Small businesses often underestimate the power of public relations. The majority of small business owners do not see the value in hiring a public relations firm. Because small businesses have few resources, investing in a public relations department and sources is seen as waste money. Nonetheless, ignoring the potential of public relations may be a costly error for small businesses.
Due to increased competition, small businesses must focus on promoting their capabilities to get a competitive advantage and because of this, tarnishing the public image is not an option for them. However, public relations catastrophes are not uncommon, and there have been several instances when small businesses have lost customers due to a haphazard approach to their public image.
Here are some instances of how a bad public image may harm a company’s bottom line.
Neglecting Customer Complaints
In the era of social media, customers can express their opinions and turn the tide of public opinion against businesses. Customers may express themselves and share their opinions with hundreds of thousands of people all around the globe through social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter.
So, if a company fails to respond to a customer complaint promptly, the customer may log on, post negative updates about the company, and spread negative word-of-mouth.
Missing a Well-Defined Social Media Strategy
The popularity of social networking sites has made it necessary for businesses to pay close attention to them. Most businesses now have a Facebook profile and a professional Twitter account to connect with customers. However, if you don’t use the right social media strategy, you’re setting yourself up for a PR catastrophe.
Companies must understand what information they need to provide to their target audience. Confidential information, for example, should never be shared with anybody outside the company. Maintaining no control over who may disclose data can also lead to public shame.
Aggression in the Face of Destructive Criticism
On social media sites, arrogance does not go undetected. Corporations that lack a great public relations strategy, on the other hand, may find themselves driving their clientele away with aggressive answers. For examplety, several businesses have taken a more aggressive approach that has backfir rather than replying to a customer query with perseverance and humilityed.
Companies should also be aware that talks have become more viral in recent years, and a bad example may permanently ruin their image in the public eye.
Selling Merchandise at an Inappropriate Time
Striking a connection with the audience is a major challenge for many businesses. Prospects like companies with a humanitarian approach to their work, but the challenge is implementing a more compassionate approach to business. When corporations lose sight of their consumers and fail to look beyond the metrics, things may go tragically wrong.
Launching a product during a natural disaster or a disaster, for example, may easily result in a major public relations disaster. Similarly, commercial advertising linked to a current crisis may provoke a lot of controversies.
Making a promise and then failing to keep it
Every customer is important to a small business. Furthermore, each customer expects the company to keep its promises. However, to attract more customers, many small businesses make promises that they will not keep. Actually, in certain cases, businesses will refer to fine printing to avoid keeping their agreements.
Companies that fail to deliver on their promises are seen as untrustworthy partners. They lose business faster, and the public relations disaster keeps prospective customers away.\
To Sum Up…
Small businesses that operate on tight budgets and depend on each customer to be profitable need a well-defined PR strategy even more. Small businesses might easily lose business to rivals if they don’t have the right PR strategy.
As a result, small business owners must take the long view and incorporate PR into their operations.