One of the most important assets of any small business is its credibility-stakeholder sentiment can be a driving force in determining the market value of your brand. While users continue to enjoy unrestricted internet access to information and unparalleled freedom of expression, Reputation Management appears to have taken on an elevated level of importance for small business owners. What is “Control of Reputation” and how important is it to your small business? What is involved, and can the method be handled by small business owners themselves?
What’s Running Reputation?
Ever’ Googled’ yourself? The use of a search engine such as Google has become the basic way of conducting research on an individual, company, service or corporation. The results of those searches are Reputation Management’s foundation. Your Small Business Identity is increasingly being established through online content. What you or others write and/or post on websites, news, press releases, blogs, social media, and so on defines essentially your small business.
Reputation Management is the method of defining and managing the content online. Tim Nash, a reputation management specialist and co-founderof Venture Skills, describes the three core areas of Reputation Management in an Internet Duct Tape guest blog post as: figuring out what people are saying about you Building an individual or brand image if appropriate, protecting this picture The complexity and essence of your online identity is becoming a significant way to define your small business. Right or wrong, true or false, it will influence your credibility what you or others (clients, staff, rivals, etc.) are thinking about your online small business.
“Reputation management is especially important for small businesses,” says Aerial M. Ellis, owner of Urbane Imagery, a Nashville, TN-based strategic planning and public relations firm. “I saw it as a really important component for building public marketing campaigns for a number of customers. Since small businesses rely heavily on word-of-mouth and repeat buyers to affect their sales, mismanagement of their brand can be crucial; essentially the buyer decides the value of the company.” Nancy Williams, Executive Director, Tiger Two Ltd., UK. Online reputation management company based, feels that “your reputation is what makes you succeed or fail as a small business-with the internet permeating every aspect of business (and social life) it is even more important to manage that reputation online as well as off-line.”