5 Key Ways to Protect Your Startup’s Online Reputation

How do you choose which business to use? Chances are that before you book a new hotel or try out a new product, you look at the company website, product reviews, or maybe the business’s Instagram account. For startups, having a strong online presence and good reviews is one of the most useful tools in attracting new customers. Here are five key ways to protect your reputation.

5 Key Ways to Protect Your Startup’s Online Reputation
5 Key Ways to Protect Your Startup’s Online Reputation

1. Start building your brand before your initial launch.

The secret to building and maintaining a solid online profile is to look at the big picture. This includes building up your reputation before your new website even launches. Start putting down the groundwork a few months before your initial launch. You can do this by creating social media profiles and getting your name out there to drum up hype before you officially enter the market. Another important preliminary task is to research any existing associations with the brand name you’ve chosen. Are there similar business names to the one you’ve chosen that might confuse someone Googling you? What does your personal brand look like? Potential clients may search for a business’s owner’s name along with the company name to find out more information, particularly for new businesses. Scrub your own social media profiles and make sure there aren’t any red flags.

2. Keep your content current.

Your startup’s website will be the first place that customers go for information, so take your time to craft an accurate, appealing landing page and biography. It’s a good idea to start a company blog right off the bat, which you can keep updated with useful info to keep customers coming back for more. The more information that you have available, the more reputable your brand will appear. Another reason to keep up with your social media and blogging content is that this will keep your brand up top in search engine results.

3. Put online security measures in place.

There’s nothing that can instantly shatter an online business’s reputation like a security breach. If your customer data is leaked or hacked, it can cost you your business. Be sure to put all reasonable security measures in place, particularly if you use cloud services or run an ecommerce site. This should include anti-virus software, firewalls, malware monitoring services, and encryption. If you’re using mobile broadband or cloud services, shop around. Read up on Amazon or Nokia Networks security policies for comparison. Delete customer data if you don’t need to store it, and offer a transparent privacy policy to build trust in your business.

4. Respond to feedback and reviews.

After looking at your website and social media profiles, where are customers likely to turn for more information? They will most likely look at your reviews. Today’s online reviews are yesterday’s word of mouth recommendations, and they matter. Every business gets negative reviews at some point; it’s nearly impossible to please everyone. What you can do is respond to any negative feedback promptly and politely. Apologize if a product isn’t up to par or gets lost in the mail, and make it right whenever possible.

5. Monitor your mentions.

You won’t be able to respond to negative reviews or unsavoury stories about your startup if you’re not closely monitoring the online world. Set up a Google Alert to stay on top of any mentions. You’ll want to do this not only for your main business name, but also for your personal name. Controlling your online reputation involves gaining information from as many sources as possible. You can also hire a reputation management company to monitor and manage your brand for you.

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