12 Ways to Improve Your Business Reputation for Free
As a small business owner, your reputation is everything. It will make or break your business. Warren Buffet understood the value of a good business reputation when he said, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you'll do things differently.”
But protecting your reputation in the days of social media is hard. According to the White House Office of Consumer Affairs, an unhappy customer will tell between nine to 15 people about the incident. This number gets amplified when they choose to do it in a social stream. Sometimes it’s not even anything your business did wrong.
How about this TripAdvisor review?
Sure, we may snicker about some of those bad reviews but when they happen to your business, they’re not funny. So what do you do if your reputation is in need of a little help?
Don’t worry. We have a list of things that can help those minor blips in the road. However, please note these won’t solve major PR problems but they are a start.
Shapiro Study, customers who know that a small business is a member of the chamber of commerce, say they are 49% more likely to think favorably about it and 80% more likely to purchase goods or services from the company in the future.
Ask for FeedbackAsk your fellow business owners and friends to critique your Facebook page, website, and/or storefront. Be open to the feedback they provide, and make any necessary changes that fall in line with your ideal audience.
Don’t Share Anything Controversial on Facebook (or the Internet)Even if you have strong opinions on a subject, it is much better to keep those to yourself to avoid possibly offending a group of your customers. Your business Facebook page needn’t be all business all the time, off-topic entertainment often gets the most shares and interactions. However, no matter how funny, posts about politics, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicities, and other sensitive subjects are best left off social media. If you’re wondering if it’s appropriate, always err on the side of caution.
Partner with the Local Newspaper to Write a Human Interest Piece on Your BusinessDon’t be afraid to ask to be interviewed in the local paper. Creating a good relationship with the local newspaper is a great way to build your reputation and they’re always looking for angles. Just make sure your pitch is not an advertorial. They want human interest and your next sale doesn’t qualify.
Even if the local paper isn’t interested in your story, your customers are. So make sure you share it.
Keep Your WordReally, this isn’t just a business lesson, it’s a life lesson. Do what you say you are going to do, and people will notice. Go back on your word, and people will notice that, too. No one wants to work with someone they can’t rely on.
Remember, a positive reputation is your business’ backbone, and these suggestions won’t cost you anything but your time!
Christina R. Green teaches small businesses, chambers, and associations how to connect through content. Her articles have appeared in the Midwest Society of Association Executives’ Magazine, NTEN.org, AssociationTech, and WritersWeekly. She is a regular blogger at Frankjkenny.com and the Event Manager Blog. Christina is an introverted writer on a quest to bring great storytelling to organizations everywhere.