Reasons Why Small Business Owners Should Implement Online Reputation Management
One one of the biggest mistakes that a small business owner can make in this modern digital age is to assume that they do not need to engage in online reputation management, just because they are running a small business. We recently spoke with Don Sorenson from Big Blue Robot and he gave us some helpful advice.
Well, nothing could be further from the truth. As a matter of fact, the very fact that you are running small business makes it more necessary to manage the brand’s online reputation. This is mainly for two reasons:
One is that you do not have the luxury of a luxury marketing image to be able to control the negative reviews or ideally restore your destroyed reputation like a larger business can.
Two is that your customer referrals are the lifeblood of your small business
That having being said, let us look at a couple of reasons why online reputation management is very important for small businesses:
1. Online Search
The ever growing use of online media and the huge decline in offline media has made is essential for small and large businesses as well to shift direction and begin focusing on their online brand’s image.
More and more individuals all over the globe will search for information on just about anything on the internet and this applies to the information on your business as well.
Your target audience is more likely to look for information about your business and services on Google rather than going through the yellow pages directory books.
2. The Speed
The rate or which online media operates has the ability of making or breaking your business in a matter of hours.
A viral video, blog, status update or tweet can be seen by thousands or even millions of people in a day and this creates a stronger impact in a shorter time than any conventional offline media.
Even a small news story made locally can be easily spread nationally through YouTube in a matter of minutes. If the story was positive, then the brand will get a lot of positive PR which results to a significant increase in the number of sales. However, if the story was negative, it can ruin the business, especially if it is a small one. And we all know the fact that bad news tend to spread faster than good news.
Ecommerce is one thing that has made it easy for small business to grow beyond their cities, to nationwide or even international market. Online shopping carts as well as payment processors are examples of tools that have made all this possible. This means that as a small business that is engaged in ecommerce, it is crucial to manage your online brand reputation to protect your sales online.
Negative reviews about your service, products and even customer service have the ability of damaging your online sales, which can be quite detrimental if your business makes more sales online than in physical stores.
4. Equal Opportunity
Online media is widely an equal playing ground for small businesses and large ones alike. This means that a brand, regardless of its size can get exposure, accolades and criticism online. For a small business, it means you cannot afford to overlook online reputation management as the web has made the planet so much of a smaller place.
The emphasis that is placed on local search by major web players like Facebook, Google, Yelp and many more has given small business the power and opportunity to grow and develop their presence online. However, this increased awareness has ideally made it vital for any business to handle the huge public exposure as well as scrutiny as a part of the entire package.
5. Search Engine Optimization
What many small business owners fail to realize how permanent a footprint that publicity which is bad leaves on the internet. Once content has been posted on a site, indexed by the search engines and shows up on the results, it is very hard to have that content brought down. It is not as easy as telling Bing or Google bring down that page as they have no power to do that.
The only option is usually contacting the owner of the site or the blog in which the content was published and attempting to convince them to bring the content down, remove that particular page or even make the page invisible to the search engines. This can prove to be quite daunting as the webmaster has the ownership rights over the site or blog. Furthermore, they might think the content is honest and fair so bringing it would would be virtually impossible.
To make matters worse, even if you manage to convince them to remove the published content, it’s still hard for that content to be off the web especially if it went viral.
As such, it is imperative that small business owners take keen attention to their brand online.
Thank you Don Sorenson for your excellent advice regarding online reputation management.