I was listening to one of my favorite radio talk shows the other day when the host went into one of those “host read” commercials about reputation management. The message was targeted toward small business and it made my ears perk up and got me thinking.
Reputation Management Isn’t a Silver Bullet Strategy
I’m sure that reputation management companies and consultants would agree — but I’m not sure that some small businesses quite get that reputation management isn’t a silver bullet strategy. In other words, reputation management isn’t something you buy — it’s something you DO.
Before I get into my rant, I want to be clear about what reputation management is and why you need it.
In it’s simplest terms reputation management is the managing and influencing of your business reputation. Before the internet and social media hit the mainstream, this was something primarily reserved for big brands and celebrities. The idea was to make sure that your brand wasn’t hijacked by a single piece of bad media. (I’m sure that I’m oversimplifying — so all you reputation management experts chime in).
Small businesses didn’t really get into the reputation management game until online reviews such as “Yelp” became a resource or a destination for their customers. Suddenly, a bad review could mean a significant loss of revenue now and in the future.
The bottom line is that if you were a business that hadn’t fully embraced online marketing or social media, you could easily be blind-sided by these reviews.
This is where your friendly reputation management company or consultant comes in. They promise to fix your online reputation. Sometimes that means flooding the net with more positive content. This will work, for a while, but as many experts will tell you, reputation management isn’t something you do once — it’s something you manage for the lifetime of your business. If you want to be and stay in business — get on board.
The 3 Biggest Mistakes Small Businesses Make in Managing Their Reputation
- Not taking it seriously. Just because you aren’t active online or on social media, doesn’t mean that your customers aren’t participating. In the same way you take your financials seriously, take your reputation seriously. These days, reputation and finances are tightly connected.
- Not knowing where your customers are. Take the time to ask around or do some research on whether or not your customers are getting recommendations about businesses online. Where do they get their recommendations, do they leave reviews and recommendations? Don’t leave this up to chance.
- You aren’t on the appropriate platforms. Once you know where your customers are, be sure to join them on their preferred platforms. Participate along with them. Get familiar with the top 80% of platforms that your customers use. It will really only be a couple. So don’t freak out. It won’t be overwhelming.
Each of these comes from one core mistake — (you know what it is) — being focused IN your business and not on your business. Step away and take an all encompassing look at what’s being said about your business and your customers experience with you.
There is one more thing you can do: join our Google Hangout On Air : 4 Steps to Crush Bad Online Reviews on Wednesday, January 29, 2014 at 2:00 pm ET / 11:00 am PT. Our guest expert will be Andy Beal, “The Indiana Jones of Reputation Management” will talk about how to dramatically improve your online reputation in 30 days! You can also follow Andy on Twitter: http://twitter.com/andybeal