As an entrepreneur, it's up to you to make sure that your company has the best reputation possible. This sounds like an easy enough idea, but the actual execution of it is more complicated. Creating the best possible reputation involves work on both your online business reputation and offline reputation.
Here are ten things that you can do to make sure that people think as highly as possible about your company.
1. Always put your best face forward
This means dressing well, always being polite and positive, and treating people well. The simple fact is that you never know who is going to be watching, so it’s best to always pretend that you are “on.” Obviously this doesn’t mean that you can’t go to the pharmacy in the middle of the night in your PJs for cold medicine if you’re sick. If you do, though, make sure that you do your best to be nice to the people you encounter along the way.
2. Keep your promises
If you say that you are going to do something, do it. Don’t back out at the last minute. If something does come up to prevent you from keeping your promise, find someone who can fill in for you and who will do just as good a job as you would have done. The last thing you want to do is earn the reputation of being a flake.
3. Communicate a lot
Always keep people in the loop. Even if nothing has developed recently in your client’s project, send a quick email to let them know. This way your clients and buyers won’t have to worry that you have forgotten about them. Don’t email every five minutes, obviously, but once every few days should be sufficient.
4. Make sure your website is awesome
Your clients want to find out more about you. By setting up a website for yourself and your company, you are taking the first steps toward creating your online reputation. Make sure the website is designed well, that it tells people about you as well as what you provide and that it provides a way for people to contact you.
5. Use social media to your advantage
Set up a Facebook page, Twitter account, LinkedIn page and if you think they will be helpful, Tumblr and Pinterest accounts. More importantly, make sure that people know that these pages and accounts exist. People choose social media over any other method to utilize when they want to reach out to a company for questions or comments. Make these avenues available to them!
6. Don’t spam
This is particularly important if you have an email list (which you should). It’s tempting to send out emails about things as soon as they happen. All this does is annoy the people who are on your mailing list. Limit yourself, unless you have promised otherwise, to one email per week that you can use to keep your subscribers caught up on the goings on within your company.
7. Ask for feedback
Asking clients and customers what they think of you and your products is the best way to prove to them that you value their opinions. Encourage feedback, reviews and even criticisms. You might even consider having a testimonials page on your website through which people can submit their feedback. Sure, they’re more likely to use Facebook or Twitter, but having the page available is still a good idea.
8. Actually respond to that feedback
Thank people for kind words and praise. Work with people who lodge complaints or levy criticism. If someone complains about you or what you have to offer, ask yourself if that person is right. If yes, work hard to fix the problem about which they have complained. If you want to earn even more points, (politely) ask them for their opinions and suggestions for fixing the problem.
9. Address false rumors
Is someone spreading false rumors about you? Don’t just let these rumors sit and hope that nobody will notice them (or that they will die down eventually). Actively work to make sure that people know the rumors aren’t true. Find a way to do this in a positive way. You can prove a rumor false without dragging the rumor spreader through the mud (even though some mud-dragging might feel really good). By taking the high road, you paint yourself in an even better light.
10. Monitor your reputation
One of the reasons that someone’s reputation tanks is that they weren’t on the ball enough to respond to a problem when it happened. When you’re starting out, monitoring your reputation isn’t difficult. As you grow your business and gain popularity, monitoring becomes more time-intensive. If you can’t manage it in-house, hire a company to do it for you. It’s a worthy expense.
This is what you want every person's response to be to you and your company.
You can’t be perfect 100% of the time. You can, however, take steps to help other people believe that you are perfect 100% of the time. These tips will help you accomplish that goal.
About the Author
Erin Steiner is a freelance writer based in Portland, Oregon, where, in addition to the writing she does for her clients, she also maintains a popular personal blog and vlog. You can follow her on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/snarke.