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More than three-quarters of SME decision makers stress the importance of having a good online reputation, however 40% report never checking their company’s online reviews.
Whether it is a poor review, negative media coverage or malicious content from a rival business, Zurich’s SME Index reports that approximately 15% of SMEs have experienced some form of online negativity.
However, many small businesses owners seem to be waking up to these issues, with nearly one in ten (9%) now paying someone to manage their online reputation and a further 9% planning to do so within the next 12 months.
Of those who employ a third party to manage their online reputation, nearly one in eight (12%) were reportedly paying £2,000+ per month.
Zurich’s research would suggest that business owners anticipate a rise in the need to manage their online reputation, as although only 15% of companies reported experiencing negativity online, 41% believed that having a good online reputation will be more important to their business by this time next year.
Managing Director of Zurich’s Commercial Broker Business, Richard Coleman, said: “Online reputation is an increasing worry for SMEs, many of whom are only just getting to grips with managing a social media presence and website, let alone the effects of negative content posted about their company.”
“In a world where the consumer is increasingly guided by the likes of reviews sites such as TripAdvisor and TrustATrader, SMEs need to get to grips with their online presence and how to manage it.”