Consistent branding is an important function of doing business. Your brand is not just your logo. It is your message. It is everything you communicate about your business. The key to having a successful brand is consistency. Your business cards need to complement your marketing materials and so on. Your message has to be clear and concise to consumers throughout your operations. Failing in any aspect of branding your business can cause confusion for your customers in the best situations. It will damage your brand in the worst case.
One aspect of branding where many businesses fall short is managing their brand online. Marketing your business to customers online is important, but it is more than just having a website or using social media. Branding your business online requires a steady commitment to managing and influencing information about your business that you may not even know exists.
Why Branding is So Important
85% of consumers asked in a 2012 survey said they had searched for a local business online. Further 16% reported that they search for a local business online on a weekly basis. That was 2012. As smart devices continue to saturate our lives, these percentages only increase. If you fall short in managing your online information, you leave opportunities for meaningful customer interaction on the table.
There are a number of sites where customers can find information about your business and leave reviews. Yelp, Google Local, and Facebook are some of the most well known. Yelp is a site where customers can connect with local businesses and leave reviews for other customers. In the 2012 survey I talked about earlier, 72% of consumers said they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. Failing to pay attention to these reviews can be disastrous to your brand.
The solution is to claim your business pages and manage your information consistent with your brand. It is easy enough to interact with customers. Thank those who have visited and left a favorable review. Further, provide exceptional customer service to those who report a bad experience.
It can be time consuming to find these sites and manage them. Homestead Digital Media Services has the solutions you need to manage your brand and market your small business effectively. Contact HDMS to learn how we can help you manage your brand online.