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Top Tips And Techniques To Manage Your Business Reputation Effectively

13 November, 2010



Having a solid reputation management strategy in place is something that any smart businessperson would be well-advised to do. Being able to handle the inevitable ups and downs in public perception can mean the difference between ultimate success and failure. The information that follows can serve as a useful starting point.

Management

One of the primary ways you can manage your reputation is to claim your business brand online and take charge of the content about you. Use either KnowEm.com, UserNameCheck.com or NameChk.com to locate every online instance of your business name popping up. You only need to use one, but any of them can let you know if anyone out there is misrepresenting your business or speaking ill of you.

Always keep an eye on social media sites. People post on social networks in order to get a reply. Make sure you reply promptly, preferably within an hour or two. Being responsive can help your business stand out.

If you are going to use anyone’s ideas, you should always make sure to give them credit for that. Everyone out there can learn a little from others, so giving due credit will show people that you don’t think you are above that. This is a great way to earn their respect.

Try to stay near your customers. If a particular restaurant is popular among your customers, go there often. By getting to where the customers are going, you’re going to learn more about them so you can give them better service. They’ll be comfortable with you as a result.

Remember that your offline presence also affects your online reputation. This is generally the start of your reputation. People will trust you more if you provide good customer service, offer good products and services, and maintain good relationships with your customer base. Happy customers generally will not post bad reviews, so do what you can to keep them all happy.

Survey your current customers. You may have customers that have suggestions that may help you build your company or improve your products. This can be done in several ways. You can send a survey to everyone on your mailing list or you can simply place a suggestion box in your business.

You need to plan out your business moves online. You can’t just start replying randomly to all of your customer’s posts. You need to take some time to plan out how you’re going to approach them and what you’re going to say. Not doing this may cause some problems for you.

You need to develop the right expectations for your business. Always be honest with customers from the very start, especially when errors are made, and always stand ready to correct them. Good reputation requires transparency in business.

If your company has a negative review online, do not overreact. One of the worst things a company can do is respond to a negative comment or complaint with anger. Also, do not try to retaliate against whoever posted the complaint. These types of reaction are not going to solve the problem and will only draw more attention to all the negativity.

While creating controversy can help your business get a lot of attention, it is never a good idea if you are trying to increase your customer base. While people out there will talking about you, it is likely that they will be saying things that will put your business in a negative light.

Something like a breach of security in a customer database can really damage a company’s reputation. If your company experienced this problem, do not try to hide it. Notify your customers right away and assure them that measures will be taken to boost security of your data. You can minimize damage to your company’s reputation with this approach.

Make sure your company name appears prominently on the most important pages on your website. It should not be awkward looking or out of place. Just be sure to have an attractive logo tastefully placed on the page. It’s also a good idea to have the names of important people in your company listed on main pages. This fosters accountability and helps your page gain credibility.

Make sure you’re checking on the search results you have on a monthly basis. Google your company name and browse the results very carefully. Find out if there is anything negative. Take note of where the negative comments are coming from and see if there is a pattern in the area of dissatisfaction. Take steps to get around these things as you need to.

Check to see if your company is listed on Wikipedia. This is a very good thing for your reputation because Wikipedia entries consistently rank high in the search engines. If your company is not listed, it may be a good idea to find a journalistic writer who can create a Wikipedia entry without bias to write one. You shouldn’t write it yourself as this would not present a neutral picture of your company.

Whether or not you are able to resolve an issue or conflict online, once a situation is over you should release it. Rather than mulling over problems, simply analyze them, learn from them and move on. This will help you build a strong online reputation as a person who is able to interact easily while staying focused on your goals.

If your business has a lot going on and really needs to constantly address issues with customers, start a company forum. Allow people to post freely about whatever problems they may have. If you can solve problems for them and resolve the issues that are frustrating them, you should be able to maintain a good professional reputation.

Reputation Management

Before putting too much effort in reputation management online, check to see how much you need, if any. Search your business with Google and Bing. Do negative results come up? Do the websites and blogs your business runs only show up on a few hits or none at all? Answering yes to either question means that you have work cut out.

Monitoring your personal reputation or business brand is very critical to online reputation management. Set up automatic alerts to happen when your name comes up. Use Trackur, Monitor This and Google Alerts to send you notices when new content comes up. That way, you can know the very next day, if not sooner, when someone is talking about you.

The keys to good online reputation management are planning, careful monitoring of your social media sites and expert use of search engine optimization. These key activities will help you predict and avoid problems caused by disgruntled customers and trolls. Be sure to remove damaging comments that add nothing to your social media interactions and use keywords well to keep your best content at the top of search engine rankings.

A crucial element in reputation management is claiming your brand name, especially on the Internet. Make sure that no other business or individual is able to use your reputation to enhance their own agenda or to discredit you. Use only one name across all your online venues, including social media, and secure any obvious variations of it that a competitor could take advantage of.

Have a reputation management team in place to react to a crisis when it occurs. With the constant stream of online interaction, it is inevitable that you will encounter potentially explosive problems, so know ahead of time how you plan to respond quickly. Assemble a team of people with specific roles that can come together on the spot to mitigate any damage before it gets out of control.

As part of a smart reputation management strategy, send customers a follow-up correspondence after every purchase or communications exchange with your company. This way, if a person has something negative to address, you will be the first to hear about it! Address responses and resolve the issues quickly to keep customers happy and your reputation unscathed.

When reputation management is a concern for your business, learn to use press releases to your advantage. A positive press release can send a good message to customers and the media, and help your sale or other event be a smashing success. Post the reviews to your homepage where people can see all the great things they were missing out on!

If your company has a major public relations crisis brewing, hire a professional to handle it right away. While it may be an expensive solution, it is often the best. Failure to properly address a reputation management issue can cost you dearly, and climbing your way back to the good graces of customers may take years.

A website is an integral part of of your online reputation management. You should put your company name on your website. This will make it easier for your site to be noticed. Your company name should go in the domain name, the headers and title tag of each page.

Read up on reputation management if you’ve got a serious issue. It may seem simple, but rebuilding a business reputation that’s in the tank is not easy at all. There are a lot of things to consider; a lot of ramifications to your decisions moving forward. Know all that you can before taking next steps.

It is impossible to overstate the value of gaining a thorough understanding of reputation management principles. Without the right techniques for handling damage in this realm, it is possible to suffer some very serious consequences. By heeding the tips listed above, however, it really is possible to weather the storms that are certain to crop up at one point or another.



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