Table of Contents
- What Is A Reputation Management Company?
- What Do Reputation Management Agencies Do?
- How Much Do Reputation Management Companies Charge For Its Services?
- Why Hire A Reputation Management Agency?
- How To Choose The Best Reputation Management Company For Your Business?
- 15 Questions To Ask Reputation Management Agencies Before You Hire Them
- Takeaways On Reputation Management Companies
A reputation management company manages and monitors a business’s online presence and the customers’ perception of it.
In other words, reputation management companies supervise the online perception of your company and strive to show your business in a positive light to stand out from the competitors and gain the trust of customers and/or clients.
Reputation management goes by a variety of names:
- Internet reputation management
- Impression management
- Rep management
- Online reputation management (ORM)
- Brand reputation management
- Brand perception
In a digital world, your business’s online reputation is fundamental to your survival and growth. Venture owners can no longer afford to ignore what is being said about their brand online.
In fact, a whopping 79% of online users report trusting online reviews as much as personal recommendations from friends or family.
Besides the quality of the product and/or service, modern customers gravitate toward a brand that shares their values and goals. They appreciate a brand that “stands for” something, even if the opinion about pressing issues has little to do with the company’s offering or services.
Actively managing your business reputation to align it with these customer expectations is essential.
Your business’ character is who you are - but the online reputation is who your prospective customers think you are. Business owners can spend years and a massive budget to develop a robust, reputable brand, and still have a less than ideal online reputation that holds the potential to ruin all that hard work.
A positive online reputation is your business’s greatest asset. Customers, clients, potential talent for hire and even your employees all use search engines (primarily Google) to help make decisions every day.
What Do Reputation Management Agencies Do?
A reputation management company uses a combination of strategies to build and maintain a brand’s positive reputation or mend a negative one.
Their most common services include:
1. Content Creation
Producing valuable, relevant and factual content is one of the most efficient ways to suppress negative search results and build a healthy and controllable online reputation.
Most reputation management companies offer some form of content creation, whether its websites, articles, wiki pages, PRs, blog posts, business profiles and portfolios, white papers and more.
Search engine optimization, or SEO reputation management agencies, specialize in optimizing your online content for better ranking on search engines results pages (SERPs). They ensure your content uses the appropriate keywords, metadata, headlines, sub-headers to allow your content to be seen by your target audience when they search for your business or your respective industry.
2. Social Media Management
Social media platforms are the first line of defense when it comes to your online reputation.
Reputation management companies consider building and maintaining social media presence their primary focus. They create profiles on platforms most relevant to your business/niche (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc.) and they manage and monitor your brand presence on them.
These efforts include deciding what, how and when to post, strategizing posts to get high engagement, as well as building a strategy on how to interact with your community/followers.
Active social profiles are the best way to promote your brand, manage and alleviate potential negative comments.
3. Review Acquisition And Management
Reputation management companies help you acquire and manage online reviews on various platforms like Google, Facebook, etc. They reach out to past customers/clients to gather and promote positive reviews.
User-generated content like reviews and testimonials is used to establish an emotional connection with your target audience, gain trust and show authenticity. Simply put, people trust people.
In fact, most marketers agree that consumers trust user-generated content more than conventional advertising.
Some reputation management companies focus exclusively on review acquisition and management strategies. If you receive a negative review, reputation management agencies can respond to it on your behalf or notify you to swiftly remedy the situation.
4. Crisis Management
Crisis management means identifying a threat to your organization and stakeholders in order to efficiently respond to it. Not all reputation management companies offer this as a dedicated service, but being aware of the threat before it impacts your reputation can be invaluable.
5. Online Monitoring And Reporting
An online reputation management company can monitor not just your activities, but also other relevant websites, competitors, blogs, forums and news outlets to see if your brand’s name comes up.
They look at review sites like Yelp or Glassdoor, as well as any other page that might mention or discuss your business. They take ownership of your pages on these sites to ensure you know whenever someone is talking about your business publicly.
The reputation management agencies monitor your reputation results and report back on the potential campaign results, paid or not. They report data such as how your SERP ranking has improved and what outlets and platforms are most beneficial for your business.
How Much Do Reputation Management Companies Charge For Its Services?
While some companies set a monthly cost, most reputation management agencies offer customized pricing, depending on their clients' needs.
Reputation monitoring services may vary wildly, from $500 to $5,000 per month and up. The pricing naturally varies based on the quality of the service, as well as the time spent on a project.
Some of the services require a three, six, or even a 12-month contract, while others may settle for a month-to-month basis that allows for more flexibility and/or cancelation at any point.
Most reputation management companies in the United States conduct a free consultation - an initial analysis to establish which online reputation strategies fit your business best. Based on all the extracted information, they build a custom-tailored campaign for your particular needs.
Why Hire A Reputation Management Agency?
Whether your venture’s online reputation is good, bad, or nonexistent, it is likely you can benefit from hiring a reputation management agency to boost your online presence.
The question is not if you should opt for reputation management services, but rather, what strategy would benefit your company the most.
For instance, businesses that already have a positive online reputation can benefit from review acquisition and website monitoring. On the other hand, those with a lacking reputation may need more advanced tactics to minimize bad search results and mitigate their negative impact.
Building a brand reputation from the ground up can be extremely difficult. Businesses that don’t have an established online presence can benefit greatly from hiring a reputation management agency. These companies help businesses establish their newly created brand and claim authority that usually takes years to form.
To put it simply, reputation management services can help your business:
- Build credibility and a healthy brand image
- Boost sales/conversion rate
- Build trust and meaningful relationships
- Improve search engine rankings
- Attract top talent
- Increase positive returns
- And more
There is no precise timeframe for how long it takes to see the results from reputation management companies’ services. It depends on the current state of your brand’s image, as well as the strategies your future partner utilizes.
How To Choose The Best Reputation Management Company For Your Business?
When choosing a reputation management company for your business, you need to consider a multitude of factors like your own budget, the services you need and the quality of customer support.
Before starting your “hunt” for an advantageous partnership, you need to evaluate your current reputation in order to compare it to your ideal/desired reputation.
What are your goals? Is it repairing an acute negative outcome campaign, maintaining an actual online reputation, or creating a new one from the start? Which platform you’d like help managing?
Besides finding a partner that will respond to all these questions with tangible results, your future partner should also be able to work within your anticipated timeframe.
Once you make a thorough list of everything you want a reputation management agency to accomplish for you, it’s time to start your search.
When selecting one, make sure that:
- Their service is both proactive and reactive
- They ascertain your needs and goals
- They drive campaigns focused on customers/clients/end-users
- Reputation management services are ongoing
- They have a good reputation themselves
- They do not guarantee instant or unrealistic results
- They have experience in your industry/niche and with local search
The last and only point that is not exactly self-explanatory, is a crucial factor for small or medium-sized businesses.
Namely, a local search, or even local SEO is the process of optimizing a business, product, or service for location-specific searches. Google uses location based on IP addresses (for desktop users) and geolocation (for mobile users) to determine what results to show the user.
This is extremely important as online reviews and testimonials are an essential part of local ranking factors that determine your performance in Google local search and Google Maps.
15 Questions To Ask Reputation Management Agencies Before You Hire Them
Before hiring a USA reputation management company from our agency table list above, ask each one of your prospective partners these questions.
They will help you establish their level of expertise, their collaborative habits, how they use their resources and more.
- How do you protect your clients from risk?
- What steps will you take to handle an issue?
- What performance metrics do you offer?
- Can you remove or remedy existing harmful content ranking in Google?
- Will you actively monitor my brand online across all platforms?
- Will we get ongoing support?
- What is the timeline for success and how sustainable is the approach?
- What do you need from us? What role do we play?
- What type of information do you need to know about me or the business?
- What services are included in your PR and ORM campaigns?
- Is SEO and reputation management your core competency?
- What does the pricing structure look like?
- Will your SEO strategy address all of my online goals?
- When will you start writing content and building links?
- Who is on the team? What is their background? Are they in-house or outsourced?
Takeaways On Reputation Management Companies
Reputation management agencies oversee and manage the online perception of your business, reflecting it in a positive light to stand out from the competition.
Their service prices may vary. They are often customized and range from a couple of hundreds to several thousand dollars per month.
To build and maintain positive standing, top US reputation management companies utilize strategies like:
- Content creation
- Social media management
- Review acquisition and management
- Crisis management
- Online monitoring and reporting
When selecting one be sure to focus on factors like:
- Proactive and customer-oriented service
- Focus on your needs and goals
- Transparency and their own reputation
- A realistic plan of action
- Experience in your industry and local search
Best of luck!