Your Online Reputation (Handle With Special Care)
In the past, businesses had it slightly easier when it came to controlling industry reputation. An upset customer in a physical store could be turned around quickly by savvy management, for example. Today’s online world makes company reputations even more important and delicate. One customer alone could spread their frustration through the online world, causing hundreds and thousands of potential consumers to turn away from your brand. There are several strategies you need to employ to keep the company reputation true and protected through the years.
Even the smallest business should have a dedicated employee or department to cover all online communication about a company. They need to monitor the website, review sites, blogs and social media, for instance. This monitoring process can be automated to a certain degree through computerized tracking of trending topics. However, it’s those sporadic posts that seem to have legs, especially when it’s a negative comment. The moment any problem arises, you can try to fix it before it damages sales and reputation significantly.
Product and service reviews are gold to businesses because they literally reflect how many people purchased a product and spoke out about it. An item with 500 reviews, for example, displays its desirability through the quantity before any reviews are even read. Ask all customers to review their purchases or received services. You want as many real reviews online as possible. Paying for reviews is a choice for some businesses, but it often becomes publicized and looks bad on the company’s reputation for life.
Work Outside the Box
Although your business could be extremely busy, increase your reputation’s strength with non-industry contributions. If you sell clothing with sea animal themes, consider an employee outing to clean a beach. Document the outing and even contribute to local charities with the same clean ocean goal. Showing you care about more than profits gives consumers another reason to purchase with you instead of the competitor.
Businesses are constantly trying to hide their secret recipe from the world, but some transparency actually helps sales overall. Showing part of an assembly or manufacturing process offers a glimpse into your company’s strengths. It also tells people that you’re environmentally friendly, for example, when you recycle some materials not used in the final product. Address some negative issues while playing up the positive aspects of the industry. Post these videos or photos online to truly build a strong reputation.
Ready to Defend Yourself
Any business is vulnerable to verbal attacks, especially with the online world offering some anonymity. Be ready to hire or use lawyers if a reputation attack is truly hurtful or even illegal. It’s best to try and reason with the person initially, but legal ramifications may need to be enforced to protect your assets. Even the threat of legal action can calm an attacker, allowing them to retract a statement and reduce damage to the business.
Proper SEO and digital marketing can only go so far in today’s competitive world. Always be aware of any conversations involving your business or even the industry as a whole. Ripple effects from your competitors, for example, could even damage sales. Hardworking management professionals, such as Brent Franson, make it a point to monitor and act on any negative reputation information before it grows exponentially.