Building a brand is not easy, and there are several different obstacles to jump over in the process. And it doesn’t end there – when you’ve built that brand it’s important to maintain a good reputation online. The saying “No such thing like bad reputation” is a lie, especially for startups.
In an increasingly digital world, a Google search and social media are two of the top ways for anyone to assess any startup’s or person’s reputation. According to research from Blue Corona, 70 to 80 percent of consumers research a company online before making a decision to purchase from a small business.
As a new business, your reputation online can either make or break your growth and scale of customers. It is a good idea to ensure you do what you can to monitor how your business is perceived online with a reputation management strategy.
To help, we’ve created a list of some useful tips to help you build a good online reputation for your startup.
Online Reputation Management (ORM) is a continuous process that businesses should follow to cultivate and maintain their brand name online.
It includes building a public image, which can be cost effectively done via communications, eliciting positive customer feedback and online reviews. Other steps include search protection, review management, social media branding, damage repair and reputation management. As a startup, the main steps to take into consideration in the early stages are Public Relations, social media branding and advertising.
A couple of ways to build the online reputation of your startup:
● Find out what job you are doing and create content around that.
To begin, you’re going to create a lot of content for your site to rank high in the search results. Look at this like a jobs-to-be-done framework. What are your customers looking for? What job are you doing that they keep hiring you for repeatedly? Speak to your current customers and find out why they retain you. Then create content around that. For instance, you are a cake maker who helps your customers send cakes to their loved ones. What is the job you are doing? Deliciously nurturing relationships in a memorable way. What else can you do asides selling an 8’ inch cake. Flowers, chocolate or even a trumpeter + delivery? Then create content online, not around cakes, but around the relationships you help people nurture.
● Optimise your Website
If you want people to find you, you should do some form of cost effective promotion, via content. Bad/low ranking for your brand name can be a “grave waiting to be dug” online. Create a blog and add content on a regular basis. Collaborate with other relevant sites to share links to and from your page. Properly utilize SEO keywords and tags so that you’re coming up for appropriate search terms.
● Be active on social media
Be very visible! Every successful business, organisation or movement gains its success with the help of social media. It is a great tool for businesses to reach their target audience, whilst also driving the increase of sales and profit margins.
To achieve this, you should try to post consistently on social media, at least once to thrice daily. Provide content your customers want. Create a 80/20 principle where you provide 80% useful content to 20% promotional posts.
Set up multiple social media profiles across Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. A good way to track and easily send out posts is using social media scheduling platform, Tweetdeck, that way you can schedule posts to go out weekly, then come online a few times to engage.
● Interact with customers & address complaints
Another important step to building a good online reputation is through customer engagement. Take pride in responding to customer enquiries, and interact with people via your social media platforms, website online chat feature and email within 10mins to one hour, however practicable. It is impossible to keep everyone happy as you will definitely have difficult customers, but like Jay Baer, author of ‘Hug your Haters’ advises, you can deal with onstage and offstage haters, with speed, compassion, and humanity and learn how to embrace complaints, put haters to work for you, and turn bad news into good outcomes
You should set up Google Alerts for instant notifications every time your startup is mentioned online, that way whatever the comment is left you’ll be able to notice and respond quickly.
● Encourage positive reviews
Build positive associations – incentivise satisfied customers to share good reviews about you. Just like word of mouth, online reviews are vital to your startup’s growth. It provides crucial insight for customers and competitors.
Article By: Tope Osunrinde