Online Presence Guidelines For A Small Business

When it comes to a small business online presence, most managers do not even know where to begin. The fear of making a mistake often forces inaction, resulting in loss of business. The best way to tackle this hurdle is to empower select employees with passion about your product. As a manager/ owner you must ensure that specific guidelines are set for these employees. This increases the success of any online campaigns while ensuring your brand is protected.

Here are some guidelines that can grow your online presence:

  • Have an approval process allowing on selected employees to represent the company online.
  • Define an online motto. Perhaps one that touches on the values of the company. For example “As a representative of zacweiner.com, you must act with honesty and integrity in all matters.”
  • Stress that some things are just not mentioned. Listing these items is often the best way to go. Strong examples are: talking about financial information, sales trends, strategies, forecasts, legal issues and future promotional activities.
  • Ensure that those posting understand that they are representing your organization. It is beneficial to remind everyone that they be respectful of all individuals, races, religions and cultures.
  • A easy guideline is : When in doubt, do not post. It is always easier to fix something not broken.
  • If writing about a current deal, offering or special that the company is featuring ensure that all information is accurate. Advertising 50% off and only having a 25% off sale is mess waiting to happen.
  • When interacting with a customer online do as you would in person.
  • Give credit where credit is due and don’t violate others’ rights. DO NOT claim authorship of something that is not yours. Do not use the copyrights, trademarks, publicity rights, or other rights of others without the necessary permissions of those who own it.
  • Do not post photographs, video or audio of other employees, suppliers, customers or agents without first obtaining their approval.
  • Be responsible to your work. In person customers are still priority number one. Obviously this guideline depends on your business makeup.
  • Understand that the Internet is permanent. Once information is published online, it is essentially part of a permanent record, even if you “remove/delete” it later or attempt to make it anonymous.

Obviously this list is not all inclusive but should serve as a good starting point for online success.