Everything a business has depends entirely on its reputation. One mishandled moment can cripple even the largest of businesses and kill small ones. Your reputation is how people perceive you and your business. While you may be trying to brand yourself in one way, what people think of you will determine your actual reputation. Luckily, with new technology, managing your reputation is becoming easier, but what is reputation management?
What Is Reputation Management?
If your reputation is what people think of your business or brand, reputation management is your effort to influence how people feel about you. It is also known as brand perception. Reputation management is about using the tools at your disposal to change public perception about your business. You can use social media, news, blogs, email, and personal interaction to manage your reputation.
These days, most reputation management happens in the online world. Online reputation management is almost synonymous with reputation management. Wherever it occurs, reputation management is vital to your survival as a business since it affects your sales and marketing power.
How Does Reputation Affect Your Business?
Your reputation will affect all of your business but mainly your sales and marketing. How people think about your brand will influence their interaction with your brand. If your reputation writes you off as untrustworthy or unreliable, who will want to buy your product? Your marketing campaigns will fail because the public has a negative perception of you.
On the other hand, a positive reputation can dramatically increase your sales and give power to your marketing. With a good reputation, people will trust and believe in your brand, turning them into loyal customers who are willing to try new products or services. With excellent reputation management, you can build greater brand equity to grow your business.
What Impacts Your Reputation?
Many different things impact your reputation, both online and offline. These are things like social media, reviews, news about your company, even SEO can impact a reputation. The good news is that many of these things you do have control over and can influence in positive ways.
1. Customer Interactions
Even in a digital age, excellent customer service rules over any digital marketing technique. In fact, the internet has made this even more true. One negative interaction or mishandling of a situation can now be broadcast online to thousands, even millions of people. Videos and photos that people share of their experience can greatly affect your reputation, both positively and negatively. Online interaction with customers is also important to keep positive, especially social media engagements.
2. Social Media Presence
Over 70% of people are more likely to recommend a brand to others if they’ve had a positive social media interaction with a brand. Your social media presence and engagement with potential and current customers greatly impacts your reputation. This can include even personal social media posts if you are the owner or employee of a business. Recently, people have boycotted overall companies due to the personal posts of the owners. Having a strong social media presence will also boost brand awareness.
Reviews are a great way to analyze your reputation, but they also impact it as well. Even one horrible review in a sea of good ones can bring negative thoughts about your company to anyone who reads them. Unfortunately, negative reviews stick out in people’s minds more often than positive reviews. Some review sites will allow businesses to comment on a review or reach out to the customer to fix any problems which can help with reputation management.
News articles aren’t created to boost anyone’s reputation; they are written solely to get the most people to read it. This unfortunately means news about your business is more likely to be negative than positive. News often falls towards the top of search page results so even fake or misleading news about your business can be the first thing consumers see when researching you. Managing your reputation can often include managing any negative news that is affecting your reputation.
5. Search Engine Optimization
Search engine optimization, or SEO, can affect your reputation. If poor reviews, negative news, and viral social media posts are getting ranked above the platforms representing your brand, your whole reputation will suffer. Anyone who is researching your company will get a negative first impression and create a poor perception of your brand. Having a high SEO ranking for your website and social media can improve your reputation.
How to Manage Your Reputation
What is reputation management all about? So many different things affect your reputation that at times, it may feel you have no control at all. How can you manage something as ambiguous as public perception? Reputation management may be a delicate psychological battle, but there are many steps you can take to impact your reputation.
1. Analysis of Your Reputation
Without analyzing your reputation, you won’t know what the public perception of your brand is or how to influence it. One way to analyze this is to gather all the data from review sites, news, social media, etc. and examine it to see what people are saying. An easier way is to use a reputation management company that will compile that data for you in one convenient place to access. You’ll also be able to use competitive benchmarks to see how you compare to your competition.
2. Fix Inconsistencies with Your Brand
The next important step is to fix any inconsistencies with your brand. This applies to inconsistencies in branding throughout your online platforms. This also means you should make sure your business is listed accurately in important directories like Facebook, Google, and Bing. Another SEO tip to fix inconsistencies is to check over any Wikipedia articles about your brand and make sure the information is correct.
3. Deal with Negative Problems
A major part of reputation management is dealing with negative news, reviews, customer experiences, and any negative things affecting your reputation poorly. This may mean something as simple as reviewing excellent customer service with your employees or something as complex as publicly apologizing for wrongdoing. You should also reach out to customers who had negative experiences to solve any issues you can. Eliminating or softening any negative perception will go a long way for reputation management.
4. Monitor Your Reputation
Lastly, you should continue to monitor your reputation and take charge if anything needs to be dealt with. The easiest way to do this is to use automated sentiment analysis that will create automated reports and alerts. It can help you monitor where your business has been mentioned and whether it was positive or negative. News, blogs, social media, reviews, and search engine results should all be monitored to keep your reputation in check.
This beginner’s guide can help you understand what is reputation management. However, managing your reputation in real life is harder than it may sound on paper. You are using psychology to influence the way people think. You may feel overwhelmed by the stress of it, especially if you are already dealing with a bad reputation. Affluent Solution can manage your reputation while you focus on growing your reach, your sales, and your business. Contact us today to learn more about our free trial.