For small business owners, every small factor in business success matters. If you own or operate a company yourself- regardless of size – you likely understand how much seemingly-small things add up. One of these “small” things that are exceedingly important is your company’s professional reputation. Here’s how reputation management can help you leverage consumer feedback to create a better, more profitable business in the coming year:
What is Reputation Management?
Knowing what your consumers and your target audience are thinking or saying about your brand is important for marketing success. Likewise, understanding your public reputation helps you adjust your approach and better serve those you are marketing to.
Reputation management does both of these things for you. It is a service that provides professional help in finding what’s being said about your company online, managing negative commentary, and building on positive presences on the internet to help bolster and improve your local and global business reputation. For today’s small businesses, it’s a service you truly can’t afford to be without.
The Importance of Small Business Reputation Management
It’s a common misconception that you can simply choose not to be proactive about reputation management. If you’re looking to be successful, nothing could be further from the truth. Even the smallest amount of negative feedback online can lead to a downward spiral of your local reputation – and your business.
Today’s customer uses search engines to find information about the businesses they visit, both online and in person. That’s why it’s critical for a business to consider their online reputation when working on building their customer base. Even local, in-store customers are likely to influence your online reputation in the modern marketplace, so keeping an eye on what’s being said about your brand online is of the utmost importance.
How to Leverage Business Reputation Management for Your Company
When you think about negative consumer interactions, your initial response may be negative as well. How can harsh words and public criticism be beneficial for your company? When you begin to manage your business reputation, you learn that it’s all in how you manage that feedback that matters.
Here are a few other ways that small business reputation management uses what is already available to you to make your company more successful:
- Be willing to make the investment in small business reputation management. Many smaller businesses make the mistake of not investing in reputation management. As you’ve seen, though, this is a major mistake. Every company of every size can benefit from the use of this technique
- Utilize every online platform possible. The internet offers so many tools for business owners and operators. Social media is perhaps the biggest factor in modern business success; having a complete, accurate, and current profile on every social media platform will offer audiences on every corner of the internet access to the information they need regarding your company.
Social media isn’t the only thing you can use to your advantage, though. Having a business website that is attractive, functional, and user-friendly will also give consumers a positive experience that they can associate with your company. Many websites exist to help you make connections and receive consumer feedback from your customers or clients, so utilize those as well. There is no site that’s not worth your time if it connects you to your consumer base!
- Consider personal reputations. When you run a business that includes professionals with personal reputations within the community, it’s a good idea to utilize those reputations when building upon your organization’s professional reputation. What does this mean? Consider a health clinic relying on the solid community reputation of a participating doctor, or a new veterinary clinic whose head doctor is well-known in the community they are setting up shop in. Medical professionals, lawyers, and other professionals like these can bring a great foundation to an organization’s reputation.
- Be mindful of social media. Social media accounts are a great tool for businesses, but only if they are used correctly. An abandoned or seldom-updated account is no more useful to your company than a complete lack of social media presence. To make the platform work for you and worth your while, be sure to keep it up to date and respond promptly to customer interactions.
- Blog for the sake of SEO – and outreach. Having a blog in addition to your company’s website is a great way to reach out to your consumers. People love being able to see additional content from their favorite brands, professionals, and other companies. In fact, content marketing is considered one of the best tools for modern businesses, since today’s consumers have come to expect experiences in place of just traditional marketing efforts.
A blog is a perfect form of outreach since your consumers can see what’s going on. What your owners, operators, and staff members are doing and thinking, or what topics are important to the people who run your company. They also provide an excellent opportunity for search engine optimization when done correctly – something that a web designer like those here at 4 Step Studio can help you with!
- Conduct yourself properly when dealing with consumer complaints. Above all else, when it comes to proper management of your online reputation, your entire staff will need to be briefed on how to conduct themselves. This includes responding to criticism, complaints, and concerns from consumers and community members, as well as offering workable solutions for their problems. Nothing is more detrimental to your company’s reputation than mishandling of these issues in a public space. A little bit of training and education can go a long way toward helping your staff deliver better service to everyone who encounters your company.
Today’s marketplace is not one in which you can neglect your reputation online. Keeping track of who is saying what, the consensus of public opinion about your company, and how well you’re serving your customers or clients will make a tremendous difference in your company’s success. At 4 Step Studio, we can help businesses in the Fort Lauderdale area and beyond find the information they need – and the tools to use that data – to create a better business plan.
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