It’s been said that the only thing that spreads faster than the truth is a lie. This is a good word of warning for any company out there, whether you’re a small business or a larger corporation. If you don’t control or at least respond in a timely manner to what’s being said about you, your company’s reputation could go up in smoke overnight, taking all your hard work with it.
Reputation management is a fairly self-explanatory term. It’s the efforts your company makes to keep public perception of it both honest and positive. This concept has become especially important in the Internet age. One bad word on social media can make it around the world and back again in a matter of minutes. If you’re not constantly investing in reputation management, you’re virtually guaranteed to be worse off for it.
However, it won’t always be because of some dramatic scenario. Your company doesn’t have to go out of business for something bad to have happened. For small, local businesses, it could be one negative review, article or even tweet that convinces would-be customers to find somewhere else to spend their money.
Many surveys have confirmed that customers all over the world go online first before using a business for any product or service they need. In fact, as many as 70% of respondents claimed that they actually trust what perfect strangers say when it comes to online reviews.
Fortunately, you don’t have to sit back and just hope for the best. Making reputation management a priority means that you actively strive to supply customers with all the information they need to make confident decisions.
Next, work hard to gain actual testimonials. No matter what industry you’re in, there’s a good chance you could obtain flattering testimonials from your market. You may have to offer them some kind of incentive, but the investment will be worth it.
Also, don’t forget what an asset social media can be. Start engaging with your audience today and do so often. By creating an atmosphere where customers always feel comfortable reaching out to you, your business can stop problems before they ever damage your reputation.
While building a successful company is never easy, you absolutely have to make sure that reputation management is one of the ingredients you include in the recipe. Otherwise, sooner or later, it could take a serious hit.