Your brand's public image is everything because 77% of leads will independently research you. One look at the UC Davis scandal shows the importance of taking control of your personal reputation proactively. Take a look at the Baylor University scandal and it demonstrates how you need to take into account the mood of the general public.
Your startup has to be in control of its public image. This guide is going to show you five of the ways to go about doing it so you can build a great professional reputation.
Gauge How Your Partners View You
Your partners are those who work with your business or in your business. They can be your employees, shareholders, and collaborators. They have a stake in your reputation because without a great online reputation you are going to struggle to gain any traction. They are all counting on you to act in the right way.
Find out how your partners view you by simply asking them. If you don't have a good brand image with the people who matter most to you, how do you expect to have a good brand image with everyone on the outside?
Grab the Numbers
The only way to boost your reputation is to know where you stand. You've already asked people where you stand, so now you need to get the numbers to back everything up. Obviously, customer satisfaction is important, but you need to dig deeper than that.
For example, employee engagement matters. Your brand reputation will spur your team on. You also need to find out how much your shareholders trust you. Finding out how engaged they are will help you to understand whether you are running your company in the right way.
These numbers should be monitored over time and linked with your various online reputation goals.
Empower Your Brand Ambassadors
An online reputation is not something that you build by yourself. It's a collaborative effort consisting of your whole team. But some people are better suited than others to champion your brand. You should have a champion in place who will take charge of the status of your brand.
This person should be supported by those who are equally passionate about making your brand into a success. The team should have its own budget and should be developing your online reputation proactively.
Maintain an Outside In Approach When Making a Decision
The term 'you can't see the forest for the trees' applies to someone making a decision as the leader of a startup. When it comes down to it, you are often making decisions from the inside of your brand. You are not taking into account the external perspective.
This doesn't make you a bad CEO. It's natural because this is the only view you have. It's difficult to transport yourself to the outside. But make an effort to do this. Think about everything from an external perspective.
Your reputation will naturally grow through doing this because you will always be asking how your decisions are benefitting customers and how your decisions are making a difference to people's lives. Customer-orientated companies naturally have great reputations.
It's easy to become obsessed with your current star rating and it's easy to become obsessed with what's going on in the short-term. But none of this matters for long because the startup landscape is always changing. You never can tell what's waiting for you around the corner.
Online reputation building is a long-term issue and skilled successful entrepreneurs realize that a reputation isn't built overnight. Whenever you make a decision, consider how that is going to change the fortunes of your company in the long-term. This is a big company practice you should adopt right now.
But that doesn't apply to things that could damage your online reputation. Tread carefully because a reputation takes 20 years to build and only five minutes to destroy. This is the one exception to the rule. Anything risky should be avoided in this arena.
Last Word - How to Build an Online Reputation
The way to build an online reputation is to get started as soon as possible. One of the mistakes startups make is they don't start taking into account their online reputations until it's too late. They wait until they have negative reviews coming in before they decide to react.
Whether you decide to take charge of your online reputation yourself or whether you make a decision to bring in outside help, make sure you start this process as soon as you can.
What do you think is the key to making sure your online reputation grows with your company?