Your business’s reputation goes hand in hand with your sales, especially when it comes down to a customer choosing between different companies. A business with a good reputation has lots of positive reviews, mentions on social media, and is in good standing with the world.
Often, it feels like your reputation is in the hands of customers, and there is little you can do to sway them, but worry not! It is possible to seize control of your reputation and let people see your business in the best light possible.
Customer Support and Social Media: Friends Forever
It’s very unlikely that whoever runs your social media accounts is the same person in charge of customer support, but they need to work together, as close as coworkers can be. Their jobs are so extremely similar. It’s all about pleasing customers, current or potential, and helping them out. Often though, there is a disconnect between the two and their customer interactions.
It’s important these two work together to ensure customers get the help they need. A customer, unsure where to get help, might reach out on Twitter or Facebook for help. Obviously, this is their preferred method to contact you, yet so often social media reps tell them to send an email or call customer support. Customers feel pushed off, with many dreading dealing with customer support. Instead, the social media worker and customer support work together and solve their problem to ensure a seamless experience for the customer.
As more people see you actively solving problems, they’ll view your business as one that cares about customers and goes out of their way to accommodate them. Plus, positive customer experiences can only encourage recommendations and valuable word of mouth.
Marketing Like A PR Firm
How you present yourself on your site is important to a good reputation, but how other sites view you is just as important. Many think of PR as what you do when something goes wrong, like a corporate scandal. They’re the cleanup crew for big mistakes, but that isn’t the best approach. PR should be a normal part of your marketing plan, with you actively reaching out to news sources on a regular basis.
A big part of PR for small business is doing something worthwhile of attention. Unless your business is shaking up your industry on a daily basis, you need to do something huge. Depending on who you want to attract and your target news sources will guide the type of event. Looking for local attention? Host an event or charity to support a local cause and tell them about it. Want to be featured in industry news sites? Conduct highly valuable research and contact the sites about it. If it is truly valuable, they’ll want to cover it.
To measure how effective a PR strategy is, dip into your analytics and interview people. Pure data can tell you if you are capturing the interest of people, but won’t inform you how they feel about you. Surveying and interviewing consumers about how they feel about your business is the best way to gauge your effectiveness.
Preventing Negative Reviews
There are a lot of resources about resolving or mitigating negative reviews online. Most give advice like “respond to their comment, be professional, offer to fix it, and tell your side of the story.” This advice isn’t bad, but it only works if you’ve already gotten a bad review. Instead of playing clean up, you should try to prevent it.
The first step to this is being extremely clear and transparent in your marketing. Over promising on your product can lead to disappointed customers and a slew of bad reviews. Your marketing should give an accurate representation of the benefits of your product and business.
If you can predict a mistake or catch it before the customer can, giving them warning can mitigate a lot of negativity. On an individual basis, an email or phone call would be enough to let them know and cover your bases. If your mistake has a larger effect, a post on social media and a mass email warning them will be perfect. As you catch the mistake, give something to placate them and fix it as quick as possible.
People prefer to do business with people they can trust, and your reputation goes hand in hand with being trustworthy. To build that trust, gather up customer testimonials and put them on your site, especially next to key pages where consumers make decisions.
Additionally, building trust goes hand in hand with being personable. For a marketer, that means having content that isn’t overly complex or filled with sales lingo. Act with integrity, show that you are real people, and make their sales experience easy and enjoyable.
Being an Industry Expert
A major reason behind content marketing is to convince consumers your business is an industry expert. It’s an excellent strategy, but to truly improve your reputation, you need to become the leading expert.
A leading expert has two different jobs. They have to be up to date with everything happening in their field and be on the cutting edge. That way, when consumers ask, you are knowledgeable. The other job is to be pushing the boundaries of your industry. Be on the cutting edge of what you do and experiment.
Discovering a new approach or solution to a problem can put you in the limelight of your industry and concrete your business’s reputation as a leader and expert. This can be huge for your reputation and boost it to the next level.
What are you doing to boost your reputation? What are some key factors to having a healthy reputation that isn’t covered above? Let us know in the comments below.