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Two-Thirds of Small Businesses Monitor Online Reputation Through Social Media

March 7, 2019

by Toby A. Cox

Content Writer and Marketer

Social media is a low-cost, high-impact platform for small businesses monitoring their online reputation, but experts say it shouldn’t be the only platform small businesses use. 

WASHINGTON, DC, March 7, 2019 — Small businesses recognize that their online reputation can impact their success. As a result, 88% of small businesses monitor their reputation online.  

Social media is a low-cost, high-impact platform small businesses can use to track what people say about their brand, which is why 66% of small businesses use social media to monitor their online reputation, according to new survey data from Clutch, the leading B2B research, ratings, and reviews company.

Top 3 Platforms Small Businesses Use to Monitor Online Reputation

Although social media can be a powerful tool, experts urge small businesses to also use other platforms, such as search results and review sites such as Yelp.

Nearly half of small businesses that use social media (48%) also use other platforms to supplement their monitoring efforts. 

“You have to monitor social media, but you also need to go beyond it to effectively monitor your online reputation,” said John Gottschall, CEO of Neumann Paige Inc., a reputation management firm. 

Small Businesses Rely on In-House Employees or Reputation Management Agencies to Monitor Online Reputation

People are still the primary resource small businesses use to monitor their online reputation. 

Forty-four percent of small businesses (44%) use only human resources, such as in-house employees and agencies, to monitor their online reputation. 

Small Businesses Prefer Human Resources to Digital Tools for Monitoring Online Reputation

Twenty-six percent of small businesses (26%) use only digital resources, including online reputation management tools, third-party review sites, and social listening software. 

Finally, 30% of small businesses use a combination of human and digital resources. 

Overall, the online reputation monitoring tools small businesses use are:

  • In-house employees (54%)
  • Online reputation management tools, such as Google Alerts (34%)
  • Online reputation management agencies (27%)
  • Third-party reviews sites, such as Yelp (26%)
  • Social listening tools, such as Hootsuite (22%)

“Digital tools provide the information that needs to be interpreted, but people, whether an agency like ours or someone in-house, become responsible for managing the information these tools collect,” said Ken Wisnefski, CEO of WebiMax, an online reputation management agency. 

Millennial Small Business Owners More Likely to Use Digital Tools to Monitor Online Reputation

Using digital reputation management tools is popular among younger small business owners. 

Millennial-owned and -managed small businesses are about evenly split in their use of digital resources (69%) and human resources (68%) to monitor their online reputation. 

Generation Xers, however, are more likely to use human resources (75%) than digital resources (57%), and baby boomers are also more likely to use human resources (81%) than digital (34%). 

These findings suggest a shift as more small businesses trend toward digital resources to supplement their staff’s work or hire PR firms to monitor their online reputation. 

Clutch’s 2019 Small Business PR Survey included 529 small businesses from across the U.S.

Read the full report here: https://clutch.co/pr-firms/resources/how-small-businesses-monitor-online-reputation-2019

For questions about the survey, a comment on the findings, or an introduction to the industry experts included in the report, contact Toby Cox at toby@clutch.co.

About Clutch

A B2B research, ratings, and reviews firm in the heart of Washington, DC, Clutch connects small and medium businesses with the best-fit agencies, software, or consultants they need to tackle business challenges with confidence. Clutch’s methodology compares business service providers and software in a specific market based on verified client reviews, services offered, work quality, and market presence.


Toby Cox