Maintaining a positive online reputation is crucial to brand success in 2019.
According to BrightLocal, 90% consumers ages 18 – 34 trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations and more than half of all consumers will only use a business that has a 5-star rating.
The continued rise of social media and third-party review sites place high demands on businesses to manage their online reputations.
The best online reputation management firms save time and expense for their clients by efficiently controlling their online reputation and maintaining a solid, reputable online image.
Some of the responsibilities of an ORM provider include:
- Evaluate a brand’s online reputation
- Remove or suppress negative content
- Monitor and protect reputations
This article demonstrates how to review an online reputation management company.
How Online Reputation Management Works
Customers primarily learn about a company through its online presence. To present the optimal version of your company to potential customers online, then, you need your impression to be consistent and positive. Online reputation management companies work to make this happen.
The methods reputation management companies use to repair your brand’s image depend on your reputation challenges.
For example, one common method online reputation consultants use to repair your reputation is leveraging SEO services to push negative content about your company down in the search engine result pages (SERPs).
What to Look For in An Online Reputation Management Company
Finding the best ORM consultant for your company is critical to ensuring your success online.
Qualities to consider when choosing between online reputation management agencies include:
- Trustworthy strategies
- Answers to important questions
1. Trustworthy Strategies
The first thing to look for in an online reputation management consultant is whether the firm employs credible, white-hat strategies.
White-hat strategies are by-the-book: They leverage organic digital marketing channels and strategies to improve your brand’s reputation online.
For example, a trustworthy approach is a long-term plan that works toward replacing negative publicity with a solid content strategy through:
- Quality content
- Getting high-authority websites to write about you
- Responding to negative online comments
Each one of these approaches are well-established online marketing best practices and work to earn organic authority for your company.
Techniques that are not trustworthy involve:
- Creating fake or dummy accounts, blogs, or websites to promote your company
- Keyword and link stuffing
- Maliciously targeting specific web pages to make them stop working
These techniques can be effective, but can bring more harm than good to your company. For example, link stuffing can actually hurt your search ranking.
Pay close attention to how transparent an ORM provider is about its practices.
Does the firm promise certain results? If so, is it clear exactly about how it will achieve them?
You should be aware of everything your online reputation consultant does to improve and maintain your reputation. A good consultant acts as a partner, gladly filling you in on the details of what they are doing on your behalf.
If you sense that a firm is not open and honest with you, it may be a warning sign about the types of services and approach it takes to your online reputation.
Communication is a crucial part of choosing an online reputation management firm or consultant.
Consider the frequency of your communication and whether your ORM provider makes things easy for you to understand or they use so much jargon that it’s hard to follow.
You want a services partner that is easy to reach and provides comprehensive answers and explanations about their approach to your account.
Strive to find a company that’s easy to understand and eager to communicate with you.
4.Questions to Ask
Since an online reputations management company will likely create and publish content on your behalf, you want to ask them in advance about their review and approval process.
Will they allow you to see your content before it’s posted?
Make sure that the company you partner with is familiar with your type of business – any content written or published with your company’s name on it needs to reflect your company’s authority on a topic. Poorly-written or researched content produces negative impressions for your company.
Do they have experience in your industry?
Research former clients of online reputation management companies to gauge their experience working with firms in your industry.
A lack of experience isn’t a deal breaker, but it should give you context about how much input you need to have in the content that your partner puts out on your behalf.
Do they have a professional online presence and a healthy reputation?
A solid online reputation management firm will have its own brand reputation and image in order.
ORM companies have the obligation to prove that they can provide quality services for their clients, and their online presence is their opportunity to do so.
Diligently research the firm’s online assets: its company website, search results for relevant terms, and social media pages.
Do Your Research Before Hiring an ORM Provider
When searching for an online reputation management consultant or firm, look for providers that are trustworthy, transparent, and good communicators.
Take time to research providers before you contact them for an interview and know which questions to ask beforehand.