Too Small to Fail: Brand Reputation Management for Small Business
With greater resources comes greater expectations, or so the thinking goes. But just like a captivating story and lean production crew can power a low-budget film to indie-darling status, a small business can punch above its weight with a keen approach to brand reputation management. In fact, the added flexibility that comes with owning your own business means you don’t have to run every move by a team of executives – an arrangement ideally suited to modern methods of communication.
Social media has levelled the playing field, transforming what was a David and Goliath scenario into something you could reasonably wager on. Because anyone can practise social media engagement – from the family-run flower shop on the corner of Main Street to the big-box chain uptown – there’s no reason small businesses can’t create a positive buzz of their own.
No company too small
Being small certainly carries its challenges – doing more with fewer staff members, for one. The problem for small businesses is that they get little leeway in the speed and satisfactoriness of their social media engagement. Customers, having come to view a company’s online presence as a vital appendage of its physical location, will look unfavourably on ghost-town Facebook pages or outdated Twitter accounts. Countless blogs have documented the graveyard of failed social media pushes; more often than not the result of an ambitious plan that barely got off the ground before the person in charge realized the effort involved.
But rather than spreading yourself too thin and trying to juggle a vast social media empire, consider instead investing time and resources into a targeted campaign of brand reputation management – one that you can reasonably maintain over a long period of time (longevity being a necessity in building a loyal following online) and that appeals to the right kind of people (the people most likely to spend on your business).
You should also look at social media engagement as a way to tackle customer experience improvement, being vigilant for complaints and compliments alike. Besides building and promoting your brand through a steady flow of engaging content, you can respond to criticism directly and nip it in the bud – rather than have it blossom while you throw up your hands in utter confusion at the sudden lull in business.
Your website and your social media, together forever in harmony
The road to SEO supremacy is long and winding, with many uncertainties and even a few steps backward. If at the very least you can achieve the basics of an SEO-friendly site – using relevant keywords, choosing a domain name that reflects your brand, frequently adding fresh, original content – you will go a long way toward carving out a niche for your business online.
But a website is only one piece of the puzzle. Social media channels, when used properly, can drive traffic to your website through the use of links and fresh content. In turn your site will gain relevance in the eyes of search engines like Google while serving as a springboard for your social media engagement strategy – a formidable duo, and one that doesn’t have to cost you a fortune.
It can be a lot to expect of a business to post only content that is closely related to their industry. In fact, unless your industry spawns a wealth of interesting topics (i.e. interesting to prospective customers) you’ll likely find yourself searching farther and farther afield to keep followers’ interest piqued over time. Resist the temptation to venture into obscure or irrelevant topics, especially at the risk of alienating newcomers, who’ll wonder whether your page is for them. Your brand reputation management could also take a hit if you misrepresent yourself or get away from the spirit of social media – namely interacting with users and encouraging user-generated content.
GoalLine Solutions specializes in brand reputation management software, which helps businesses adapt to the new company-customer dynamic. boostCX lets clients instantly identify and address negative feedback generated through web surveys or social media channels, including Twitter, Google+, Facebook and any other program they desire. See how boostCX can power a customer experience improvement approach for your business.