Whether you are an entrepreneur at the head of a massive business empire or you’re a freelancer using your name as a brand, the way others perceive you can make or break a deal. First impressions, as the saying goes, always matter. However, when these first impressions can be shared with others, they become difficult to address and fix if they’ve been negative. Imagine this scenario: As a young graduate, you’ve prepared for an interview for your first job, but on the big day, your nerves get the best of you. The interview turns into a fiasco, and you don’t need long to realize that you’ve ruined your chances for this job. Others candidates have made a better first impression. It’s annoying, but unfortunately, these things happen. Maybe you’ll be lucky next time. Now, put yourself in the same scenario, but with one noticeable difference: The interviewer publishes an article about how bad they found you and why no company should bother hiring you. You’ve not only ruined your chances for this specific job, but for any job! The same thing can occur at a business level. Creating a positive reputation is about making sure that the interactions with your market run smoothly and that, if mistakes happen, they can be sorted out efficiently and durably.
Monitor what others say about you
You may try hard to appear on top of the search results on Google and Bing, but what happens when others beat you to it with your own branded terms? When bloggers, reviewers or journalists write about your company, they use your brand name. Depending on the reputation of the online platform their commentary is published on, it’s likely to appear before your own website, especially if you’re looking at customer reviews. Tracking what others say about you is part of your Online Reputation Management strategy or ORM for short. Indeed, there’s nothing worse than finding that the top search results for your brand rank negative reviews or articles about your business. It’s damaging to your reputation and your growth, and that’s precisely why there are options that you can use to remove online content and improve your brand reputation. When a blogger publishes something negative about your brand, for example, you can contact the webmaster to remove the page, or in some instances, you can ask Google to remove the information permanently in the case of fraud, sexually explicit information or even Right to Be Forgotten in the EU.
Be a confident professional
Building a positive reputation begins with your professional skills. Becoming an expert in your business environment is at the core of making the best possible impression. In a word, the day you neglect your professional training is the day you will cause harm to your reputation. While you may not need to become the very best, your ability to remain knowledgeable about the latest industry trends and evolutions is essential to maintaining the image of expertise that you crave.
Shout about your successes
Nobody likes to sound big-headed or pretentious. As a result, less and less small businesses like to shout about their achievements and latest successes. But let’s get things clear from the start: If you don’t tell the market about your results how do you expect people to know about them? Self-promotion is not a shameless excuse to boast. It’s about promotion what your business is good at. So make sure to create success stories and monitor the metrics that you can share with your audience.
Let others tell their stories with you
The main reason why happy customers are so precious is not that they’re easier to deal with for your customer service team, but instead, it’s because they are your best advocates. If you don’t like the idea of promoting your successes, maybe you can let your best customers do the promotional work for you. When a customer shares a positive experience they’ve had with a brand, their circle of followers listen carefully. Why so? Firstly, because people trust what strangers say about you. Secondly, because it’s likely that your customer might be describing a meaningful issue that others struggle with too. Promoting your services for their problems also presents your brand as a solution to people in a similar situation.
Share your knowledge
You don’t always need to talk about your successes. Sometimes, sharing your experience willingly can make all the difference to an audience. You could speak at a conference, for example, to share your expertise about a specific market theme, or publish a book to discuss a niche business strategy. Usable knowledge is, after all, the best advertising campaign you could get.
Are you ready to improve your brand perception and build a reputation that will attract future customers? Then it’s time to maximize your expertise, monitor branded content, and make the most of your satisfied customers.