A Guide To Managing Your Business Reputation
Mon, Mar 21 2016
Do you run a small business? Do you have negative comments about your business? In any industry, reputation is the key to whether you’ll be successful or not. A good reputation can not only enhance customer interaction and sales but can also increase your overall revenue and profit. A bad reputation however can cause a cascading effect, and can damage your business in many ways. So how do you manage your business reputation to maintain your integrity with your customers and potential clients. The following is a complete guide on how to manage your business reputation.
Key Areas For Optimal Reputation Management
Reputation management isn’t about promotion or advertising, it’s about the way you influence your potential customers on how they perceive you and your business. Although the process can be time consuming, it will strengthen your relationship along with your brand’s appearance in the world.
Reputation Management Statistics
Did you know:
- 85% of your potential customers use the internet to research your company before they decide to make a purchase.
- 79% of your potential customers value personal and online recommendations in their search for a reputable company.
- 70% of employers don’t hire applicants because of online content.
- 80% of admission offices for colleges are using social media platforms like Facebook to recruit and assess applicants prior to hiring.
Reputation Management For Small Businesses
For small businesses having a good reputation is important to compete against larger competitors. Especially with the increase in online activity. With the introduction of the Internet, many small businesses have to compete harder to maintain their position with their customers. Did you know:
- 86% of people are willing to pay more for a service from companies which feature higher reviews and ratings.
- 74% of people when looking for a home service provider consult YELP.
So what does this mean if you’re a business owner? It means that managing your company’s reputation both online and offline has never been so important. In order to help your online reputation, you will need to build a web presence. This allows customers to compare you to your competition. It also helps clients to understand what your business is about while providing a few advantages along the way which include:
- Building Customer Trust – Positive online reputation will increase customer trust overall. You will develop authority, expertise and credibility in your field in the eyes of your customers. The more you gain the trust of your customers, the better the reviews and the increase in customers you will gain.
- Brand Exposure – Building and managing your reputation can also help to promote brand exposure. The more people know about your business the more likely they will shop with you.
Ways To Improve Your Reputation
When it comes to improving your company’s reputation there are a few things that can be done to achieve this. These include:
Local Reputation Management
- Sponsor local fun runs, sporting events or other entertainment avenues to show the local public your committed to the community.
- Donate time, money or services to a charity event to help raise money for a good cause. Businesses who participate in activities such as this are more recognised in the public eye.
- Handle negative feedback and comments politely and constructively. Always offer a positive reply in return. Handle each one individually and address their concerns, disappointments, or negativity politely.
Online Reputation Management
- Create a business profile on general search sites such as Better Business Bureau, Yelp and Citysearch. These websites generally feature reviews of businesses and tend to be city-specific.
- Use social media to build and manage your reputation. Social media is a powerful tool that can work wonders for your business when used correctly. Use posts to interact and engage with the customers by answering questions, asking questions, or replying back to positive or negative comments. This is important as customers will see you’re committed to good customer relations.
- Monitor what people are saying about your business online and respond where necessary. If there’s a completely untrue review, it may be best to either remove it or answer it truthfully.
- Respond to positive and negative reviews on different review websites. 90% of what people say will impact your business and their buying decision. Take the time to respond to as many reviews as possible. Thank them for the review, respond to the feedback, and encourage them to continue shopping with you.
Emergency Business Reputation Management
If your business is a part of a scandal, the following are some things that can be done to help maintain your reputation through this tough time. These include:
- Let the employee go who has caused this public attention to your business. If they have stolen money or had public affairs, it’s best to cut ties and notify the public on your tolerance policy for this behaviour.
- Communicate with the public about where your business stands during the tough period. Notify that although your business may be taking a hit at the moment, it will be back up and running in a short amount of time.
- Once the problem is resolved give a press release that your business is now back on its feet again and is stronger than ever before.
Spreading Your Brand Awareness
Once you have created a strong online and offline reputation, it’s time to market your company. This can be done through a few different outlets including, but not limited to:
- SEO efforts for online content marketing
- Stationary items such as badges and stickers
- Social media advertising and interaction
- Blogs about your industry, products and services.
- Competing and sponsoring different activities or sporting events in the local community.
- Offering competitions, discounts and other favourable items for your customers.
Incorporating these into your marketing strategy can help to improve your brand’s awareness. It can also help to contribute to your brand’s reputation as well.
Managing your business’s reputation is crucial to whether your business will be successful. By following the tips and tricks above you can easily generate the reputation you’re looking for while maintaining credibility with your customers. So how is your business reputation fairing in this competitive world?
Author(s): Peter Thomas and Tristan Gray. Tristan is Managing Director at Studio 56 in Melbourne Australia. As a serial entrepreneur and business owner, he and his team now help business owners grow their business online through a large number of advertising channels. Tristan is great at thinking outside the box and helping his clients understand how to best get a return on their investment. He strongly believes in building good ethical networks with other like minded business owners. www.s56.com.au