Among the most important resources of any small business is its standing stakeholder opinion can be a driving force when it comes to setting the value of your brand in the market. As customers continue to enjoy unlimited access to information and unparalleled freedom of expression online, it appears that Reputation Management has taken on a heightened degree of significance for small business owners. What’s Reputation Management and how important is it to your business? What’s involved and can small business owners manage the process themselves?
The Value of Reputation Management
Reputation management is especially important to small Companies, says Aerial M. Ellis, Owner of Urbane Imagery, an urban advertising and public relations firm located in Nashville, TN. I have seen it become a crucial element to building public relations strategies for many clients. Because small businesses are heavily reliant on word-of mouth and return clients to impact their earnings, the mismanagement of the picture can be crucial; finally the consumer decides the company’s reputation.
Managing your reputation has always been important – It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. Warren Buffet. Nancy Williams, Managing Director at Tiger Two Ltd., a U.K. based online reputation management company, believes that your reputation is what makes you succeed or fail as a small business – with the net permeating every facet of business and social life it is even more important to be handling that standing both online and off line
Managing the Process
Assessing your individuality, building your own brand and handling your standing online can be a very involved procedure. Some of the components include:
- ongoing search engine research
- website development
- search engine optimization
- Engaging in social networks
- posting articles
- issuing press releases
As a small business owner, you may not have the time or personnel resources to take on the challenge of reputation management. Online reputation management is not only a matter of setting up a site and sometimes spending time on a discussion forum, says Nancy Williams, it is an ongoing and strategic process which requires continuous review and action. Williams also notes that it can be achievable and frequently more effective for small business owners to handle their online identity but provides that advice to make certain that the time has been spent well with regard to the goals of the company owner is really important.
Based upon your requirements and budget, there are various companies and individual consultants that could help managing your online identity. One thing to consider managing your reputation online is that it is Impossible to eliminate all traces of negative press. A good Reputation Management Adviser should be able to help you increase your exposure online and assist you build a positive online standing.