We’ve all made mistakes in business and in life, but now that so many things live forever on the Internet for all to see, online mistakes are harder to redeem – even if you correct them immediately.
On the plus side, the speed of the web has made people a bit more forgiving when it comes to simple grammar or copy editing mistakes. On the negative side, mistakes like these still make your business look unprofessional, and that can cost you.
Here are some common digital blunders you’ll likely make at some point and how to make amends:
- Failing to proofread your copy. A spelling mistake on your website might not seem like a big deal, but it sends a message to your customers that you don’t care about the details, and that’s not good. Make sure you hire a copy editor to go over your marketing materials and your website to correct grammar and spelling mistakes. Your email messages matter, too. All email programs have spelling and grammar tools – use them.
- Responding to unfavorable reviews. You may not like a negative review made about your business, but the worst thing you can do is to lose your temper online. Quickly respond by offering to return the money, offer a discount, or simply ask the disgruntled customer to contact you offline so you can fix the situation.
- Offending followers on social media. In general, it’s a good idea to stay away from controversial topics online. Don’t support a specific political candidate or bash any social group. On the other hand, if your business is all about conservation and the green movement, followers need to know where you stand on those issues and speaking out can only help your business to get your message across. Just remember to stay polite and open minded when it comes to social media. Offend the wrong person, and the word will spread quickly.
- Sending the wrong email or text. If you realize you’ve sent an email to the wrong person, your best bet is complete transparency. Own up and explain what happened, quickly and simply. If the email or text was offensive, offer an apology and make sure the recipient knows this has nothing to do with them. If it actually did have something to do with the recipient, use the opportunity to clear the air. Best rule of thumb: imagine every email you send might end up on the Internet, and write accordingly.
Rieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media and custom content company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship. Email Rieva at [email protected], follow her on Google+ and Twitter.com/Rieva, and visit her website, SmallBizDaily.com, to get the scoop on business trends and sign up for Rieva's free TrendCast reports.