[News] Small Businesses Slow to Invest in Reviews

Here’s a highlight of some of the top local-business-related news of the week:

[Reviews] Study Reveals Only 13% of Small Businesses Invest in Reviews

News Source: Street Fight

This week, Yodle released a study that revealed a disconnect between the way small business owners view online reviews and the way customers view them. Only 13% of surveyed business owners said that they were actively encouraging online reviews from customers, although 90% of customers find online reviews to be essential in the decision-making process. The majority of survey participants did not see online reviews as important.

The main reason that small business owners don’t invest in reviews is the amount of time and effort it takes to curate and respond to online comments. Most small businesses don’t have a dedicated marketing resource on staff to handle this type of outreach.

Another factor in small business owners’ lack of enthusiasm is skepticism about the legitimacy of online review sites. Many entrepreneurs believe that these sites skew results in favor of businesses who advertise with them.

Key Takeaway: While small business owners may be slow to embrace the online review system, consumers are relying heavily on it to make purchase decisions. In order to remain competitive and make sure your small business’s online reputation remains solid, you need to invest in online reviews by encouraging patrons to provide positive feedback and by responding to negative feedback promptly and respectfully.

[Social Media] LinkedIn Launches Small Business Microsite

News Source: Business News Daily

This week, LinkedIn announced the launch of a new microsite to support small businesses. The microsite will feature tips and advice on branding, marketing, sales, and hiring using the LinkedIn platform.

The launch of this microsite falls in line with LinkedIn’s recent small business social media study, which showed that small businesses find social media to be an effective marketing channel. By providing better support, the social network hopes to garner more active participation from small business users.

Key Takeaway: This new resource will help small businesses make the most of the LinkedIn platform, which has historically focused on large corporations with established brands. While the microsite’s content is tailored specifically to the LinkedIn platform, some of the branding and marketing advice will be applicable to a variety of social media channels. If you’ve struggled to make the most of LinkedIn, these resources will help take your LinkedIn profile from meh to magic.

[Hiring] More Small Businesses Outsourcing Work to Contractors Abroad

News Source: NY Times

A recent paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research indicates that outsourcing isn’t just for big businesses any more: Small businesses are also jumping on the outsourcing bandwagon in order to cut costs.

One-off tasks such as website design, translation, and software development are being outsourced with the help of online marketplaces such as oDesk, Freelancer, and Guru. These marketplaces make it easy to review candidates’ experience and portfolios to find the right fit for the job, saving small businesses both time and money.

Key Takeaway: Finding contractors to complete discrete projects is now easier than ever for small businesses, and online marketplaces make international labor an accessible and cheap alternative to US freelancers. But is it really a good thing? While small businesses may save a bit of money by outsourcing, this decision undermines the “shop local” ethic that they themselves encourage patrons to follow by not supporting local freelancers. 

Other news catch your eye this week? Leave a comment and let us know!