If you were to go online shopping, you would prefer to buy from an e-commerce site with a meritable online reputation, right?
The power of social media is not a secret anymore. Almost every business now leverages the different social media channels to improve their presence and branding. If everyone is in social media, how can your brand stand out?
The importance of online authority and reputation“A business fails when motive becomes more important than trust.” says Thiruman Archunan, an engineer, and idealist.
To stand out, take the lead, and earn the attention and loyalty of your potential customers, gaining their trust and maintaining a stellar online reputation should be your top priorities. Establishing a legitimate and credible brand can do more than just increase your revenue. Through establishing a meritable online reputation, you can:
• Draw in more online and offline sales with less effort
• Increase your social media followers
• Gain the trust of your customers – both old and new
• Attract potential customers
• Gain the respect of your online and offline peers that could lead to bigger business opportunities and beneficial partnerships
• Become an authority site where other sites would link to
• Improve your website’s readership and traffic
• Increase your chances of becoming an industry thought leader
• Convert online visitors to paying customers
• Rank higher on different search engines
However, building a good reputation in the online world isn’t a piece of cake. Just like in real life, trust has to be worked for to be earned.
How to build your authority and reputation onlineOnce you built a stellar reputation online, everything else will automatically follow. To get started in building your authority online and establishing a meritable online reputation, here are nine proven ways you can try:
1. Choose social networks that will work best for your brand.There are many different social media platforms to choose from, but you need to focus most on platforms that support your brand image. To help you choose which platform works best, you need to know your targets and your market.
Ask yourself these questions: “Who are my targets?” “In which social media networks can they be found?” “Where can I best interact with them?” “What platforms are most appropriate for the contents I will post?” “Can these platforms support my brand image?”
Here's a little cheat sheet to help you decide which social media platform is right for your business.
Click infographic to enlarge.
2. Get personal and personalize your business.Getting personal and making your business known at a deeper level is one way to easily gain the trust of your consumers. Sensing human presence makes it easier for them to trust you. Share your business history and internal events in your company.
Another way to personalize your business is to address people with their real names when you answer tweets, messages, emails, and calls. Most often, these conversations will result in loyal and lasting customer relationships.
3. Focus on people more than the money.Focus on what you can give your consumers and the volume of followers will come naturally – even increased sales. Leverage your social media channels for publishing useful information, offering the greatest deals, and providing a favorable customer service experience.
Invest in people and make them feel valued. Connect and follow your clients, review their profiles, get to know them better, and identify their needs. This way, you’ll be more than just a salesperson, you’ll also be a friend.
4. Practice authenticity and transparency.Honesty begets trust. Resist the urge to delete negative posts unless they are offensive to others. Consumers are looking for honest brands who acknowledged and fixed whatever error they have committed in the past. Transparency shows you’ve got nothing to hide.
Hiding your errors wouldn’t only ruin your reputation, it can also affect your legitimacy. Keep in mind that whatever is published on the web can’t be totally hidden or deleted. Own up your errors and try your best to fix them instead.
5. Join online communities to create a persona.Build up an account you can use to have conversations and interactions with others in the online community, especially those related to your brand. Actively find others who belongs to the same niche as you. Create a persona that’s real, likable, and trustworthy.
Do not join communities with the goal of merely asking people to visit your site. Instead, show your community that you can be a trustworthy resource. Engage and build relationships that can last even when you’re offline.
6. Provide and publish relevant and valuable content.Do more than just advertise your brand and your products. Provide quality content that your consumers can find useful and shareable. Test different posts and figure out which sells and draws your targets. Focus on your niche and observe a consistent posting schedule.
Resist the temptation of posting content for the sake of merely posting. Poor content can negatively affect your online reputation. Also, posting positive and happy content encourages consumers to engage and interact more.
7. Take advantage of the selling power of the hashtag (#).Hashtags are prominent in different social networks such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram – even on popular television programs and commercials. Since 2007, hashtags are used to make trends in social media where anyone can participate in.
As a merchant, you can use hashtags to monitor and follow conversations, promote products or services, or run different contests and campaigns. You can also associate your brand with famous trends to tap a larger audience.
8. Reach out to trusted sources and influencers.Influencers can help you build your online following much easier. More than that, being associated with influencers can significantly increase your trust quotient. It may take time to build relationships with influencers, but it will greatly benefit you a long time.
Mention, tag, or cite them and their websites in your posts and let them know that you referenced them for them to share it in their profiles. You can also team up with them for promos or giveaways, or give them product samples they can review.
9. Participate in offline engagements.Besides building your authority and reputation in the online community, you also have to work out your offline reputation. There are activities you can do offline that can better establish your online authority. More than that, it also increases your brand’s legitimacy and authenticity.
Join conferences and get to know other people who belong to the same niche as you. You can also sponsor or run events related to your brand and then invite personalities including your target market. Build real-time connections.
Spruce up your e-commerce marketing plan and reevaluate your strategies. Focus first on gaining your existing and potential consumers’ trust and establish your online reputation. The more you gain the trust of people, the more followers and opportunities will come for your business.
“If people like you, they will listen to you, but if they trust you, they’ll do business with you,” sums up Zig Ziglar, a renowned American salesman, author, and motivational speaker.
Japs Buidon is a Social Media Specialist and SEO from Always Open Commerce. He loves hiking as well as electronics.