An excellent business reputation doesn’t just develop overnight; it is very often hard-earned over a considerable period of time. But once you’ve secured that reputation it is considerably easier to attract and maintain a profitable customer base.
Social media engagement
Used properly, social media can be used to establish a solid online reputation. By creating a genuine business profile, you can react and engage with your customers in a transparent, authentic manner. Develop a social strategy that incorporates the time to respond to social posts and comments – both positive and negative. Your accessibility on social channels such as Twitter and Facebook allows customers to air their grievances and at the other end of the spectrum, offer praise and light-hearted social interaction.
By observing social conversations using social media monitoring tools, businesses can flip negative posts and comments on their head with swift, honest responses that ensure even the most frustrated customer is left feeling satisfied with the outcome – perhaps even becoming a genuine social connection! Similarly, social media strategies can delight consumers with well-designed competitions and campaigns that pique the interest of target demographics online.
Let’s be honest: none of us enjoy reading self-promotional content online. The self-indulgence is a massive turn-off; so why would your customers want to read direct sales copy every day?
Combine your website’s blog and social media channels to distribute inspirational content that engages with your consumers and solves direct problems. Think about their pressure points and daily challenges and deliver digital content that is actionable and genuinely useful. It can genuinely turn visitors into customers and customers into advocates across the major social channels.
Encourage reviews online
Something increasingly pertinent for a brand’s online reputation is customer reviews and feedback. In fact, positive customer reviews are arguably a business’s strongest ally online. Consumers increasingly rely more heavily on a business’ reviews and online reputation before making a purchase decision – even if those reviews are made by complete strangers!
Local directory listings experts, BrightLocal conducted a survey of 2,000 of consumers back in 2014 which found that 93 per cent admitted to checking reviews before dining or shopping. While this data is now two years old, the online review trend has accelerated much further since then. So no matter how compelling your website or offering may be, customers will always seek out the opinions of others before hitting that all-important ‘buy’ button.
From Feefo and Trustpilot to Which? and Yelp, consumers can rate businesses on a sliding scale. Businesses can show transparency by embedding their customer reviews and ratings within their website to add authenticity to their brand.
Seek organic publicity online
Online brand reputation management is not just about being reactive; it’s about putting yourself in the right places too. A really effective way to build authority within your niche and increase exposure is to write for industry blogs and news and advice websites. A few years ago, guest blogging used to be an effective Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) tactic to get external links pointing back to your own website, but now it is simply a genuine way of spreading the good word of your brand and establishing your business name as experts in everything you do.
Although ultimately your business reputation will hinge heavily on the service you deliver to customers and vendors, the ability to operate online with complete transparency and authority will set you apart from the competitors online.