Every business, no matter how big or small, requires something that takes care of its reputation. If you are a business owner or are planning to be one, seeing negative criticism about your company would be the last thing you would ever want to come across. It’s just as if you’d had heard someone talking behind your back.

Doesn’t feel good, right?

Customers behaviors are also changing. Most people are starting to buy online and usually make a purchasing decision after reading online reviews. Businesses that are rated as 1-star or 2-star business are expected to lose 90% of their potential clients.

So, what can be done to prevent this from happening to your business? – Well, the solution is pretty simple. All you need to do is to manage your reputation online by monitoring your social media presence and by strengthening your Communications.  Some people can call this PR (Public Relations) but a lot of times, you can forgo that with a strong MarCom Program (Marketing Communications).  These are developed by agencies that are MarCom agencies, as not just any agency can create a strong MarCom program. If you want to stay in the business, in the long run, you need a strong MarCom program to manage and maintain your reputation.

What is Reputation Management?

Reputation management refers to keeping a close eye on your online standing for creating and sustaining your company’s positive image in the public’s mind by carrying out certain marketing activities.

Why is Reputation Management Important?

Even though there are a lot of fake assumptions about online reputation management, the fact remains that not only does it help in building and maintaining your company’s prestige but it also boosts your business. Let’s take a deeper look at how reputation management can actually help your business.

  1. Social Validation

Trust is one of the major pillars on which all businesses relies on.  This is even more important if you gain new business from online sources. Having a positive review regarding your business on social media makes your business more trustworthy to potential customers that may not know you.   This is called ‘Social Validation”, whereas social efforts will not SELL your products, but they are essential in the purchasing decision process.

  1. Boosts Sales by knowing your customer

With everything and everyone going online, people’s habits and buying trends have shifted online!  Now, most of the people like to be well researched about the brand and company they are interested in buying products from before they make a purchase.

Having a strong online presence doesn’t only help in making you stand out from the crowd but it also helps you understand who your target audience is and what is it they looking for.  This is what we call “Social Listening”, whereas you are listening to your customers need by tuning in to what they are requesting online.

  1. Positive Image of Your Business through Humanization

Having a strong online reputation also brings your business to the attention of not only your target audience but also to your prospective investors and stockholders. If you regularly watch and control your online presence, it will leave a positive image of your business and will encourage more and more people to try you out.  In essence, your efforts will “Humanize” your brand, making it more accessible to all, thus more likeable, thus more relatable.

  1. Competition Benchmarking

In today’s fast-paced and web-oriented life, everybody is connected to everybody and news travels fast within a matter of seconds. Gone are the days when hiding your business’s shortcomings was easy. Now with everyone having access to the internet, information is readily accessible, about everyone.

With this intense flow of information, you can benchmark your marketing and reputation efforts based on your company’s strengths, and your competitors’ weaknesses.

How to Ensure Your Business’s Reputation is strong through Marketing?

What can you do to maintain a strong and positive reputation for your company?  The good news is that it’s not rocket science. By following these simple suggestions, you can start building on your company’s rep in no time.

  1. Mark Your Presence Online

No matter what product or service your organization deals in, make sure to have a presence on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, and industry or other related forums as well as websites you believe you can get leads from.  Remember not to stretch too thin because to have a ghost account with not activity will actually do more harm to your company’s reputation than not having an active account on a specific social media channel.  If you find it imperative to be active in multiple channels, consider working with a digital company like FSCO who can manage your social media and digital efforts.

  1. Listen and Apologize

Patiently listen to your clients’ complaints and own up to your mistakes whenever you are at fault by apologizing and making the situation right.  Its best to go at a problem head-on than to attempt to hide and get caught up in a negative social media campaign.  Case in point, United Airlines debacle on passenger dress code; a great opportunity for United to promote its values of policy which lead to safety vs an argument on discrimination against what women wear which degenerated on social media.

The final Word

You may think that your “online reputation” is overrated.  However, it cannot be denied how important a business’s online reputation is in a digital era.   Changing times ask for a change in your tactics too.  Having a team on your side to develop a strong MarCom program your business to be able to manage their reputation in house, or having a MarCom agency like FSCO Marketing & Consulting manage it for you can seem like a large investment in the short run, but can pay in large dividends through increased visibility and sales in the long run.