Reputation Management For All
You want people to be talking positively about your business. Word of mouth is a great way to attract new clients. However, you do not want what is being said to be a response to a poor online presence. Today, everything can be searched online. Keeping a tidy reputation on search engines can seem like an impossible task. Thankfully, that statement is far from the truth. There are certain steps you can take to have control over your online reputation. By practicing good reputation management techniques, you can be sure that your business’ story will be told in a positive light.
Big business or small, reputation management should be an essential part of your marketing strategy. People have full range of social platforms to share their opinions, leave reviews, vent frustrations, or sing the praises of your product. The last thing you want is for a potential client to be turned away because of a poor response on your part. A bad review or comment can break a business. That is why taking reputation management seriously from the start is so important. If you take reputation management seriously, your business could benefit by:
- Better Search Engine Ranking
- Increased Customer Loyalty
- Increased Profits
- Better Professional Image
These reasons alone should be enough for you to be double-checking your posts.
Tip #1: Be the Owner of Your Online Profiles
Anyone can make a social media account. It is easy and free, but it does not have to be a personal account. Someone could create an account with the same name as your business. And whether intentional or not, whatever is posted on that page could have an effect on your reputation. Having webpages that you “own” helps your clientele know that the business page they are searching for is actually yours. There are a multitude of online social platforms you could create for your business. Some examples:
Keeping an active social media presence is an important way to connect with clients and show the world why you are the best at what you do. Some platforms may not be for every business, which is why you have to decide which platform to create for your business that will coincide with your brand. Only you can decide what is best for your business.
To start, let’s look at Twitter and LinkedIn. As stated before, both are free platforms frequently used by many businesses. However, you cannot create an account just for the sake of claiming a name. You need to frequently update and manage your media presence. The last thing you want is a potential client looking you up only to find a blank Twitter account. This would come off as unprofessional and downright lazy. In the same sense, you do not want to update every profile every minute of the day. It is all about finding a balance on what to post. You want to update your page daily but not enough that a potential client’s feed is cluttered with meaningless content. Some good topics to update your profile are:
- New business news
- Unique spotlights letting clients see inside the business
- Anniversaries or dates that mean something to your business
Once you have created the platforms that fit your business, you want to make sure to tell clients where they can find more information. Link your accounts back to the company’s website. Having another place for clients to follow up on information could answer questions they do not even know they had. In addition, linking your pages back to your website will show Google that these pages are “official.” This, in turn, will better your SEO standings. The more clicks on content, the easier it will be for those searching to find your web pages.
Tip #2: Make Your Online Presence Reflect Your Business
You know what is at the heart of your business, and only you can show that to the outside world. Having all of the best platforms is great unless each platform reflects your personal brand. No matter the business type, every business has a brand. If you have not considered the specific brand you want to be displayed to the world, consider asking yourself:
1. Who does my business cater to?
2. What type of clients do I currently tend to?
3. Where do I see my business going?
4. What type of people do I work with?
People love stories. Whether is a novel or personal gossip, people want to be invested in other’s stories. Sharing your business’ story is a great way to connect with current and potential clients. And your story is also not limited to words. Sometimes a picture can say it all. Either way, giving information that pulls back the curtain and reveals the person or persons behind the business is a great way to gain your clients trust and manage your reputation. If you clearly display your story online, those searching have a direct source to go to in order to find out the truth. Take control of what people are saying about your business by giving them the truth.
There are multiple ways you could make your online presence reflect your business. Some are dependent on the platform type and may not be useful for you business. However, the basic presence of each can help boost your reputation.
1. Use Appropriate Hashtags
Linking your social posts to hashtags is a great way for clients to see what kind of affiliations your business has. Hashtags let you organize your content and can also link your content to other like-minded content. Social platforms use hashtags to organize a type of group. These groups are all talking about the same thing. For instance, clicking on a post and then the hashtag #ReputationManagement will bring you to a page full of content all related to the same subject. Using relevant hashtags is a great way to add your say to the conversation and let people know why what you have to say matters. However, be very careful when using hashtags. It is important to search a hashtag before posting. A hashtag you may be using to say one thing may already be in use saying another. The last thing you want is to link your business to a negative hashtag by mistake.
2. Show, Don’t Tell All of the Details
A picture is worth a thousand words, and the right picture can showcase to a potential client why your business is the best. There is nothing more impersonal than stock images on social media posts. While it may seem tempting to do a quick google search of a topic and choose a photo that may have been used countless times before, clients can see right through that. What using stock photos really saysto a client is that your business is unoriginal. You cannot tell your own story if you are using someone else’s images. Additionally, that does not mean you need to go out and buy the fanciest camera or editing software. You can use images such as employee photos, personal logos and graphics to show your own originality.
3. Make it Clean and Concise
While every social media platform is different, you are using each account for the same business. Aesthetically pleasing social media feeds tend to attract more followers than others. For instance, looking up social profiles on Instagram with follower numbers in the thousands mainly results in a feed of images all relatively like each other. The subject may change, but the filter and colors will normally stay the same.
While your business may not be a top social star, there are a few things that can be learned from those with proven media success. Sticking with a set color scheme is a great way to show consistency. This element will change from business to business, and yours might already have an established color scheme that you can integrate into your online presence.
Clarity is also an important aspect of posting images. As stated before, the camera you use does not have to be the best of the best, but you do want the images posted to be clear and accurately displaying the subject matter.
Being mindful of all elements in a photo can be key to reputation management. Television shows such as Game of Thrones and Downton Abbey have experienced the downfalls of using images without carefully searching for mistakes. Both had instances where a misplaced cup ruined a shot and took the viewer out of the world the show was trying to build. While this example may seem a bit out of the blue, the concept stays the same. You do not want to post a picture of one thing, only to have something in the background ruin the intent of the post. Having multiple eyes on a post before it is posted can help catch mistakes before they happen.
Tip #3: Fix the Negative to Display the Positive
No business is perfect. What you post online could be intended to mean one thing, but could come off as another. If mistakes happen, you do not want to push it under the rug. Deleting negative posts without addressing what has been discussed will only hurt your reputation. It will come off as you having something to hide, and could lead to the mistrust of clients. That is why it is important to be on top of negative reviews and comments before they can lead to something more damaging. Here are some ways to change the negative into a positive:
1. Address the problem
As stated before, you do not want to simply delete a negative comment without addressing it first. If a customer or client leaves a negative review on a website such as Yelp, you should reply to that comment. Address their concerns and offer any appropriate reasoning you find fit.
2. Be careful with your words
Addressing the problem is important, but not being careful with your words could lead to an even bigger issue. Never reply to a negative comment with more negativity. If you do, it will reflect unprofessionally on your business. Remember the old saying that the customer is always right. They may not be in the scenario, but offering a positive outcome to a negative response is the best way to remain in control of a situation and of your reputation.
3. Give them a next step
If there is a way to right the situation other than apologizing, do so. Customers and clients always appreciate the extra mile. If they see you righting a problem and going out of your way to make the complainer happy, it can actually lead to client loyalty. They know their needs are recognized and your business really care for what is provided.
4. Be personal in replies
Some big companies use bots to right their wrongs. While this has many good uses, it can also come off as impersonal. Show your clients that you care for their needs by including personal information in your reply, such as their name or signing the reply with your own. That way, the client knows it is a human being behind the computer and not an emotionless bot.
Reputation Management Overview
The way your business is perceived online should be an important concern. While it may seem a daunting topic, it can be achieved by anyone at any business. A positive online reputation is important when any subject can be searched online in a matter of seconds. Even though you cannot control what others say about you, you can give them reasons to talk positively about your business. By owning your social platforms, making your online presence reflect your business and fixing the negative to reflect the positive, you are on your way to having a positive online reputation. You want clients and potential clients to be discussing your business online. Give them every reason to talk about how great your business is by taking control of your online reputation.