Your company reputation is made up of other people’s perception of your business and brand. And it’s a vital component of attracting new customers and building future success for your business.
In fact, at Igniyte, we know that company reputation is the single most powerful leverage a business has. Public opinion can make or break businesses and even the biggest and most well established aren’t immune.
And for small businesses or those new to the market it’s even more important to craft, maintain and manage a positive online reputation. The best defence is always taking control of your company reputation.
What is business online reputation?
A company online reputation is a mix of what you do and what other people say about you. The only way to make sure that people are getting an accurate and fair perception of your business is to take control of your online reputation management.
How is online reputation important for a business?
In the simplest terms, your business reputation is about retaining existing customers and attracting new ones. And it’s the customer experience journey that will help to inform your reputation.
Managing your online reputation as a business is about controlling, as far as possible, the way that others see you. And it’s not just about trying to ‘look good’ for PR purposes, it’s actually far more about building longevity and resilience for the future success of your business.
While a fantastic product or innovative service may help you stand out from the crowd, it’s actually the reputation that you accrue that will keep you there. Often, it’s the deciding factor for consumers in choosing your company over your competitors.
The dangers of a negative company reputation
Negative customers sentiment leads to negative online chat about your business and brand. This makes it far more likely that not only the original aggrieved party won’t buy from you again, but neither will all of the potential customers who absorb their opinion.
They may well choose to share their negative opinion about your business on a revie w site, for example. Or, they could turn to social media or even a blog detailing why they do not rate your brand.
Conversely, if you have zero online reputation at all, people obviously won’t be able to find you online. This massively limits the pool of potential customers, and for those that do find out about your business offline, may lead them to wonder what you’re hiding by having no clear online persona.
A positive online reputation gives you several ways to beat your competitors. If you can leverage it to create a cohesive two-way communicative platform with customers, then you are far more likely to attract advocates organically. This creates ever more chances for expansion and growth.
How can I improve my company’s online reputation?
Working with professional and experienced online reputation management specialist Igniyte will allow you to reap the benefits of a positive reputation without expending a lot of time internally.
It’s important to create and follow a strategy for online reputation management and, for many businesses, this is outside of their scope. That’s where we come in. We create strategies for businesses across all sectors and based all around the world. These strategies will always include the following, but are bespoke and flexible depending on the company’s specific needs.
A substantial number of people will search your company name online before parting with their hard earned cash. And they will go to customer reviews to get an idea of what you’re all about. Whether these reviews are on your own website or an independent review platform such as Yell or Feefo, they will read them.
This makes your response to online reviews absolutely critical. Interacting with those that leave positive reviews show that you appreciate your customers. Interacting – in the right way – with negative reviews shows that you are prepared to listen and rectify errors. This is something that can really sway people in your favor.
Your company’s online presence
This needs to be professional, consistent and up to date across your website, but also across all your social media channels, any profiles you have online and on review sites. Basically, anywhere you routinely communicate with customers needs to be well managed.
Social media management
By embracing and properly utilizing social media, you can make inroads with potential customers who are more likely to appreciate your efforts to engage. Start by reviewing your social media usage and doing some research into the kinds of platforms you should be showing on.
It’s not just Facebook and Twitter these days, and in fact, there is some argument that these mainstays are less important than the likes of TikTok, LinkedIn and emerging platforms such as Mastodon.
How can a business improve its reputation?
Here are five things any business can do to immediately improve their reputation:
Keep your word
Never break a publicly made commitment or promise. This applies to everything from delivery times to return policies. Without this extremely basic tenet in place, your reputation will take a hit.
Interact with positive customers
Always reward customers who are vocally positive about your business. Rather than taking these for granted and concentrating solely on placating unhappy customers, take the time to reward the first group. This will only solidify their already positive opinion of you.
Go over and above
Make it standard practice to do more than customers expect. This could be as simple as free shipping or offering an exchange before a customer has time to get angry or frustrated when they want to make a return.
Remember that every potential customer has an immense amount of information to take in every day. Competing against so many different channels means pro-actively looking for your demographic and reaching out to them. Find the forum, Facebook group or platform they hang out at and become part of it. This will help you to grow your positive online reputation organically.
If you make a mistake, say sorry
There’s no such thing as a perfect business that never makes mistakes. At some point, it’ll happen, but it’s all about how you address it.
Above all – be proactive about your company reputation
Taking control of your own company reputation is incredibly important, and for many, the first step in getting where they need to be. A company that is committed to its goals, to its own values and to a positive ethos will end up with a positive reputation. Talk to the team at Igniyte about how to get there.