Your small business reputation hinges on the belief or opinion that others hold about the products and services you offer or how attentive you are to the needs of your customers. A bad service review from one disgruntled customer does more damage to your reputation than 10 positive customer reviews. Potential customers gravitate to that one negative experience and wonder if they should chance engaging with your business. It could end up being a hassle for them.
You now run the risk of losing potential customers to the competition. For that reason, you need to establish a fierce online reputation for your small business. You want to create a reputation that is so strong potential customers will instantly choose you over your competitors, even if you have a bad review under your belt.
Here are 3 key ingredients that can make that happen.
1. Share Valuable Content
When you create a new blog post it should do more than just be something new for you to promote. Talk to your customers, online and in person, to learn about the issues they are facing. Listen to the things they are struggling with and then see how you can help. Create content that provides your audience with options, even if those options fall outside the line of products or services that you provide.
You may think that by doing so you’re pushing customers right into the hands of the competition. It’s quite the opposite actually. Your audience will appreciate your willingness to share all available options with them. It shows you care about more than just making a sale. You become a business they can trust. Customers remain loyal to trustworthy businesses. To build that authoritative reputation, you need to consistently publish meaningful content and share it across your social media channels.
2. Actively Participate on Social Media
There is more to social media than just keeping an eye on the competition. You have a greater opportunity to engage in casual conversations with your target market audience. Doing so lets you see the things that interest them as well as learn what they find frustrating or irritating. Likewise, your audience gets a chance to learn about the person behind your business.
Take off your business owner hat for a moment and chat with your social media audience like you would with an old friend over a cup of coffee. Share a funny moment from your day. Post a random thought that pops into your head as you’re staring out of your office window. Don’t be afraid to let your personality shine through in the posts that you share. It sets customers at ease when they need to approach you and can be the starting point to the customer relationship building process.
You also need to consistently post relevant content that expands the level of knowledge customers have on industry trends or the products and services that you offer. They begin to trust in the information you provide and you become the only viable option, in their eyes, to solving issues or answering questions. Before long, your customers will share their positive experience with everyone they know. Unfortunately that also means that unhappy customers will share their experience as well.
3. Acknowledge Customer Reviews
Modern technology gives customers the opportunity to share their feedback on an interaction with your business before they even leave the building. Therefore, it is essential that you keep a close eye on customer reviews and maintain a general idea of where your public perception stands at any given time.
To do this you need to acknowledge all of your customer reviews, even the bad ones. Word of mouth travels quickly in the digital world and one bad review carries more weight than 10 positive reviews combined. When a customer leaves a review on your business, that individual just wants to be heard. Maybe there was a miscommunication at some point or a sale didn’t quite go as smoothly as possible. When that happens, make an effort to address the situation and make things right.
On the other hand, another customer may feel that you exceeded expectations when delivering a product or service. Feel free to mention that customer by name in a social media post or place their positive review in a prominent place on your website. It adds value to that customer’s experience while showing that quality customer service is important to you.
Building an authoritative online reputation takes time. Work to always add value to the experience others have with your small business. Keep an active presence on social media through engaging conversations and content sharing. Show customers that there’s more to your business than just profit margins and let your actions speak louder than words.
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