With thousands of Internet sites, blogs, forums and social media sites available to consumers, it can be difficult for local businesses to keep on top of all the public comments about them – and to ensure continued vigilance regarding their online reputation, or “e-reputation.” With this in mind, weblocal.ca offers local businesses Canada’s first Internet reputation management system. This system enables them to examine, gather and analyze important online information related to their organizations.

“The new weblocal.ca Canadian Internet Reputation Management System offers local businesses a complete, easy-to-use and flexible solution that supports their marketing strategies to enhance their reputation among Internet consumers,” explains Andrei Uglar, General Manager, weblocal.ca”

For example, following an analysis, a business could take a number of actions to adjust its business strategy:

– Improve the impact of its marketing activities

– Enhance brand awareness on the Internet

– Establish and maintain dialogue with customers

– Ensure the accuracy of its coordinates on the Web
Consumer Internet trends

Web 2.0 has changed the way consumers make their purchase decisions -they consult other Internet users’ comments and accounts of their experiences before buying. In fact, 90 per cent of consumers rely on comments posted by their relatives, and 70 per cent rely on comments posted by their peers(1).

“In the Web 2.0 era, Web users are not only potential customers, but also potentially important influencers in their virtual environments,” specifies Mr. Uglar. “In very little time, a comment can find its way to a forum, get tweeted a number of times, and become the subject of a new Facebook page: there are thousands of Web users who are informed in real time.”

Up until just recently, the concept of reputation has been primarily associated with word-of-mouth communication. With Web 2.0, this has transformed into “e-reputation” and spreads quickly, given the large number of Internet users. As a result, businesses need to implement strategies to follow these trends and commentaries, and to act accordingly so that they can meet customer expectations.

A solution adapted to local businesses’ needs

Reputation management is important. According to some experts, reputation represents 70 per cent of the total value of a business.

An Opus Research study of more than 2,000 businesses shows that close to 44 per cent of these monitor their business names through search engines, and a little over 15 per cent use alerts on an informal basis. However, this approach requires a significant – and often underestimated – investment of time and effort.

“Our system’s intelligent dashboard facilitates analysis of information gathered, and enables a business to quickly identify which elements have generated customer reaction,” explains Mr. Uglar. “Thanks to an interactive timeline, the system can also target precise periods where lower or higher levels of activity have been found. Then, the owner can adjust and adapt his business strategy in real time, without the need for significant manpower or time investments.”

Additionally, the system also detects every Internet site where an organization’s coordinates (for example, telephone number, postal and Internet addresses) appear. It enables business owners to see and take control of their online presence, saving them time, effort and frustration of finding and correcting every incorrect business listing on the Internet. “A business without its own virtual portal relies on its presence in Internet listings so that its clients can locate it and contact it,” explains Mr. Uglar. “The publication of inaccurate contact information can translate into customer attrition and lower revenues.”

The system provides electronic as well as printed reports, if required. Email or SMS (Short Message Service) alerts keep the user informed about the latest posted comments, enabling them to react quickly when required.

“We are delighted to be able to help increase local businesses’ visibility and presence on the Internet, thanks to this innovative service which responds to a real need,” adds Mr. Uglar.