How To Build And Maintain A Positive Reputation For Your Small Business

This post may contain affiliate links and I may receive a small commission if you make a purchase using these links – at no extra cost for you. Please read my disclaimer here.

Have you ever considered how your online reputation can benefit your small business? Social media can be a double-edged sword, making or breaking your reputation in mere clicks. 

Don’t worry if you have no clue about how to build and maintain a positive reputation online - because, in this blog, we will discuss everything about building a positive reputation from scratch and maintaining it consistently.

Why is reputation important for your small business?

For building trust and credibility

As a small business, building a trustworthy relationship with your customers is crucial. When customers believe in quality, integrity, and reliability, they are more likely to engage with your business. This trust is not only about first-time sales but also forms the foundation of long-term relationships. 

For building trust and credibility

Word of mouth marketing

Word of mouth marketing happens to be a potent form of marketing as people trust personal recommendations from friends and colleagues more than paid ads. A satisfied customer can have a significant ripple effect for creating an organic growth loop.

Encouraging online presence and reviews

As a significant portion of your customer journey takes place online, reviews about your business on popular platforms like Yelp, Google can make or break your business.

While positive reviews can propel your business forward, the negative ones can leave an impact as well. It is how you reply and tackle these negative reviews that makes a difference in your reputation. 

Direct impact on financial health

The cumulative effect of customer loyalty, word-of-mouth referrals, and a competitive advantage directly impacts the financial well-being of a business. A strong reputation leads to sustained and potentially increased sales.

Over time, this can translate into higher profitability, giving the business more resources to invest in growth, innovation, or even weathering economic downturns.

Gives a competitive advantage

Nowadays, where products and prices can be similar, reputation often becomes the deciding factor for customers. A strong reputation can set your small business apart from competitors, making it a go-to choice for customers. This competitive edge is especially crucial in industries where there are many options available to consumers.

Factors that affect your business’s reputation

Factors that affect your business’s reputation

Here are factors that are responsible for your business’s reputation:

Your response to positive and negative comments

No matter what type of comment or review you get, how you reply to comments can make a huge difference. While it’s comparatively easy to manage positive responses, the challenge arises when it comes to tackling the negative ones.

The key to replying to negative comments is to keep your calm and try to understand their problem instead of focusing much on the tone. It is how you react and respond to such comments that shape your initial reputation. 

Your consistency in online presence

It is important for your presence to be consistent across all platforms - be it your website or your social media platforms - it’s important for all platforms that you use to communicate with your audience.

By consistency, we especially mean the same profile picture, same bio, same color palette - which will help your customers spot you even among similar usernames.

Your business’s overall reviews

Nowadays, it’s a common consumer pattern to check a brand’s reviews online before making a purchasing decision. Consumers usually prefer to visit a third-party review site - for example, B2B consumers usually visit G2 or Capterra to check the reviews and make a decision.

How can you build and maintain a strong reputation for your small business?

Showcase your expertise

For your audience to trust you completely, you need to showcase your expertise by creating and sharing content that highlights your knowledge. From writing insightful blog posts to creating how-to guides that offer real value to your customers and creative, informative videos - these can contribute to building your authority in the industry. 

Use a great reputation management platform

It has now become a norm to check online before making any purchasing decisions for your consumers. That’s where your online reputation comes into play - bringing you up as one of the top results when your customers search for relevant products/services. 

Use a great reputation management platform

To ensure your online reputation is well-managed and consistent, you need a genuine platform that is packed with top-notch features to keep you ahead of your competitors. 

With a reputation management platform like Statusbrew, you can monitor all your channels from a singular dashboard once you connect your accounts. You can take it a step further by designing your inboxes and creating separate views by sentiment, conversation, and network. 

Provide a great customer experience

In order to foster a good reputation as a small business, it’s important for you to prioritize customer experience. There are no better brand ambassadors than satisfied customers who will further recommend you to their friends and colleagues. 

The best part? It doesn’t come with hefty pricing like Sprout, which is beneficial for small businesses that don't have huge marketing budgets to spare.

Moreover, good customer experience can also result in fostering strong and loyal long-term relationships - turning your customers into loyal business advocates. 

Keep a check on how you communicate

How you communicate can tell a lot about your brand identity - the tone, style, and the content you use should be in sync with your brand voice and promises. Every interaction, whether it’s through your content, customer service or social media - contributes to the public perception of your business. 

Good communication is not just about transmitting information but also about building relationships. When your customers feel heard or valued, they are more likely to stay longer and make repeat purchases. 

Stay consistent on social media

Nowadays, it’s hard to stay connected to a brand offline. Online platforms like social media have become the core of building a connection with your audience. Staying consistent in your branding and performance on social media is the key to building trust with your audience. 

Stay consistent on social media

The easiest way to do this is by resonating the same story across all your channels. The more channels that tell the same story, the more your reputation builds. You can do this online through LinkedIn, emails, or newsletters, or you can take offline measures as well via company materials and advertising. 

Develop a crisis management plan

Start by listing the scenarios that you think might go wrong or might negatively impact your business in the long run. For example, major product issues, customer service inconsistency, and more. 

Next, prepare a plan and set templates where you can prepare the probable replies and save them so that they are easier to reply to during crisis situations. 

The key step, however, is to train the team, ideally, on how to manage a crisis so that any reply from your brand aligns with the other factors. 

Tips to enhance your brand reputation 

By incorporating these tips, you can comprehensively build and maintain a strong, positive brand reputation.

Consistency across brand elements

Ensure that all facets of your brand, including messaging, visual identity, and company values, are harmoniously aligned. This coherence projects a clear, authentic, and consistent brand image.

Prioritize customer feedback

Actively seek and address customer reviews, embracing both positive and negative feedback. Use social listening tools to monitor online discussions and swiftly respond to customer concerns.

Engage with brand advocates

Identify and collaborate with satisfied customers, influencers, and brand ambassadors. Enable them to disseminate their genuine experiences and user-generated content through effective public relations campaigns.

Implement SEO tactics

Recognize that search engines are a primary avenue for consumer brand discovery. Create and share informative, engaging content (like blog articles, infographics, and videos) to establish your industry expertise. Optimize your website and online presence for better search engine rankings, aiming to attract potential customers already interested in your offerings. 

Implement SEO tactics

Commit to corporate social responsibility (CSR)

Align your business with social, environmental, or charitable causes. This demonstrates your brand's commitment to making a positive impact beyond profit, which can significantly boost your reputation.

Showcase customer testimonials and success stories

Share positive reviews, testimonials, and case studies. These stories can be powerful in demonstrating the value and reliability of your products or services.

Examples of brands who have built a good business reputation 

Mailchimp

As far as social media reputation management is concerned, Mailchimp is a clear winner, with almost half a million followers across different platforms. Their main USP is their unique take on fun content and short & informative tutorials that offer incredible value to readers. 

Zappos

Zappos is indeed an incredible brand known for its outstanding service to their customers. Along with generous return policies and exceptional customer support, they use their social media to go the extra mile to ensure customer satisfaction. 

Merrell

Merrell, the outdoor gear company, is one such brand that has used influencer marketing to reach a wider audience. Their audience generally includes travel bloggers, adventure enthusiasts, and travel influencers who share travel stories and videos online. 

Takeaway 

Now, we hope you understand that each interaction and engagement on social media contributes to the mosaic of your digital identity. Remember, consistency, authenticity, and responsiveness are key.

By applying the strategies discussed in this blog, you can steer your online presence towards a more positive and impactful direction.

About the author 

Peter Keszegh

Most people write this part in the third person but I won't. You're at the right place if you want to start or grow your online business. When I'm not busy scaling up my own or other people' businesses, you'll find me trying out new things and discovering new places. Connect with me on Facebook, just let me know how I can help.

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}