Perception is a tricky thing – it often doesn’t have much to do with reality, but it can make or break your business. While solid marketing can go a long way to build a good reputation, we all know how quickly information spreads on the internet. All it takes is one user with a large following to give you a bad review and – poof – your well-crafted image is kaput. Then you can only wonder what can you do to help manage your online reputation?
Think About The Perception of Your Business
Write down how you view your business and use this as a point of reference. Maybe you think you offer the best customer service around, or that your shipping is lightning-fast. Your goal is to make everyone else feel the same way you do. It’s pretty easy to find out what people are saying about your brand. You can do a quick Google search, scan social media for mentions, or even buy software that will tell you every time someone mentions your business name on the web.
Find Out Where Your Competitors Stand
You may be saying, “why do I care what anyone is saying about them??”, but trust us, it’s important. As a business owner, your goal is to be perceived as being the best at what you do. As such, it’s important to know what your competitors are doing really well, so you can improve if necessary. When it comes to marketing, you can’t just take a one-size-fits-all approach. There are far too many people online and there is no way you can appeal to them all. Become intimately familiar with your customers and get to know their worldview – their perception of things will vary based on their age groups, geographical region, political affiliation, and so on.
Remember to use touch-points that will resonate by doing some research and find out what your audience responds to. Is it sports? Maybe a particular television show? Current events? Family matters? Use those points to connect with them in a meaningful and authentic way.
Manage Your Reputation.
The number one way to manage your reputation is to deliver on the promises you make. For instance, if you market yourself as a WordPress expert, you certainly better know how to properly set up your client’s blog. A few other easy ways to maintain your good reputation are to pay attention to comments on your page and respond immediately. Good or bad, let customers know you hear what they’re saying. You can then engage in discussion. Put yourself out there on social media and be a part of the conversation. It doesn’t even need to be business-related – just be visible, and present. You can also run an anonymous client satisfaction survey – would they recommend you to others? Why or why not? You’ll find out where you’re doing well (and where you’re not) straight from the customers’ mouths.
You may get a sale or two based on great marketing – you may even do really well for a while – but you won’t be able to maintain it if you don’t manage your brand’s perception. When it comes
down to it, perception has little to do with actual facts, and everything to do with exactly how your audience feels about you.