As an entrepreneur, your reputation is everything, right? If you do not maintain a positive reputation, your business will not survive. Prospects will not be attracted to your brand and you will find it increasingly difficult to get more business.
Managing your reputation is one of the most crucial things you need to do as a business owner. This is even more important when it comes to the Internet. It only takes a few attacks on the web that cause serious damage to the reputation you have worked so hard to build.
Sounds pretty scary, right?
Here are the good news: You have control over this.
If you are good at managing the way your audience perceives you, it will be much easier to continue expanding your business. Below are tips for protecting your online reputation that will help you maintain a strong one that can reject almost any attack.
Responds quickly to criticism
Let’s face it. You can’t please ALL. You can’t really expect everyone to love you.
Somewhere along the line, there will be customers who are happy with your services.
It may be due to a completely understandable error on an order. It may be because the customer thinks you are taking too much for your offer. It may be because the customer needs a punching bag and you are just going to be there.
It doesn’t matter what the reason is. If anyone complains about your brand online, you must act immediately.
You can’t control what others say about you, but you can control how you respond.
According to Jonathan Rosenfeld, a popular lawyer in Chicago, business owners must regularly monitor their online profiles and respond in time for criticism. “People appreciate when a business owner reacts to a negative customer review in a constructive way. When the audience sees that a business owner is thoughtful and concerned, they realize that the criticism can be unfounded or an unusual circumstance,” he added.
When someone bashes you online, reach out to them. Find out what the real problem is. Chances are, there is a problem that you can solve quite easily.
If this is the case then do whatever you can to make the customer happy. When others see your answer to the situation, it will go a long way in reducing the damage the customer’s comments might have caused. In some cases, the customer can actually appreciate your efforts to solve the problem and let others know online about it.
This should, without saying, but good content will allow you to continue to build a strong online reputation. It’s a great way to position your business as an authority in your industry.
If you want to create a reputation that is impossible to penetrate, use your online content. When prospects see how useful you are, they will be less likely to believe in some “haters” who may have an unknown word to say about you online.
Your audience looks at what you do, which means your final focus should be to give as much value as possible. You have to show prospects that you are there to help them solve their problems, not just to get their money. That’s what content marketing is all about.
You can’t develop a strong online reputation if your audience doesn’t feel you are available. When people start believing that your business is more than a business entity, it will be difficult for them to join you.
That is why you need to have a strong social media presence. You need to interact with people who use the right social media platforms.
When it comes to social media marketing, you need to have the same goal as you do with the content marketing strategy. The point is not just making random posts that proclaim how big your business is. The point is to be as useful as possible to the public.
This is where you need to be good at social listening. You need to find out where your audience spends time online and make sure you are present in those places. If you see that there are people who ask different questions, be the one who answers them.
Not only does this position make you an authority, it sends the message you are there to help, not just sell.
Embodying your brand
Finally, you must embody your brand. You must be who you say you are. When your actions do not match your words, it destroys any confidence you may have built up with your audience.
Can you imagine what would happen if Walmart started charging higher prices for the items it sells? What if Saks Fifth Avenue started selling discount clothing?
It wouldn’t make sense, would it? Of course not. Walmart’s branding purpose is to get the lowest prices for all the products that sell. Saks Fifth Avenue is a high-end brand that targets higher-income customers. Both of these companies have a specific brand.
You must do the same.
Everything you need must be influenced by your brand. Every business decision you make must be informed by your brand. As a business owner, you can’t make decisions that go against your brand. Doing this will dilute your brand.
Your branding and your actions must be consistent. If this doesn’t happen, nobody will take you seriously. Your reputation will suffer as a result.
The Bottom line
Your online reputation is incredibly important. You have to work to protect it. That’s what will help you grow your business and attract new customers. If you follow the tips given in this article, you will be able to maintain the type of reputation you need to continue moving forward.