Why Should Small Businesses Leverage Their Online Reputation
With the growth of the internet and social media, it has quickly become a necessary tool for many, especially for smaller brands. The current digital era provides a more level playing field for young, smaller companies that can take advantage of various social media platforms in order to gain and drive more website traffic.
As a result, more small businesses are dedicating time and resources to proactively monitoring their online reputation. Business owners who invest now in their reputation, will certainly reap the benefits far more quickly and when it comes to a small business — that can make all the difference.
Small Businesses Control Their Narrative
Reputation is important to businesses of all sizes as it is a decisive factor in a consumer’s choice. Most consumers increasingly rely on online reviews of brands — 86% of people read reviews for local businesses before deciding whether to purchase their products/services or not.
Small businesses’ websites, third-party online reviews, as well as social media posts, mentions and comments are businesses’ digital display window and make a first impression on potential customers.
Small business owners should be aware that their company’s online reputation will be largely defined by third-party reviews which can make or break their business. As such, taking control of the brand’s online reputation is crucial, otherwise third-party sources will be dictating how the brand is being perceived by potential customers.
Platforms and Tools Used to Monitor a Brand’s Reputation Online
The three major platforms that a small business can effectively use to manage their reputation include social media platforms, Google search results and review websites.
Generally, small businesses are on a budget and therefore need to invest in a low-cost, high-impact online platform that will allow them to monitor what people are saying about their brand. The above mentioned platforms are an easy and cost-efficient way small businesses can control and monitor their reputation.
Each of these platforms has a different set of benefits and tools that can be used to the advantage of a brand. For instance, social media platforms allow for real-time conversation about your brand and control over what content appears on the brand’s account or page.
Live streaming, sharing stories, getting a social media influencer to bring attention to a brand’s products/services will help build ways to connect with the audience.
Meanwhile, review websites highlight consumers’ perception of the small business and Google search results reveal how relevant the brand is online.
That means positive online reviews can get a business more qualified traffic and leads through Google search results pages. Reviews are especially important for local businesses that depend on walk-in customers — such as salons, restaurants, dental clinics, urgent care centres, etc.
Digital Tools are Helpful but Don’t Replace People
Most small businesses that use a combination of human and digital resources to monitor their online reputation tend to use the digital tools to collect information or automate certain processes, but still rely on people to analyse the information and act on it.
In fact, younger small business owners, who tend to be more in tune with digital developments, use human resources, such as in-house employees and PR agencies, nearly as much as they use digital resources, such as social listening tools and third-party reviews. No matter how digitally advanced our society has become, the human touch is always needed.