Top Reputation Management Techniques From Fortune 500 Companies
The Web is connecting the world more with each passing day. Large corporations have had to learn to intelligently ride this wave or face the inevitable descent into irrelevance. A big part of their evolution has involved creating and implementing online reputation management policies.
Though there are many major differences between worldwide conglomerates and your small business, many of the techniques they use are also pertinent to the needs and scope of your operation. Keep in mind these reputation management techniques.
Use seven simple practices to create a positive online reputation.
Even small businesses have begun the shift from brick-and-mortar storefronts to online venues. But how do you propagate a successful reputation in this daunting new landscape?
Here are seven business reputation management techniques, gleaned from the experience of large corporations that you can begin to put to work for you.
1. Be proactive.
One of the most important rules when practicing business online is that you must be proactive — not reactive — in all of your dealings. Begin by staying on top of any negative remarks about your business or products on Google, blogs, forums and websites, and you’ll never be playing catch-up when it comes to your online reputation.
At the core of any successful large company is a strong desire to be on the forefront of its industry. Apple, for example, has built an excellent online reputation by perfecting new products and then surrounding them with irresistible hype.
Build a sense of prestige around your product or service, and consumers will think of you as a leader in your field. They’ll come looking for you instead of the other way around.
3. Practice transparency.
A large company like Google practices transparency in all of its business relations. When its mobile vehicles mistakenly broke privacy law by picking up personal information from unsecured Wi-Fi networks, Google publicly admitted its mistake and quickly dealt with the matter.
Whatever the size of your business, practicing transparency and public disclosure is an important step to maintaining a spotless online reputation.
4. Think globally.
It’s important to ensure that the online public thinks of your business as more than just a corner market. You can develop a global reach online without necessarily increasing your size. Little things like being able to receive and process international orders can make a huge difference. Your business’s reputation can only benefit if more of the world gets to rave about your product or service.
5. Be charitable.
Microsoft is a prime example of a company that changed its public perception through charitable work. In the mid-to-late 1990s the software giant was considered to be nothing more than money-gobbling corporate machine. Investing in charitable organizations like the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, however, the company effected a radical shift in its reputation.
The same can work for you. You don’t have to engineer a multibillion dollar donation either; even the smallest charitable acts can help to create a better online reputation for your business.
6. Care about your customers.
Customer service should always come before your own profits, especially if you want a positive online reputation. The Walt Disney Company, for instance, has always put its customers before profits.
Emulate Disney in your day-to-day operations by focusing on the needs of your customers. For example, invest in beefing up your website’s privacy controls to ensure a safe and seamless experience for your users. And use promotions and sales to reward your customers instead of your pocket book.
7. Have fun.
It isn’t difficult to see why some large companies succeed and others don’t. Successful businesses know that creating a “feeling” around their products is essential to mega-sales. Coca-Cola is one of the 30 most reputable companies in the world. Why? People associate drinking Coke with having fun.
If your product or service elicits good feelings from your customers, you’ll be well on your way to more sales and a positive online reputation. Even if your business has to do with traditionally unappealing activities (sorry, dentists), implementing ways to lighten the experience will put you in high demand.
At the heart of any huge company is a strong desire to be perceived well by the public. Focus on the seven reputation management techniques presented here and your customers will reward you with excellent feedback and a loyal following. Reputation management takes time, but it’s well worth the proverbial effort.