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Online mistakes tarnishing your business reputation Beware of reacting to a review instantly with impulse, adequately following-up with the customer and developing a contingency plan can go a long way in building goodwill

By Sania Gupta

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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Social media and the world of www.com is the latest marketing tool which has turned tables for profits of many business houses. If you channelize the potential of this tool with a well-planned strategy, you are likely to see a phenomenal upsurge in your sales and volume. Investing in digital marketing programs is the smartest investment in the marketing category.

But is it all so rosy and bright? Unfortunately, with the advent of technology, there are many evils that accompany too. Often business portals commit mistakes accidentally which can severely tarnish the brand reputation and adversely affect the clients as well as the product market. The business which relies on online marketing needs to take care of the online mistakes and its effects. To build a brand name takes months. However, a single online mistake can hamper the name in minutes. Here are a few online mistakes which must be watched as you rely totally on the comprehensive online marketing strategy:

1. Delegating to the Unqualified Staff

You may tend to initiate social media marketing by delegating the job to a low-level employee or an intern. However, the reputation once harmed will be of serious concern. So handling the responsibility of online presence should be given to a person who is experienced or fully equipped. Do not jump to outsource internally for convenience.

Anoop Kumar, CEO of Yorkers Travels says, "It is mandatory to train your staff, or even better hire specialist for online marketing because 80% of customers now Google and research online before picking any product or even getting any travel bookings done. Do not take it for granted and never employee amateurs for the task."

2. Inability to Handle Negative Reviews

A customer review speaks volumes and carries a lot of weight. Potential customers search and analyze the customer reviews and acknowledge them more than word-of-mouth publicity. Hence, reacting and responding to any negative review should be done with ample care. You cannot be defensive or aggressive, no matter how offended you feel. Even if the customer is wrong, end on a note that you'd be more careful next time.

"Negative review amidst positive reviews is like an eyesore. However, care must be taken to respond to it graciously and amicably. You have to respond empathetically," suggests Reena Aggarwal, Founder of Home signature.

3. Casual Online Presence

A very strong and consistent social media presence is the thumb-rule of the game. You cannot afford to post an article and then hibernate. The world of the internet moves the business rankings with consistent postings. Keep creating authentic and original content relevant to the product or service.

Vaibhav Gupta, Director of Bicop International suggests, "Maintain regular blog posts or even articles with keywords and hashtags to improve the SEO rankings. This will help the business improve its online visibility and quicker appearance in the search engines. The posts should be done regularly and not after big gaps to prevent the customer's attention run to the competitor who has better online visibility." Even Anoop believes inconsistent and original content being posted frequently.

4. Avoiding Online Presence

Many people do not go online frequently because of the fear that it would consume too much time. But this is not the case. You need to check and post frequently on your blogs/site. Also, unreserved profiles can be bigger hassles. You have to be consistently present online and keep a check on any fake profile or impersonator in your name. A fake profile can do more damage and harm than not having a profile altogether.

Preet Chandoke, Co-founder of TAN Advisors Private Limited states, "A fake profile can be created with the purpose of demeaning the business. Care should be taken in the finding of any such calamity. Also, with the new age marketing reply to the client queries instantly before they are directed to anyone else." Vaibhav also warns against impersonators and badly managed profiles.

5. The Takeaway:

The appropriate and smart use of social media will garner huge rewards for the business. Beware of reacting to a review instantly with impulse, adequately following-up with the customer and developing a contingency plan can go a long way in building goodwill. Avoid the common online mistakes which can tarnish the image of the enterprise.

Sania Gupta

Freelancer

Sania Gupta is also Founder and CEO, Digital Kangaroos, an author, entrepreneur, marketer and blogger. And as a career coach at My Study Destination, she has helped thousands of students realize their dreams.
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