Where a business’s reputation was once built solely through word of mouth as their customer base grew, with the internet and modern day technology, reputations can fluctuate wildly and reach large audiences almost effortlessly. While this makes it easier to build a positive reputation behind your brand, it can also work against you and harm your business if you’re not taking the necessary steps to manage it. More than simply responding to negative reviews and trying to save face, reputation management is a marketing strategy staple that should be built into your plan from the beginning. In this article, we’re going to show you the different ways to take charge and build a positive reputation that continues to draw in more business.
Related: Reputation 101 eBook (free download)
7 Ways to Manage Your Business Reputation
1. Engage With Your Audience
Anytime you get a comment or share on a post, that’s your consumers saying that they appreciate what you’re doing. Rather than let these prime reputation building opportunities pass, take the time to respond and engage with your audience. Show them that you’re not some faceless corporation and you appreciate their interest and loyalty. In doing this, you’re naturally building a positive atmosphere around your brand instead of waiting for a negative review to take action. When you surround your public profile with positive interactions, not only will consumers be more likely to engage with your company, but they will also pay less attention to the occasional negative comment or bad review.
2. Build Credibility Through SEO
Similar to what we were just talking about, reputation building is all about being proactive instead of reactive. Since you have limited control over the actions a displeased customer may take, focus on the factors that you can control completely. Much of a brand’s reputation will stem from their online presence —how visible you are to consumers and the impression you leave. While SEO is great for building up your organic traffic from search engines, it’s also a strong way to increase your online presence and authority. If you happen to take a blow to your reputation through social media or another channel, showing up in search engines can help you recover and bounce back quicker.
3. Google Your Business
If you want to get an idea of what your consumers are seeing when they search for your business, try doing the search yourself. The process of monitoring your online presence should start by simply searching your business on all the major search engines (Google, Yahoo, Bing). Make sure you cover all channels from basic searches to image and shopping queries as well to get a better understanding of the way your business is reflected. Scan through the first few pages of each search and take notes on what’s bolstering your reputation and what’s damaging it. This will help you build a plan of action while also giving you the opportunity to remove any undesirable content that’s under your control.
4. Update Your Listings
As the world of online business continues to become more competitive, you need to be doing everything in your power to make it easy for consumers to trust your brand. Whether people see a blog post of yours on the first page of a Google search or they stumble across one of your social media accounts, the may want to look your business up on popular online directories. It’s your job to make sure that all of your listings are updated and accurate. Everything from location and hours of operation to images and contact information needs to be current and complete. This will help create a sense of trust and security in consumers, making them more likely to become buyers that can build your reputation.
Related: Online Listings eBook
5. Search Hashtags
While hashtags are a powerful way to reach targeted audience members through social media, they can also be used to build your business’s reputation. If you use custom hashtags on a regular basis, you have to stay on top of them. Conduct weekly or monthly searches to see when and where it’s being used so you can gauge whether or not it’s being used correctly as it pertains to your business purposes. You should also do a search to see which relevant hashtags your business shows up for. This will give you an idea of the way consumers perceive your brand and it’s a great method for finding new hashtags that can further grow your social presence.
Related: Hashtag Marketing eBook
6. Monitor Employee Posts
Handing over the autonomous reigns to your employees and giving them the freedom to promote your business is a great addition to any marketing strategy, but there needs to be guidelines in place to limit the risk of problems. Whether it’s the caption of an image being taken the wrong way or the accidental sharing of confidential information, mistakes can damage your reputation cause good intentions to backfire. If you’re going to take this approach, be sure to put in place strict guidelines that employees are well versed on whenever they promote the brand. This way, you can still reap all of the benefits while limiting risk and avoiding potential disasters.
7. Conduct Polls & Surveys
How many times have you eaten a restaurant and personally told the chef that your dish was amazing? Probably not very many. Just as the chef relies on waiters and waitresses to gauge the satisfaction of customers, it’s important that you periodically use polls and surveys to take a live pulse of your audience, employees, and even vendors or partners. Without knowing, it’s difficult to pinpoint what you could be doing better.
With the live data you collect, you’ll gain valuable insight on matters such as brand trust and buyer intent. Because your business’s reputation is something you have control over, you can control the way consumers perceive your business and message. Making this a regular habit will ensure your brand stays on track as it continues to grow and evolve.