Updated: Feb 7
Australia, a new wave is coming! Whether you're aware of it or not, a Personal Brand is now vital for an entrepreneur. Many will say it’s the first step on that journey, if not the most important. YESpbm has recently noticed a massive upswing in online comments, reviews for business, and research on individuals and their companies being reported from our Australian clients.
It means entrepreneurs in Australia who want to ride this wave and maximize its return should take action now.
A great Personal Brand can mean different things through different phases of an entrepreneurial journey and can take completely different forms as an organisation scales.
Long after entrepreneur delegates various functions to other managers, their Personal Branding is an area that should always get their personal supervision. That said, in the earlier stages of a venture, the quest for Personal Branding is often fraught with challenges.
With our move to a larger online presence in the last decade or so, Personal Branding has become so much more important, suddenly, everyone has access to large volumes of information, often about everyone else.
Want to learn about a new doctor you’ve just made an appointment with? You can see where medical professionals got their degrees and what other patients are saying about them with just a few clicks.
Historically, aside from celebrities, politicians or athletes, largely the only people thought to need a curated Personal Brand tended to be community leaders and business consultants - people with professional notoriety. However, now everyone should pay attention to the Personal Brand they want to represent their core values.
In today’s market, a successful Personal Brand has to be consistent in communication and experience. Effective Personal Branding can open countless doors for you in life, it would be a mistake to disregard it.
Branding is what successful companies have long stood for, “It’s reflected in how a company acts, how it serves people, the value that the company shares, and how the company projects those values.” A strong brand stands out in the crowd, gains more sales, increases awareness of the business, leading to better customer experiences as a result.
Now, branding isn’t just for companies. Students, professionals, sports coaches, all have their own stories, goals, skills, and expertise to share. In today’s increasingly digital world, a Personal Brand is no longer a nice-to-have, it’s a MUST have! How much can change by region? For example, people in the United Kingdom are more enthusiastic about writing a review, compared to people in Australia. The review industry has reached its maturity in the United Kingdom; however, we are now seeing rapid, and constant growth in the Australian review industry.
Please refer to Fig.1 below
This data suggest that 2 out of every 10 people who use professional services will leave online reviews in Australia. However, in the United Kingdom, it’s triple that, with 7 out of 10 people leaving online reviews.
The Australian market has seen consistent growth in the number of reviews posted online, and it’s only going to increase post-COVID-19 when vaccinations are administered nationally and business returns to normal levels in the “new normal”. Is your personal brand ready to attract new opportunities, jobs, or customers?
If not, let’s fix it! Here are three self-help steps to boost your personal brand presence:
1.) Claim your profile.
We all want our businesses to be found online, sending a steady stream of customers to our doorsteps. However, it can be overwhelming considering the dozens of social media and review sites that offer business profiles. When businesses claim their profiles, there are many advantages, including building a community of brand-friendly followers and having access to platforms that help respond to online reviews (both positive and negative). Businesses also gain access to online data about potential customers such as how they found the business.
Brand visibility can be considered the essence of Personal Branding, you need to be out there talking to people, networking, and getting involved socially to experience the success of Personal branding.
2.) Encourage positive reviews.
As a business owner, the way you respond to negative reviews can have a big impact on the end result. But some people don’t realise the extent to positive reviews contributes to a customer’s purchase decision.
More than 72% of respondents in a local business survey said positive reviews make them trust a business more. Research shows that customers spend up to 31% more on a business with excellent reviews.
These statistics demonstrate it’s time for businesses to be more proactive in encouraging positive reviews, especially given these eye-opening figures: 83% of satisfied customers are willing to refer a product or service, but only 29% actually do.
Ask for Reviews On-site
The best time to ask for a review is when the experience is fresh in your customer’s mind. Get to them before they sit in traffic on the ride home, sleep and then go to work the next day. The happy memories get more out-of-focus with every minute that passes.
If possible, ask customers to visit a specific site and write a quick review with their smartphone. Just the act of verbally asking for a review can be enough to inspire people.
Send a Follow-Up Email
A week or so after the activity, send an email to your customer. Let them know your goal is to create the best experience possible, and that you value their feedback.
Thank them again for coming, and provide links to where they can write a review. With online booking software, you can automate these emails to make sure you reach everyone in a timely fashion.
Offer an Incentive
Of course, it wouldn’t be appropriate to bribe a customer for a positive review. However, offering a small incentive for writing a review is different. The goal is to get feedback, not to game the system.
Encourage people to participate by offering a discount on a future booking, or by running a monthly contest where writing a review is the entry ticket.
Respond to Reviews
Show customers that you’re available to talk by responding personally to each review. It’s a good idea to make accounts on review sites, so you can create a dialogue. Also, make sure to respond to messages on Facebook and Twitter as promptly as possible.
You don’t need to be present 24/7, it’s ok to post hours of operation on your Facebook page. Just strive to be responsive when you can be. When your future customers see that you read and consider reviews, they’ll be more likely to write their own.
Promote Great Reviews (and Reviewers)
A little recognition goes a long way in developing a community of enthusiastic reviewers. Let your past, present, and future customers know that you value their input. You can feature great reviews on your social media pages and your website, and give a shout-out to the reviewer by name.
When a customer has a negative experience, they won’t hesitate to let you know. However, the ones who have a great time are likely to need a little encouragement to write their review.
It’s important to encourage interactions with customers on both sides of the spectrum, so negative reviews can be resolved and
3.) Deal with your negative reviews.
Negative online reviews can impact your business. The increased popularity of social media and review websites requires businesses to be aware, now more than ever, of what customers are saying about them online.
Fortunately, like complaints made in person, negative online reviews don’t have to result in lost business. Instead, turn them into an opportunity to attract more customers.
The online world operates 24/7 and people expect a quick response. It is important to deal with negative reviews promptly before they escalate and more potential customers read the review.
Be polite and professional
Don’t react personally to a negative review. Respond in a polite, professional manner and don’t blame other people for the problem or create excuses.