People buy from businesses and brands they trust.

Okay, let’s back up and take it from the top. According to a study by Zignal Labs and PR Week, 52% of public relations and reputation managers believe that half of a company’s value is directly related to its reputation. If you’re running a sizable business or bootstrapped one, you know how hard it was to build your brand. Add the effort, possible heartbreak and time it took and you start getting the picture.

Every business should have a handle on what is said about it. This is very crucial in this information age where anyone can communicate with the rest of the world. One misplaced comment could hurt your brand. Since you can’t muzzle them, what you can do is monitor mentions of your brand and take the appropriate actions to correct the situation.

But really, why?

Increase Your Sales Potential

It’s no secret that people would buy a product or a service when they have enough information. Where do they turn to get this information? The internet.

People will turn to social media and other online venues when searching for information about certain products or services. Having a presence on these sites means you can provide the answers they seek and turn a query into a sales lead.

Build and Bolster the Image of Your Brand

Every business owner wants their company to represent, stand for something, and so do you. As you set out to make your brand known, using specific language will create a perception among the public of the kind of company you are.

Your press releases, social media engagement, forum replies, and direct message conversations are the most visible things the general public will see when they look your business up. Watching every word will be crucial to building and maintaining the image you want.

Credibility

The very thing that any researcher looks for is the credibility of a brand, product or service. Before committing to your products or services, a customer will want to find out if they can trust you.

Take charge of this by providing your current customers a platform where they can provide their opinions about you. Even your responses to negative comments that are resolved will help drive the perception that you’re a credible business.

How Can You Monitor Reputation?

Reputation is not something that is hinged on what you do. It also relies heavily on the actions of others and their reactions.

Monitor Sites that Give Customers the Option to Review Businesses

Probably the most obvious. Online business directories such as Yelp (cue the smiles or the flared nose of aversion) allow consumers to review businesses they have interacted with and thereafter rate them.

Even if you’ve never posted a listing on any of these review sites, someone else could have, and you have the ability to claim those pages. Consumers may have reviewed your business and depending on the context, their reviews can provide you more customers or cause a financial Sinai desert.

Google Alerts is a Nifty Feature

Once registered, Google will send you alerts when your business is mentioned in any new content posted on the internet. With these alerts, you can respond to comments and queries quicker than Superman can rip Clark Kent’s shirt.

Keep an Eye on Social Accounts

Consumers prefer businesses that have a social media presence. Not only does this mean they can reach your business with ease, but it also means you can respond to their queries.

You can also post information that is beneficial to your business, including posts that contain hashtags used in your campaigns. This helps build credibility among consumers.

Engage Your Customers

Instead of being passive, become the active radar-homing missile and go straight to the heart of the matter. If you want to know what consumers think of your brand, simply ask them. Invite them to fill out surveys or post their thoughts and queries on your service or products.

A good rule of thumb is to intersperse the surveys and polls with other engaging content like blog posts or YouTube videos of your creation.

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