The Importance of a Good Corporate Reputation Online

A business is made or broken on their reputation, and this is true at every level. From the small entrepreneur working from home to the large, international corporation, reputation and public perception are key factors in their success or failure. With a good reputation, you will gain trust from your customers and clients. The opposite holds true with those companies that have negative reputations.

Look at BP, British Petroleum, as a prime example. When someone utters those two letters, the first thing that most people remember is the accident and the massive spill in the Gulf of Mexico. While they’ve tried to regain the trust of people in the interceding years, it is going to prove difficult for them.

Corporations need to be very proactive when it comes to their reputation online. With a positive reputation, customers may prefer that company to others offering the same services or product simply because of the trust they have. As soon as that goes away, then people will move on to a company that they feel they can trust.

How much control does a corporation have over its reputation? More than many might think, actually. One of the most important aspects of keeping a good reputation is building trust, as mentioned. You can do this a number of different ways. Being transparent with the world when things go wrong rather than trying to cover things up is a huge step in the right direction. Taking responsibility and being ethical are extremely important as well.

Corporations should also maintain active social media accounts, as well as blogs, as this helps them in a number of different ways. It can improve the positive results in their search engine results pages, for example. It also provides them with a way to be closer to and to engage with the customers, which was simply not possible in the past. This allows them to take care of questions, concerns, and even customer service issues much more quickly, which can deescalate potential issues with customers before they go viral and cause the corporation more headaches.

It can be very difficult to handle the online reputation management necessary for a large corporation. Many companies are outsourcing and using third parties to help them get a handle on things.

The Effects of a Negative Online Reputation

Many people do not realize right away just how bad it can be to have a negative online reputation. They may not feel that it is important, and they may not initially understand how it can affect their business and their personal life. Let’s look at some of the ways that having a bad rep online will hurt you.

Lost Employment Opportunities

If you have been posting negatively online, or if someone has been saying bad things about you, it could limit your employment opportunities. Companies may start to see you as a risk. For example, if you have been posting bad things about the company that you are currently working for, the company that is considering hiring you imagines you will be saying the same things about them online in six months. They have to watch their reputations too.

Lost Customers

When customers are looking up your business, they typically use search engines such as Google. If the first results that show up are negative reviews, you attacking customers on social media, and other bits of negativity, those customers will not be patronizing you. They will move on to one of your competitors who have a better reputation. It is as simple as that. There are plenty of other options out there, so they do not want to settle for something they see as a risk.

Harassment

The Internet is a vast space filled with anonymous people, and others who don’t mind using their name, who will attack your company for things they perceive as being negative. They will go out of their way to find out how to find your social media accounts, your email, and more. In some cases, they will continue to deluge you with more negativity aimed directly at you. That’s not something that anyone wants to have happen.

Lost Friends

When you have a negative reputation, even in those cases where it is not deserved, you may find that your friends and associates online start to distance themselves from you. They do not want to have your negative reputation rub off onto them.

If you have a negative reputation online right now, or you simply want to avoid the matter entirely, you should consider working with a professional reputation management company. They can help you build a positive reputation.

The Customer Is Always Right

The title of the article is an adage that you know well, but it often becomes something that businesses seem to forget. While we all know that the customer is not actually always correct, that does not change the fact that as a business, you need to make the customers as happy as possible. Today, when it is simple for the customer to go online and start posting negative reviews and social media posts, it is more important than ever before. Still, many companies who are not well-versed in the social graces of the web, and of social media in particular, find trouble.

One of the biggest problems comes from lashing out at someone on social media because they said something negative about the company. Of course, the conversation generally starts out civilly enough on the part of the company. However, customers may say or do something that irritates the person who is running the social media account. It’s important to remember that whenever real people are interacting, there is the potential for conflict. Sometimes, the person running your social media site says something out of frustration or anger.

The customer and the rest of the Internet take offense to it and then it seems as though everyone has an opinion on your company. Unfortunately, this rarely ends well for the company in question. When you are dealing with customers in any capacity, online or offline, you have to keep calm and in control at all times. It needs to be a part of your branding and your overall message. Anyone who is working with your company on your site and on social media needs to know the best way to deal with customer complaints to keep everyone happy.

Having a management system in place to deal with all manners of online reputation management is essential today. Reviewing interactions between your online personnel and the customers is important too. Some companies that are having trouble managing their reputations have taken to outsourcing the work to other companies who specialize in the field. It is very similar to hiring a PR firm, and it can work out very well. The last thing you need is for your company to gain notoriety because someone in charge of your social media berated a customer on Twitter or Facebook.

Steps to Managing Online Reputation

Do you realize just how important your reputation on the web is? Considering the fact that most people will research you or your company online, it is easily one of the most important elements of business and life today, as strange as that might sound! You have to know what other people are posting about you and what type of rep you have on the web, so you can make sure that it as a stellar as you are.

The first thing you need to do is see what your online reputation is like right now. Take the time to look up your name or your company name on Google and other search engines. Look at the first two or three pages of the page results. What do the results say? Are they all positive or at least neutral, or do you have some negativity that you might like to remove? Most people will find at least one or two things that they may not want on the first pages of the search results. Others might find even more.

Now that you know where you stand, it is time to start taking action. What is the nature of the negativity? Is it something you can control? For example, if there are customer complaints, find a way to address those complaints. You can also start blogging and post regularly if you aren’t already. How can this help? When you have a large amount of fresh content on your blog, Google and the other search engines tend to favor it quite a bit. This means that it can supplant much of the negative information on those first pages. Additionally, using your social media more often, creating videos and the like can help you regain control of your search engine results.

You also need to make sure that you are keeping up with all of the mentions of your name or your company on the web. Set up Google Alerts to let you know whenever someone mentions your name, your company’s name, or your products. This gives you a heads up on what people are saying so you can stay ahead of any potential issues that might occur. It can be time consuming, so you may want to consider getting some outside help for your reputation management.

Small Business Partnerships

As the consumer economy becomes more complex and sophisticated, many small businesses are feeling squeezed out by the larger corporations. Though small businesses have some advantages, there are some areas where they just cannot compete, and there are some markets where they can’t be everything to a consumer in the way that a large organization can.

In these situations, the solution may be to form partnerships with other small businesses. By working together, small businesses can provide a suite of services that can compete with those of a large corporation. In addition, two businesses working together can accomplish a great deal by combining the expertise and customer base of both organizations.

Selecting the Right Partnerships

Unfortunately, most small businesses don’t have the time and resources to do their due diligence before selecting a partnership. Take advantage of the available resources and determine if a partner is right for you. Remember to consider the other organization’s own intentions and if the partnership will be more beneficial for your company or theirs.

What Are You Looking For?

When evaluating a company, it’s very important that you first concretely determine what type of partnership you are looking for and what types of benefits are you looking to get from a partner. Some companies can be effective partners now, but others may only be helpful at a different stage of your company’s growth.

Be a Good Partner to Another Company

Unlike large corporations, small businesses have much less room for error when it comes to their business reputation. Even if a partnership is souring, you never know when you may need to work with this partner again. Even if you’ll never work with this organization again, a poor collaboration on your part can make it difficult for you to enter into new partnerships with other organizations in the future. Developing a strong reputation and a large network is a key to long-term success.

Be Careful

No matter how small your business currently is, be very careful before entering into a partnership. Make sure that you get everything in writing and ensure that your interests are protected in the document. Not only will this provide protection, but it can also prevent costly legal questions later.

Social Media Is Important for Your Online Reputation

Social media is an important tool in today’s world whether it comes to your personal life or your business. It is no wonder that it is also important when it comes to your online reputation. The things you do and say on the web can follow you, and that certainly includes social media. Social media can also help you grow your reputation and your brand, as long as you are using it wisely. Here are a few tips to getting the most out of social media and staying out of hot water.

You have to have a presence on social media, and that means more than just setting up a few accounts. You need to have pages on the “big” sites, such as Facebook and Twitter. Make sure you have accounts on Instagram, LinkedIn, Google+, and any others that might be associated with your industry. Make sure that you do not go overboard though. Only have enough accounts as you can handle, which leads us into the next necessity.

You need to be active on these accounts. This does not mean that you have to post several times a day, but you cannot neglect them. The profile cannot represent you or your company if you aren’t actually posting and engaging with the others on the site. It’s not a billboard. It’s an interactive network, and you actually do need to be social on these sites, thus the name social media.

In addition, you have to make sure that you are not merely responding to the positive comments. Also respond to the negative and try to smooth things out with the person whenever possible. This reduces the chance of the negativity blowing up to the point where it affects your online reputation. In addition, even when you are dealing with people online who might be difficult, you have to keep your cool. Never let your emotions get control of your posts, or it could become a problem later. Often, if you are seen as the celebrity or the business and you are making angry comments to someone on your site, you will be seen as the aggressor and the bully.

Keep calm, keep active, and enjoy your time on social media. It’s great for connections and for improving your online reputation and brand.

Reputation Management Tips on Facebook

You have a personal Facebook account and one for your business, just as most people do. Hundreds of millions of people use the social networking site regularly, and many people are very open and honest with their posts. While this can be refreshing, there is such a thing as being too open, and that can get you into trouble if you aren’t careful. Whenever you are posting on your account, whether it’s for your personal page or your business, you really need to think about what it is that you are posting.

When you are posting, especially on your business account, you need to make sure that the posts are actually valuable and interesting. If you are running a gym, you may not want to post a constant stream of kittens, for example. The people interested in your gym, even though they may be fans of felines, they probably do not need to see it when they are trying to learn more about your gym or to get some workout tips.

Consider the context of your posts as well. It really is a good idea to stay out of controversial topics unless they directly involve your business. Politics is one of the best ways to isolate your company on Facebook and other social media sites for that matter. No matter your political affiliations, they do not need a place in your posts. It could alienate a good chunk of your potential customers. In fact, when you take a stance on something that involves your personal beliefs and doesn’t have anything to do with your company, it could end up blowing up and going viral. In these cases, the publicity that you get will not be a good thing. All you have to do is think before you post.

Also, make sure you are updating your profiles regularly so that all of the information they contain is accurate. Do this at least once every six months, as well as when there are major changes.

When you are posting quality content and engaging with people on Facebook, it helps you to build brand recognition and to bolster your online reputation. It’s an essential social media tool, but you always need to use common sense when posting so you do not raise the ire of your followers.

Qualifying for E1 and E2 Visas

The US government has a visa program created specifically for international investors who are starting an enterprise in the United States. The E1 and E2 visas will allow you to reside in the US for one to two years while you manage and oversee your investment. You will then be able to extend or renew your visa if necessary. In order to obtain an E1 or E2 visa, there are a number of criteria you must meet to qualify.

Treaty Country

These visas are only available to foreign nationals from countries that have signed commerce and navigation treaties with the United States. The US government has signed these visas with over 70 different countries. Some of these countries include:

  • China
  • Argentina
  • Australia
  • Costa Rica
  • France
  • Finland
  • Japan

If you are unsure if these visas are available to citizens of your country, you should contact your US Embassy or US Consulate. They can help you determine if you qualify.

Substantial Investment

When presenting your visa application to the US Consulate, the strength of your application will depend on how substantial your investment is. The US government has not set a minimum cash amount for these investments, but in general $50,000 is the bare minimum, and most investments should reach at least $100,000 to have a strong visa application.

The US government has three other criteria to determine if the investment is substantial.

  1. The size of the investment must be substantial relative to the total cost of creating and operating the enterprise.
  2. The size of the investment must be large enough that the investor will be personally committed to the success of the enterprise.
  3. The size of the investment must be large enough that the enterprise is likely to succeed.

Finding the Right Investment

The US government does not favor any type of investment over another, but it must go towards the operations of an enterprise that sells goods or services in the United States. If this is your first US business, James Timothy White and his team can help you find the right opportunity. James Timothy White has a number of franchises and other businesses for sale and can provide up to 90% financing, so that you can quickly get your enterprise set up.

We have experience working with foreign investors, and we can help you structure and set up your business to increase your chances of getting a US visa. Contact us today for more information.

Own Your Search Engine Results

Do you know what people find when they search for your company online? You would hope that they see your website, blog, and maybe your social media pages, but that is not always the case. Even if your site is one of the top results on the search engine pages, you have to be cognizant of all of the other results that pop up when people type in your name.

Take a moment to enter your company name into Google and then read the first couple of pages of results. These are the pages that most consumers will look at when they want to know more about you. What do you see when you arrive? Are there some mediocre or even bad reviews of your products? Is a Yelp review taking the top spot, even above your company’s website? If you have negative results in those first couple of pages, it could seriously and negatively affect your bottom line.

You need to really own your search engine results. What this means is that you need to control what comes up in the top spots of the results, and it is not as hard as it might seem. Having plenty of updated blog pages, quality links to your site, relevant press releases, articles written about your company, and more can help. It is possible to regain control of what comes up when people search for your company.

Customers are looking for companies that they can trust and that have a good reputation. You need to make sure that your search engine results pages actually reflect this, so start working on creating more posts, articles on other sites that link to your page, and more.

Of course, you also want to address any of the problems or concerns that customers may have had with your company. What was it that caused them to post negatively online? You can reach out to the customer privately and rectify the situation, which improves your brand in their mind, and often, they will help to spread positive word of mouth. In some cases, companies have also responded to complaints and issues online through social media. This can work in some cases, but you have to be careful not to exacerbate the problem.

Many businesses who want to have more control over their online reputation are turning to third party professionals for help. This could be an avenue you want to consider.

Obtaining E1 and E2 Visas for Immigrants Already in America

Are you currently investing in an enterprise in the United States? You likely have already heard of the E1 and E2 treaty visas which allow you to stay in the United States for a certain amount of years as you develop and direct your investment. In order to make the initial investment, you may have already traveled to the United States to meet partners, lenders, and potential employees. At this point, you can return to your home country and apply for an E1 or E2 visa, or you can apply for the visa while you’re still in America.

If You Have Valid Nonimmigrant Status

If you have a temporary US visa, you can apply for an E1 or E2 visa by submitting Form I-129 to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. USCIS will also ask for a specific E visa application, Form DS-156E, and they will ask for evidence that your investment is substantial and not marginal.

If You Do Not Have Valid Nonimmigrant Status

If you are do not have a US visa, or if it has already expired, you must first return to your home country before applying for an E1 or E2. Once in your home country, you must follow the standard procedure of submitting a Form DS-156E to your nearest US Consulate.

If You Have Valid Permanent Immigrant Status

If you are in the US as an immigrant with permanent residency, you do not need to file for an E1 or E2 visa, as these visas will only provide temporary residency. Instead, you should make sure that your visa authorizes you to work and invest in the United States. If not, you should apply for a work authorization visa.

James Timothy White Can Help You Find a Great Investment

If you are still looking for a US enterprise to buy or invest in, James and his team can help. James has a number of franchises and other businesses for sale to international investors, and these businesses can help you qualify for an E1 or E2 visa. In addition, we can help you access up to 90% financing on some of these businesses, helping you quickly get your investment off the ground. Contact us for more information about the businesses that are available.