Personal Branding and the Importance of Online Reputation
Personal Branding: Look Out Your Reputation Precedes You!
One of the biggest mistakes small businesses can make is thinking their brand is unimportant if they’re only selling products. This is far from the truth, because businesses require people to sell the actual product, and those people need to instill confidence in the customer. These individuals must be trustworthy and have a good reputation.
Does Reputation Matter Online?
Online reputation is just as important as conducting face-to-face business transactions. Think about the last time you received poor customer service at the grocery store. That negative experience is just as damaging when it occurs online. For example, when you receive poor customer service, do you discuss it on your social networks? Do you post negative reviews on sites like Yelp? If so, then you are translating that negative face-to-face experience to the Internet.
What Happens When Negative Reviews Appear Online?
This is where personal branding comes into play in a very good way for businesses. Not only will the business be able to redeem themselves with the customer who had a negative experience, but they are doing so in front of an audience. When complaints are handled in an office or through a customer service phone call, few people have the opportunity to hear these concerns. However, when the situation is handled online, current and future clients have a bird’s eye view of how the issue gets handled. Therefore, it is essential that all disputes are handled immediately, courteously and with the utmost professionalism.
How Do I Find Out About Reviews?
Responding to negative reviews is imperative but don’t forget to reply to positive ones as well. Responses can be a quick thank you, or a bit more personalized to the individual’s message. If someone posts a positive compliment on a business’s Facebook page, for example, respond as soon as possible. That way others can see how much pride the business takes in their customers and how much they are appreciated. Google is an excellent tool for finding out if people are posting reviews or other discussions related to the business. For those who don’t have time for frequent searches, set up Google Alerts so an email is sent each time the business’s name is mentioned online.
Should I Hire a Reputation Management Service?
Because the activities required can be time consuming, many growing businesses opt to hire an Internet reputation management services firm. Not only can they manage social media accounts, but they can step in to thank or take care of customers as needed. Business owners can hire companies such as these either on an as needed part-time or full-time basis. This will help free up time for owners and managers to continue growing their businesses. There are many services to choose from, so it’s important to conduct thorough research to ensure all your business needs are met.
The Bottom Line
Personal branding is not all about developing a persona on or offline for one individual person. Instead, think of it as an opportunity to brand the individuals running the particular business and making it a success. How each individual handles day to day tasks, as well as how customers are treated, is all part of personal branding for the business.
Guest blogger, Jenn Greenleaf, is a freelance writer who likes writing about parenting, education and news.