When you hear the term reputation management, you might think of it as something that is only suited for large brands or multinational companies. But, you are hugely wrong. Reputation management is also very important for small and local businesses. If this is your first time hearing this term, then let’s take a look first what is it and why it is important for your business.
Also, make sure to continue reading until the end to find out how you can manage the reputation of your business online, and who to get help if you cannot do it yourself.
What is Reputation Management?
It is simply the process of carefully managing how the public see your business in a way that reflects your brand’s goals. These days, reputation management can be done through digital means such as social media, news websites, and other mediums on the internet.
Oftentimes, local businesses don’t feel the need to manage their reputation because they believe only big brands need it, but this can’t be more wrong, especially now, the era of the internet, wherein everyone can easily voice their opinions on almost anything.
Just imagine an irate customer leaving a 1-star review on your Facebook page. Would you just let that review linger on your page? What will you do if you got a couple more reviews like that? This is the time wherein you need reputation management.
Why Reputation Management is Important?
Knowing how to manage the reputation of your local business is very important. According to research, 84 percent of people trust online reviews as much as friends, and 91% of them read online reviews. With these figures, you cannot deny that these days most of your prospects tend to look for information about your business online before they’ll buy your product or subscribe to your service.
With reputation management, you can control how your prospects see you and manage negative reviews that can repel potential customers away from becoming paying customers.
Building your brand’s image and establishing credibility and solid reputation in your industry requires a well-strategized reputation management.
Reputation management doesn’t only manage and control the public perception of your business, but it also helps you attract more loyal customers. To do this, you need to learn the basics of how it’s done these days with the help of the internet and social media.
9 Reputation Management Tips for Local Business
Maintaining your reputation in your local community as a business or a brand is something you should strive for all the time. Once your reputation is damaged, it would be too difficult to regain it.
Without further ado, here are the things you need to do to manage your reputation as a local business.
1. It starts with your product.
Your product builds your reputation. It is the main basis on how the public, your potential customers, investors and partners perceive your brand. You should start with a good if not excellent product or service.
When a customer is satisfied with your product, word-of-mouth can establish your reputation in your industry. People who are happy with your service will surely leave positive reviews and testimonials which can prod others to check out what you offer.
A good product is the foundation that can help establish your authority, credibility, and reputation in your industry. Whether it be online or offline, people will talk more about your brand because you have a good product that satisfies their needs.
2. Level up your customer service.
Many local businesses actually forget about this. Customer service affects your reputation a lot.
A customer who has complaints about the product she bought, but got a very good customer service, would still leave a good review despite the negative experience. The opposite would happen if you don’t have one.
Customer service can help you make your satisfied customers happier and make the unsatisfied ones feel that they are being valued because you make them realize that their opinions matter a lot to your business.
A good customer service builds reputation, but it’s exactly the opposite if you don’t have one.
3. Create a professional but user-friendly website.
Your website is like your 24/7 storefront or shop or office wherein any time someone wants to know more about your products or services, they can access it. Make sure that it looks professional, user-friendly, and must have a user-responsive design.
A professionally-designed website helps boost your branding because it is where you showcase everything about your company. Your reputation is greatly affected on how you position your brand using your website.
4. Optimize your Google My Business Profile.
The information you put in your Google My Business profile can be potentially seen by thousands of people in the SERPs (search engine result pages). Optimizing it can help you maintain your branding and can also help your potential customers easily find you online.
Your customers can also leave reviews in your Google My Business page, thus it is an online property that you should keep an eye on. And, just recently, your customers and prospects can now send you a message via there. Check out here the rest of the new GMB features that can help you in managing your business’ reputation.
5. Monitor your online citations.
Your online citations are mentions of your brand on any mediums on the internet. A review from a customer on a review website, a tweet from one of your followers, a listing on a directory website, a feature on a news website, a backlink on a blog post…anything that mentions your brand name is an online citation.
Monitoring your online citations is not easy. The very basic you can do is to use free and available search engines to find out what will come up when you search for your brand name.
If the citations you get are neutral or positive, then it’s good. But, if it’s otherwise, you can contact the poster to ask him/her to let you publish a reply, delete it if it’s too damaging to your business’ reputation, or simply write a rebuttal on your website or social media page, explaining your side of the story.
If you ignore your online citations, you are putting your reputation in peril, more especially if you have irate customers. There is a higher chance your prospects won’t convert into paying customers because they were repelled by the negative write-ups.
6. Build social media and review site profiles.
You can control your online reputation by building your own pages on popular social media platforms and review websites. Put your brand in the center of your followers, engage with them, and directly address negative issues that can potentially taint your reputation.
Your social media and review site profiles are another important online properties that can help you manage your brand’s reputation and at the same time help you connect and engage with your target audience.
7. Highlight best reviews.
Highlighting the best reviews about your business is an important part in building a solid reputation that attracts customers and get the respect of your potential investors.
Curate all the best reviews about your business and showcase them on your website and anywhere you deem necessary. These reviews are proof that everything you declare or say about your business are true and not manufactured.
8. Build a blog to promote your products or services.
Having a blog that focuses on promoting your brand is another way to manage your reputation. Through your blog, you can shape the public’s perception about your business.
Blogging can also help you establish yourself as a thought-leader in your industry. This is another way to boost your reputation. When you are considered as an authority in your field of expertise, your credibility rises along with your reputation.
9. Regular press release.
This is another important factor in reputation management that most small to medium enterprises failed to utilize. A press release is one of the most important tools in managing your reputation as a business.
Publishing a press release is a formal way of informing the public about the recent updates and developments in your business. These days, it’s not only limited to the press but to everyone – news websites, blogs, social media, the whole internet.
You can actually distribute your press release for FREE (trial basis) here.
Reputation management should not be complicated, and should be learned by small business owners like you. Just follow the tips we’ve compiled above and you’re ready to go. But, if you think you don’t have time to do these, you can always get the help of the professionals to do it for you.
The Reputation Management Experts of KISS PR can help you manage your reputation from scratch. Just give them a call at 972-437-8942, or fill out this contact form to book an appointment.