92% of people trust word of mouth through family and friends more than any other form of advertising.
That’s huge. That means that companies with bad reputations are at a huge disadvantage.
How can you make sure to foster a positive reputation for your business both online and offline?
Let’s take a look at ten strategies to make sure you create (and keep) a great reputation for your company.
How to Build and Maintain a Positive Reputation for Your Business
Why is reputation important?
Having a reputation is what puts your business on the map in people’s minds. If you don’t have a reputation at all, that means that people aren’t thinking about your business or forming opinions about it. Having a reputation is what makes you different from your competition.
Having a positive reputation will lead to more support and customers, creates a buffer for when you do receive negative reviews, distinguishes you from your competitors, and offers growth opportunities.
1. Excel in Customer Service
When a customer calls your company’s customer service number with a question or an issue, this is a perfect opportunity to show that customer that they’re valuable and important to your company.
There’s no easier way to win over a disgruntled customer than truly trying to fix their problem.
There’s also no easier way to turn a customer against your company forever if the customer service is unhelpful, uncaring, and downright rude. It’s said that $62 billion is lost each year by U.S. companies directly resulting from negative customer service experiences. After a single experience with bad customer service, 33% of Americans say they’ll consider switching companies.
Make sure your customer service team understands the ways in which they’re empowered to solve your customer’s problems. Go to extra effort to hire the right people to be handling customer complaints who know how to treat each of your customers as if they’re your most important customer.
2. Have a High-Quality Website
If your website hasn’t been updated since 1999 and has links that send customers to error messages, you’re not making it easy for your customers to trust you.
Invest in making an awesome website that communicates your company’s professionalism and competence. Make sure it’s filled with useful, easy to understand information about who you are, what you do, and how to contact you.
Setting up a website you’re confident in is an important first step in your online marketing. Your website is where your content will live and where you’ll direct people from social media and email campaigns. It’s the home-base of your brand, and it should reflect your company in both its design and content.
It’s hard enough to get people to your website. Make sure they find what they’re looking for once they get there!
Speaking of getting people to your website, it’s vital in this day and age to have an SEO strategy. If you’re involved in online sales, you’ll want to make sure you have an ecommerce search engine optimization strategy.
3. Create Top-Notch Content
Creating quality content is absolutely essential as a part of your marketing strategy. Beyond just boosting your SEO and driving traffic to your site, content is a great way to improve your business reputation.
If you’re skeptical of using content marketing as a part of your marketing strategy, you might want to consider that it’s 62% cheaper than traditional marketing while generating triple the leads.
If you’re able to produce content that’s valuable to your current and potential customers, they’ll develop positive opinions about your brand.
On the other hand, if your blog posts are poorly written, confusing, and ridden with typos, then that will affect your customer’s opinion of your brand too.
Have you ever looked at a blog post for information, only to find it filled with errors? Me too. It certainly doesn’t inspire confidence in the brand’s expertise.
That’s why it’s important to be sure you’re putting out articles, infographics, videos, and photos that your customers find helpful, engaging, educational, or just all-around valuable.
Look at the content your competition is producing and make sure you top that. Establishing yourself as an expert in your market will absolutely improve your company’s reputation.
4. Network Network Network
To get the word out there about your business, you’ll need to put yourself out there.
There are countless ways to expand your network. Assuming you’re an expert in your specific market, you can give presentations, speak at public events, and offer guest lectures. You can also join professional groups and boards.
Another great way to network is just by attending events in your community as well as donating time to charities. By meeting people in person, they’ll associate your company with you. If you knock them out of the park as a personality, or even if you come across as a respectable person, they’ll associate positive connotations with your company as a whole.
5. Ask For (and Respond to) Feedback
People love it when you ask their opinion. Asking for feedback is a great way to let your customers know that you value them and their viewpoint.
Not only is this a great way to boost your reputation, but it also can serve as a meter for your brand reputation. Are you getting lots of negative feedback all about the same issue? Chances are that’s something you should address.
Once you’ve received feedback, don’t just let it sit there. This is another opportunity to show your customers just what kind of company you are.
Thank people genuinely when they praise your company. Even when people have criticism and complaints, respond and try to work with them. It’s possible they have a justifiable complaint and addressing it would certainly improve your reputation in that one customer’s mind.
6. Use Social Media to Your Advantage
Social media is an amazing platform for creating a reputation for your business as well as managing it.
Take the time to take full advantage of all the fields in your profiles. Don’t enter the bare minimum information and move on.
If people are looking at your profile, it’s because they want to learn about you. If your profile is sparse and doesn’t include adequate information about you, you’ll leave them hanging and probably lose a customer!
It’s also worth it to get your accounts verified as it gives more reasons for the customer to trust you. While not all social media companies offer verification and it might not be possible on some platforms, the point stands that you should get verified if you can.
By posting regularly on social media, you can keep your company on people’s mental radar and keep spreading the word about your products or services.
It’s important that complaints listed on your social media are addressed rather than ignored. When a potential customer is looking at your profile it will affect their opinion greatly if they see a professional response to customer complaints and criticisms.
One of the best things about social media is that you can learn what negative things people are saying about your brand to each other without tagging your brand. While social listening is a dedicated task that requires time, it’s well worth the effort to know what your customers are saying and manage your reputation.
Social media is a great time to share your company’s positive marketing with your community and the world. If your team took a day out of the office to run a charity race, your future customers want to know!
7. Don’t Spam
It’s great that you’ve got an email list. Don’t abuse it!
Spamming people is a great way to annoy the people you’re trying to win over. While it’s important to send out information about your products or services to customers, use some restraint when it comes to email campaigns.
Find the perfect middle ground, where you’re reminding your customers about your awesome company without bombarding them.
Make sure the emails you do send out exist as a part of a larger marketing strategy. There’s a method to the madness when it comes to email marketing, so don’t just throw everything against the wall to see what sticks. You’ll end up with people who resent seeing your companies name in their inbox.
8. Address False Rumors
It’s also important if you notice that untrue rumors are spreading about you or your company that you proactively deal with it. Just be sure you do so in a professional way.
Don’t stoop to the level of the person sullying your good reputation. This is a time to take the high road, otherwise, your efforts could backfire.
If you’re facing nasty, untrue rumors about your business, there are a number of different ways you can respond. Forbes ran an interesting article about the three different ways you can stop rumors: denial, re-association, and questioning confidence. Interestingly, they found that questioning the person’s confidence about the truth of the rumor was the negative effects of false rumors.
9. Remember That You Represent Your Company
Whether you’re online or offline, it’s important to remember that you’re a walking billboard for your company.
Even though so much of culture and opinion exists online, your in-person reputation is just as important to manage. 72% of people say that a person’s handshake and the way they appear impact their impression of that person.
If you present yourself as a respectable, well put together person, people will think more highly of your company. If your posting long, rambling, insulting facebook rants (even if it’s your personal page) or constantly wandering around your town acting like a drunken fool, your company reputation will suffer.
In this digital age, it’s important for people to be able to connect a face to a brand. Put yourself out there and let people know about the company you’ve built and why it’s the best. Just make sure when you do you’re putting your best face forward.
10. Be Honest and Human
At the end of the day, people like companies that they feel like are run by real people that are true to their word.
There are always going to be things that come up that you don’t know what to do about. Don’t lie to your customers and promise them something you’re not sure if you can deliver. People value honesty and even if you tell someone “I don’t know,” they’ll end up having a better opinion of you than if you’re blowing hot air.
Advertising is obviously a necessary expense, but people are so surrounded by it all the time that they get somewhat sensitized to it. If they have experiences with your company that stand out as authentic and genuine, that will have a greater impact than just noticing your brand is running a clever ad campaign.
Don’t Overlook the Importance of a Positive Reputation
You know your business is great, but that doesn’t mean everyone else thinks so. While you can’t buy a positive reputation or create one out of thin air, there are a number of things you can do to start building one and managing it once it exists.
Having a positive reputation is a gift that keeps on giving. It’s a mechanism for the forward momentum that every business needs.
Do yourself and your company a favor, and take a good look at the reputation your company has. If it needs some work, invest time in the areas that require attention. You’ll be glad you did! Did you love this article on creating and maintaining a positive reputation for your business? Be sure to check out the rest of our blog for more awesome content!