Reputation – Guard it with your life. Your life, friends, contacts, income all depend on your rep. Reputation management is essential. It is more important now than ever before. Large companies employ staff to watch over their precious reputation. That gives you some idea of how much financial value is attached to it.
Reputation Management is Essential
The Internet is a wonderful thing. It can make you or break you.
Your website gives you access to billions of people world-wide, giving you many more customers. Social media sites allow people to talk about you. So far, so good. But, what happens when someone starts to bad-mouth you on Twitter? Do you even know about it? If you know then you can counter any bad news, but if you are not aware then your business could die overnight and you would never know why.
Reputation Management and You
Everyone has a reputation. It might not be something that you think about every day, but you have one. Increase your awareness and your reputation will grow.
Your reputation is how people perceive you and your business. If people think highly of you then you will get more business. Satisfied customers will spread the word about your services. They only spread the word slowly though.
Conversely if someone is unhappy with your business they will tell everyone immediately. Bad news is more interesting and travels much faster. One business/customer relationship gone bad can undo years of good customer relations.
There are 2 parts to reputation management; growing it and keeping it.
How to Grow Your Reputation
Every time you do a good job you earn a few more points for your rep. Every time you make someone feel good your rep grows. If you help people they will see you in a better light.
In the real world you need visibility. People see your van at a job and see the job later. If it’s a good job then they think well of you. You need tee-shirts with a logo for the same reason. Give your family company tee-shirts and sweatshirts to wear when they are out and about. It’s about raising awareness that you exist in the first instance.
Keep your van clean and smile at everyone you meet. Raise your visibility and always do a g
reat job. Reputations grow slowly and it will take you time and effort. There is an awful lot of van-washing goes into that clean image.
Online your reputation is much harder to grow. People are more suspicious because they do not see the real person. Put a photo on your website to make it more personal. Add a personal blog link to your site so people can get to know you. Help people at every opportunity, even if it costs you time. Interact with people through comments on your website and on social media sites.
Protecting Your Reputation
All of your good work can be undone by one unhappy customer. Communicating with your customers is essential. If someone is unhappy then encourage him to talk to you. You have to give someone an outlet or they will vent on Twitter instead.
Knowledge is power. You need to know what is being said about you. Only then can you stop it spreading. The problem is cost. You can easily spend $500 a month with one of the better reputation management programs. Not many people want to spend that much, but you can find social media management software for much less.
Social media is where your business is in danger, so start with one of the free social media account managers and upgrade if you need to. HootSuite.com is a good place to start. They have free accounts and the next step up is only $7.19 per month.