As an entrepreneur, your reputation is everything, isn’t it? If you don’t maintain a positive reputation, your business won’t survive. Prospects won’t be attracted to your brand and you will find it increasingly harder to gain more business.
Managing your reputation is one of the most crucial things you will need to do as a business owner. This is even more crucial when it comes to the Internet. It only takes a few online attacks to cause serious damage to the reputation you have worked so hard to build.
Sounds pretty daunting, doesn’t it?
Here’s the good news: you have control over this.
If you’re being diligent about managing the way your audience perceives you, it will be much easier to continue to grow your business. Below, you’ll find tips for protecting your online reputation that will help you maintain a strong one that can repel almost any attack.
Protect Your Online Reputation by …
Responding To Criticism Quickly
Let’s face it. You can’t please EVERYONE. You can’t realistically expect everyone to love you.
Somewhere along the line, there will be customers who are unhappy with your services.
It could be because of a totally understandable mistake on an order. It could be because the customer thinks you charge to much for your offering. It could be because the customer needs a punching bag and you just happen to be there.
It doesn’t matter what the reason is. If someone complains about your brand online, you have to act immediately.
You can’t control what other people say about you, but you can control how you respond to it.
According to Jonathan Rosenfeld, a popular attorney in Chicago, business owners need to monitor their online profiles regularly and respond in a timely manner to criticisms. “People appreciate when a business owner responds to a negative customer review in a constructive way. When the public can see that a business owner is thoughtful and concerned, they realize that the critique may be unfounded or an unusual circumstance,” he added.
When someone bashes you online, reach out to them. Find out what the real issue is. Chances are, it’s a problem that you can solve fairly easily.
If this is the case, then do whatever you can to make the customer happy. When others see your response to the situation, it will go a long way towards mitigating the damage the customer’s comments could have caused. In some cases, the customer may actually appreciate your efforts to resolve the problem and let others online know about it.
Creating Great Content
This should go without saying, but great content will allow you to continue to build a strong online reputation. It’s a great way to position your business as an authority in your industry.
If you want to create a reputation that is impossible to penetrate, use your online content. When potential customers see how helpful you are, they will be less likely to believe any “haters” that might have an unkind word to say about you online.
It’s all about perception.
Your audience is watching what you do, which means your ultimate focus should be to provide as much value as possible. You need to show your prospects that you’re there to help them solve their problems, not just to get their money. That’s what content marketing is about.
You can’t develop a strong online reputation if your audience doesn’t feel like you’re accessible. When people start to believe that your business is nothing more than a corporate entity, it will be hard for them to connect with you.
This is why you need to have a strong social media presence. You need to interact with people using the right social media platforms.
When it comes to social media marketing, you have to have the same objective as you do with your content marketing strategy. The point isn’t to just make random postings that proclaim how great your company is. The point is to be as helpful as possible to your audience.
This is where you need to get good at social listening. You need to find out where your audience spends time online and make sure you’re present in those places. If you see that there are people asking various questions, be the one to answer them.
Not only does this position you as an authority, it sends the message that you’re there to help, not just sell.
Embodying Your Brand
Finally, you need to embody your brand. You need to be who you say you are. When your actions don’t line up with your words, it destroys any trust that you may have built up with your audience.
Could you imagine what would happen if Walmart started charging higher-end prices for the goods it sells? What if Saks Fifth Avenue started selling discount clothing?
It wouldn’t make any sense, would it? Of course not. Walmart’s brand purpose is to have the lowest prices for all of the items it sells. Saks Fifth Avenue is a high-end brand that targets higher-income customers. Both of these companies embody a certain brand.
You have to do the same thing.
Everything you do needs to be influenced by your brand purpose. Every business decision you make has to be informed by your brand purpose. As a business owner, you can’t make decisions that go against your brand. Doing this will dilute your brand appeal.
Your brand message and your actions have to be in alignment. If this doesn’t happen, nobody will take you seriously. Your reputation will suffer as a result.
The Bottom Line
Your online reputation is immensely important. You have to work to protect it. It’s what will help you grow your business and attract new customers. If you follow the tips given in this article you will be able to maintain the type of reputation you need in order to continue moving forward.
Regarding responding to bad reviews, I can’t agree more. I have seen business try to justify themselves turn out bad but then other companies be strait with complaints and when someone makes a nonsense complaint treat it as such and gain support from others.
I think that it pays to be honest and just engage. The good thing with social media is that there is a place for you to show what your brand is and what it stands for. It is also a perfect avenue to interact. So as long as your message is clear and you stand for something. I think that people will believe in you.
Thanks for this article.
These tips are good and have to be followed.
To my understanding, it seems to be some DIY tips – but, depending on the size of your company/brand, is not conceivable to do it by yourself.
Very good tips about managing your online reputation. It is a good idea to reach out to unhappy customers.
People want to be heard. if you are accessible as you mention it goes a long way to assuage their concerns. The worst thing that business owners can do is get defensive or shut down. As mentioned you can’t please everyone and no one expects you to. But listening and showing some understanding goes a long way.
Thanks for the post.