With the current economic situation in Nigeria, small businesses are finding it extra hard to survive or at least stay relevant. There are a million and one things they have to worry about now as well as strategies they have to consider if they want to keep shop. One of such strategies is “online reputation management”.
It is no secret that everything is literally done online now and so, if you want your business to succeed, you need to put it online. Basically, a business’ online presence can make or break its actuality. Aside from having an online presence however, it is essential for any business to know how to protect its online reputation.
Do you own a small business and you are wondering how you can do this? Jumia Travel shares 5 tips that can help you protect and manage your business’ reputation online.
Join and remain active on Social Networks
Social media platforms, when used in the right way, can be an effective way to shape a business’ reputation. The results may not be instant, but with a genuine profile and consistent original content that resonates with your target market, you gain real connections. Start with Facebook or Twitter accounts and ensure you constantly send posts on the platforms. Delays in responding to Tweets, posts, comments and questions can have a negative impact on your reputation. Think about reciprocation and engage your customers rather than constantly adopting a direct sales approach.
Aside from being on the social media, seek other ways for self-promotion. Try web advertising and if you cannot afford to do that, an alternative way to seek publicity online would be to write articles for other sites and blogs and ensure you write on topics that will establish yourself as an expert in your field and essentially spread your good company name.
Get in directory listings and business profile sites
Anyone who wants to check the authenticity of a business, would usually check to see its inclusion on official listings and directories. Just the act of registering on these sites sets a positive reputation. Listing and online directories are essential as they help customers with searches and they eventually drive traffic to your site where you can adopt reputation management tools to keep your visitors interested and active on your pages.
Most businesses tend to shy away from reviews as they are afraid they may eventually get damaged by a negative review. It is important however that these business owners keep in mind that feedback is valuable as it gives essential insights into the reputation of the business. If you don’t know what people are saying about your business, you do not know what your reputation is, much less what must be done to manage it. In the case you get a negative review, see it as an opportunity to correct an issue or satisfy a dissatisfied customer. Take the time to respond both publicly on the review and privately with the customer through email to make it right. Do not be lured by the temptation of paying for good reviews either, as this breaks the terms of service of many directories and can result in long term harm to your visibility on their site.
Manage your offline reputation
Do not be deceived, your offline reputation is as important as your online reputation. Your online reputation is essentially built upon the offline experiences of your customers with your business and as such, they heavily influence how your small business in perceived online. Do all you can to ensure your customer has a positive experience with your services, products or facilities. Ensure you have a system in place that allows dissatisfied customers to express their concerns and also allows you to answer questions and make decisions that address and resolve issues before they become online complaints.
Nkem Ndem is a PR Associate at Jumia Travel.