The U.S. Census Bureau estimated that during the first quarter of 2023, there was an average of $272.6 billion in retail e-commerce sales after adjusting for seasonal variation. With so many consumers making online purchases, the reputation of your business can become impacted. Reputation management for small businesses involves creating an online presence that helps brand and market your products and services to potential buyers.
Having a positive reputation can generate sales and help your company retain a loyal customer base. However, a negative reputation causes clients to avoid your company and post negative reviews. If your reputation does become damaged, you’ll want to implement solutions to minimize potential sales losses.
The strategies you implement for reputation management may actually cause more issues if you’re not careful. Here are several things not to do when trying to build trust in your brand.
You want to maintain consistency in your online presence, no matter the platform that you use. If you have different logos, color schemes, or even the tiniest changes to your company name, it can confuse customers. Consumers may wonder if they’re purchasing from the same business if the name on your social media page doesn’t exactly match your website.
With scammers creating fake profiles and web pages, a customer may avoid purchasing from your online small business if they don’t feel like they can trust the site. Create more consistency with all of your branded content.
Content should in some way center your company as a thought leader in your industry. It can provide useful information, tips, news, and other resources related to your business as well as to your products and services. If you post content or personal stories that don’t directly relate, you can end up alienating potential customers. You want people to feel as if they’re gaining something valuable from your content every time they visit your website.
Customers may perform online searches about your small business for a variety of reasons. They could be looking for reviews, related products, or information on how to use a product. You want to know what’s coming up about your company when a person uses a search engine. If you ignore your search presence, you’re giving up the opportunity to further connect with your clients.
For example, you may have customers searching about how to use a specific product. By checking out what they’re searching for, you can create an article or blog post giving further instructions or explanations. On the other hand, if a customer has posted a negative review, you have the chance to make a good impression by addressing their concerns quickly to leave a more positive outlook.
Status Labs reports that in 2020, 72% of U.S. customers posted an online review. Yet when you’re starting out your small business, you may not have as many reviews to post as your competitors. Fight the urge to post or purchase fake reviews. Customers rely on those reviews, both the good and the bad ones, to further understand your company. If they think that a review is fake, they’ll wonder what else could be fake about your business practices.
You can ask customers to leave reviews. Create an automated review form that can be sent to their email after they make a purchase. You want the review process to be fast and simple.
Understanding how customers perceive your brand allows you to promote the positives about your small business while quickly addressing any issues. Always keep an eye out on what people are saying about your company and use this information to create more effective content and marketing strategies. In time, your online presence will grow and spread to reach new customers.