Reputation Management – Are You Sure of How Others See You?

reputation managementReputation management is a real concern for business owners today, especially with increased online visibility. It can take years to build your reputation, but only minutes to destroy it. It’s imperative that as a business owner you do what it takes to maintain your good reputation. Thankfully, there are easy ways to ensure that you keep your good reputation online – if you take the time to intentionally focus on it.

Tips for Effective Reputation Management

Sensationalism Rules Online: Take Caution – Being an online business owner and part of the online business community is kind of like being in a reality show in some ways. Sensationalism and gossip seems to be the rule. But, if you realize this going in, you can avoid problems by not gossiping and always staying above the fray. Sometimes reputation management simply means not engaging in those negative conversations. Be honest, be yourself, and always seek to be helpful.

Perception Is Reality – Until someone proves differently online, the perception people have of you is reality. Dr. Phil says this is the truth for everyone, online or not. Reputation management is so important because how people perceive you is what’s real, so try to ensure that it’s as close to reality as possible. Don’t post anything that you wouldn’t want clients – or your mother – to see.  Chances are, it will give prospects and clients the wrong perception of who you are.

Be Proactive – You can tell your story online by blogging, being part of online groups, and by being the one to tell your story. Tell your story every chance you get. When you are proactive with your story and information, that will be what people find when they search for information.

Manage Security Issues – Set privacy settings on private social media; keep your information close to your vest so that no one can ever break into your private sources of information. This is because it can be used against you in a bad way to make you look bad.

Stay on Top of Branding – The information that you put out about your company as far as branding is important. It’s the information your audience believes about you. Your branding is how your audience feels when they hear about you, and exemplifies what your business stands for.

Establish Expertise – To really manage your online reputation, set out to show that you’re the expert in your niche. Become the “go to” person for that niche in a way that overwhelms the competition and firms up your reputation as a leader.

Maintain Your Integrity – Always be honest. Even if you make a mistake, stand up and admit it, and publicly always seek to show your reliability and that you are who you say you are. Don’t try to hide it or, worse yet, sweep it under the rug.  Nobody’s perfect, so don’t give the false illusion that you are. How you handle your business when mistakes happen can define your public perception. That perception is important.

Nothing Ever Disappears Online – Remember that nothing ever disappears online. You can bury it with good information, but it’s better to accept it if something is there out that you don’t really want out there. Once it’s there work to bury it, but also work to embrace it and turn it into a positive.

Encourage Satisfied Customers to Sing Your Praises – When you have a truly satisfied client, embrace that opportunity to let your clients speak for you. When others can vouch for your integrity, it means something, and testimonials and good reviews are the perfect way to do that. Make it easy for customers to give you a quick review or write a testimonial.  The more convenient you make it, the more likely they will tell the world about how great you are!

The important point about reputation management is to always be the one to tell your story, and keep that story at the forefront of your online persona. In addition, you should seek to be who you really are and not put on a facade.  After all, the truth will always rise to the top and you wouldn’t want to seem as if you’re trying to trick people by not being the real you. Being proactive about both bad and good reviews will pay off – it just takes giving it the attention it needs.

3 Ways to Manage Your Reputation on Social Media

social media reputation management

3 Ways to Manage Your Reputation on Social Media. Photo courtesy of DigitalRalph(CC Attribution)

Social media has changed how customers communicate with brands and how they voice their complaints. Countless customers do not bother calling customer complain lines, instead, they will go to social media or their blog to document their experiences.

When companies do not monitor these social mentions, they run the risk of having these negative events and experiences define their online reputation. They will also be viewed as an aloof brand do who does not care about their customers. Fortunately, it is possible for organizations to address both complaints and compliments, improving customer engagement and satisfaction. Here are three ways you can manage your reputation on social media:

Monitor social mentions continuously

Successful reputation management is dependent upon knowing when customers are speaking about the brand. With social media, customers have become accustomed to receiving instant responses to their requests and questions. Failure to address customers in a prompt manner can result in a negative impression from all customers who see the communication. Various tools, such as SocialMention and Google Alerts, make it possible for companies to continually watch for their brand. When customers mention the company on everything from blogs to Facebook pages, the organization will now see it quickly.

Do not engage with arguments online

Everything that is said and posted online stays online forever for anyone to see. Do not engage in arguments with customers, even if they have been completely mistaken or dishonest. While it might feel nice to have the opportunity to tell a customer exactly why they are wrong, it can damage reputations and can never be taken back. Fight the urge to engage the customer in an argument and instead always speak in a way that matches the brand’s customer service policy.

Seek to address and resolve complaints courteously

It is common for disgruntled customers to take to social media to voice their frustrations. If this happens to a particular brand, the organization needs to remember that this is a public exchange that has the capacity to enhance or hurt the company reputation. Address the customer politely and seek to resolve their dispute. This can be done with refunds, discounts, accepting returns, or any similar action that would satisfy the customer and is inline with the brand’s policy. Not only will the company be making this one customer satisfied, they will also improve their reputation in the eyes of every potential customer who views the exchange.

The power and prevalence of social media means that companies must manage their online reputations to control their brand. Keep these three tips in mind and the organization should develop a solid social media reputation.