Costly Reputation Management Mistakes

By Melonie Dodaro

When someone wants to know more about you or your business, they will look you up online… and guess where they’ll head first?

That’s right; your social media profiles and your website.

They could also express their opinions – good or bad – about you or your business, with their family, friends, colleagues, peers and the internet in general.

Now while you can’t control what your people are saying about your brand, it is a good idea to know exactly what they are saying. There are precious business insights in those conversations, but also you can’t address any costly reputation management mistakes you don’t know about.

That is perhaps the gravest of all reputation management mistakes, to leave the reputation of your personal or professional brand in the hands of the internet and its users.

And if you aren’t convinced of the importance of your online brand reputation, remember that: people buy from people they know, like and trust.

In every interaction that a person has with your brand online, you need to be sure that what they find and that what you are doing, contributes to the know, like or trust factor – and even more importantly, doesn’t hinder or lessen them.

So, if people buy from people they know, like and trust and they decide to look your brand up online, what exactly will they find? Even if you have a website and a couple of social media profiles if you are not actively monitoring your reputation online, do you have any idea of what they are finding?

You can’t leave your brand’s online reputation to chance or the digital masses. You need to know what is being said about or to you and have the ability to respond appropriately.

Not Investing in a Brand

You only have seven seconds to make a good impression. This is just as true in the digital realm as face-to-face. With just seconds to make a good impression, you need to make sure you are leaving nothing to chance. Your business depends on it.

An excellent first impression builds interest and trust, whereas a poor first impression with viewers will be forgettable at best or leave a bad taste with them at worst.

Professional Looking Profile and Cover Images: They say a picture is worth a thousand words. If that is true, then what are your current profile and cover images sharing about you and/or your company with viewers? When someone sees your profile image, does it convey professionalism? If not then you should replace those images immediately.

You will also want to use a professional to design and create cover images for each of the social platforms you use. Not only will they be able to create these images at the correct size for the platform (which looks more professional), but they can also ensure that the images include all the elements necessary to convey who you are and what you stand for to your viewers.

Lack of Authenticity

Far too often I see brands investing their time and money in digital marketing and branding that are producing poor results.

While there can be many reasons this can happen, one of the more common errors I see being made is a lack of authenticity. What exactly do I mean by that? I mean that you see individuals and brands creating content and publishing social posts that are generic and forgettable, with no personality, opinion or voice.

So, what does it mean to be authentic in the digital sphere? Quite simply it means that you know and can share who you are, what is important to you, why you do what you do and who you serve in a clear and concise way. It also means ensuring that everything you create and share consistently stays true to that message using your own unique voice.

The reason that authenticity is so important to your brand reputation management comes back to the fundamental principle that people buy from people that they know, like and trust. Being authentic helps people to know who you are. You will stand out from the competition and draw your ideal clients to you.

Spamming Instead of Marketing

Nobody likes a spammer. The scary thing is that most spammers don’t even think they are spamming, Spamming your viewers, community and customers is probably one of the most serious reputation management mistakes you can make.

Now you might be thinking, but I would never spam anyone. But you need to remember that what you consider spam and what they consider to be spam might differ. And it is their opinion that matters in this instance – not yours. This applies to anything you are sharing online such as private messages, emails, social posts, groups, and comments.

So how do you avoid looking like a spammer, even unintentionally? It is quite simple. Run it through the “Would I do that face-to-face?” filter.

For example, would you ever go up to someone at a networking event and say “Hi, nice to meet you, do you want my SEO services?” Of course, you wouldn’t. So, don’t do it online.

Lack of Customer Care

One of the most serious reputation management mistakes a brand can make is to provide inadequate customer care.

Customers pay the bills – your bills. Their satisfaction (or lack thereof) influences your success. This includes how they feel about your customer care online and offline.

If you fail to ask for feedback, ignore them and their issues or respond to them with a bad attitude, then you will harm any positive feelings they have towards you, and there is a good chance they will then also share these negative feelings with others online – which will further damage your reputation.

Not Having a Plan

A costly reputation management mistake that is all too commonly made by many businesses is to not have a strategy or plan in place to monitor your brand’s reputation online and have a plan in place to deal with any negative situations.

While it might seem like a lot of effort and resources to create and implement a reputation management strategy (particularly as bad situations are not a regular occurrence), it might seem like a better use of your resources to just deal with things as they come up.

But this fly by the seat of your pants approach can ultimately be harmful and a more significant drain on your resources if and when a situation arises.

In fact, this lack of strategy or plan can lead to the issues themselves if you are not replying to online engagement in a timely and positive manner.


Your brand reputation far is too crucial to the success and well-being of your business not to take an active part in monitoring and managing it.

By investing in a professional looking brand, creating and sharing authentically, avoiding spammy behaviors, ensuring excellent customer care and having a brand reputation management plan or strategy that is understood and used by you or your representatives, you can avoid making costly reputation management mistakes which can harm your brand image and bottom line.

In fact, by actively working to manage your reputation, you can gain valuable insight, find opportunities to improve your brand’s image and perhaps create brand advocates, who will share their brand love with those in their network.

Melonie Dodaro is founder of Top Dog Social Media that helps brands and businesses, use social media marketing and social selling to boost visibility, attract new customers and increase revenue. Dodaro is also the author of ‘The LinkedIn Code’ and the recently-released ‘LinkedIn Unlocked’. To learn more visit