Posted By Lisa Barone On January 25, 2012 @ 9:00 am In Small Business Advice | 19 Comments
You’re a small business owner. Most of your customers are the people who live within 25 miles of your storefront. Why does it even matter what the Internet has to say about your brand? That has no impact on your bottom line.
No. Dangerously wrong.
Weber Shandwick recently released a new report called The Company Behind The Brand: In Reputation We Trust  [PDF] that breaks down exactly why business owners should be concerned with the online footprint they’re leaving (or not leaving) behind. One of the most interesting parts of the report for me was the finding that any disconnect between corporate and brand reputation triggers a sharp consumer reaction. That means even if your product or service is excellent…if the image of your brand is less than stellar, it will still hurt you.
According to the report, when a consumer learns that a product they like is made by a company they have a negative relationship with (54 percent of consumers responded they’ve experienced this), 96 percent of consumers took some kind of action.
What kind of action?
The most frequent response was that consumers stopped purchasing the product (40 percent). In fact, surprised consumers were twice as likely to STOP buying the product as they were to continue to buy it. And this is a product they originally admitted to liking! That was pretty startling to me. Just as noteworthy – consumers who didn’t immediately stop buying the product went online to try and learn more about the company.
Both of these statements speak to the importance of creating a positive Web presence.
It doesn’t matter if you’re not trying to target a national audience. Local consumers are using the Web to find information about local businesses. It’s up to you to make sure they’re finding the right kind of information.
What should every small business be doing to help build their Web presence?
Online reputation management is important for businesses of any size. It’s about creating a positive Web presence to make your brand one that people trust and want to engage with. Because, as the report mentioned above shows, it doesn’t matter how great your product is – if people don’t trust you, they won’t be interested in it.
Article printed from Small Business Trends: http://smallbiztrends.com
URL to article: http://smallbiztrends.com/2012/01/why-online-reputation-matters-to-small-business.html
URLs in this post:
 Image: http://smallbiztrends.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/webershandwick2.png
 The Company Behind The Brand: In Reputation We Trust: http://www.webershandwick.com/resources/ws/flash/InRepWeTrust.pdf
 your business still needs a Web site: http://smallbiztrends.com/2011/08/5-benefits-smb-website.html
 Quora: http://quora.com/
 BizSugar: http://www.bizsugar.com/
 too human: http://outspokenmedia.com/social-media/be-human-line/
 Get involved in your community: http://smallbiztrends.com/2009/06/build-awareness-in-your-community.html
 Guest blogging: http://smallbiztrends.com/2009/07/guest-blogging.html
 Solicit & manage online reviews: http://smallbiztrends.com/2009/06/manage-customer-reviews.html