How to Improve Your Startup’s Online Reputation

May 13, 2016

10:15 am

Online reputation is something that can take months or even years to build. On the other hand, it can be destroyed in a matter of minutes. Your startup is fragile and even one bad review can ruin you in the early stages of the process. Fortunately for you, there are a number of ways to guarantee that your empire will not fall at the hands of a single troll.

Take a look below for a few sure-fire ways to improve your startup’s online reputation.

Put Quality First

So many novices believe that the way to improve your reputation is to follow a secret formula; that companies are handed down a magical water cooler that can turn bad ideas into lucrative products and annoying employees into golden eggs. That’s not the case at all. The best way to improve your online reputation is to follow through on your promises.

You should always under-promise and over-deliver. There’s nothing worse than failing to deliver on a promise, and customers will see that as a terrible first impression. This applies to both the level of your services and your content marketing tactics. Everything you do must be to the best of your ability.

Encourage Reviews

Les be honest, customers don’t write reviews. They are either too lazy, too busy or they forget. Startups should go out of their way to encourage their happy customers to post reviews about them. You don’t even have to offer anything in return.

Just ask them to do it and, more often than not, they will oblige. In fact, most of them will be so happy you asked, you’ll get a more glowing review than usual.

Build Relationships 

Companies gain a constant slew of positive reviews and regular purchases because they know how to build relationships. By engaging with customers, you will turn them into brand ambassadors. They will essentially do the marketing for you, by recommending you to their friends and spreading your brand even further.

Building relationships is all about the little things. Thank people for supporting you and send them a gift every so often. Go out of your way to ask about what they think of your brand. Retweet a simple joke just to let customers know you are listening. It’s as simple as treating your customers like real human beings.

Track Opinions

Using the power of Google Alerts, you can keep track of what people are saying about your and brand. If a negative review rears its ugly head, you can react to it. Bad reviews may be bad for you, but at the very least, you can react to that criticism by changing the way you do business.

As a startup, you will get things wrong, but apologizing and reacting quickly will help you to create a positive reputation for your company. Plus, people love interacting with corporations online.

Start Early 

If you are waiting to until a negative review has come in to address a problem, it’s too late. By that time, the damage has already been done and it’s far too late to stop it. If you already have a positive reputation in place, the occasional bad word will not shut it down.

You should set aside a budget for this the moment you open your doors. Companies that get a jump on their competitors in this field tend to be more successful in the long-term.

Can You Remove Malicious Search Results? 

Actually removing malicious search results from the Internet as a whole is impossible. That’s quite illegal. Plus, you are unable to control what Google puts in your search results. What you can do is bury negative comments under a pile of positive ones.

Online reputation agencies are the best way to get this done, and a professional can ensure that negative search results are hidden from view. But, again, there’s only so much these professional services can do. The best way to deal with problems regarding online reputation is prevention.

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Abdullahi Muhammed is a writer, difference maker and entrepreneur. He is the founder and CEO of Oxygenmat and he writes for Forbes, Entrepreneur, The Huffington Post and a few other sites.

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