It seems like a silly question to even ask, but even today we are still seeing offline brands and businesses come online for the first time and having no idea what potential disasters lurk in the shadows of the internet.
If you were to ask any of these offline brick and mortar based companies if they were interested in reputation management services, not only would they say "what the heck is that?" -- they would also likely follow up with "no way, I don't need to waste money on that!".
Unfortunately this is the mentality for many brands that are just recently finding their way online.
A great way to approach the situation is to reference an old school icon himself, which would be Warren Buffet, and he who once said:
It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you'll do things differently.
For many offline businesses who may have been fully operational and had a lot of success over the past 20 years... it could be the negligence of online reviews and brand mentions that starts to put their reputation at risk.
In this article we are going to shed some light on why your online reputation is important, how it can sway customer away from your business and also how it can affect your offline and retail locations as well.
7 Reasons Your Online Reputation is More Important than You Think
1 - Your Reputation is What Google Says It Is
When someone needs to find information, they go to Google. The same holds true for when someone wants to find when a store closes, what their address is and of course for coupons and restaurant menus.
If you don't have this information online and available through your own site, then you risk having your competition, negative reviews and false information ranking at the top of the search results instead of your own accurate information.
The last thing you want is for someone to look up your brand or local business, and then be mislead or sent off in the wrong direction.
2 - Social Media is Going To Talk About You
There are currently over 2 billion users across all of the major social networks. That means there's a pretty good chance someone is talking about your brand. Without an online presence in social media, there is no one to respond to these comments or answer questions that people might have. Without responses to these mentions and queries, customers and brand loyalty is being lost.
3 - Increase Brand Loyalty By Being There
Speaking of brand loyalty... that's exactly why you need to have an online presence. Whether it's through social media or in the search results, people want to find answers to the questions they are searching for.
This is especially true with local businesses and retail locations. Though the following of small local businesses might not be in the millions, the ones who are searching are very loyal to their brand. Don't leave your loyal followers in the dark.
4 - Don't Let Negative Reviews Control Your Brand
Without a presence online, who is going to monitor your online reviews? With sites like Yelp, TripAdvisor, RipOff Report and PissedConsumer growing in reach every day, what are you jeopardizing and losing by not watching your own brand reviews?
5 - Your Brand is Online Whether You Like It or Not
Thinking that your brand won't be online simply because you don't want to be, is a big mistake. The truth is that Google and other companies are indexing businesses and brands of all sizes, whether they like it or not.
This is important because as we mentioned earlier, your customers and followers might be looking for you online. If they are searching and you aren't online, they are going to find competitors and information that might not be updates, correct or relevant to their search.
6 - Local Advertising is Out, The Internet is In
One of the big reasons why local brands and businesses still aren't focusing their efforts in online marketing or even getting online, is simply that they enjoy their local advertising options.
Local advertising may still work for some brands, but the sad truth is that most local and print based advertising is heading for the garbage. The reach is no longer there and it simply costs too much money.
Focus your efforts on online branding and marketing.
7 - Highlight the Best Part of Your Brand to Everyone
Last but not least, by putting your local business or retail location online through your own site properties, you can actually highlight the best parts of your business and brand to everyone.
Just a few methods for doing this would be through blogging, building a mailing list, sending out coupons, creating social profile and updating your followers with special promotions, adding your products, services and menus online and much more.
Ignoring Your Online Reputation is Ruining Your Reputation
No doubt about it... if you ignore your online reputation, you are simply destroying it.
The internet is going to keep on growing and it's going to index your brand name or business. Competitors are going to take advantage of it and customers will leave negative reviews and complaints in the process.
There has never been a better time to get your business online, so take action today before your reputation is out of your hands!