The creation of the Internet is probably one of the most useful inventions mankind has ever come into contact with. It has changed and shaped how we live our everyday lives-from faster communication to making available all the information we need at the tip of our fingers. It has indeed made our lives easier.

Especially as an avenue for marketing business and/or products.

brandwatch

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There’s no question that the Internet is a perfect avenue for promoting your business or products online. Online presence is generally good because it marks visibility. But companies are not the only ones taking advantage of the Internet. Consumers are also riding on the wave. Nowadays, people most probably do their own research online before buying a specific product. In a survey conducted by the global marketing and advertising research company Nielsen Company, 70% of surveyed consumers trust opinions of virtual strangers that are posted online. “The explosion in Consumer Generated Media over the last couple of years means consumers’ reliance on word of mouth in the decision-making process, either from people they know or online consumers they don’t, has increased significantly.” says Jonathan Carson, President of Online, International, for the Nielsen Company.

However, Technology Review, an independent media company owned by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has pointed out in an article entitled “Can you trust crowd wisdom?” that these consumer reviews online “can easily be swayed by a small group of highly active users.” And that although they offer useful insights, “they can also paint a distorted picture of a product if a small number of users do most of the voting.”

So how do you guard your business against the lynch mob online? Join in the conversation! It is important that you let your consumers know that you care about their opinions and experiences regarding your products. Talk to the unhappy customers! Offer them explanations as to how to rectify the situation. It is also important to reinforce positive feedbacks. Post messages of satisfied consumers, and publicly thank them for their loyal patronage.

If you are a big business and have the means, hire a company to do exactly that and more. Some IT companies offer an array of brand watching services from generating reports on what people are saying about your brand to devising strategies on how to address issues that are affecting your company’s brand image. Investing on such will prove vital since marketing is important to the growth of the business.

Overall, a proactive approach will benefit your company while avoiding all those bad publicity online which can eventually terminate the business you have worked so hard to build.