More than one in five of SME decision makers say that their business has been contacted online by someone who they thought was trying to scam the company and 15 per cent of SMEs have already experienced some form of negative comment online, whether that be poor reviews, malicious content from competitors or negative media coverage.
Britain’s small and medium sized businesses are waking up to the consequences of this issue. Almost 1 in 10 already pay someone to manage their online reputation, with a further 9 per cent expecting to do so in the next 12 months.
SMEs of all sizes might be getting more marketing-savvy though, as despite only 15 per cent of them experiencing negative online, 41 per cent of them believe that having a good online reputation will be more important to their business by this time next year.
Richard Coleman, Managing Director of Zurich’s Commercial Broker business, comments: “Online reputation is an increasing worry for SMEs, many of whom are only just getting to grips with managing a social media presence and a website, let alone the effects of negative content posted about their company.
“In a world where the consumer is increasingly guided by what they can easily find out online – think about review sites such as Tripadvisor and Trustatrader – SMEs need to get to grips with their own online presence and how to manage it.”