Vanguard.com recently published an interesting article on the importance of reputation management for small businesses in Nigeria. It contains important information, however, for anyone trying to operate a small business anywhere in the world.
The article urges that business people get very involved in social networks. For most small businesses that means Facebook, but do not overlook the importance of other social networks depending on where your market is in the world. For instance, the largest social networks in China are Ozone and Sina Weibo while the largest social network is Line in Japan. While businesses need to be active on social media sites where their headquarters is located, they also need to be active where their customers live.
The second point that the Reputation.com article makes is that small businesses need to seek publicity. If you are active in a community, then get active in groups there. Do not, however, overlook the importance of getting involved online by writing guests blogs and publishing thought-provoking articles on local sources.
Furthermore, businesses need to be found in business directories. One of the largest business directories in the world is LinkedIn but do not overlook more specialized business directories. Think about the ones that your customers rely on and make sure that your listing is found there.
While many companies shy away from online reviews, you should be encouraging them. If you are taking care of your customer’s needs, then most of the reviews should be positive. If you encounter a negative review, make sure to acknowledge it and do everything you can to correct the situation. Potential customers know that you cannot make everyone happy all of the time, but they are watching to see how you respond.
While it is important to control your online reputation, it is also important to control your offline reputation. Take control of your actions. Realize that anything you do can eventually end up online.