Recent News Stories Show the Importance of Online Reputation for Marketing a Local Business
After Gordon Ramsey’s Kitchen Nightmares aired on May 10th, 2012 bloggers, media analysts, and internet marketers were treated to what has been characterized as one of the most public and potentially devastating internet melt downs a business has experienced to date. Phoenix-based Amy’s Baking Company is not the first business to play victim of a highly connected, high speed world. A business’s online reputation should be the first thing on an owners mind right now but some companies have made a few costly mistakes in 2012.
CelebBoutique made the news for tweeting about the trending of Aurora. The problem was that the company had failed to realize that the reason Aurora was trending in Google at the time was because of the staged mass shooting that took place inside a movie theater. Chick-Fil-A learned that fast food and political views may not be quite the right mix. KitchenAid learned the same hard lesson. Numerous retailers tried to capitalize on tragedy this past year, trying to leverage their online reputation and visibility by mentioning Superstorm Sandy in tweets and online promotions. (Not sure how successful that was…) At the beginning of 2013, a controversy spilled out regarding a pastor’s refusal to tip noted on a receipt, the subsequent firing of an employee who allowed a picture of the receipt to be taken and posted online, and the disastrous online reputation fallout that followed. Even, Abercrombie & Fitch was in the news for being too blatant about their “ideal” consumer marketing strategy.
This Affects Small Local Businesses Online Reputation – McDonald’s Not So Much
While larger national brands are brought into the spotlight, it is somewhat to be expected. Those larger companies have well-established brands and also have big time advertising budgets. While these online reputation controversies might make for good reading and discussion for a few days or even weeks, the reality is that they typically subside leaving the brand a bit less credible than before. However a few “minor slip ups” for local businesses and things can get really messy if things are let go over time. Larger organizations can absorb the blow from a little bit of negative publicity here or there. But local businesses, however, rely on word of mouth and immediate public perception in order to keep the phones ringing. Which is why online reputation may not be on Donald Trump’s to-do list but you’ll definitely want it to be on your business checklist for 2013!
Why Some Owners Are Still Missing The Point When It Comes To Online Reputation
Many local business owners do not fully comprehend the importance of their online reputation and the tremendous power of positive online reviews. A Harvard study showed that a one star increase or decrease on Yelp reviews for larger firms with bigger advertising budgets has very little effect. Many business owners are familiar with this and as such do not see the value in investing in more aggressive social media marketing campaigns. The other part of the Harvard study showed that small and local businesses could benefit a lot from having an online reputation strategy and showed a revenue jump of up to 9 percent with a single star increase on Yelp based on user reviews.
With more than half of consumers today searching for local businesses and business having changed to the educated and empowered consumer model, being able to be found online is just half of the battle. For the local business, what people say about your business online makes a big difference in the success of your business offline. Developing an online reputation strategy for the long-term and developing a relationship with existing and potential customers is paramount to a successful business strategy in today’s new online reputation market.
Online Reputation Marketing In The News