How to Leverage the Reputation of Your Small Business
September 19, 2012 2 Comments
As part of this search to increase customers, more and more businesses are looking online for ways to reach new clientele. Therefore, it is important that your use of social media technology and social networks is effective to make you stand out from the competition.
Businesses often use a combination of social media sites such as Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook to leverage their reputation and respond to customer complains and comments. In today’s Internet era, it is becoming increasingly important for businesses to maintain a web presence to respond to customers and find out what they want and need.
One of the great benefits of Twitter is the immediacy of this site, allowing you to respond to customers and share news quickly. Social media is all about engaging in dialogues with your customers which allows you to create your own personal brand. Twitter account holders are typically more likely to make purchases online, be more affluent and be linked into larger networks than other customer groups, so it is a demographic worth targeting.
Users of Twitter are more likely to use this medium to complain than other social media, so it is vital your business has someone monitoring your account regularly to respond to any issues, as gaining a reputation for prompt and effective customer service will also increase the status of your business. Don’t just reply to complaints, however – reply to anyone and everyone who @mentions your business. That is the whole point of engagement, after all. If you are having trouble getting people to respond to your posts, don’t be afraid to reach out to them, as building relationships is a two-way street.
LinkedIn is also a great way to build a reputation for your business within your industry sector. It allows you to make contact with successful professionals and trade experts. Recent research has revealed the average income of a LinkedIn user is over 55,000, which again is a valuable, and often influential, demographic to be able to reach.
To maximize the impact of your LinkedIn profile, you should incorporate keywords into your profile, as this will help you rank highly in search engine results. Including testimonials and recommendations in your profile will help give your business credibility. Include links to your blog, if it offers useful information to customers or other people in the industry, as this will also raise the visibility of your LinkedIn profile.
Facebook is the most well-known and longest established of all the top social media sites, and can be used by companies to make contact with their customers and create interest through sharing news and posting special offers.
In recent months, some businesses have been put off Facebook due to reports of the high number of fake accounts. Despite the number of fake accounts associated with the site, for sheer ability to access the largest possible audience for your product, Facebook remains the best social media option for most businesses. As with Twitter, make sure your account is used effectively to boost the reputation of your business it must be monitored regularly and updated with useful and relevant content.
A further cost effective and quick way to increase your businesses reputation is by setting up a blog for your website. A blog which offers interesting information which cannot be found elsewhere is of real value to customers, and will create a reputation for your business of being an industry expert who can be trusted. This will also result in more customers linking to your site, which will enhance your search engine ranking, too.
Gone are the days where a customer complaint would be neatly sealed in an envelope and sent away, usually without much of an impact. In today’s digitally connected world, if customers have something to say about your business, they will share it loud and proud with the entire world thanks to the Internet. Whether their two cents is good or bad, it is absolutely necessary to have a presence on the Internet via social media in order to respond to customers postings and make it known that you care. Otherwise, customers will assume that you don’t care about what they have to say, and will be turned off by your business and find what they are looking for elsewhere. Engagement with customers will not only help to leverage your reputation, but will also help build solid relationships with customers that result in brand loyalty and long-term growth.
What do you think about using social media as a tool to leverage your business’s reputation? Do you have other strategies that you employ to do this? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!
Amy Harris is a writer for Financial Training – an online tool to help students from around the world find the
right finance and business course. She enjoys assisting students and graduates with their education
and job search.