Operating in the online market isn’t easy. There are numerous challenges businesses must face so that they can reach success. One of the biggest challenges for both small companies and well-established ones is maintaining a good online reputation.
Nowadays, consumers want to know more about a company or a brand they’re about to do business with, so they’ll do their research thoroughly. If they find some dirt, the word will spread like wildfire, and before you know it, all of the Internet populace will know.
That’s why reputation is really difficult to maintain. After all, it takes years to build a good reputation for your business, and it can all crumble within a day. What’s even worse is that you don’t even have to make a mistake for everything to spiral out of control.
It only takes one dissatisfied customer or an envious competitor to start spreading negative things about your business or brand. If you don’t manage to contain the situation, you’ll have a lot of negative publicity to deal with.
The end result is consumers refusing to buy your products or services. That’s why businesses need an online reputation service so that someone can keep an eye on what’s going on while you focus on achieving business goals.
With that in mind, here are a few ways you can find the best online reputation management service.
Ensure their methods are ethical
Online reputation management companies (ORM) vary based on the services they offer and the methods they use.
If you want your reputation to be well-maintained and protected, you have to choose a company that uses ethical methods and strategies, not the ones that can “get the job done” with no questions asked.
Therefore, it’s up to you to do a bit of research yourself. Here are a couple of practices that should be avoided at all costs and if an ORM company uses such practices, avoid them as well.
- Astroturfing – This is a practice when a company uses face accounts on review sites to create many positive reviews and divert consumer attention from negative ones.
- Fake web content – This practice involves creating fake blogs and websites to boost search results, thus covering the negative ones.
- Keyword stuffing – This is a “black hat” SEO practice that involves overloading a website’s metadata with keywords to boost online rankings.
- Link spamming – Link farms and other methods are employed to link as much as possible back to positive content so that search engines are tricked into ranking that content only.
- Invisible text – Similar to keyword stuffing, invisible text practice involves stuffing keywords into website content but making the extra text the same color as the page background, thus hiding it and making it less obvious than keyword stuffing.
- Spambots – Some ORM companies even go as far as using spambots, DDoS attacks and other hacking methods to target negative content or review sites so that they can prevent consumers from accessing those sites or that content.
Choose a company with the right services
Maintaining a good reputation online requires a lot of effort and skill. You want a company that will provide you with the right services for the right circumstances.
It’s the same as choosing the right digital marketing company that can meet your needs regarding your marketing efforts. The same applies when choosing an ORM company, as well.
Here are a few services that are essential to your online reputation.
1. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
ORM companies leverage SEO so that they can boost your website’s and content’s visibility in an organic way. If there’s negative content about your company, ORM companies will use positive and honest content to counter the negative one.
2. Content management and creation
High-quality content provides value to consumers by informing, educating and entertaining them. ORM companies help you create such content so that it can change consumer perspectives about your brand.
If you did make a mistake, you could not pretend it didn’t happen. Instead, you have to fix it, and content is one of the best ways to do so.
3. Social media monitoring
When people want to spread rumors or news, they go to social media. One negative comment or post can spark a PR nightmare for any business.
Your ORM partner will closely monitor brand mentions and engage in conversations to prevent the situation from escalating further.
4. Review management
Many ORM companies help brands manage online reviews. They create strategies that will encourage people to write reviews. Yes, even the negative ones.
Negative reviews can actually work in your favor. If you address the issue right away and try to help a consumer who wrote the review, other consumers will see that you’re making an effort to improve their experience.
5. Third-party monitoring
ORM companies also monitor third-party websites, such as Yelp or Glassdoor, for negative reviews originating from former employees, dissatisfied customers or angry competitors. They will keep an eye on such reviews and create strategies on how to respond properly.
Choosing the best ORM company
Finding the right ORM company comes down to ensuring they got what it takes to truly help you out. Imagine you had to hire a New York web design company to create your website from scratch.
Naturally, you’d expect they have the necessary expertise and knowledge on how to create a truly stunning website that will meet your audience’s expectations. The same goes when looking for an ORM company.
You want to hire someone with the experience and skill in helping businesses maintain or repair their online reputation. That way, you ensure that you’re placing your business reputation in good and capable hands. Therefore, here are a few things to consider when choosing the best ORM company.
- Expertise – Check the company’s skills and experience they have to offer. It wouldn’t hurt to read a couple of testimonials provided by their previous or current clients.
- Communication – You want to work with a company that will dedicate its effort and time towards managing your business reputation. Moreover, you want them to keep you updated and provide you with feedback. After all, managing an online business reputation is a lengthy process.
- Trustworthiness – Your ORM partner needs to be trusted, so can you trust the company you’ve chosen or are about to choose? You must be absolutely sure that your ORM partner won’t resort to shady techniques and black hat practices.
- Transparency – You’re relying on someone to manage your online reputation. It’s only natural that your ORM partner will be completely transparent about their doings and their practices.
Finding the best online reputation management service isn’t easy. After all, your business reputation is on the line and you can’t trust just anyone with it. That’s why it’s important to do a lot of research and determine which ORM company suits you best.
Whether you need to repair your business reputation or maintain it, a company that can use the right practice and has enough experience on the matter is an absolute must. That’s why you cannot rush your decision when it comes to choosing the best ORM company.