Small business owners should never think that they do not need online reputation management. In fact, reputation has nothing to do with size. Unless you have a good reputation, you will not be able to make your mark on the world. This is true for two key reasons:
- All small businesses need referrals.
- If your reputation is damaged, you will not have the budget to fix it.
6 Key Reasons Why Reputation Management Is Vital
- Online searches
First of all, offline media is almost nonexistent nowadays. This means that all businesses, regardless of their size, have had to change direction and place an emphasis on their online image. Information is now found through the internet, and this is, again, true regardless of the size of a business. The reality is that your customers are online and they will use the internet to find you, and to find out what you are about.
Online media is incredibly quick. This means that your business can be made or broken in instants. One viral status update, blog post, video, or tweet can be seen by millions of people, and the effect of this is huge. If that happens to be a negative story, you will find yourself in real trouble. At the same time, if it is a positive story, then the effects would be amazing. You need to take control, therefore, and make sure that there are positive stories to go viral.
- Equal opportunities
One of the greatest things about the online world is that you have the opportunity to be as easy to find as a Fortune 500 company. However, it also means that you have the same responsibilities. People no longer see the size of a company as what matters, but rather their online presence. If you neglect your online reputation, therefore, you will find yourself at a significant disadvantage. In fact, it is unlikely that you will keep operational.
The online world is also an opportunity for you to sell your goods or services. Again, you will have the same opportunities as larger businesses to do so. What it also means is that you widen your audience. No longer do you have to be reliant on the commerce in your direct geographical area unless you open a second store or become a franchise. Rather, you can reach everybody all over the world. If your reputation is good, then people will be happy to shop with you.
- Social proof
By building a positive online reputation, you prove to your audience, on a social level, that you are good at what you do. It also means that you have an opportunity to communicate directly with your audience. Having a social media presence is absolutely vital.
- Search engine optimization (SEO)
Last but not least, reputation management is a form of SEO. This means that, by improving your reputation, it also becomes easier for your customers to find you.