You’d be hard pressed to find a small business today that doesn’t have some combination of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat in play. That’s on top of the company owner being active on LinkedIn and commenting in forums. Global connectivity can be great for business, but it can also sink your business in a hurry if you dash off one improper post, tweet, snap, or email. Today we look at minding your manners online, and why it’s so important.
Mind your Manners Online by Watching your Domain
Small businesses often turn to DIY websites to start their online presence, and that’s fine – if you know what you are doing. If you purchase a domain name, never ignore the emails that ask you to renew it. If you let your domain name lapse, it can be bought by someone else. This happened to corporate giant Heinz Ketchup, who found their website taken over by porn.
As your company grows, strongly consider having a reputable website agency tweak and maintain your site. Not only can they protect and renew your domain name, they can ward off online malicious attacks designed to cripple your website.
Think Before you Post, Email, Tweet, Snap, or Chat
It’s one thing jump into a discussion on politics on your personal Facebook page, but as a company, it’s imperative to think before you put anything online or in an email. In 2017, Adidas casually emailed customers that had completed the race, “Congrats. You survived the Boston Marathon.” Oops. The well-meaning email hit Twitter thanks to a disgruntled customer who felt it was an insensitive dig at the 2013 Boston Marathon tragedy. Minding your manners online goes beyond avoiding the obvious racial and political rants, and carefully choosing your wording and timing.
Avoid Posting in the Heat of the Moment
So, a customer posts a scathing review about your company. The inclination is to fire back an equally scathing missive, cutting the poster down to size. After all, they are probably a troll, right? Not so fast. Minding your manners online requires you to be the bigger person.
First, determine if the poster is a troll, or if they have a legitimate complaint. Next craft a reply and have it vetted by a couple trusted employees. If the poster’s concern is legitimate, apologize for their experience in your store and offer to make things right. If you are being trolled, point out that after examining the complaint, you have no record of the customer being in the store and offer a number or email where they can contact you to discuss their concerns further. How you respond to a complaint online carries more weight than the complaint itself.
Mind Your Manners Online with a Little Help
It only takes one bad day on social media or one rouge email to do a lot of harm to your company. You can mitigate the risk by hiring the services of an online reputation management company. These companies provide tools to prevent online disasters, and face them promptly and properly if they do happen.
Small Businesses Services are Here to Help You
As a busy entrepreneur, you often feel like you have to do it all. Remember, small business services like online reputation management companies make your life easier. Asking for help when you need it helps your business succeed.
AF Accounting celebrates small businesses and has a suite of a-la-carte services so you can get the bookkeeping and accounting help you need. To learn more, visit our services page, and stay tuned to our blog for more small business advice.
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