PR tips
and advice
for SMEs

PR tips
and advice for SMEs

Online reputation management strategies for businesses

It is vital for businesses to have an online reputation management strategy. The main reason is that consumers who wish to make online purchases are often confronted with your competitors’ marketing and will therefore make their decision of who to purchase from based on trust and loyalty.

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A company that does not have a good reputation runs the risk of losing its potential customers to one that has a good reputation through having gained the trust of their consumers.

Up to 84% of consumers have been reported to have lost their trust in advertisements. Marketing and advertisements have lost their trustworthiness due to the fact that consumers are now able to select their preferred companies by easily obtained information such as price, durability, customer ratings and reviews via online platforms and reviews. There is no longer a need for consumers to end their decision-making process after simply viewing online banner. Instead, they can perform a quick Google search to get more information about the various brands offering the product they are searching for.

It is lack of trust that leads customers to take the word of their fellow consumer counterparts, as opposed to a brand’s marketing message. It was discovered that the most common method of passing information between and amongst consumers is via word of mouth. In fact, 4 out of 5 consumers consider reviews to be the “gospel truth” in their decision-making and over 90% take the time to read online reviews. This is evidence, therefore, of the fact that customer feedback is still among the most effective means of building online reputation for businesses.

Businesses can fully benefit from the decision-making process of customers through a business reputation management strategy. If properly implemented, this strategy can garner trust, goodwill and referrals from its customers. This guide will highlight the importance of business reputation management in today’s society, as well as the ways in which good business reputation strategies can yield the right outcomes for your business in future.


4 reasons why you need a good business reputation strategy


1. Increase employee loyalty

Any business stands to strive from a professional, gifted and dedicated workforce.

People in the job market can conduct their own research into a brand or company, along with its ranking and reputation, using job portal websites while searching for vacant positions. The reputation of your company will therefore, impact both the decision-making process of the consumer, as well as that of your employees (both current and potential).

Understanding the information that exists among customers and employees about your company is key to a good business reputation strategy. Finding the means to enhance your company’s reputation is what will follow thereafter. Developing this strategy will ensure that both customers, as well as present and future employees, are enamored with your business. Additionally, a dedicated workforce’s value to any business is priceless.

Employing individuals with the most knowledge about their position is of course, paramount for any business. Failure to do this may result in an incompetent workforce that will cost a business a minimum of 30% of the employee’s salary for the initial year, proving to be an expensive mistake if done incorrectly. Worse still, is that should your company’s reputation could become an obstacle between your business and great potential talent. Therefore, this could have a negative impact without you even knowing.

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2. Gain customer support

A strategy to gain customer support can be adopted by a company and used concurrently with its marketing strategy, although this is not the case with many businesses. Customer support strategies use dedicated customers as brand ambassadors as a way to keep abreast of business reputation through loyal customers that have already been gained.

Customers supporting a business are usually regular customers, which makes them more trustworthy and engaging as compared to opinion leaders. This means it is a more impactful way of advertising. In the absence of trust in advertisements today, the use of a strategy that leverages on customer support can be a move any company can benefit from if they are looking to gain competitive advantage.

Some of the largest online companies today have built their reputation through customer advocacy or support. In fact, a study revealed that some of these companies have customer advocacy scores along the lines of 73.9/100.

For a good business reputation management strategy that uses your customers, it is imperative that you:

  1. Allow them to relate and convey their experience with others uninterrupted.
  2. Become aware of their specific needs.
  3. Surpass and exceed their standards in terms of product quality.

These three steps are directly correlated with one another. By constantly gaining knowledge from your customers and surpassing their standards, you will find that that developing and implementing a customer advocacy strategy is easy and comes organically.

3. Your business can gain reliability through conviction and clarity

The continued success of your business depends on gaining and retaining the trust of your customer, which is also a vital component in developing and implementing an effective reputation management strategy. Besides, the best way to gain your customers’ trust is through a sound, strong reputation.

While word of mouth remains the strongest form of advertising, chances exist that customers’ conversations with their loved ones and friends dwells not only on the positive, but also on negatives as well. Word of mouth is a quick way of conveying a message, in addition to the force that is the World Wide Web. Therefore, consumer opinion is easily swayed by this abundance and accessibility of knowledge, be it true or false. The best tactic for business reputation, therefore, is to manage your consumers’ conversations effectively and stay up to date with what they are saying.

It is important to note, however, that the aim is not to control consumer conversations. Reputation management should be genuine and trustworthy at all times. The difference is that you should be able to gain a vantage point to feed perspectives and not manipulate opinions.

With over 88% of consumers offering up their reviews online of their consumer experiences, the challenges of creative a strong business reputation can be diminished. Online reviews have become the best form of attracting new buyers and gaining their trust during their own consumer experience.

It stands to reason, therefore, that a review management strategy should be incorporated within every company’s plan. This will give you a simpler way of gaining consumers’ perspectives of your company and help you sell the best part of your business to prospective buyers.

4. Gaining in-depth knowledge about your customers to grow your business

The advantages of reputation management transcend beyond consumers’ perspective of your company. When correctly carried out, you stand to gain more knowledge from your customers to enhance your reputation by simply managing it in a particular manner. By becoming more customer-oriented rather than focusing on your reputation, your business automatically becomes reputation-based via your customers.

Becoming aware of what drives your customers to gain more knowledge about them will greatly enhance your business reputation. Data mining will assist you in determining their consumer behaviour. A customer-oriented online reputation management strategy can greatly enhance customer satisfaction and assist in the upgrading of your products and services, which will, in turn, improve your business holistically.

Making your business available for customer queries is, in itself, a reputation management strategy that can help diffuse any type of negative reviews. The mere act of responding to disgruntled consumers is a form of brand and image management that will help cast your business in a more empathetic light.

An interesting fact is that over 76% of consumers consider how a business handles its customer queries to ascertain just how important they are to that business. This staggering figure should be reason enough that if your business is sensitive to the needs of its customers, then its reputation will be enhanced.

Start your reputation management strategy right now!

Negative word of mouth has the power to destroy any business. Maintaining control over your business’ reputation, therefore, and familiarizing yourself with your customer’s opinion, is long overdue.

Developing a concise, yet formidable strategy for your business’ online reputation management will give it the credit-worthiness it needs to boost your customers’ affinity to your brand, resulting in more sales and company growth.

It is important to have employees within your company constantly monitor the reviews from your customers, in order to cultivate sound online reputation management. Additionally, it is just as important to offer unmatchable customer care and constantly meet the expectations of your existing customers. This will maintain their loyalty organically.

If you are seeking to take the bull by the horns, seek online applications that will assist you in monitoring and even responding to your customer’s feedback, whether good or bad. These can also help develop a sound online reputation through consistent engagement with your consumers.

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