Small businesses often underestimate public relations' power. Many small business owners don't see the value in hiring a public relations department. Small businesses are often limited on budgets and consider investing in public relations resources and a department unnecessary. Small businesses should not overlook the value of public relations.
Small businesses must focus on their strengths to gain competitive advantage in a world of increased competition. They cannot ruin their public image. However, PR disasters can be quite common and small businesses often lose customers due to a lackadaisical approach towards their public image.
These are just a few examples of how bad public image can ruin a business.
Ignoring customer complaints
Social media has given customers the ability to voice their opinions and turn the tide against businesses. Facebook and Twitter let users share and express their opinions with millions of people around the globe through social networking sites.
If a company fails to resolve a customer complaint within a reasonable time frame, customers can post negative updates online and spread bad word-of mouth about the company.
A poorly-defined social media strategy
Businesses must pay attention to social networking sites due to their increasing popularity. Today, most businesses have a Facebook page as well as a Twitter account in order to reach customers. However, without a solid social media strategy, PR disasters are all too common.
Companies need to be clear about what information they should share with their target audience. For example, confidential information should not be shared outside of the company. Public embarrassment can also result from allowing information to be shared with anyone outside the company.
Reacting to Negative Criticism With Aggression
It is not uncommon to be arrogant on social networking platforms. Companies without a solid PR strategy often end up frustrating their customers by giving brash answers. Instead of being patient and humble when responding to customer queries, many companies adopt a more aggressive approach that is proving costly.
Businesses need to realize that these conversations can easily go viral and that a bad example could forever damage their reputation in the market.
Promoting products at the wrong time
All businesses face a challenge in striking a chord with their target audience. Customers trust companies that are compassionate and have a humane approach. This is why customers believe in businesses. If businesses fail to see beyond numbers, it can lead to disastrous results.
A major PR problem can arise if a product is launched at the worst possible time. Promo messaging that is tied up with ongoing crises can also cause a lot of uproar.
A Promise is not a promise.
Every customer is important for any small business. Every customer expects that the business will keep its word. Many small businesses promise to fulfill their promises in order to increase sales. Businesses sometimes point out the fine print to avoid fulfilling their promises.
Unreliable partners are those who fail to fulfill their promises. They lose more business and potential customers are forced to leave.
Small businesses with limited budgets that depend on customers for their success will need a well-defined PR strategy. Small businesses can easily lose customers to the competition without a well-defined PR strategy.
Small business owners must look at the big picture and incorporate PR into their operations.
Public relations is one of the most important aspects of any business and every successful entrepreneur knows to take it seriously. While we all still have much to learn about this topic, these tips should put you on the right track towards developing a great online reputation.