Reputation management in the B2B world
Your organization’s reputation can be considered the sum of impressions its left predominantly on prospects, clients, partners and employees. It carries a compounding effect that can positively influence the market but in other instances is also difficult to erase. Although many define an organization by ranking its impact on criteria such as social responsibility, emotional appeal, vision and leadership, and financial performance, for the majority of organizations, it can boil down to a feeling those impressions elicit.
- Are you a company others want to work with?
- How about work for?
- What do your competitors have to say about you?
- Is there longevity to what you do?
- Are your goals transparent?
- Do you really create value or are you just taking a slice of it?
And, so on.
Today, it’d be naive to think brand reputation can be at all ignored. It’s there working in the background, populating as a search result, grabbing your clients attention with a social share, and part of a dialogue between two colleagues, either helping or hindering your ability to meet goals and move forward.
Albeit not an exhaustive list, here are some topics to consider on how you can influence your brand’s B2B reputation.
Yes, SEO and UGC are critical.
Google, Facebook and Amazon are a few juggernauts that have earned their stake by bringing clarity to the process of how we consume online. Google has long been synonymous with search by ranking content online by its value, interactions, popularity, and so on. Ensuring the right content is found remains paramount. This is where SEO is a fundamental part of playing this game, and having a healthy strategy is critical to the success of any business.
User generated content, specifically ratings and reviews, serves a critical role in conversion during the final stage where clients make decisions. Consumers, both B2B and B2C, expect that the products and services they’re buying have been tested and proven. Ratings and reviews fill the gap between prospect uncertainty and market affirmation. Having real time testimonials, both genuine and up-to-date needs to be the strategy of any thriving business. The absence of the aforementioned often leads to speculation the organization is, in fact, deceptive of the real results they produce.
Speak up: People want to hear from you!
Content marketing and social media have become a critical mix of any marketing plan. Today’s market expects that manufacturers and service providers are leading their industry in not only the solutions they create but the thought leadership that guides it. From infographics, to case studies and white papers, the consensus remains that content is king.
One-third of the world uses social networks and, using Facebook as an example, 74 percent of people say they use it for professional purposes. Any marketing strategy not leveraging Facebook is simply missing a large part of their audience. In fact, Facebook now covers nearly 40 percent of global web traffic having taken share from publishers for the past few years and even more so, from Google.
The best metaphor for content marketing and social media is that the former is fire while the latter is gasoline. The combination of the two allows organizations to represent themselves as thought leaders and share it with like-minded individuals. Doing so significantly impacts the perception of any organization.
Your employees are your greatest advocates.
Every day, the people within your organization are influencing your reputation through sales calls, account management, customer service and collections, compounding impressions and creating a perspective for how clients should feel. Think about the number of emails each sales person sends daily and use that to identify how many impressions the whole team leaves over the year. Then, look at all other departments and you’ll know just how critical to is to ensure they all have the appropriate direction on how to represent your organization.
Internally, the communication amongst your employees has an impact, too. Your people’s workplace satisfaction comes across in social media, their communication with clients, and everyone else listening. Influencing your people has to be one of the most straightforward yet necessary ways to influence your reputation.
So, albeit not an exhaustive list, this is one that shows some of the more critical components necessary to ensuring a strong brand reputation in today’s digital world.
Speaking of brand reputation, check out what people have to say about MultiView.