What You Need to Know Before Hiring an Online Reputation Manager
Why Hire an Online Reputation Manager?
Quite frankly, there’s a lot that goes into efficiently monitoring, tracking, and improving your online image; and in order to do it correctly, you may want the help of a professional.
An experienced online reputation manager can help you achieve consistent growth using various tools and methods; they are extremely knowledgeable in this area and can help you do it faster and much more effectively than you could do on your own.
They provide constructive advice on online interaction, and even handle it for you in some cases.
An online reputation manager will work to create, evaluate, and monitor the public perception of your company and its brand value.
The benefits of having a competent reputation specialist on your side are endless and well-worth the resources that small businesses dedicate to these goals. They’re a huge support system when it comes to safeguarding your company against reputation damage.
However, choosing a brand manager can be tough. You need to fully understand what services they can provide, how much they charge, and what is needed from you to get the job done.
- The Process is Time-Consuming: Since you spend a lot time focusing on running your business, you probably can’t take on the additional tasks associated with improving your online image.
Monitoring what others are saying about you online takes up a lot of time itself. Not to mention the time it takes to respond to your customers, deal with negative reviews, and fight fake reviews.
Reputation management also involves posting frequent, helpful content on the web – whether it’s your website, social media sites, forums, and other online hubs.
Keeping up with the latest and greatest reputation strategies is like taking on a full-time job, which you, as a business owner, probably don’t have the time to do.
A reputation manager will take the pressure off of your shoulders by handling anything related to your brand’s online image. He or she will work closely with you to ensure your potential and existing customers will view your company in a positive light.
- Experts Reputation Management: Even if you have some basic knowledge of how to deal with negative feedback about your company, professional reputation manager has the experience and tools necessary knowledge to make sure it’s done efficiently.
When someone blasts your company on a website, that review has the potential to land on hundreds of other websites. Most people don’t understand how to uncover these sites; they also don’t know what to do once if they do come across them.
A well-informed reputation manager can help you take the right course of action that will get the best results in the least amount of time.
- Always on the Cutting-Edge: The Internet, even though a powerful way to gain new customers, is one of the biggest challenges when it comes to negative reputation management.
Reputation management experts stay on top of the latest trends and techniques. The Internet is ever-evolving, making it difficult to determine all of the factors that can pose a threat to your online image.
Reputation management consultants understand this and are constantly on top of the latest developments; this way, you can be rest-assured that no stone is left unturned when it comes to positioning your brand as a positive, trust-worthy one.
- Consistent Competition Analysis: Instead of spending time trying to keep up with what your competition is doing and what kind of reviews they are getting, your reputation manager can stay on top of this for you. They can also create strategies and techniques to help you gain a leading edge.
These days, consumers are typically careful about where they spend their money. So it’s extremely important to make sure that they aren’t met with caustic complaints and harmful reviews. Otherwise, your chance of getting the sale is very slim to none.
Therefore, it’s a must for local companies to have a stellar online reputation if they want any chance of out-doing their competitors in terms of grabbing the attention of local consumers.
- It’s a Solid Investment: Many business owners think that hiring reputation management consultant is an expense that they don’t need or just can’t afford. Yet, it’s actually one of the most profitable businesses investments you can make and will pay for itself over and over again.
A reputation management consultant, as previously mentioned, can help bury negative reviews of your company that you probably don’t even know exist. This is crucial for your business. Up to 90% of online consumers will check out review sites, articles, and social media sites before deciding on a purchase. If they are met with negativity, your chance of getting them as a customer is greatly diminished.
Some companies hire a full-time employee to do help manage their online reputation, but this usually backfires in many cases. Reputation management consultants are usually much more knowledgeable than an employee who isn’t experienced with how hidden key phrases and SEO works. Hiring a reputation manager is cost-effective when you consider the amazing benefits you can gain from it.
- Consistent Monitoring and Tracking: Reputation managers know the tools needed to measure and monitor a company’s reputation. There are several various factors that go into this process and they have the expertise needed to ensure that your company has a winning shot in eliminating bad exposure while promoting the positive.
What Should You Look for in an Online Reputation Manager?
Choosing the right online reputation specialist can be tough. You may be wondering what you should look for in potential reputation consultants that can help your business get the brand image you deserve.
While there are a few unethical people out there who call themselves “experts” and “consultants,” most reputation consultants are typically honest, reliable people who truly have your best interest at heart.
There are some basic qualities you can pinpoint to help ensure you are choosing the right person:
- Should Thoroughly Understand Your Goals: A reputable online reputation manager should put forth a lot of effort to fully understand your problem areas, as well as what your main objective is for improving your online image.
Do you want to partner with others in your industry? Do you want to generate more leads? Do you want to bring more foot traffic through your doors? Do you want to have more positive customer reviews? Do you want to get rid of negative mentions?
These are just a few questions that will help them determine a plan of action for your reputation management initiative.
- Should be Knowledgeable about Search Engine Optimization (SEO): A huge part of reputation management is getting positive information about your brand ranking higher in the search engine results.
For instance, if you Google your company name, and there are several negative mentions coming up high in the results, a reputation manager will help you publish more content that can ultimately push the negative comments further down the results.
By targeting specific keywords and phrases, a good reputation manager can help redirect traffic, diminish false websites, and manage the negative complaints. Your business needs someone who is experienced with SEO techniques as well as someone who has the time to monitor what is coming up about your company in all of the major search engines.
- Should be Forth–Coming with Information: An online reputation manager should be very willing to answer any questions about how you will handle your quest for a better brand image. Since there will be a lot of interaction between the two of you during the project, it is important that you choose someone who doesn’t mind telling you details about strategies they intend to use to strengthen your reputation.
Also, always ask questions about anything you are unsure about before agreeing to work with someone – as well as after you hire someone. It is critical that you understand the process and the services you will receive. Otherwise, things could go wrong later down the road due to a lack of understanding – causing you to waste time and money on the entire process.
- Should be Proactive: You are probably really concerned if your company is currently suffering from a tarnished online reputation. But even if you’re not, you should still have some type of reputation management strategy in place.
While it may seem to be a “defensive” type of strategy, it’s also a “proactive” type of strategy. Being proactive involves constantly monitoring your brand, publishing great content on behalf of your brand, encouraging satisfied customers to leave online reviews, and so much more.
It’s a smart move to work towards having a more solid online image BEFORE a negative image consumes you. This way, if you do happen to get a few negative customer reviews at some point, the impact won’t be as damaging due to the all of the positive content over-shadowing it.
A good online reputation manager will work to develop and implement a plan of execution that will work towards both current and future issues.
What Questions Should You Ask Potential Online Reputation Managers?
- Ask What Services They Offer: Online reputation management involves a wealth of different techniques. One company may offer a specific service that others may not. Depending on your particular situation, be sure that whomever you hire can help with your specific reputation goals. For instance, some companies ONLY focus on handling negative online mentions, while others offer brand-building techniques that cover a spectrum of services.
- Ask About Their Experience: Ask how long they’ve been working in this field. Longevity doesn’t always mean “better,” but it’s still good to know what skill-level you’re working with. Also ask about prior reputation management projects they’ve worked on. Make sure to get in-depth details on the problems they have handled for previous clients; as well as how they accomplished those goals.
- Ask How They Plan to Engage Your Audience: If your reputation manager will be handling your social media interactions, their quality of “engagement” is important. Find out how often they plan to post content, how they will decide (along with you) what content should be posted, and more. Also establish how customer service issues will be handled.
- Ask About Communication Methods: You need to be able to get in touch with your reputation manager instantly should something pressing arise. So be sure to ask how they handle urgent matters so you know what to expect.
- Ask for References or to See Testimonials: Getting information about a reputation manager’s performance via references and/or testimonials will be comforting. Chances are if they are happy with the services, you will be as well. In addition, perform an Internet search on the reputation manager yourself to see what comes up. Of course their reputation is squeaky clean, right? Unfortunately, scathing reviews can happen to the best of us. So always check to get the facts.
- Ask Detailed Questions About their Service Fees: Fee should always be discussed beforehand and the reputation manager should provide the fees involved without hesitation. You certainly don’t want any surprises later down the road, so be sure to ask about any up-front, on-going, or potential special fees during the process.
Having a positive company image and online reputation is crucial. Once someone paints a negative picture of your business, the ramifications can be very detrimental. Consumers will automatically have a tarnished image of your brand even after reading ONE negative mention.
Whether your business is just starting up or if you’re an established business looking to maintain your position in the current local marketplace, an online reputation manager will help get and maintain a desirable brand image.
Successful reputation management requires an expert hand with skills and knowledge to implement the best approaches catered towards your particular business needs.
A reputable online reputation consultant can help you generate and implement a solid plan of execution that will get the results you deserve.