In some ways, the internet has made it much easier to hide a business’s flaws. You can now operate a small business from home and make people believe that it’s a global empire simply by having a good web presence. There are however other ways in which the internet has made it harder to guard one’s reputation. Review sites and social media can make or break a business. For those wanting to stay credible on the web, here are some of the things that you can do.

Invest in professional web design

A poorly designed website can make your business look amateurish. Whilst website builders such as WordPress can allow you to create your own site for free, not everyone will have the eye of aesthetics to produce a quality website. Web design is worth investing in for this reason. It’s also possible to hire designers to review and solicit advice on how to improve your website if you still want to save money and make the changes yourself.

Increase your social media following

Facebook and Twitter are great marketing tools for building a client base. However, many people may be deterred by a social media page that only has a few followers as this shows that it’s a new and possibly inexperienced company. When creating social media pages, make sure to invite all your friends and family to follow. This will make it look like your social media pages have a following already. Do not buy likes or followers – the likes of Facebook are cracking down on such behaviour and punishing accounts that acquire likes this way.

Encourage positive reviews

Avoiding review sites is impossible in this day and age. The best thing you can so is embrace them and ensure that there are always more positive reviews than negative reviews. Encourage every happy client to leave a positive review, either through a site such as Trip Advisor or through a testimonial via email or survey card which can then be put on your website. Don’t encourage unhappy clients to leave reviews unless it’s private feedback.

Respond appropriately to negative reviews

The temptation can often be to fight against negative reviews, but this may reflect even more badly on your reputation by showing that you can’t take criticism. On sites that allow you to publicly reply to reviews make sure to respond with an apology and use it as a chance to show off your customer service skills. The exception is trolling or false negative reviews – report such behaviour if you can. Review site moderators will be more likely to remove such reviews if they see you have previously responded courteously to genuine negative feedback.

Show off your successes

The most important thing to do is show off your successes online. Let people know that your business has achieved on social media, put testimonials on your site and blog about the things you’ve done. Stay honest and don’t exaggerate the truth. You can even use a PR company to get your achievement onto online news sites. Allow your successes to outshine your failures.

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