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10 Online Reputation Management Mistakes to Avoid for Small Businesses

Reputation Management Mistakes that should be avoided by small businesses.

Did you know you have less than 10 seconds to impress people? That’s about how long it takes for someone to form their first impression.

Now think about the Internet. What’s the first search result that crops up when someone Googles your business name? What do the first three or four reviews look like?

It should be clear why online reputation management matters so much for small business owners. Unfortunately, many of them make mistakes with their online reputations.

Luckily, you can learn from those mistakes. This guide has 10 of the most common mistakes businesses make. In turn, you can take steps to avoid them and manage your reputation the right way.

1. Letting Your Reputation Manage Itself

Online reputation management should be a core part of your digital marketing strategy. Unfortunately, many business leaders believe they can let their online reputation be.

This is sometimes an oversight. They may not realize they need to be actively involved in fixing online listings or attracting customer reviews.

Others make the error of assuming these things will take care of themselves. The truth is you need to be involved in managing your reputation in the online space. Doing so will help you make a better impression on potential customers and keep your existing customers happy.

2. Staying Off Social Media

The next mistake some business leaders make is not involving social media in their strategies.

Some may say they don’t want the headache of social media. Others may not see the value of it. Still, others may feel they don’t have time to be active on social media.

Social media can be a double-edged sword, but it does give you the opportunity to interact with your audience. It’s often somewhere you can respond to their concerns and questions.

Monitoring your social media mentions allows you to assist customers or correct misunderstandings. In turn, people see your brand values and your customer service in action.

If you’re not active on social media, you’re missing opportunities.

3. DIY Online Reputation Management

One of the biggest mistakes people make with their online reputation strategy is assuming they can do it themselves.

There’s plenty of work involved in online reputation management. That’s one reason so many business leaders don’t even address it. You need to monitor your mentions, respond to queries, and so much more.

In short, you have to be proactive.

That can eat up a lot of your time. Doing it yourself is often the wrong strategy because you could use that time for something else.

DIY reputation management may also not be the right choice because of your personal involvement. It can be difficult to see someone say something negative about your business or your brand.

The instinct to get defensive can lead to all kinds of problems for business owners. Instead, think about letting the professionals handle your reputation.

They have the right training and expertise to engage with your customers. You can give them tips and scripts to help them manage any situation. Your reputation management will be better for it.

4. Not Responding to Positive Reviews

Online customer reviews are one of the cornerstones of your reputation. Getting them can be half the battle. Once you have them, though, you’ll need to manage them the right way.

Many business owners think that they don’t need to respond to positive reviews. Unfortunately, this can hurt your reputation. It makes it look like you don’t appreciate the customers who love your business.

Take positive reviews as an opportunity to interact with people who love your brand. Thank them for their kind words, and express your enthusiasm for having them as a customer.

If you can, try to make the interaction even more positive. Can you offer the customer something in return for being a loyal fan?

5. Ignoring Bad Reviews

Responding to customers who leave positive reviews is one thing. What about the ones who leave you negative comments?

Dealing with negative reviews the right way is crucial for your online reputation.

First, you should never ignore a negative review. The negative review means something was wrong. You should take steps to correct what was upsetting for this customer.

Of course, you need to respond the right way to a customer who is negative. Many business leaders make the mistake of getting aggressive or defensive.

Instead of focusing on why the customer’s review is wrong, think about how you can make this right for them. Ask them for details about the interaction they describe and offer to resolve the situation. You may want to move them to private chat for the details.

You can offer the customer something like a discount or refund to make it right for them. If the customer accepts, see if they’ll update their review.

Posting publicly lets other people see your customer service in action. Even if someone is complaining, you may come out looking like the winner.

6. Using Canned Responses

Another very common mistake for business owners to make is using canned responses. You might decide to automate responses on social media or to customer reviews. You might also decide to create scripts and reply to every negative or positive comment the same way.

This can hurt your reputation because it makes your brand look robotic. People are very good at picking out inauthentic responses. They may be concerned that you don’t care about your customers or feel like they’ll be treated like numbers, not people.

When you can, respond authentically. It’s still important to follow scripts. You don’t want to get aggressive with a customer or promise things you can’t deliver on.

Still, a response that’s customized to each customer and comes from a human will go a long way.

7. Not Looking for Feedback

How often do you ask for feedback from customers? If the answer is “never,” it’s time to make a change.

Even if you’re getting reviews, it’s still a good idea to ask for feedback from your customers. Ask them what’s working for them about your website, your brand, or anything else.

Most of your customers will have some constructive criticism. Some might be concerned that your website isn’t easy to navigate. They might tell you about a time they decided to shop somewhere else because your prices were too high.

If you never ask for feedback, you may never receive these insights. Without them, you can’t make meaningful changes to improve your business.

This might make you look disengaged or uncaring. When you ask for feedback and put it into practice, your customers and your future customers will see how dedicated you are.

8. Posting Fake Reviews

It’s important to get reviews for your business, but it can be tough to do. You should never post fake reviews, though.

Fake positive reviews are a problem because they will get you dinged by Google. You may be penalized in the search rankings or even blacklisted. Most platforms have policies against posting fake reviews.

It’s also a problem to post fake reviews knocking your competitors. This might hurt their reputation, but it will also hurt your business in the long run. You’ll look underhanded and shady, and your audience won’t be impressed.

If you work with a provider that suggests posting fake reviews, you should start looking for another. Their strategy will only hurt you in the long run.

9. Being Inconsistent

Inconsistency is another major concern for anyone trying to manage their online reputation. If you let different people work on your reputation, then you may find they respond to comments differently.

This can create problems if one team member is always very friendly, but another is a little bit more sarcastic. One team member might send messages that are very personable, but they’re not in line with the brand.

Consistency is key here, so your customers always know what to expect from you. Creating brand guidelines that should be used across platforms is one key step. Working with an online reputation management team can also help.

10. Mixing the Personal and Professional

Finally, you should be cautious about mixing the personal and the professional. Consistency can help curb this. So can the use of scripts or other tools to create appropriate responses.

It’s often tempting to post your personal opinion to your company’s social media. You might want to express an opinion when someone comments on your company.

Expressing personal sentiments should be done on your own social media accounts. Personal opinions can hurt your reputation. Potential customers may decide not to do business with you because they disagree with you.

An online reputation management agency can help here too. They may have an easier time maintaining separation between the personal and professional.

Get the Expert Help You Need

Online reputation management is crucial for your business. Avoiding these 10 mistakes will help you steer it in the right direction.

Teaming up with the right partner to manage your online reputation is another step in the right direction. Get in touch with an expert team now and discover a better way to manage your reputation.

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