Most small business owners know that your reputation and reputation management means a lot. But did you know that if you aren’t taking action to cultivate your online reputation, then you aren’t truly managing the online opinion of your company? It’s more important now than ever before to respond to reviews and comments on social media, both positive and negative, and to take action online to protect and improve the online reputation of your organization.
What is Reputation Management?
Reputation management means creating a good reputation online and maintaining it. It means getting out in front of any problems that could occur to ensure that your brand is trusted. It also means that if a mistake happens, you have a strong reputation and relationship with your customers so that one mistake will not define your company.
In our world today, your reputation is especially important because of social media. Both unhappy and happy customers can provide feedback for the world to see in an instant. Online reviews and social media posts help to form your first impression to potential customers online and can truly make or break whether or not they become a customer.
Why is Reputation Management Important?
Choosing to respond only to negative reviews, or only worrying about reputation during a crisis, is known as crisis communication. While crisis communication is essential for managing reputation when/ if a crisis occurs, if you rely solely on crisis communication, especially as a small business, you can be putting your reputation at extreme risk.
Think about a large company like Johnson and Johnson. They have a strong reputation built around mother-baby products. They are a trusted brand and organization, so when they had a major crisis of the “Tylenol Murders,” their brand name, reputation, and organization were able to survive. They survived because they had built up a foundation in reputation management that their crisis communication was able to build off of. If they had solely relied on crisis communication, then the resulting damage to their reputation may have been much more severe.
How Can I Manage My Business’ Reputation?
To help manage your business’s reputation, you need to stay active online. Respond to comments and reviews, both positive and negative. Show your current customers that you are listening and looking to improve. Make sure, too, to show potential customers that you are a great organization to work with.
You also need to create “social proof” of your company’s excellence. The attitudes and opinions of those around us can greatly influence our behavior. Social proof can influence potential customers to take action and make decisions differently than if they had relied solely on their own judgment. Online reviews and testimonials from your customers can have a major influence on if your potential customers choose to work with you or not, and social proof is a great way to convince them to choose you.
“Word of Mouth” marketing is still alive and well, especially in the world of small businesses. By maintaining your reputation through positive customer reviews and “social proof,” you can help get that positive information about your company out there and ultimately grow your business.
Need Help with Online Reputation Management?
Does all of this sound intimidating? If online marketing and management isn’t your thing, then allow us to take the reins. At Eyler Creative we specialize in online reputation management and digital marketing. We are happy to handle your social pages and online presence so you can rest assured your reputation online is under control. Get in touch with Eyler Creative today so we can get started building your reputation management plan!