Here are three more reasons why small business owners must pay attention to their online reputation.
ECOMMERCE – Ecommerce has made it so much easier for small business to grow beyond their town or city locale to nationwide or even international market. Online shopping carts and payment processors have made this all possible, meaning that as a small business engaged in ecommerce, managing your online reputation is crucial to protect your online sales. Negative reviews about your products, services and customer service can damage your online sales, which can be certainly be detrimental if your small business makes more money from ecommerce than in-store sales. In addition, when you consider how certain towns, cities and states have had poor growth in the current economic recession, ecommerce can be the lifeblood of a small business trying to survive.
SOCIAL PROOF One of the biggest social phenomenons of ecommerce is social proof. Do you know that an overwhelming majority of surfers do not trust advertisements but instead trust endorsements and reviews from people in their social networks or from ordinary people like themselves? This is what makes consumer review sites so popular and how it is so easy to convince a new client to do business with you once they have read positive reviews about your company. Therefore in order to protect your online reputation, it is important to know what people are saying about your business because this is the single most important influencing force behind a potential clients purchasing decision.
ONLINE SEO What many business owners fail to understand is how permanent a footprint bad publicity leaves 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 page because they have no power to do that. 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. 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. Online content is definitely very sticky and something that happened many years ago can haunt your business reputation for many years to come