The growing need for Reputation Management among Small Business

According to Economist Intelligence Unit, reputation risk is the greatest risk facing global companies, with as much as 75 percent of a company’s value based on reputation

We are now living in a digital age where anyone has the ability to go online from virtually anywhere and post their opinion about everything from their political views, their dinner plans, their favorite products and even their opinion about your business. With the rise of smartphones, wireless devices and wifi hotspots popping up all over Lakeland, it is getting even easier for people to use the internet…not just browse it. The likelihood that someone talked about your business online this past week is much greater than ever before. Whether they’ve left feedback about your business via a Yelp review, a FourSquare check-in, a Facebook update, a Twitter mention, a blog post comment, or even a good old fashioned email, the opportunities for people to talk about you and your Lakeland business are increasing every day.

It’s great that you can easily go online to read reviews from real customers who recently dined at the new downtown Lakeland restaurant. In the past we would have had to depend on The Ledger’s food critic or good old-fashioned word of mouth. Well, word of mouth still exists obviously but more and more of it is happening online for the whole world to see…potentially forever. As a business owner, this presents an exciting opportunity for your business to grow – assuming the online conversation is favorable. Of course, we all know this is not always the case. Anyone who has been in business long enough, realizes that even if you do everything right, you’re still going to have the occasional customer that loves to complain or will always want more. Don’t believe us, just spend some time reading Amazon reviews and it will be clear. It’s very common to find a product with 90% 5 star reviews and 10% with 1 or 2 stars.

Now couple the potential unsatisfied customer leaving a comment and the possibility that one of your unethical competitors may decide to say something nasty about your business. Unfortunately, it happens. Luckily, there are more measures taking place to help curtail false statements by business owners – positive or negative. In 2009, New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo fined a Plastic Surgery franchise $300,000 for falsifying reviews.

So what happens when one of these not-so-positive experiences or comments happens to you? A lot of companies are turning to reputation management firms. Reputation Management is one of the fastest growing sectors within the Internet Marketing industry with a reported 30% year over year growth. As mobile web interaction continues to grow and more people take part in producing web content instead of just consuming it (think Facebook), the need to manage your reputation online will only increase. It doesn’t take a genius to see the immediate need for Reputation Management is real and the potential growth of this field is huge.

But what exactly does a Reputation Management firm do?

There was a time when hiring a Reputation Manangement consulting firm was only something that national corporations would employ. To many extents, the costs associated with hiring a true reputation management firm limits many small business owners from using one. However, we’re finding there is a real need for small business owners as well. I want to clarify that Blue Lynx Marketing does not in any way classify itself as a reputation management firm in the true sense of the word. However, we do believe that because of the holistic marketing strategy we employ, we are positioned to help some of our clients using a lot of the same tactics a conventional Reputation Manangement firm would use.

If you’re a Lakeland business owner and need reputation management assistance, I’ll be happy to learn more about your specific situation to see if there is any possible way offer you assistance. I never charge for initial consultations and I’ll be honest with regards to our capabilities.