How To Manage Your Company's Reputation Online
Written by K'Lee Banks
The good thing about social media is the small business owner can garner new business, interact with established or prospective new customers, and establish and promote the good reputation of the company.
The bad thing about social media is the small business owner may have to do damage control because of disgruntled employees who post their complaints and criticism online, forcing the business owner to spend time handling negative Google reviews those employees have posted.
The world of sports may have introduced the concept of 'trash talk' as a way to intimidate opponents, but talking trash about a company in an effort to sabotage or damage the reputation of the owner is even more detrimental.
With all the benefits of social media, the downsides are the ease and speed in which bad news can spread. As human nature tends to gravitate toward the negative, any kind of negative comments or reviews posted about a company and its owner can have disastrous repercussions.
Repercussions of Negative Talk
One of the first repercussions of negative talk spread via social media is an obvious loss in business and/or profits as present and prospective customers question the validity of the bad reviews online.
The small business owner may face scrutiny by clients, customers, attorneys, accountants, and other professionals, depending on what exactly gets posted about the business. This may progress into actions such as audits, investigations, and loss of credit with suppliers.
Negative talk not only adversely affects the small business owner and his or her business reputation, but it can have more far-reaching repercussions that even impact the party guilty of spreading negative talk.
Depending on the severity of an employee’s comments, he or she may face disciplinary action at work, may get fired, or may even get sued by the business owner for libel or defamation of character.
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Promoting Positive PR
Once the small business owner deals with the employee or employees guilty of negative talk and social media attention, forcing the small business owner into handling negative Google reviews and other adverse actions, he or she needs to take the proactive step of promoting positive public relations (PR).
He or she should start with the remaining employees to determine if there is anyone else who is discontent or upset about anything regarding the business and the business owner. If employees have legitimate complaints or concerns, the wise small business owner will address them and take the right steps toward correcting them.
The small business owner may also consider improving overall employee morale by offering additional benefits and higher wages, as well as hiring a more diverse workforce.
Other steps the small business owner may take include the following >>>
- Enlist help from a company that specializes in improving business reputations as they remove negative reviews and gradually replace them with positive reviews.
- Demonstrate commitment to the community and altruistic endeavors, such as sponsoring events, donating prizes, or donating to charities.
- Connect with the public for positive communication on social media.
- Emphasize the positive about the business, including awards, recognition, and positive customer and employee reviews.
Small business owners concerned about these issues may want to take the proactive step of simply asking their employees for feedback.
Perhaps an anonymous employee survey would be one of the best ways to gauge how employees feel about how the small business owner is conducting his or her business.
No matter what you do, make sure you have a sense of whether or not your employees are being too social for your own good.
About the Author
Out of approximately 2,000 articles published online, K'Lee Banks has written hundreds of those on a wide variety of small business topics, including using and managing social media, and handling negative Google reviews.