Selling products online? Offering your services on the Web? Trying to stand out in the digital jungle we call the Internet? Then you’ll definitely want to keep an eye on your reputation – you know, the things people call behind your back. A good reputation can open unimaginable doors for your business. A bad reputation can shut them tight, for good and in your face.
People are already used to research companies before purchasing their products or hiring their services. That’s especially true for small businesses, which many times are virtually unknown to customers. If this is your case, then knowing how to handle your reputation online is crucial. Here are some tips to do it.
1 – Keep an eye on what everyone’s saying about you
You gotta start somewhere and the best place to do so is by knowing where are you standing. Search for your business online and see what results come up. Check for reviews on different platforms, questions people may be asking on forums and the like and even look for blog posts that someone may have written about your business. Doing this on a regular basis will let you know how people see your brand and which are your perceived flaws and strengths.
Key point: Use Google Alerts to learn whenever someone has posted something new about your brand. This way, you’ll be able to reply to bad reviews and comments or give your own input on subjects that concern you.
2 – Have the best site you can
Think for a second – what do you do when you don’t know a company? You check for its official site to learn more about it! Considering that, how’s your site doing? Is the best and most informative site you can provide? If the answer is “no”, then it’s time to up your game. Remember, your site is probably the first thing people see about your brand. It’s incredibly important to have the best possible website in all fronts – contact information, relevant info about you and your products, data about offers and discounts). Of course, the information has to be as up to date as possible, so people can start to trust you right off the bat.
Key point: You don’t need an incredibly complex site to make a lasting impression. A cleverly and minimal website design is often more attractive than a colossal site with tons of info.
3 – Don’t be afraid of showing who you really are
AKA use the tone in which you feel the most comfortable. Many businesses use the corporate mumbo jumbo we all know in an attempt to look professional. Don’t do that. Instead, use the tone you’d use in a conversation with your potential clients. In other words, let your personality shine through and reach your audience. Being transparent and open is key to establish yourself as trustworthy. If you try to much to sound professional, people will pick it up – and will leave you for someone more honest.
Key point: Your tone should be coherent throughout all the channels you use. If you’re being yourself, this shouldn’t be a problem. But if you’re trying too much, people will notice – and they’ll call bullshit on you.
4 – Have a blog – and use it right!
Having a blog is the perfect way to present yourself as a reputable and knowledgeable brand. In it, you can talk about the things you like the most while also lending a helping hand to your customers. We’ll assume that you’re working on something you love – show it to your potential clients! Share your opinions and suggestions, answer your customers’ questions and provide insights. You won’t only be helping people – you’ll be establishing yourself as an authority and you’ll multiply your exposure with great quality content.
Key point: always try to come up with your own ideas for content. It’s better to provide your own thoughts and ideas on a subject than copy them from someone else.
5 – Be social!
A business without a strong social media presence is doomed to fail. People use social networks for everything, so you should meet them there. Thus, you should use Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram or whatever works for you to let people know about your brand, what you do and how things work in it. Besides, social networks are great to talk to people, get valuable feedback, establish relationships and show that your company is active and approachable.
Key point: there’s no such thing as the social network you have to be in. Find the social channel that suits your company the most and rock it like you want!
Finally, you should also keep in mind that your brand’s reputation isn’t something you control – it’s something you build with your actions. Doing the right things in all fronts will probably boost your reputation, so if you want a that then start building it right away!