Abram Interstate Insurance Services, Inc., CMGA

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Do You Know Your Small Business’ Reputation? | Business Tips for Insurance Agents

Published on April 9, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-04-08 at 5.53.51 PMWhether you do business online or not, your reputation could be out there on the world wide web. Many small businesses assume that if they don’t create an online presence, then they don’t have one. That’s just not the case anymore.

Before the Internet became an integral part of our daily lives, your business’ reputation was something that you crafted and built, not something you had to manage. Today you have to do both. Customer complaints or dissatisfactions may have created little fallout before, but those same customers now have a platform to air their grievances — which is not an inherently bad thing, unless you’re unaware that it’s happening or the fact that it may be affecting your potential clientele.

Think about it, many times when we are satisfied with a company, we may use word of mouth to suggest them to someone who is in the market for those services, but we’re not as likely to seek out an online platform to broadcast our thoughts. Usually, for the small companies that have not been super intential about building an online presence (through their website, social media, Yelp and similar review sites) will only have a presence when an unhappy customer takes to the web to complain. And guess what shows up then when someone finds you through search engines — only the negative.

Consumers go to the internet to research almost everything before purchasing these days. And if you’re not plugged in to how your reputation looks on the web, chances are you don’t look great if you do show up in search results.

Unless you actively monitor, address, and build your online presence, your reputation of your company, and your company’s bottom line may suffer.

Michael Zammuto, president of brand.com, is featured in an article on Small Business Computing that offers small business owners like you some advice on how you can protect and build your online reputation.

Don’t Ignore the Internet

Online research is king, and small business owners simply don’t recognize its importance. Even a business that has nothing to do with the online world can find its reputation smeared across the Internet. Your business may not rely on the Internet, but your customers—and your competitors—go online. What are they saying about you?

The first step is to do a bit of online research yourself. Google both your name and your company’s name to see what comes up. Chances are you’ll be surprised at the results.

Know What You Can Control

When potential customers ask to know more about your business, it may seem sensible to refer them to online review sites. Don’t do it. Simply stated, you can’t control what people say about you on those sites. “A business will never buy a billboard and let others write on it,” says Zammuto.

A better course of action: focus on improving your ranking in Google search results. Post articles with informative, useful content that helps your customers. Share your expertise and make yourself a trusted resource for your customers. It may take a bit longer, but the results will be worth your effort.

Guard Your Own Reputation

You could pay a reputation management company, or you can save a bunch of money and use free tools and services to help you track your company’s reputation. Google Alerts, TweetBeep, Naymz, Social Mention, and MonitorThis are but a few examples.

If you choose to hire a rreputation management company, avoid any company that creates multiple Twitter accounts and microsites to flood the Web with good feedback and positive content about your company. Google frowns upon those dubious tactics, and you risk a precipitous fall to the bottom of the search results rankings.

Adapted from Online Reputation: Top Mistakes Businesses Make,  by Pedro Hernandez at Small Business Computing.

Abram Interstate Insurance Services, Inc. is a California wholesale insurance broker (CMGA) that has licensing and expertise to place business in both admitted and non-admitted markets for personal lines insurance and commercial lines insurance in California and surrounding areas.

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