Your advertising budget can’t overcome negative comments posted by your customers in a free discussion group.
It matters less what you want to say  than what people online are saying about your business. You can scream all you want about your hot new product but if a Google search reveals a list of complaints from early adopters, your sales will fall flat.
Businesses that do not understand this are in for a very hard time. A Blogger or discussion group can get the word out to more people that matter to your business in less time with virtually zero expense than you can reach with your marketing budget. Negative buzz in the community is very difficult to counter.
Notice that word “community”. Everything is community. People with similar interest congregate online and a community forms. Somebody puts up a website and opens a discussion group and people with that shared interest flock to the party. As with any group, only a small fraction of this community actively participate. That means if you come across a discussion group with 20 negative posts about your business, it is likely being read by hundreds of potential customers who are not posting their experiences. The discussion group shows you only the tip of the ice-berg that has already slashed a wide gash in the hull of your business Titanic.
The ease with which the community of your customers can share information is the reason providing great customer service is vital to your business. Great customer service means taking care of your customer and solving any problem he has with your product or service with the minimum amount of effort on the customer’s part. Trying to save money when customers need you most is very expensive. The more you cut cost in customer service, the more your cuts will cost you in sales and margins.
It comes down to this: It matters less what you have to say than others are saying about your business. Sam in Iowa who has had nothing but trouble with his Acme lawnmower is a lot more credible than Acme’s CEO who issues quarterly statements about improving quality and service.
If you’ve just read this and are not deeply concerned about your company’s online reputation, your business is in serious trouble.
Chris Reich, Author of TeachU’s Business Talk Blog