Whether your business is brand new or well-established, maintaining a positive and professional online image should always be a high priority. Sadly, you can be the hands-down best at what you do and still suffer from damage due to negative or erroneous information.
Your best defense is to continue to deliver great service and prevent bad reviews from happening, but first, you need to take control of your online reputation because any negative comments that are out there can and will come back to haunt you – if not now, then later. And nobody likes those kinds of surprises.
Here are some tips to get you started on the right track:
1. Check where you are listed on the web
Have you ever searched your company online to see what comes up? If not, now’s a good time to start. There are plenty of ways in which you can be misrepresented – either in old or outdated listings or through questionable reviews. Sites like Yelp, Google, and Trip Advisor allow you to claim your business listing, after which you can control what information is represented on it. Most will allow you to post photos or otherwise professionalize your listing for free.
2. Do your best to remove negative comments or reviews
While you may not be able to remove all negative comments, many can be changed or removed if you ask. Once you have claimed your listing, be sure to respond to any comments, whether they are good or bad. If they are bad, demonstrating your concern shows that you care. If they are good, your thoughtful response will show how grateful you are. Either way, you will be proving that you are a real person who is in touch with your customers.
3. Keep your website and social media pages updated
If your website is difficult to navigate, or if it doesn’t represent how you do business today, then it is sending the wrong message to potential customers. Most people today see inactivity as stagnation and they might just give their business to your competitor. Keep your online properties—your website as well as all your social profiles—as current as possible.
4. Post on a regular basis
Posting on a regular basis is important – this goes for your website blog as well as your social profiles. If people see that you are active and engaged with your customers, they will be far more likely to take a chance on you. Posting informative, engaging content is a great way to boost your professional image online.
5. Maintain a LinkedIn profile
You might think that LinkedIn is “just another social media site”, but in truth, it’s made for business. An up-to-date LinkedIn profile helps you be counted among your peers, and may also help you to attract top talent when you are in hiring mode. LinkedIn also gives you a way to connect with other thought leaders in your industry, which will support your future innovation.
If you do business in Annapolis, drop by My Annapolis Office for a tour. We support entrepreneurs, startups, freelancers, and companies just like you with tools that will help you build your professional image.