Every single day millions of Google searches are made. If you’re a startup, the last thing you need is to have someone smearing your name before you get started. Bigger companies can deal with the occasional troll here and there, but when you’re just getting off the ground it can cause a lot of damage and prevent effective business growth.
Disgruntled co-founders and upset customers can bring down entire companies before they manage to gain any traction. You need to own your reputation right now. In 2016, the key online reputation question to ask is how much of a risk are you taking by not concentrating on your online reputation from day one?
Because It Will Happen
You may be wondering why you can’t simply repair the damage if it happens. The fact is that this isn’t a question of if it happens because it absolutely will happen. A huge 54% of the population doesn’t trust brands. Even if you happen to be the greatest company in the world, you are always going to receive some negative PR sooner or later. And it won’t necessarily be justified.
The easiest way to counter this is to make sure you are acting right now. If you already have a hundred positive Yelp reviews, one isn’t going to cause a problem. But if you only have one Yelp review and it’s negative, then it’s a problem.
You Won’t Notice the Damage for a While
Even if you set up lots of Google Alerts, you aren’t going to catch everyone who says something bad about you. It may not even be in Google. It may come in the form of a social media update that isn’t indexed by Google, or it may be whispered in a private message.
However, it happens, you won’t realize it’s happened until the consequences are already being felt. Then you are in a process of damage control, as opposed to making sure no damage happens in the first place.
Learn About Yourself
It’s easy to dismiss criticism as a bunch of haters trying to bring down your company. But they could be giving you real feedback. There are many companies that have lots of negative reviews. It isn’t because they have managed to annoy a lot of people. It’s because their product or service genuinely sucks.
And managing your online reputation from day one as a startup can help you to work out the problems with your product or service prior to getting too big. During periods of growth, you want a streamlined service with a minimal number of issues. The earlier you solve your problems the better it’s going to be for your reputation in the long-term.
A hit to your reputation can cause you to lose a lot of money. It’s much cheaper to invest in online reputation services right now than it is to try to repair your reputation later on. It’s more difficult than ever before to bury bad rep with a stream of positive reviews from the ground up. It can cost thousands to successfully remove something, and it can be costing you thousands until you get this done.
A single star lost on a platform like Yelp can mean a huge deal for the future of your company.
How to Get Started with Your Online Reputation Management
As a startup, it’s difficult to consider something like online reputation management when your primary focus is on your product and landing your first sales. But those companies that do accept they need to focus on online reputation from the beginning tend to fare better in the long-term.
Startups are notorious for not thinking long-term, since they are usually not in a position to look to future. Be different and you are guaranteed to get better results.
The first thing you need to do is to encourage your customers to rave you about. Encourage them to leave positive reviews. You may even want to appeal to them through exclusive discounts, for example.
Also, set up some Google Alerts for your name, the company name, and the names of some of your products. This will ensure that you receive an email as soon as someone mentions your name anywhere online. Investigate each time you get an alert and see if anyone is talking negatively about you.
It’s also worth hiring an online reputation management firm, if you have the budget, and they can do the majority of the heavy lifting for you, so you can get on with the business of doing what you do best.
Sourced through Scoop.it from: www.huffingtonpost.com