What Is a Good Reputation, and How Do I Build One?
What is a good reputation? And how can a positive reputation make or break a business? Here are 20 tips for making your company’s reputation stand out.
In today’s world, businesses can no longer rely solely on word of mouth to succeed. A strong digital reputation is crucial if you want to stand out in your industry. But what is a good reputation, and how do you begin to build one? From online reviews to a strong social media presence to a solid community presence, here are 20 ways to stand out from your competitors.
What Is a Reputation, Anyways?
Let’s start with the basics: What is a reputation? In general, reputation is defined as a widespread belief of something or someone. When it comes to the realm of business, this is more strictly understood as the general public perception of your company, and if it follows through on the promises it offers. Centuries ago, a positive reputation would be built simply by word of mouth. But in today’s fast-paced, digital world, much (though not all!) of a company’s reputation is dependent on the Internet.
Why is Your Reputation Important?
It’s easiest to think of corporate reputation as a type of marketing. It’s a way to draw in new customers and advertise your business as better than the competition. When a customer turns to the Internet to scour through their seemingly endless options, they’re going to choose the business with the best reviews or highest overall customer satisfaction. A quality, good reputation will impact existing client relationships and draws fresh clients, too.
Personal and Business Reputation Management
Individuals and companies both have reputations to protect. For an individual, a good reputation can be the difference between landing a job, getting approved for an apartment, one’s self-esteem, and even a successful romantic life.
For a business, a good reputation can drastically affect revenue. A bad reputation can lead to a drop-off in customers, and make it hard to sell products. Below are 20 tips on how a business can improve its reputation, though many of these tips can apply to individuals hoping to add value to their online perception as well.
Improving Your Digital Reputation
There are two major differences in how a company can work on their business reputation: online, and in real life. In recent years, the Internet has proven to be invaluable at boosting reputations. Let’s start by identifying 10 key ways you can boost your online reputation.
- Post positive customer reviews. Set up a dedicated spot on your website to share customer experience that represents positive interactions with your business.
- Work with local press or interview with online interest groups. Don’t turn down any opportunities for media exposure! It helps to get your business ethos across to customers in outlets beyond your immediate website and will show up at the top of search results when customers are looking online.
- Hire a photographer and/or videographer. Beyond words, it’s helpful to have visual information to back up your services. Working with a professional reduces the risk of negative images spreading online.
- Curate your social media accounts. An active social media presence is a crucial way to connect with customers — the top social platforms (Instagram and Facebook) are often the first place someone will look to try and find information about your business, or find deals. You can also control the narrative by establishing a brand voice, and even including humor!
- Have easy-to-find customer services information. On both your website and your social media accounts, it’s important to have either an email address or a phone number (ideally, both!) where customers can reach a real person if they need help.
- Be transparent. Whether it’s shipping dates, product info, warranties or beyond, make it clear what your consumers can expect from you so that they have no reason to be left disappointed. Occasionally, things happen — but set yourself up for success by laying all your cards on the table from the start.
- Respond to negative reviews. No matter how good a company is, there will always be negative opinions out there. Come up with a plan on how to respond to these in advance — it can even be helpful to have a document prepped with starter answers — and reply to customers who have had issues. Other consumers who see these negative reviews will also see that you’ve responded, which ultimately bolsters your reputation.
- Pay attention to day-to-day events. Unfortunately, in today’s fast-paced, online sphere, it can be easy for a small misstep to turn into a viral moment. Make sure you keep your finger on the pulse when it comes to current events so that your social media presence doesn’t ever feel ignorant or out of step with what’s happening in the news.
- Be authentic. In any online marketing, social media or promotional materials, make sure you stick to an authentic voice. Consumers are easily aware nowadays of brands that try too hard — and will see right through overpromises.
- Repair any aspect of a negative reputation. Perhaps there is already content circulating online that is damaging to your business reputation, and you’re hoping to address how people perceive your company. An online reputation management (ORM) company can find and erase any negative content, giving you more opportunities to change your reputation into something positive.
These tips can help you formulate a comprehensive reputation management strategy, giving you the ability to improve and repair your reputation as you build brand recognition online.
Improving Your Real-World Reputation
Although an online reputation is important in gaining more customers, there’s still plenty you can — and should! — do to manage your reputation outside of the realm of the Internet. Here are 10 tips on how to maintain a strong reputation through concrete practices.
- Invest in good customer service. Similar to broadcasting your customer services online, you need to ensure that you can back up that promise with actual help provided by well-trained employees, whether it’s in stores or simply on the end of a phone line.
- Follow through on promises. From client deadlines to product guarantees, the more you can stick to the promises you make, the more likely you’ll receive word-of-mouth reviews that bolster your reputation.
- Go above & beyond. Whether you throw in the occasional freebie or follow-through after a customer experience, it’s the little things that customers will remember — and this ultimately provides extra value to your reputation.
- Be positive, even when it’s hard. A positive mindset in the workplace matters, and will definitely influence sales! Cheerful employees always leave a lasting impression. Beyond that, it helps to maintain a positive attitude even in times of crisis. Keeping things light and treating customers as friends will always improve your reputation.
- Cultivate a productive, safe organization. Your employees are a crucial aspect to maintaining a positive reputation, so it’s also the responsibility of a corporation to invest in a communicative human resources department and provide a constructive workplace. Employee feedback sites with reviews from current and former employees are also critical in maintaining a good reputation.
- Be consistent. Don’t just show off for one top client — every customer should matter! When you put in the effort for all customer interactions to be 110%, your reputation will soar.
- Figure out what companies you admire, and emulate them. It’s okay to be jealous of your competitors! Figure out several things that make them stand out, and find a way to incorporate those into your own business. Maybe they work with a local charity, or have a strong community presence. Do some research into others in your industry and see how you could apply this to your own reputation.
- Think of challenges as opportunities. There will undoubtedly be hurdles to your business reputation in some way, but these should be looked at as growth opportunities. How could you better handle these types of issues moving forward? Come up with a game plan and prepare to address future risks.
- Get out into the world. Meet customers face-to-face by setting up events or going to conferences in your industry. Charity or holiday-based events that you can sponsor are also a great way to improve a business reputation.
- Work on your environmental impact. Many consumers today expect companies to address their environmental footprint. Address this head-on within your organization to get ahead of the curve and mitigate your reputational risk.
Working with an ORM
Sometimes, a company’s reputation may face challenges — or it may even be one’s own personal reputation that needs a bit of help. It can be daunting to figure out where to start when it comes to fixing a reputation in more detail, especially when digital information seems permanent.
Luckily, online reputation management (ORM) companies can help. They can manage your reputation by searching for, identifying, and actually removing negative online content that damages a person’s reputation or a company’s reputation. Things like blog posts, Google images, negative reviews, and even mugshots can be deleted so that you can start fresh with your professional endeavors.
Another element of enhancing a reputation is creating positive content, which will show up in Internet search results. Any elements of a bad reputation will slowly disappear as an ORM creates and disseminates new blog posts, LinkedIn updates, and other social media posts.
At the end of the day, both individuals and companies have a lot to gain from a good reputation. It can take a lot of time and effort to build up a positive reputation, which is why many people often turn to an ORM for assistance. From social media management to blog posts and marketing efforts, reputation management is a key area of investment for any business or individual looking to succeed!
Contact ReputationSciences Today
Whether you are a business owner or an individual, you know that building and maintaining a good reputation is a complex and challenging process. That process has to be comprehensive. It has to include not just your website, but a variety of outlets (such as review sites) that tend to rank highly across industry searches. But that doesn’t make it impossible.