This is a guest post by Dave Thomas.
Entrepreneurs come in all shapes and sizes.
With that being said, what kind of business owner are you? Do you have trouble sleeping at night when it comes to meeting the needs of your customers, worrying about the people you hire, or what your rivals may be up to?
Those are all legitimate concerns, but what about your reputation? Specifically, what about your online reputation as both a person and an entrepreneur?
Unfortunately, many entrepreneurs wait until something negative happens that they then turn their attention to their online reputation. By that point and time, the damage to their business may very well already be done.
So, what are some things as an entrepreneur that you need to do to better protect what is said about you online?
Among the items to zero in on:
First and foremost, make sure you don’t make any major gaffes when it comes to social media. While there are some entrepreneurs who have failed to engage in and reap the rewards of social media, others have dove into it. While participating is great, there is always the chance that a mistake or two will be made, mistakes that can damage your online reputation.
For example, let’s say you get into a beef with an angry customer who has taken to Facebook, Twitter or another social venue. Next thing you know, they have called you and your business out. In order to provide your side of the story, you respond, with the dialogue going back-and-forth, sometimes in a negative tone.
The unfortunate part for you is that current and potential customers see you in a less positive light, meaning their business could very well go elsewhere. If you feel you can’t answer the customer in an efficient and professional manner, by all means do not engage publically with them. Take the conversation to private channels, allowing you and the customer to hash out a solution. You also want to make sure that any comments you or your team make on social media come across as professional. While it is okay to have a little fun with SM, posting inappropriate office party photos or comments should never even be considered;
Know what others are saying
With all you have to do as an entrepreneur, you probably do not have time to do periodic online checks of your name and your business. The problem here is that there are companies out there that post information you may choose not to go public, including personal addresses, income levels, divorce information, court documents and more. By doing a Google search of both your name and your company’s name, you can stay abreast of what others are seeing when they do likewise;
Make your Internet experience a positive one
Finally, there are many different ways you and your company can come out looking like stars on the Internet. Make sure you promote things like blog posts that make you out to be an authority in your field, customer testimonials, press releases about the interesting things your business is doing, videos and podcasts that assist customers and much more.
In the event there is some negative information floating around online that puts you and/or your business in a bad light, projecting all the good things you are doing will lower the bad stuff on the search engines.
From social media to your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts and more, make sure the time you and your employees spend on the Internet is productive.
Remember, your online reputation is at stake.