There is an old saying that goes, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” However, in the business world, particularly in online reputation management (ORM), a negative review may not be “nice” by its very nature but can be altogether helpful.
It helps consumers make informed decisions while showing business owners their areas for improvement. And so we should welcome them.
In a survey by Statista in the United States (April 2022), respondents answered the question, “How do you search for specific information on a product that you want to buy?”
The result showed that 55 percent use search engines like Google, 33 percent look at customer reviews and some check online stores, in-store, and other online platforms or ask their acquaintances.
During a large-scale product-page usability testing by Baymard Institute, 95 percent of users leaned on reviews to assess and know more about products.
What’s more, 53 percent particularly track down the negative reviews of products they are interested in across eCommerce sites.
These figures emphasize what we know to be true: Reputation management is essential, and you should only work with the best online reputation management company suited for your business.
In this guide, we will answer the following questions:
- What is online reputation management?
- Why is it important to find the right online reputation management agency?
- What are the benefits of online reputation management services?
- How to find the best online reputation management company for your business
- What are red flags in online reputation management?
What Is Online Reputation Management?
Online reputation management is the crafting and application of techniques that shape consumers’ perception of your company, product or service. It involves active monitoring of any mention of your brand on the internet.
With proper ORM, you proactively mitigate the consequences of negative reviews or false comments about your company.
Why It Is Important To Work With the Right Online Reputation Management Company
One negative review, if left unanswered, can create a domino effect that leaves your customers feeling neglected. This is why finding the right online reputation management services provider to monitor and respond to reviews about your company is crucial.
Aside from monitoring and responding to reviews, a complete, sound online reputation management strategy includes doing the following:
- Reanalyzing your current reputation regularly
- Improving your online reputation
- Replying to reviews and questions promptly
- Addressing negative comments with empathy
- Rightfully admitting when missing the mark
- Collecting and showcasing reviews
- Staying on top of search results
- Automating your ORM with a review management software
And the list goes on – so ensuring you match with the right reputation management agency will save you a lot of time and effort and allows your business to reap the many benefits of ORM:
- Improved visibility in search. By generating reviews with ORM and implementing local search engine optimization (SEO), you expose your brand to a larger audience and improve your local ranking.
- Higher credibility. ORM allows you to engage with your customers and promptly address their concerns, consequently building your reputation and credibility.
- Popularity protection. It’s one thing to build a reputation and another to maintain it. With ORM and an effective reputation management agency to match, you actively monitor and address any mention of your brand.
- Higher sales. Most consumers today conduct a search online before making a purchase – ORM better represents your products and services to your target market.
These benefits are ultimately the goals of any business owner. First, however, you need to find an ORM services provider suitable for your business to achieve them.
How To Find the Right Reputation Management Company for You
Some business owners purchase reputation management software with little knowledge about proper ORM. They soon realize that software alone will not solve their company’s reputation issues.
You need someone who perfectly understands the nitty-gritty of reputation management, like an ORM agency. So, where do you begin?
Analyze Your Current Online Reputation
Understanding your current ORM standing will help you realize your business needs. If you don’t know how to do this, don’t worry. You can leave it up to your ORM specialist.
Define Your Goals
And then, based on your needs, you can start to set the goals you want to achieve and problems you want to solve with ORM. It could be to build a positive brand image, rank higher locally, engage your customers and so on.
Get in touch with agencies and ask for information about their online reputation management strategy and review monitoring services.
- How will they monitor and generate reviews? Check if the reputation management agency uses any review management software – you would want them to for higher efficacy.
- What crisis management plan do they offer? See if the online reputation management company uses any reputation management software to watch out for negative or false comments consistently.
- Do they have specific requirements? Understand if the online reputation management services provider needs anything besides access to your accounts.
- Do they offer white label reputation management? Find out if you can leverage their reputation management software while using your company’s brand.
- Do they have case studies? You want to know if the online reputation management agency can share success stories of their previous clients.
Behind all of these, your purpose is to see if an agency is highly capable of meeting your business’s reputation management priorities. From here, you can start to filter out those that will likely do your reputation harm more than good.
Red Flags To Watch Out for When Hiring an Online Reputation Management Agency
When assessing review monitoring services providers, you should beware of those that practice black hat SEO – these are unethical tactics used to cheat search engines and will do everything except improve your online reputation.
Google lists these harmful tactics that cause sites to be penalized in search rankings, so the best online reputation management company wouldn’t certainly do any of the following:
- Keyword stuffing: The practice of loading your web pages with keywords. An example of this would be blocks of texts that list locations you’re trying to rank for.
- Click-through rate manipulation: Using bots or your staff to generate a high number of fake clicks on your webpage.
- Content scraping: With no regard to relevance and uniqueness, content copied or “scraped” from other sites will not add value to your ORM efforts.
- Hidden texts and links: Excessive keywords are hidden using the same text color as the web page background or CSS to place your keywords off-screen.
- Toxic backlinks: These are unnatural links to your website placed in irrelevant, spammy websites purposely created for link building. Some of these sites have malware and are not indexed by Google.
Remove any agency from your shortlist that admits to practicing any black hat tactics.
Aside from these, stay away from any ORM provider that offers review management software designed to generate inauthentic, spammy reviews.
Protect Your Company’s Online Reputation
Running a business is no joke. Overseeing daily operations, financial planning, sales strategies and so on – you sacrifice a lot of your time and energy.
Then a negative review comes your way, and you’ll soon find your hard-earned reputation starts spiraling down. Don’t wait for that moment before you begin to consider ORM.
Now that we have discussed what online reputation management is, its benefits and what to look for in an ORM services provider, it’s time you proactively safeguard your company’s reputation.
Choose Rize Reviews – we are an online reputation management company with a long list of reputable clients from crowded industries like healthcare, real estate, finance and niche ones like HVAC.
We also offer white label reputation management to help you track your client’s online campaigns. Reach out to us, and we’d be happy to give you a free demo!