Building up a solid business reputation takes time, and once you’ve achieved it, it can be tempting to consider the job done. However, maintaining and enhancing that reputation through good public relations is an ongoing task, and the failure to do so could have negative consequences for your business. At best, your business will look tired, as if it has nothing new to offer. Often, such a business is forgotten as potential customers flock to those more easily visible. At worst, the reputation of the business suffers from negative views put about by others. By keeping on top of dedicated B2B PR, you can influence how your business is seen.
Good public relations
Opportunities to boost your reputation through PR are countless and can be carried out on a variety of levels. Face-to-face interactions with clients or potential clients should always show you as polite, knowledgeable and professional. At a local level, there are many ways of boosting your reputation. Carrying out charity events, making donations to local causes, and keeping the local press updated on your latest developments and activities will all help keep your business in the public eye.
The internet has introduced a whole new level of opportunities for businesses, with even small businesses easily able to trade nationally or internationally. Even at a local level, people are tending to increasingly use the internet to find the services they require.
Boosting your rankings in Google searches or on other search engines is essential for high visibility. When making a search, most people will not look beyond the first page. Providing regular, up-to-date information and using search engine optimisation (SEO) in your online content can all help to boost your rankings. If you find that you are nowhere near the first page of a search, then do not panic. There are a number of other useful online marketing methods that will enable you to build links with both potential and existing clients. From regular blogging to electronic newsletters, the PR possibilities of the internet are never-ending.
Social media has become an effective way to maintain effective public relations and boost an online reputation. There are many different social media platforms, with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram being among the most popular. Which social media platforms you use and how many will depend on the nature and size of your business. While each post does not take long to create, if you are on many different platforms, the time will add up. In a small business, with a limited number of staff, it is best to focus on just one or two platforms that you can regularly update, rather than have many platforms that rarely receive new posts.
On your chosen social media platforms, you can build up followers of existing and potential customers. It is important to make your feed as interesting as possible. However loyal your customers are, no one wants a continuous stream of adverts bombarding them. Make those adverts that you do post relevant, particularly if you have special offers or new products and services. Intersperse these with other information. It might be details of events that your business is involved in, recognising a staff member’s achievements, or simple greetings to your customers on special occasions. You can also share the content of others, such as events that may interest your clients or articles that they may find interesting. All of this boosts your reputation as a good source of knowledge.
Social media is also an easy way to communicate directly with individual clients. Respond as quickly as possible to any contact, keeping all interactions friendly and professional even if the contact is critical.
The pitfalls of the internet
While the internet is a good place for you to share information about your business, it is also a place for others to share, and some of what is shared can be damaging. Bad reviews, cyber-attacks, malicious comments and out-of-date information can all hinder your effective PR.
By making PR an ongoing feature of your business, it becomes second nature to keep on top of it. This leaves you as the major contributing factor in how your reputation develops.