young woman surfing internet on laptop in cafeteria

The internet can be a good friend for your business, helping you achieve things that you’d never be able to do without it. The reach you can gain through online pathways is unrivaled, with digital marketing offering new ways to promote your company. It’s also possible to use the internet to spread the word about your business and improve your reputation. Certainly, when you play your cards right, you can build trust with consumers. 

Ironically, you can also see the opposite happening. Instead of improving your reputation, the internet can damage it. This can happen in many ways, but the following examples are the most common…

Negative reviews

Negative reviews aren’t always as bad as they seem. If you respond to them in the right way, they can actually help your reputation. At the very least, you’re able to use criticism to improve your business. Unfortunately, some negative reviews aren’t helpful at all. People can leave unwarranted negative reviews for no reason, bringing down your average score. Believe it or not, but rival companies have been known to do this, making some businesses look worse than theirs. 

The key to combating this is to focus on generating positive reviews that drown out the negative ones. Also, responding to constructively negative reviews helps as it makes it easy for consumers to see which reviews seem genuine, and which ones are just an attack on your reputation. 

Negative & damaging content

Similarly, you can find lots of content written about your business. Some of it may be genuine, but other pieces could be full of bs, making your company look bad. Obviously, you will know if someone is giving a fair representation of your business. What tends to happen is customers write negative content because they’re unhappy with the service, leaving out key details that paint you as the bad guy. In reality, their service may not have lived up to standards because they were unreasonable or might not have provided you with the right information. 

You also may see news stories about your business that make unfounded claims. Word travels quickly online, with news outlets quick to believe anything. This is why it helps to work with reputation management companies, so you can quickly identify any inaccurate and damaging content, getting it removed or hidden. Fewer people will see it, so it won’t harm your reputation as badly. 

Social media blunders

Yes, many reputations are damaged by a simple social media blunder. Hopefully, this doesn’t come directly from your business’s social media accounts! What tends to happen is employees make blunders on their personal accounts, but it ends up linking them to you. Pretty soon, you’re embroiled in an internet scandal that has nothing to do with you. Your reputation can be damaged, particularly if you don’t take affirmative action! 

Consider this post to be a warning for all businesses using the internet – which should be every single one! It can be your friend, but be aware that it can also cause reputation issues if you’re not careful.

By Erica Buteau

Change Agent. Daydream Believer. Maker. Creative. Likes love, peace and Jeeping. Dislikes winter, paper cuts and war. She/Her/Hers.

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