What is reputation management and how will it affect your business?
Reputation management relates to the influence and control of any given person or multiple individuals. In the ever expanding world of the internet, reputation management is concerned with the management of online businesses, from their social media presence to press releases, reputation management is a key factor when it comes to success, especially
when running a business.
Whether you run a small local bakery or a worldwide chain of e-commerce stores, reputation management cannot be ignored.
Therefore, we have put together this article discussing the many different components of reputation management and how these will affect businesses and how you can increase and maintain your reputation as a business, both locally and globally.
First we will discuss marketing.
As a business owner, marketing is essential to generating leads and further custom to your business.
As a local business, this may also be done locally.
For example, delivering flyers, offering free products and samples (in person) and in some cases even knocking door to door explaining what your product is and how it can help a potential customer (old school, right?).
However in the expanding digital world, marketing is now easier than ever. This doesn’t go to say the more traditional methods are not beneficial – they will definitely still help local
businesses, however, the use of social media as the main marketing tool is both sustainable and highly effective at generating further custom for your business.
Let us explain.
With the likes of social channels such as Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest, we are able to reach a much wider audience than an individual neighbourhood, certainly in a much quicker time.
As well as this, social media marketing allows you to explicitly target customers who will actually be interested in your products, leaving out the others and saving you time.
As you can see, this is a much more efficient method of marketing. However, the way in which we market is essential to developing a quality reputation as a business owner.
Arguably, targeting a specific audience is the very first step towards developing your reputation. You are going out of your way to disregard those not interested in your product, while placing emphasis on those more inclined to make a purchase.
Nonetheless, it’s important to market appropriately to these select customers.
You must keep the content relevant, truthful, honest, and of high credibility if you want a solid review (a key factor you should always consider!), customer retention and growth and quite frankly, the future longevity of your business.
While you can make use of the most successful marketing strategies available, if your
business isn’t popular, chances are, it isn’t going to do very well.
This doesn’t mean your business has to be immensely popular and the biggest deal on each and every street throughout the world, but it does mean your business needs to make some noise.
Without noise, and proven success of your business and or quality of your products then how are you going to attract new customers?
Popularity of your business whether online or locally can be increased in a wide variety of ways.
If starting out, perhaps conduct a give-away of your product to a select few
individuals? Or instead, how about providing a free membership for the first 10 sign-ups through a specific link?
Methods like these attract attention and gain noise for your business, generating further custom, attention on social media, and overall positivity and popularity for your business, both locally and on a much wider scale.
Trust is everything within a business.
If a customer cannot trust your business then, chances are they are not going to make a purchase.
So, how can we use reputation management to both increase and maintain trust as a business owner?
Well, for starters it’s important to work and act like a professional.
The same applies for your website and branding. We recommend investing in a professional web developer to help construct your site as well as a logo maker and a professional email address to get started.
Think of it this way, would you trust a business with a publisher logo from 2010 and an email address with their old Xbox username?
Finally, one key method to building trust with existing and future customers is to do exactly what said you would do.
If you said you would email someone before 6pm, make sure you actually do this – don’t give your customers a reason not to trust you.
Credibility and Blog Posts
Another key component within reputation management is credibility.
Credibility refers to being who you say you are and being able to back this up.
For example, if your business sells ‘the best cake in your home town’, ensure this is actually true, don’t just say it for the sake of marketing!
If you own a business, you most likely know the importance of running a blog. This allows you to generate further leads, gain more traction, and increase potential customers to your website.
However, your blog and blog posts are also a key aspect of reputation management.
Think of it this way: If the information on your blog is inaccurate, false, or just a load of ramble then customers are unlikely to return – you may even get left a few negative reviews.
As you can imagine, this is bad for business.
Therefore, you want to approach your blog like you approach your business as a
For example, you may choose to hire a professional writer or alternatively spend the
hours putting in the work yourself. While the blog itself may not become the mainstream traffic for your business, it does in fact size up your reputation and bring customers back to your site with the potential to generate further leads down the line.
Once your business has been up and running for a while, chances are you’ve generated a fair few reviews.
While you cannot write the reviews yourself, you can manage and respond to these in a professional manner, thus increasing your reputation.
While no business owner wants less than a 5 star review, inevitably it will happen at some time or another.
It’s how we respond to this which matters.
Visiting select review sites and responding under your business name is a great place to start.
Remember the first rule of customer service, “the customer is already right”. If a customer complains, apologise, offer them a discount on your next service, and ensure them it will not happen again. These responses to reviews are paramount as one of the first things many new customers will do is read these reviews and decide whether they want to purchase your service.
Finally, in order to consistently receive positive reviews you can be proud of, you need to deliver the highest-quality work you possibly can 24/7, not settling for anything below par.
Much like online reviews, forums are a place where past and existing customers will be discussing your product or service.
Whether you’re a hotel or a blog, customers and readers will have something to say, so why not get involved!
Generally, on forums the main theme is either questions or discussions, both of which you
can join in with.
For example, if a user is asking a question regarding your business, be sure to answer this!
You know better than anyone else how your business works, so use this to your advantage and maybe even generate yourself a few leads along the way.
In order to build your reputation as a business, you must be able to compete with your competitors both in business and online.
A quality reputation is obtained by being respectful and modest in your dealings with other sites, even your closest competitors.
You cannot claim you are the best, you can only prove that you are the best. Undoubtedly, you will be measured against the competition closest to you, so be cautious about making bold statements online.
However, you can
reach out to other sites, generate communication and maybe even work on a few
Doing this builds up the image of your business online, allowing other to
see and also want to work with you in the future.
As you can imagine, this process will also lead to further positive reviews and custom from competitors sites.
The Bottom Line.
Reputation management is essential as a business owner, whether you own a small local bakery or a worldwide successful brand such as Nike.
It should be at the forefront of your business at all times.
You see, while reputation management is loosely seen as the idea of ‘maintaining your reputation’, it is a lot more complex than this, consisting of many different factors which influence your reputation, as we have covered in this blog post.
Whether you’re a start-up or already the best in your industry, we recommend using the tips highlighted in this article to further increase and maintain your reputation as a business,
helping you generate more custom – whether this be visitors to your blog or customers purchasing a physical product.
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