No matter how big or small or young or old your business is, you may have some misconceptions of online reputation management. I’ve talked about how to handle feedback better, but there is more than feedback businesses all have to deal with.
From negative reviews, to outright insults, reputation management covers more than you realize. At the end of the day it pushes us to be what I call “being transparent.”
When you are transparent open about your business, you can raise your reputation and brand with customers. It’s a great strategy when you think about the reasons.
People are talking about you anyway
My first reasoning is that people are already talking. Early on in social media, there wasn’t a lot of interaction between the business and customer. At least outside of whenever someone decided to buy from the store.
It was all “top down” communicating. A company posted ads and talked about their amazing products or services and people passively bought it.
Over this past decade, that’s changed. Today, you can’t get away with a static page and hope people flock to you. You need to be creating content – whether that’s blog posts or videos. You also need to be interacting with people on social media on the regular.
And that’s where transparency comes in. Because those kinds of shifts in preferences and communication means people have more sway for businesses.
Businesses today get punished when they don’t listen to their audience.
Transparency creates Opportunities
Another way to look at transparency is having a relaxed stance about your business. That doesn’t mean to slow down or lower the quality of your work or time spent. Instead, I mean it in the way of criticism and reviews.
People convey their thoughts in so many ways today. Some will turn to Twitter and rant about how much they hate a product or service. Some will create hate sites. People get offended, they feel attacked.
And while that’s a reasonable response, I’d consider pausing for a moment and consider their thoughts. Is there a way that you can improve your business from that aspect?
Once people turned to social media, McDonald’s responded to criticism by raising the welfare standards of their chickens. This was after years of hiding away from critics.
Not being Transparent is riskier
While I’ve been focusing on customer and business interaction, being transparent is more than that. Some other examples are:
- Letting employees talk about products or services publicly
- Asking for feedback
- Never hiding criticism and focus on addressing it in a public way
You are establishing open communication overall, but that might be an issue with some of you. For small- and medium-sized businesses you may not be investing a lot in communication. So being transparent is a struggle when you’re trying to create content and juggle a few dozen other responsibilities.
In those situations, I wouldn’t pass up not being transparent. Instead I’d work on it where you can. While being open with your business can lead to a lot of pain or potential headaches, it’s best to open those communications earlier than later.
People are more receptive when you discuss problems
One reason individuals might not want to be transparent is due to pride. You run a business and want to feel independent. The reality though is that no business flourishes without the help of others.
Businesses need customers and sometimes customers know what’s best for the business. Maybe not so much in specific practices, but they can tell the difference between good and bad products and services.
I’m not saying to let your customers take full control of your business. Don’t be afraid to rely on them and lean on them. People are more receptive than you think these days. When you need help, people will often come to help if they have a love for your company and what you do.
Have more Transparency in your Business
Being transparent is a good marketing strategy for the future. It’s not easy to always be so open but it is the path to more people trusting you and your business. It also allows you to address problems and shifts your attitude in how you interact with others.