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As a small business owner, you’ve probably used social media to establish a connection with your customers and share stories that will shine a positive light on your brand. While social media is a great tool to foster your business name, if used incorrectly it could just shatter your online reputation. Here are some common mistakes you should avoid when implementing social media marketing in your business.

Your online reputation will not take care of itself

Assuming that your enterprise doesn’t need an online reputation management (ORM) strategy is the most common ORM mistake business owners should avoid and, probably the first one as well. Just because your business’s reviews were positive today, doesn't mean they will be tomorrow. Your online reputation can change in an instant.

Think about it: The key to protecting your business from the harmful bad reviews is a good ORM strategy. In short – this is a process that could make or break your reputation, and you should be extra careful. The more work you put in ORM, the more control you have over what appears in search engines for your products or services.

Expressing your personal opinion

You’re making a big mistake if you let your emotions get in the way when posting content on your business’s social media profiles. Discussing religion, politics, or other controversial issues may turn off people who matter to your business. Unless they’re relevant to the nature of your business, avoid mentioning sensitive topics. Instead, try to keep a neutral tone, since the goal of your social media efforts is to appeal to everyone.

Ignoring or responding aggressively to negative comments

Negative feedback can be painful to hear but, if you can put aside your pride, it is a real opportunity for improvement. When customers post a negative comment, ignoring it can make things go from bad to worse. Customers may think that you’re not taking their issue seriously, and could resort to posting complaints on all sorts of platforms, which quickly become impossible to control.

Also, don’t let things get out of hand – reply in a timely manner and try to solve problems as best you can, not by posting abusive rants or sending back angry emails to authors of bad feedback.

Posting fake reviews (both negative and positive)

Another online reputation mistake is to post negative reviews on your competitors’ website to dampen their credibility. This underhanded strategy is ethically wrong.

On the other hand, influential websites like Google have algorithms in place to help weed out false customer feedback, so making the mistake of posting fake client reviews to boost your business is such a waste of time and effort. Instead, focus on delivering high-quality products and services to generate authentic customer reviews, which can really pay off in the long run.

Being inconsistent

To build a good online reputation, you need to be consistent. Your social media fans followed your page for a reason – they have certain expectations that you will post regular and interesting content. Updating social media with ten posts one day, followed by complete silence for the following few weeks, is a bad example of consistency. Don’t disappear for days or weeks on end. Try to schedule a routine and interact with your audience on a regular basis.

A credible online reputation is an important part of your business’s public image. If you want to discuss how to establish an online presence and a strong ORM, contact us today and we can give insights from experts.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Emma loved tweaking photos on her Android phone.

She’d heard rave reviews from her friends with iPhones about Prisma, a new iOS app for image editing. So when she heard Prisma would soon be released for Android, she logged in to the Google Play Store to see if it was there yet.

To her surprise, she found one that looked just like what her friends were describing. Delighted, she downloaded and started using it. Meanwhile, the app—a fake—was busy installing a Trojan horse on her phone.

When she got to work the next day, she connected her phone into the company wi-fi network as usual. The malware jumped from her phone to the network. Yet no one knew. Not yet, but that was about to change…

Now, this isn’t necessarily a true story (at least, not one we’ve heard of—yet…), but it absolutely could have been. And similar situations are unfolding as you read this. Yes, possibly even at your company…

Fake apps exploded onto iTunes and Google Play last November, just in time for Christmas shopping. Apple “cleaned up” iTunes in an effort to quell users’ concerns, but hackers still find workarounds. Unfortunately, these fake apps pose a real threat to the security of your network. Especially if your company has anything but the strictest BYOD (bring your own device) policies in place. And the more your network’s users socialise and shop on their smartphones, the greater the risk of a damaging breach on your network.

Fake apps look just like real apps. They masquerade as apps from legitimate merchants of all stripes, from retail chains like Iconic and Footlocker, to luxury purveyors such as Christian Dior. Some of the more malicious apps give criminals access to confidential information on the victim’s device. Worse yet, they may install a Trojan horse on that device that can infect your company’s network next time the user logs in.

So what can you do?

First, keep yourself from being fooled. Anyone can easily be tricked unless you know what to look for. Take the following advice to heart and share it with your team:

Beware of Fake Apps!

In case you weren’t aware, one of the latest and most dangerous Internet scams is fake apps. Scammers create apps that look and behave like a real app from a legitimate store. These fake apps can infect your phone or tablet and steal confidential information, including bank account and credit card details. They may also secretly install on your device malicious code that can spread, including to your company network.

Take a moment and reflect on these nine tips before downloading any app:

  1. When in doubt, check it out. Ask other users before downloading it. Visit the store’s main website to see if it’s mentioned there. Find out from customer support if it’s the real McCoy.
  2. Check the Spelling. Many fake apps are made in haste, often where English is not a native tongue. Many have broken English grammar. Users should pay attention to spelling and grammar in any app descriptions if they have any doubts about its originality.
  3. Check the reviews. If you do decide to download an app, first check it’s reviews. Apps with few reviews or bad reviews are throwing down a red flag.
  4. Check the Developer’s Name. Users need to check for the name of the developer in the corresponding category, and avoid downloading apps that have a wrong or misspelled developers’ name
  5. Never, EVER click a link in an e-mail to download an app. Get it from the retailer’s website, or from iTunes or Google Play.
  6. If in doubt, directly type in a store’s website in your browser. and look for an icon or button that reads "Get our app." This will take you to the App Store or Google Play store where you can download the correct app.
  7. Offer as little of your information as possible if you decide to use an app.
  8. Think twice before linking your credit card to any app.
  9. Check the Deal. If it sounds too good to be true – it probably is.

Most importantly, get professional help to keep your network safe. It really is a jungle out there. New cyberscams, malware and other types of network security threats are cropping up every day. You have more important things to do than to try and keep up with them all.

Also, ask your IT professional about implementing a best practice BYOD policy for your organisation.

500+ LinkedIn connections can seem like a lofty goal. You have a business to run, and probably don’t have much time to dedicate to the platform. However, carving out the time to grow your LinkedIn network can prove invaluable as it will provide social proof to yourself or organisation and presents the opportunity to connect with new clients. So how can you get to 500+? Here are some ideas to get started.

NETWORK EVERY DAY

If you’re struggling to grow your LinkedIn network, you may not be spending enough time on the platform. If you want to become a power player, you need to use the social network often. So dedicate 15-30 minutes a day to network on LinkedIn, and make it a goal to reach 500+ connections.

JOIN AND PARTICIPATE IN GROUPS

Utilising LinkedIn groups presents an opportunity to meet other professionals (and eventually add them as connections) as well as learn and share valuable advice. The point is not to just join a group, but actively participate in them. This requires a degree of focus and smart selection.

How many groups should you join? Aim for around ten. This will ensure you have time to participate in each group and connect with its members. As for the groups you join, you’ll obviously want to join those in your industry, but you should also diversify. So choose five within your industry and five that relate to your other interests or provide you an opportunity to learn from its group members. Some suggestions to consider are an alumni group for your university, groups that represent causes/charities you care about, and groups that relate to a new skill you’re hoping to learn. Obviously, all the groups you join need to be active. If members only post in a group once a week, this is a red flag to avoid joining.

Once you’ve joined, you should spend some time each day contributing in at least five of your ten groups. You can ask questions, provide advice, or share valuable articles or original content you’ve created. Once you’ve developed a rapport with group members, you’ll have an easy, non-awkward way to connect with them. Remember, only join in groups in which you have the time to be active.

PERSONALISE YOUR “CONNECT” REQUEST

The less you know a person, the less likely they are to connect with you if you send a generic connection request. You know the one: “I'd like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.”

Many people will simply ignore requests like this. This is why it’s important to include a quick note that either refreshes that person’s memory of you, mentions a common interest or connection you might share, or simply introduces yourself and your reason for connecting. The more personal your note the better.

USE KEYWORDS IN YOUR PROFILE

Just like Google, Bing and the other search engines, keywords help you get found on LinkedIn. Also, your Linkedin profile is often listed in web search results. Treat your profile just like your main message or "sales letter" on your website. Plant these keywords in your professional headline, profile summary, and skill endorsement section. How do you know what keywords to use? Think about what you want yourself or your business to be endorsed for. What skills or services do you have to offer your clients? For example, if your business specialises in web solutions, some keywords you may think about using would include SEO or “web content”. As for your skills, be careful not to choose keywords that are too narrow. For example if your business is in the financial services and tax preparation industry, don’t use the names of niche tax solutions you specialise in like “estate taxes” or “small business taxes” as your endorsed skills. Instead, choose more general words like “tax preparation”. By doing this, your connections will be more likely to endorse you as it’s a broader category. If you have specific product offerings, list them as different "jobs" in your listing of Experiences.

By following these tips and spending at least 15 minutes a day on LinkedIn, you’re sure to see the number of connections you have grow. And the more connections you make, the less work you’ll have to do to grow your network as more and more people will send you connection requests instead. This will provide more business opportunities and chances for you to meet new clients. If you’d like more ideas how to improve your social media efforts, feel free to email or give us a call at 1300-SENSIBLE (736-742).

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Reputation and image management has come a long way from being the vapid process it was decades ago. It is now vital to those wishing to find wealth, trustworthiness and entrepreneurial longevity, and nowhere is this more important than on the Internet. With that in mind, here are a few tips to help you establish your brand on the web.

Own the first page of search results

In his new book on online reputation management, Tyler Collins, a digital marketing expert for Fortune 500 companies mentions the importance of a company's search results that appear after pressing enter. These results make up the majority of a business or personal reputation online. For optimal results, it is advised that you occupy the first 10 spots (the entire first page of the search results), and within this number, there should also be a variety of related content such as positive reviews, media coverage as well as customer testimonials that contribute to the establishment of trust and credibility.

Paint the picture before the exhibition

Especially for entrepreneurs embarking on a new company, it is best to work on their online reputation before launching. This includes creating a brand, company name and message, all of which should help your business land the top 10 search results online. You should invest some time in thoroughly researching potential brand names to ensure your tentative company name has no negative associations.

Don’t forget the execs

Equally important to online brand management is the implementation of reputation management policies for key executives. While researching a company, potential customers don’t only take statistics and reviews into consideration but also the people that are involved with and leading the organization. This is why it’s absolutely essential that your key executives have a clean online reputation.

To achieve this, the company can create a dedicated bio for each executive that helps increase the search ranks of that particular executive’s name. The next step is to get (positive) media coverage whenever possible. Everything from blog posts to press releases and quotes in an online news story will help forge a strong and credible image for the individual, and in extension, for the company.

Ask for help when required

When times get tough, seek the expertise of specialists that help maintain and improve online images for a living. It is almost impossible to change a customer’s first impression of executives and the company, so investing in expert advice can turn out to be the most important step in creating and maintaining your virtual image.

We hope you find these four online reputation tips helpful. If you need more help creating a credible online image or are looking to utilize technology to establish a stronger online image, give us a call. Expert advice awaits.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.
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