5 mistakes small businesses should avoid in online reputation management

A business’s online reputation can make or break it, which means it can attract new customers or cause them to lose them to a competitor. Online reviews and social media impact small businesses; managing this online presence is crucial for success. Businesses employ dos and don’ts when doing so, and these become tentpoles to sustain the brand. One can safeguard their business’ reputation by avoiding common mistakes and implementing effective reputation management techniques.

Neglecting online feedback
A business’s online reputation should be actively managed as part of its digital marketing strategy; assuming it will take care of itself is a costly mistake. Negative reviews or comments, if left unaddressed, can quickly escalate, favoring the disgruntled party with a probable large following. This escalation can damage the business’s reputation and be challenging to control.

Underutilizing social media
Social media platforms offer opportunities to engage with the audience, showcase the brand, and quickly address concerns. When a business is not active on social media, it deprives itself of vital interaction, exposure, a chance to connect with customers, and an attempt to achieve brand loyalty.

DIY reputation management
Some professionals have the expertise, resources, and know-how to handle a business’s online reputation. For small businesses, handling their online presence can quickly get overwhelming, and they may fall behind in monitoring mentions, responding to queries, and addressing negative feedback. This could be due to not responding quickly to negative feedback or failing to maintain an online presence. Therefore, small businesses should consider hiring professionals for online reputation management.

Inappropriate response to reviews
While negative reviews must be quickly addressed, positive reviews must be acknowledged, too, as they are valuable assets for businesses. Responding to positive reviews with thanks, possibly incentives, and commitment to customer satisfaction shows the business’ intent to continue being worthwhile.
Conversely, reacting defensively to negative reviews will only alienate the audience further, so responding calmly and professionally is essential. Engaging in customer arguments can escalate the situation and is a mistake that small businesses must avoid.
Businesses should also avoid automated responses as they can come across as insincere and may further aggravate customers. All businesses must spend time crafting personalized and empathetic replies to customer feedback.

Mixing personal and professional content
Maintaining a clear distinction between personal and professional online presence is crucial. Avoid sharing personal opinions or engaging in controversial topics on the business’s social media accounts to avoid alienating customers and tarnishing the brand image.