In the 21st century, having a business online is vital. Furthermore, the reputation of a business is everything. It takes a lot of consistency and hard work to build an excellent online presence. However, it takes little to no effort to tear it down. Talk about bad reviews and unfavorable press; guarding your online reputation is thus of great importance.

Successful businesses and corporate organizations spend quite a lot when it comes to maintaining their reputation. Reflect on well-known brands that you know, and you can tell that a lot goes into attaining and maintaining their fame. So, as a small business or startup, should reputation be of any concern? Definitely!

For instance, take a look at your consumer behaviour. Before taking a decision, you will likely look at the company website, reviews and social media platforms. The great news is that although business reputation management is essential for both large and small businesses, there are surefire ways to build, manage and protect your brand reputation with a cost-effective budget.

What is reputation management?

Reputation management is all about controlling how people perceive your business, product and services, and maintaining a positive image for your company. As proactive monitoring of your online business reputation, it means making a conscious effort to build a positive reaction and counter any potential negativity.

Many organizations have learnt over time that they have little control over what people say about them online. Still, by paying attention to customer feedback and addressing issues as they arise, they can improve their prestige if their reputation comes under any threat.

Thus, your business reputation protection and management can be divided into three categories:

Building your brand’s reputation: Whatever stage you are in your business journey, making a good name for your business is very important.

Maintaining your brand’s reputation: Having an excellent reputation doesn’t mean you get to sit back and relax. You have to ensure that your reputation remains intact. Managing the way people perceive your business, brand, or company takes consistent effort at maintenance.

Recovering your business reputation: It takes a lot to build a good reputation, but only one nasty comment to destroy what you have built. It will take a little dose of positive reviews here and promotions there for your reputation to bounce back.

How can you grow business reputation online?

An excellent online presence is vital for most businesses and can be a perfect way to manage your reputation too. Below are ways you can effortlessly achieve this with a cost-effective budget.

  1. Research

Seven surefire affordable ways to grow your business reputation online

It would be best if you did proper research before you take any step towards building your brand. Find out what individuals are saying about your brand. Monitoring your brand’s reputation helps you access the current state of your business’s prestige if it is positive or needs some extra work.

To achieve this, you can use a brand monitoring tool, for instance, Brand24.

Brand24 publicly collects all available mentions that contain your predefined keyword. If anyone makes a negative statement about your brand, you will be notified even if they don’t use the @mention on Twitter. This helps you swiftly react to negative comments about your brand. You will be able to manage the issue and protect the reputation of your brand.

Effectively monitoring the web could be the game-changer for building an excellent and positive brand reputation.

  1. Design a user-friendly website

Have you done your research? Then you need to create an official website. Online, your webpage is your physical business card. Thus, you need to pay attention to your website and ensure it’s user-friendly. Your best bet is to start with a catchy domain name; this could be the name of your brand.

Also, pay attention to the details of your homepage. Your design should be top-notch and detailed information should be appropriately arranged in sections. The “about” and “contact” of your web page should contain details about your business and pictures of your accomplishments. You should also include your office address, email, direction and telephone number for potential customers to contact you.

  1. Be active on social media.

Need people to find your business online? A social media profile is a must-have. Potential customers tend to go on social media platforms like Facebook to check advertising agencies before making a final decision on a particular offer. On your social media platform, try posting creative, entertaining and engaging contents that will attract and engage your followers.

Having an online presence on other social media platforms will help boost your company’s reputation. Inform Twitter users about a new product or share links to articles on your website. Linkedin enables you to connect with an audience with like minds, Linkedin brings professionals together. A furniture company? How about you display your product designs on Pinterest.

Wherever potential clients look, your brand is there to greet them. Also, ensure you react to comments and also show interest in significant publications. This is how to build great relationships that will greatly benefit your business in the long run.

  1. Reply to every request or opinion.

It is essential to show your potential customers a positive outlook that your business treats people well and is quickly accessible. Respond to every message and review, whether positive or negative. Responding to a negative comment or review helps you avoid conflict. You  definitely should not ignore positive comments. Make exceptional use of them by sharing them on all your social media handles. It shows the quality and credibility of your business.

Are you getting tired already? We hope not! Here are a few extra tips for you.

5. Encourage reviews

Customer feedback is gold. It gives you insight into your brand’s reputation and how well you are doing. As a business owner, you should always welcome reviews.  Research shows that 91% of people regularly read online reviews, and 84% trust the review they read online to make a decision—68% form an opinion before getting to the sixth review. Please do not attempt to buy good reviews also as it breaks the terms of service of many directories, resulting in your visibility on their site long term! This is not good for business.

  1. Share your achievements and awards.

When customers feel they can trust your brand, there is no amount they won’t pay for your services. People search for brands they can trust, and they do this by researching the brand before making a decision. You can build trust by sharing good reviews and experiences of previous customers. Different tools allow you to display and manage your reviews. Try Brightlocal, for instance.

  1. Start a blog

The old saying “Content is king” is still very true. Investing in a good content marketing strategy will indeed bear fruit. Running a blog is an affordable and yet effective way to grow your online presence.

A blog helps you build brand awareness. The more people come in contact with your brand and know what it is all about, the more they will be willing to purchase from you.

A blog organically inaugurates your company/business as an industry leader. To achieve this, you need to post well-researched articles regularly.

Let people in on your good and bad experiences and shed more light on some mysteries that can benefit the general public. This will make your brand the go-to within your industry because people know that they can gain knowledge and get solutions to issues when they come to you. WordPress is a good platform to create a blog for free.

Conclusion

Reputation is everything in business, as such measures should be put in place to guard it at all times. Building your business reputation can be affordable too. You don’t need to break the bank to achieve it. Make good use of social media, collect reviews, educate your audience through contents, and be creative! When a potential customer needs a product or service in your field, you will be the go-to option.

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