by Michael Ambros, Founder & CEO of eKomi

Online reputation management (ORM) is a “thing” these days. Never heard of it? Let me explain. As you know, your local business earns a reputation based on interactions with customers. For the longest time, that reputation spread via word of mouth and a few rating services like Zagat and the AAA. But in the digital age, reputation can spread like wildfire.

The New Age Of Opinion

Today, a host of electronic options allow customers to rave (or vent) about a business — including those that operate online and those with a local physical presence. If a customer wants to share their opinion about an establishment, they can jump on Google, Yelp, Facebook, Angie’s List, Trip Advisor, etc.

These platforms have global reach. Anyone with an internet connection and a desire to find out about a business can do so. It’s commonplace for people to do research before deciding whether or not to do business with a company. That brings us to this question:

Do You Know What People are Saying About Your Business?

Bad news travels fast. Even if that news is wrong or exaggerated, negative reviews about your business can end up on page one search results. That’s why you want to be sure your local business is portrayed accurately. Just look at the data:

  • 92% of people do not look beyond the first page of any search results. – Moz Research
  • 80% of online reputation damage comes from a mismatch between the buzz and reality. – Digimind
  • 78% of US adults feel it is important to research a businesses before buying from them. – Harris Interactive

Like it or not, people are shaping your local business’ reputation online. And that reputation impacts anyone who searches for a company like yours and uses the results to decide where to go.

Improving Your Online Reputation — Five Things to Know: continue reading

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