Credibility and reputation are important for any business, but this is especially true of small businesses. In our effort to help you understand, maintain and improve your credibility, here are a few articles that caught our attention this week:

As social media has evolved and word of mouth can now travel further and faster than ever before, it is necessary to understand how social media can affect the reputation of your business. The article lists several key points, such as “identify the customer” and “move the conversation” to a more private place. Another idea is to train your employees how to handle complaints that come through social media. By doing this the customer gets the same attention as someone who has a complaint in person or over the telephone. The final part of the article is to “be proactive”. By understanding and utilizing social media it is possible to “positively engage” your customers so you may prevent complaints.

As helpful as social media is, their usage can also have negative consequences. Recent messages on social media websites have earned fashion design companies, actors, and the head of godaddy.com backlash from the public. The article on GoDaddy’s founder talks of how he posted a video of himself shooting an elephant. After posting the video, customers posted on his personal blog threatening to pull their business, while People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) did pull their business from GoDaddy. Advice given in the piece mentions how engaging customers is a good thing, but make sure that it is focused on your product or service.

As social media moves forward, currencies based on identity and reputation may become more prominent. This article points out that even today you can see when one of your friends “likes” something on Facebook; in doing so, they are promoting the reputation of the product, company, or service. Speculation in the article looks towards the future as Facebook continues to move into the marketplace. As they continue to do so these “likes” will become more important for businesses.

Want to get more involved in improving your business’ credit and credibility?

Some things we’re doing here at Dun & Bradstreet Credibility that might interest you are:

  • CredibilityLIVE. An interactive video series where you get to ask the questions of business experts.  The events are free and our next event is with Robert Berkman around the topic: Simple Tips & Tools for Monitoring and Managing Reputation on Social Media Sites!  Register now!
  • Free credit counseling session!  For the month of April, we’re offering business owners a free 30 minute credit counseling session…  To learn more, check out this MarketWatch interview with our CEO or simple call (800) 777-7031 to take part!