Statistics by Vendesta reports that 87% of executives believe managing other strategic risks is less important than managing reputation risk. This shows the level of impact a solid business reputation management strategy can have on your success as a business owner.
With Nigeria’s current economic situation, it’s difficult for small businesses to survive or at least be relevant. Presently, there are a million and one things brands have to worry about. There are strategies that you need to consider if you still want to be in business. One of them is “reputation management.”
So, What is Business Reputation Management?
Business reputation management is the process of defining how important stakeholders perceive your business. These stakeholders include your customers, the government, suppliers, and other third parties that contribute to your business operations and sales.
Today’s digital marketing landscape is especially integral in brand and business reputation management. Providing a positive customer experience and having happy customers is not enough for businesses. Brands also need to learn how to promote their business on social media, create positive content, and take to their review sites to engage with customers.
This article is a breakdown of the importance of business reputation management, and the different platforms you can use to grow an exceptional reputation for your business in Nigeria.
Importance Of Business Reputation Management
Having a good reputation both online and offline is essential for any businesses’ long-term success. Below are reasons your business should buckle up and work towards establishing a positive online reputation:
Influences buying decisions
According to Forbes statistics on online review, 45% of customers perform research online and read reviews before purchasing products and services. Regardless of the quality of your service or product, if potential customers view negative comments or even negative content about your business, they could get turned off and decide against working with your business.
Protects your sales
A bad review if not handled properly can be incredibly damaging to a brand’s sales. In fact, just because of a negative review, 96% of customers claim they will not patronize that business. Online business management can easily maintain your profit margin, if not boost it.
Encourages transparency and improves customer trust
Consumers want to trust and engage with a business that is not just honest but also owns up to their mistakes both offline and online. Oftentimes, businesses partner with reputation management companies to help drive customer loyalty and build that rapport.
It appeals to today’s digital audience
A strong reputation management plan mostly covers the various aspects of a brand’s online presence. This includes website management, social media, email marketing, social networks, and more! Business reputation management and marketing work hand in hand and can directly influence customer engagement and sales.
How To Manage Your Business’s Reputation
To improve your brand’s online existence, including its SEO (search engine optimization), you have to keep a close watch on the key platforms that harbour your customers. Whether you want to respond to customer reviews, partner with another local brand to share positive word-of-mouth or collect customer feedback, these methods will benefit you greatly.
Be active on social networks
When used correctly, social media channels are effective ways to manage your business’s reputation. You may begin with Facebook or Twitter accounts and make sure you post consistently on the platforms. The results may not be immediately obvious, but by offering your target market original, consistent content and a genuine profile, you start to gain real connections.
Delay in responding to customer feedback and reviews may harm your brand’s reputation. Always adopt reciprocation and customer engagement instead of constantly thinking about a direct sales approach.
Read also: 5 social media platforms for my business
Google My Business (GMB)
The most powerful search engine, Google offers GMB as a tool for brands and businesses to manage their reputation and business listings. Businesses can amass star ratings, reply to negative and positive feedback, and also get Google Guaranteed for a better online perception from consumers.
Online directories and listings like GMB, are important because they help consumers to find you easily. This will in turn drive traffic to your site where you can maximize reputation management tools to keep your prospects glued and active on your pages.
Read also: Steps to register your business with CAC, Nigeria
Encourage feedback and reviews
Most businesses shy away from reviews because they are afraid of getting damaged by a negative one. However, business owners must remember that feedback is valuable as it gives important insights into customer experience and satisfaction.
You can not know what your reputation is if you do not know what people are saying about your business. In cases where you get a negative review, see it as an avenue to satisfy a dissatisfied customer or to correct an issue. Take your time to publicly respond to the review to set things right with the affected customer. You can take it a step further by sending a private mail to the customer either with an apology, an incentive, or both.
Also, do not be tempted to pay for good reviews. This violates the terms of service of many directories and may result in long-term damage to your visibility on their site.
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Manage your offline reputation
Similar to your online reputation, your offline reputation is also important. Technically, your online reputation is built on the offline experiences your customers have with your business. As such, they have a strong influence on how your business is perceived online.
Try all you can to make sure consumers enjoy a positive experience with your products, services, or facilities. Also, make sure there is a system in place that enables dissatisfied consumers to express their concerns. One that also enables you to answer questions and make proper decisions that address issues before they become a scandal.
Have it in mind that consumers’ posts on social media can also impact your business’ reputation. Presently, some customers take to their Facebook, Instagram, or even Youtube channels to retell people about their experiences. Sometimes, these posts can have a viral effect that’s even more impactful.
Myths on Business Reputation Management
Here are the top three misconceptions businesses have regarding reputation management
- Business reputation management myth #1: Only international organizations and big businesses need reputation management
A big international organization could easily tackle a negative online reputation within a couple of minutes. So, in reality, it’s local and small businesses that may not be able to easily withstand a negative reputation. Small businesses have a little margin for mistakes. Once their reputation is tarnished, it might become extremely difficult to regain or retain customers.
- Business reputation management myth #2: Reputation management is expensive
Reputation management doesn’t necessarily have to always come with an expensive public relations or digital marketing agency. Small and local businesses can improve their techniques, learn on the job, or partner with a purpose-built customer communications network to improve their online reputation.
- Business reputation management myth #3: Negative online reviews don’t matter; our services speak for themselves anyway
Oftentimes, businesses take the impact negative reviews can inflict for granted. If there’s one really bad review and 5-star ratings by a hundred people, you can still lose a lot of potentials. In fact, 94% of consumers completely avoid a business with negative reviews and a bad online reputation.
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- Jummai Bello is a Content Strategist, Copywriter, Business Coach and Author. She has worked with various brands and businesses ranging from entrepreneurship, beauty, lifestyle and many more to create high-quality, valuable content to connect with prospects, educate and drive sales. You can check out more of her work on LinkedIn
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