Small Business Reputation Managementby Reputation Champ on Feb 19, 2012 • No Comments • reputation, reputation management, reputation services, social media marketing Blog
A big mistake any small business owner can make is to believe they don’t need to engage in online reputation management, just because they run a small business. Nothing could be further from the truth. The fact that you run a small business makes it all the more imperative to manage your online brand image. Let’s look at four reasons why online reputation management matters to small business owners:
• ONLINE SEARCH – The massive growth in online media has made it necessary for small and large businesses alike to focus on their online image. More and more people the world over look for information on just about everything and this applies to information about your local business. People are becoming more and more likely to look for businesses online through Google, Yahoo or Bing search engines rather than leafing through a massive Yellow Pages Directory book.
• SPEED – The speed at which online media operates can make or break your business in a matter of minutes or hours. A viral tweet, video, blog post or status update can be viewed by thousands if not millions of people in a span of a day creating a much more powerful effect in a shorter time than any traditional offline media. Even a small local news story can be broadcast across the nation with a YouTube video. If the news story was positive, a small business can get a lot of positive PR and increased sales, but if it was negative, it can literally destroy the business. We all know that bad news spreads faster than good news.
• EQUAL OPPORTUNITY – Online media is largely an equal playing ground for both small and large businesses, so any business no matter its size can get exposure, criticism, reviews, and comments on the internet. This means that even small businesses cannot afford to ignore online reputation management because the internet has made the world so much of a smaller place. The emphasis placed on local search by dominant web players such as Google, Facebook, Yelp and others, has given more power and opportunity for small businesses to grow their presence online. Yet this increased awareness has also made it critical for any small business to know how to handle the huge public exposure and scrutiny that is part of the package.
• ONLINE SEO – What many business owners fail to understand is how permanent a footprint bad publicity can leave on the web. Once content has been published on a website, indexed by the search engines and shows up in the search results, it is extremely difficult to have that content removed. It is not as easy as telling Google to remove the offending. It often involves contacting the webmaster of the blog or site where the content was posted and trying to convince them to delete the content, make the page invisible to search engines or to remove the page. This is often quite difficult as they have ownership rights over the site and some websites have strict guidelines and will not delete any bad reviews. Even if you resort to legal measures and they eventually remove the content, it is still difficult for that content to get totally off the internet radar especially if the content was widely circulated or went viral. Other websites probably also picked up on the same bad reviews. Online content is definitely very sticky and something that happened many years ago can haunt your business reputation for many years to come.