In the simplest terms, reputation management is the process of understanding what consumers are saying and how they feel about your business, implementing strategies to communicate with your customers and help to influence what consumers say and feel about your business. Reputation management is more of an abstract concept as it is unreasonable to think that someone could literally manage their reputation. Instead, it is crucial to think of it as communication with your customers and to take steps to create the best image possible for your business.
What do people think reputation management is?
Many people tend to have the wrong idea of reputation management. A quick google search may lead one to believe that it’s is merely controlling the perceptions of your business held by customers and potential customers. It often involves the idea of a company only showing certain things to consumers and lacking transparency, which is actually the opposite of good reputation management. A good reputation is a crucial component of any successful business, and the only way to achieve this is through reputation management.
What actually is reputation management?
It may be easy to believe that reputation management is simply controlling what consumers think of your business through heavy-handed advertising and public relations campaigns. Still, there is so much more that goes into proper reputation management. The best way to think about it for your business is to view it as a two-way model of open communication between the business and consumers and the business’s attempts to influence what consumers say and think about the business. Influence is more important than control.
Influence is Better than Control
While it may seem tempting to “control” your business’s reputation, it is not possible, and attempting to control your business’s reputation is liable to backfire in many ways. The best approach to managing your business’s reputation is through influencing the thoughts and feelings consumers may have about your business. The first and most important step in influencing the thoughts and feelings of consumers is understanding what they are, to begin with.
First and foremost, you must listen to what your customers are saying about your business and understand why they are saying those things. The next step in proper reputation management is to respond to these customers; whether your customers are talking about you or to you by means of online reviews or sharing what they think on social media, it is crucial that your company respond to these customers. You cannot drive a conversation that you are not a part of. Your company should take into consideration what your customers are saying and make any appropriate changes to the business. This will show your consumers that you care and are listening to what they have to say.
Transparency is crucial when communicating with consumers. Everyone will make a mistake at some point; when this happens, the best thing you and your business can do is to be open and honest about it and the measures you are taking to ensure it does not happen again. The key takeaway when it comes to reputation management is to listen to what consumers are saying first and then exert influence over what people say and feel about your business.