The Small Business’ Guide to Online Reputation Management

Take United Airlines, for instance. When a video of the airline’s staff dragging a passenger off an overbooked flight went viral[9], they suffered a huge online backlash.

#BoycottUnited, #DontFlyUnited and other negative hashtags quickly started trending on Twitter. But, more importantly, all the negative attention had consequences in the real world: the airline’s shares lost $1 billion in value[10] almost overnight.

If that weren’t enough, a bad reputation can also make it harder to grow your business. Some 69% of unemployed job seekers[11] wouldn’t work for a company with a bad reputation. And 30% said they’d turn down a job offer even if the company paid double the salary they were paid at their last job.

By contrast, a good reputation builds credibility and trust—something that has a positive effect on your business’ bottom line.

A study by BrightLocal[12] found 85% of consumers now trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, and 73% trust a business more if it has positive online reviews. Plus, a Harvard Business School[13] report found that every additional star on Yelp can boost a business’ revenue by as much as 9%.

The bottom line? You can’t afford to ignore these numbers… Or your negative press.

DIY vs. outsourcing

The numbers are clear. Your online reputation is crucial to your business’ success.

But does this mean you should go and hire a reputation management company? Or is it possible for you to DIY your online reputation management and still get good results?

There’s no doubting that hiring a team of experts can save time.

Firms like Ignyte[14], Reputation X[15], GoUp[16], and Reputation Defender[17] are specialists in their field. They build, maintain and repair business’ reputations for a living, and potentially get right to the bottom of your issues faster than you would on your own

The flipside of course, is that hiring a reputation management company can be expensive—especially for small businesses.

Fees will depend on the current state of your reputation, along with how strong your competitors’ reputations are. That said, you can usually expect to pay upwards of £1,500 a month[18] for a basic package.

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