Mar 2017 | Small Business | Marketing

Consumer power

There has never been a time when consumers have had so much power to voice their views and make an impact on a large scale.  The ever-growing world of social media has provided numerous platforms for people to have their say, and as a small business, you can be sure that somewhere, your customers are talking about you.  They’re tweeting about your prices, blogging about your product and adding reviews about your service.

This can be a powerful tool for your business if customers are saying the right things.  Did you know that just one more star in a review equates to an average of 9% more revenue?1 And that good reviews can also improve your search rankings?

Bad reviews on the other hand can cause irreparable damage to your brand and business. You can either bury your head in the sand and hope for the best or you can be pro-active about managing your online reputation and using it to drive your business forward.

Not sure where to start?  We’ve put together the following steps which will help you to manage and improve your online reputation.

Monitor what people are saying

First and foremost, you need to stay on top of what people are actually saying about your business.  You need to regularly check your online reputation.

Build a strong brand

A strong brand is key when it comes to a good online reputation. If your brand is respected and trusted, then the odd bad review will have much less impact on your reputation.

Show your human side

People relate to people much better than they do to corporations.  If you can show the human side of your business, then your customers are more likely to react positively to your brand.

Create advocates

Nothing builds an online reputation more than your customers going out and sharing what a great experience they had with your business.  By nurturing your customer relationships and ensuring that your service is excellent, you will create advocates who will champion your online reputation for you.

Be transparent

A sure way to improve your online reputation is to increase people’s trust in your business and transparency is key in achieving this.  What does this mean?  You need to allow your staff to talk openly about your products and services, you need to give customers access to speak to your business 1-1 and you need to be open about the criticisms that you do receive.

Deal with criticism promptly and professionally

Being open about your criticisms is key.  There’s no hiding when it comes to social media.  You will soon be called out if you try to delete negative comments or silence bad reviews.  If these do come in then respond to them courteously. Where relevant, learn from them and make changes to your business.  Take criticism as an opportunity! Customers like to feel heard so by responding to someone who complains and making them feel like you’ve taken their comments on board, you may even create a new advocate for your business!

Don’t leave your reputation in the dark, see how others perceive your business with Experian My Business Profile.


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