What Small Businesses Should Know About Online Forums

What Small Businesses Should Know About Online Forums

Small businesses are especially dependent on favorable testimonials — and for many consumers, online forums have become the favored means of sharing feedback about businesses and products.

“About 60% of Americans are putting content on the Web, and it can affect how your product or service is perceived in the marketplace,” Pete Blackshaw, Nielsen Online’s EVP of Digital Strategic Services, told Fortune Small Business in a recent Q&A.  “Consumers trust each other more than they trust advertisers or businesses.  The question is, how do you turn it to your advantage?”

In general, business owners should closely monitor online conversations about their brands, Blackshaw, the author of “Satisfied Customers Tell Three Friends, Angry Customers Tell 3,000,” which examines marketing in the era of Internet-empowered consumers, advised.

“If someone pans your business, use that criticism to identify and fix problems,” Blackshaw noted.  “If your company is accused of wrongdoing, it’s important to respond.”

Read the August installment of Pete Blackshaw’s Ad Age column.