and from all industries, the security of a company’s data and cyber-presence in general has become a huge factor in keeping a business reputable.
Besides being totally able to close down a company if the data breach is too large and if it takes too long to solve the problems caused by the breach, companies are discovering that their reputations are being ruined by these problems, as they are seen as incompetent and unable to secure the data that belongs to their customers.
The good news is that companies are doing more and more to secure their data. If you wish to do the same, you need to educate your employees about the importance of proper practice, you need to choose only those IT experts who use secure remote support software and you need to make sure that all of your security software is updated at all times.
There is a lot a business owner needs to keep in mind in order to ensure the reputability of their company online. However, this is not something that can be ignored as ruining one’s online reputation can lead to dramatic consequences to one’s company in general.
Be smart. Stay reputable.