The first thing any professional marketing person thinks of when they read and see all of the media around The Royal Commission is reputation management. Managing the reputations of the thousands of financial advisers and their staff who do outstanding work for their clients day in day out. Ideally you would work from the top down and take a strategic view, but unfortunately, that horse has bolted.
So what can you do as a business to ensure that your reputation remains intact and that you continue to attract and retain the right type of clients, employees and business partners?
There are many ways, but in this post, I’d like to suggest one way. A way that won’t cost you anything and you can start doing today.
Make sure your excellent reputation is visible for everyone to see.
How? Online reviews. I know some of you will grumble when you read this but think about it. 80% of people who meet you for the first time whether told about you through a trusted source of theirs or Google, will check you out online. Why do they do that? Because they want to make sure you have a ‘heartbeat’ [seriously clients have actually used that word] and that you look like you know what you are doing.
Sometimes when people Google your name, your website might not be the first thing that comes up – do it now and see what Google has to say about you. [Finish reading this first!].
If people can read loads of the positive reviews about you, your business and profession surely that has to be a good thing? I know it won’t rid the profession of its current reputation but its a move in the right direction for your business and it won’t cost you anything!
People love to rate things, and we like to read comments about what others have said about things too! I admit I use Tripadvisor. I’m respectful with my feedback and like to read what others have said about places I’m about to spend my hard earned money. I will also admit that I read the comments on Facebook about products that appear in the sponsored spots! Some of them are entertaining! And yes, I have purchased a product because of all the raves reviews!
I know many of you are concerned about all these rating platforms and options available to clients, don’t be. Rating sites and variations of them are here to stay, and they will evolve. What I would suggest you do, though, is take a proactive role in managing your reputation rather than shy away from it.
Here are four simple tips you can start using or, if you are already using them, review them:
1. Own your patch – what people say about you is only one part of the whole reputation landscape. Have content rich visibility on social platforms, for example, LinkedIn, Facebook, and your blog. By having relevant up to date information, you are beginning to show the world that you are knowledgeable. I’m not saying that anyone who shares content is brilliant, instead, if you have content that is visible online, it’s a good start!
2. Be proactive – I keep saying this…when you post an article on a social platform don’t just post the information and give yourself a tap on the back! All you’ve done is clog up the system like many others out there! When you post something, ask for a comment, ask for some feedback – aim to get some engagement. There are 101 reasons why you would do that simple action but in the context of this post, if you ask for feedback and each time you get responses [and they will be good] it is another way to help develop your reputation. It shows people that others do like you and like to communicate with you positively.
3. Ask – rather than running away from online reviews, ask for them! Sometimes if you don’t ask, you don’t get. If you make it part of your plan to get lots of positive comments from your clients and business partners, it will again, help build a positive reputation for you. Ask for them on FB, LI, Google reviews, your website and Adviserratings to start with
4. Take note – actually, take the time to read what words your clients are using when they are describing your service. Are there common words being used? Do you use the same words to describe what it is that you do? If not, why not?
Don’t let the increase in online rating platforms rattle you, instead, accept that they are here to stay and embrace the opportunity to be able to engage with people and make your positive reputation visible to others.