Small Business

How to Regain Control Over Your Digital Reputation – and Why You Should Do It

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Hundreds, if not thousands, of businesses have closed due to a bad reputation in the last decade. The problem when researching this is that most of them won’t have survived for more than a few years from their creation, so the documentation and history on them is limited. But the important thing to know is that reputation-related closures do happen, and they’re about to become even more frequent. 

One of the key reasons for business closures in the last few years comes down to cybercrime, with data breaches resulting in a loss of consumer trust and a huge transfer to seemingly safer, more reliable business models. Consumers, of course, are more wary of how their data is being processed and protected. With platforms like Incogni becoming more popular for deleting digital footprints and erasing personal information from Google, the data privacy problem has clearly become more recognisable for the masses, which is why a breach of privacy can be so damaging for those in the know. 

Losing Your Reputation After a Data Breach

While a data breach can cost your business in downtime, reparations, investigations, and legal fees, one of the most significant financial losses comes from a decrease in customer spending. Consumers in 2024 expect better from businesses collecting their data. While they’re well aware of the ‘big data’ landscape they exist in, that doesn’t mean they’re giving up their right to safety and security. In fact, as the industry increases and cybersecurity-related technology gets better, they expect their data to get more secure, with less chance of a breach that can compromise it. In light of this, if your business has been breached, your reputation is automatically going to be affected. 

Regaining Control Over Your Digital Reputation

But that’s not to say it’s been irretrievably lost. We’ve talked already about why a reputation is so important – especially given the number of competitors using data privacy as a key marketing feature – but now we’re going to look into how you can get it back, with three key steps to rewind the clock and get customers trusting you again.

Assess the Damage

The first thing you need to do is take a step back and assess the level of damage that has been caused. You can do this by keeping a finger on the pulse of various online platforms, including your social media channels and Google search results. Non-media metrics like profitability, sales performance, and share prices will also give you a good indication of severity.

Be Proactive Instead of Reactive

Consumers like to know that you take on board negative feedback – and you can’t get more negative than customers exiting the building after a cyber breach! With this in mind, you should be prioritising not only a solution to the initial cyber breach but bigger and better defences to prevent the next one. This should then be communicated to customers, either on your website or your social media channels, explaining exactly what went wrong and what you have done to ensure it never happens again.

Build Up Your Reviews

According to a survey in 2021, around 99.9% of customers read reviews when shopping digitally, so the most immediate way you can make an impact is by placing the reviews in your favour. If you don’t have signage on your website or other digital channels to place reviews, then make sure you get some. If the problem you’re facing is negative reviews – we’ve used data loss as one of the most frequent examples in this article, but there are many more – then work on absorbing that feedback and building up a portfolio of positive ones.

Conclusion: Investing in Your Future

Regaining your reputation isn’t something that can happen overnight. It takes weeks, months, and even years, to get your company back to where it was. But to give yourself the best chance, it’s important to go through the three key steps above, and also work to invest in your future, connect better with customers on social media, create a positive content strategy for the brand, elevate your customer service – and create an all-round better company. Reputational loss is never a good thing, but you can see it as a chance to develop your company and build it into something even better than it was before.

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