One of the first steps in creating a successful business, especially online, is branding. It is a non-stop necessity that will remain vital to your growth for as long as you do business. Branding means creating a consistent image and positive reputation in the minds and the ideosphere of your customers. For brevity, we might call it PR, or in Internet terms- digital reputation.
The Internet is all about information and choice. When a road-weary motorist pulls up to the only gas station on a long stretch of desert road, he has no choice. But when customers find you online, they have nothing but choice! Your corporate reputation management strategy is the only thing keeping them from turning their mouse around and skittering furiously in the other digital direction.
So, the question is, what are the biggest threats to your digital reputation out there? Some of the answers might surprise you.
The Biggest Threats To Your Company’s Reputation
The biggest threats to your corporate reputation are not the same as the threats to an individual’s reputation. Some are related to cybersecurity, but most stem from your customers and would-be customers. Sometimes, depending on the nature of your industry and your competitors, they might actually stem from forms of corporate espionage. Here are the top threats to your digital reputation and reputation repair strategies will help.
1-star reviews from dissatisfied or unreasonable customers can be like death from many cuts. A few might roll off your back, but too many will sink you. Most consumer advice articles these days advise people to check online reviews before making a purchase. It’s good advice, but you need to be aware of how important reviews really are. You need to set up policies that discourage customers from leaving bad reviews. Be upfront about offering solutions. Incentivize them to leave good reviews, and respond in the comments to bad reviews with possible solutions that others can see.
There are scammers out there who will try to ride the coattails of your success by creating duplicate sites to draw off some of your natural traffic. Sometimes they run simple malware scams, and sometimes they will pretend to be you long enough to get the money of paying customers. You need to always be on the lookout for these guys, warn your customers about them, and file complaints when necessary.
Your internal corporate security and your internal cybersecurity are like walls, fences, and locked doors. Any holes in them or lapses in integrity- even brief ones- may be enough to let hackers launch their attacks. Some attacks are reputation-based, even those that come through conventional IT-related means.
This falls into the realm of bad reviews. But a bad BBB rating can kill off your best potential customers. Again, you need to proactively offer solutions to dissatisfied customers, and offer solutions before things go wrong. That way, their first move won’t be to cry to the BBB but to take advantage of your solution.
Know that your own workforce can hurt your reputation if they so choose. They may do it by mistake, or they may do it vindictively. You should hold staff training on representing your company, and offer preemptive solutions to problems before they arise.