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In a world where over 90% of consumers now check online reviews before buying a product or contacting a business, brand image and reputation have never been more important. If you run a business, and you’re keen to enhance your image, here are some effective strategies to employ today.
There are over 3 billion social media users in the world. Social networks started off as platforms to communicate and keep in touch with friends and family, but they quickly evolved into multidimensional apps, which now offer incredible opportunities for businesses. Using social media marketing, companies can attract new customers, but crucially, they can also build strong relationships and increase engagement with clients and followers. Sharing posts, liking and responding to comments, using reviews and real-life photographs and featuring customers in campaigns can all help to strengthen ties between brands and customers and give an insight into the human side of the business. Brands can use social media to let people know what the brand is all about and what it stands for. Statistics suggest that around 90% of people are more likely to buy from brands they follow on social media.
Customer service and support
Customers today don’t just judge brands on the quality or originality of products and services. They also form impressions and leave reviews based on the service they receive. If you dine out in a restaurant, for example, you will score the business based on how much you enjoyed the food, the experience, the ambience and the interaction with the staff. If the food was brilliant, but the service was poor, a 5-star rating becomes a 3 or four-star review. As a business owner, it has never been more crucial to prioritise customer service and support, as over 80% of people trust online reviews as much as recommendations from friends and family. If you have a low score, or you don’t have many reviews, it’s an excellent idea to try and improve your ratings by listening to feedback, providing staff training and making sure you respond to comments or suggestions promptly.
One of the most important elements of customer service for online shoppers is contact. Many people get to the checkout and they don’t proceed because they have questions or they want more information. If you have contact options, such as live chat or instant messaging, the chances of converting leads are much higher. It’s also beneficial to create an FAQ section and to ensure you provide clear, accessible information about delivery costs, payment options and your returns policy.
Online shopping has made it possible for consumers to buy products around the clock. If you run a store, it’s important to understand the benefits of responsive support outside of normal working hours. You don’t want to lose sales because nobody is there to answer the phone. Chatbots, answering services and social media messaging are excellent options for 24-hour customer support.
Corporate social responsibility
Studies suggest that over 70% of consumers prefer to buy from brands that align with their personal values. People are more conscious of where their products are coming from and many actively seek out brands that support and champion values, such as sustainability. Corporate social responsibility offers an opportunity to give back, but it can also help you enhance your brand image and give customers an insight into what matters to you. Be proud of the company values you have, inform and educate your customers about the initiatives or organisations you support and explain how you are making a difference. From planting trees and donating to charities that help children, animals or vulnerable communities to invest in technology such as a thermal oxidizer to promote cleaner manufacturing and reduce emissions, there are myriad ways you can do good. If you haven’t already set up schemes or programmes, and you’re looking for inspiration, engage with your clients and ask your employees for ideas. Some organisations choose a single charity to support while others donate to a different charity each month or year. Look for options that align with your core values.
Identify and promote brand values
Brands are much more than stores or websites that sell items. Today, businesses are more dynamic. Successful brands build relationships with customers and promote values that underline their unique identity and encapsulate the human side of the company. When setting up a business or developing a brand, think about what matters most to you and what you want to achieve and then let people know. Identify and champion brand values and make it clear so that anyone who comes across your brand or browses your products or reads your website content is aware of who you are and what you do. Be consistent with branding and think about your ideal client and your workforce. Ideally, your brand values will resonate with your customer base and your employees so that everyone is pulling in the same direction. Outlining clear objectives, introducing company policies and providing training for staff can help to ensure that the culture and ethos of the brand are valued and respected from top to bottom.