As it turns out, online reputation isn’t a top priority for small business owners—and the statistics are striking.
A recent Clutch small business survey found that while 88% of SMBs (small – medium businesses) check in on their online reputation each quarter, nearly 44% rely solely on their human resource departments to do so, putting them at a significant disadvantage when compared to the competition.
What’s more, only 30% of SMBs combine HR with specialized digital monitoring tools to track their online brand—and more than one-quarter of local businesses take on the task using digital tools only.
When it comes to online reviews—which play a crucial role in enterprise reputation—the numbers are even more surprising. Only 40% of the 529 SMBs surveyed actively encourage customers to post positive commentary, while nearly 45% fail to adequately promote their brands and engage with consumers on social media!
And though over 50% of small business leaders do indeed respond to negative comments on social—and 64% commit to a multilayered channel strategy (using two or more platforms to share announcements and promote events)—too many SMBs fall short when it comes to managing their online brand.
Failing to monitor and manage your online reputation in any area—social, email, reviews—can be damaging, even devastating, for your business.
By not taking your digital reputation seriously, or making only a halfhearted commitment to vigilant, proactive reputation management, you’re effectively putting your brand narrative in the clutches of a chaotic digital environment.
At that point, you may as well not have an ORM strategy at all. With so many potential threats looming on the web, a lapse anywhere in your reputation management strategy can open doors that may never be closed, exposing your business to harm from which you may never recover.
Which is why the team at Clutch recommend not only taking your small business reputation seriously, but to also engage in holistic online image management—that which includes:
- Ongoing monitoring of your online rep to stay ahead of digital crises—active tracking that is done daily weekly or even monthly rather than once every quarter.
- Using digital tools whenever possible, those that help consolidate online mentions of your brand and provide a better understanding of how you look on the web.
- A proactive, intelligent response strategy that involves constructive, public responses to negative online reviews and shows customers you value their input.
- Strong brand advocacy that includes encouraging positive customer reviews and promoting your small business across social media platforms.
- Tailoring your communication channels and approach to your audience, your message and short- and long-term business goals.
When you take steps to defend, define and maintain a strong online reputation, your digital marketing team and your business win. And when you’re in control of your brand narrative, opportunities for reaching your audience, sharing your message and growing your business will open up in amazing, often unexpected ways.
Looking to rein in your online rep? Call 720-378-5024 to speak with a Marca Global® digital marketing expert today.