Many business owners, small, large, online and offline make mistakes regarding their online reputation. Sometimes it seems so purposeful, such as a politician sending naked pictures of himself to a young co-ed. Other times, it’s just accidental such as when a bad joke goes wrong, or you got into an online flame war with a customer. But, all of these things can be monitored and controlled if you understand what a mistake they are.
Before we go over the top online reputation mistakes made by business owners, here is a great quote:
“Begin somewhere. You cannot build a reputation on what you intend to do.” Liz Smith
Top Online Reputation Mistakes to Avoid
Revealing Personal Information of a Client – You might mean well by talking about a specific client, but the best thing you can do is ask for written permission before discussing a client’s personal details in any form. Some people don’t like it when you talk about them and they can tell it’s them. If they can tell, they will worry that someone else can tell.
Calling Out Others in a Bullying Way – It’s one thing to give an honest review of someone’s work, but yet another to seek to ruin their business entirely. If you want a really good example of this, look up on YouTube “Freely & Harley Law Suit” and watch the flaming ruin of several fitness business owners in a public nightmare that involves the Supreme Court of Australia.
Posting Images of Your Drunk Night Out – OK so your youngest daughter got married, your oldest had a baby, and your best friend turned 60 all in one day. But, no one needs to see you drunk and partying in public. While your family and friends will love it, some business partners will question your judgement. Some people might not buy from you.
Choosing Weird Cute Names for Social Media Profiles – The truth is, unless you give your social media profile the name of your niche or product, using your own name is a good idea. Don’t use something personal because you want to represent your business as a moral and honest company that’s open about who you are.
Telling Lies – Believe it or not, more than one business owner has been caught in a bald-faced lie online which ruined their entire business. If you don’t make six figures and you’re not a million-dollar blogger, then don’t imply or say you are. The online world is small in many ways and it will come out, sooner or later.
Stealing Other People’s Content – This is an easy one to detect, but there have been cases of people stealing other people’s hard work, information products, images and so forth and then joining the real producer’s Facebook group and trying to promote their products there. Yes, they were humiliated and caught and ruined within minutes. Don’t steal.
Ignoring or Blocking Complaints – It’s a big mistake to ignore or block complaints. Your clients and future clients are watching how you will deal with a complaint, and how you deal with it will either help you or hurt you. Answer them quickly and always try to provide to your client a solution to their problem.
Not Opening Comments on Blogs – Keep your blog posts open for comments because having them closed may seem as if you don’t like disagreements or differing opinions. A blog is social due to the comments; without the comments it’s just useless content.
Finally, it’s important to never behave in an angry and defensive manner – no matter whether you are in the right or not. This is a huge mistake that will backfire. Always be humble, generous, honest and kind, and your online reputation will be very shiny..