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Reputation management may be a term that gets thrown around frequently but what does it have to do with SEO and the internet? Reputation management is the process of attempting to shape public perception to increase brand awareness or decrease the effect of a problem or issue in the companies past. Reputation management is a service that could be utilized on its own, or paired perfectly with SEO. Either way, reputation management is a great tool to have in your toolbox.
Important Questions to Ask Reputation Management Agencies
Once you have decided if reputation management is something that you feel will be beneficial to your online presence, it is important to ask potential reputation management agencies the right questions to get a feel for which one will be the right partner for your business.
What is your strategy to develop our reputation?
A reputation management agency should plan their strategy around your company and your existing circumstances. While there are basic strategies behind reputation management, each should be individualized based on what your immediate growth areas are. Make sure the agency will do a complete check of all existing online platforms for any previous issues, potential issues, and your current online reputation. Asking this question will also allow you to see if this company is willing to work with you to form the reputation you want your business to have.
Can you remove the existing content that is detrimental to the company?
It is very difficult to completely remove a negative comment or post. In order to have something removed from the internet, legal action may have to be taken. Legal action is rarely applicable and even when it is, it is rarely won.
Instead, the goal of reputation management is to push those negative search results down as far as possible. The goal is to get them off of the first page search results entirely and then further if possible. It is important to think about review management before a major reputation issue occurs. The amount of work it takes to improve a business’s reputation is much more intensive and time consuming than it is to prevent issues from occurring.
Will you manage all of my online platforms?
Make sure you know what you would get out of your respective plan with the agency. Are they managing all platforms or just some? Knowing exactly what is going to be monitored and proactively engaged on is going to alleviate any confusion in the future. If a reputation management company limits the number of platforms that are monitored, ensure that you are choosing the social platforms that will benefit your business the most. Having the company review your online presence before making a definite decision could allow for a clearer picture of what is needed.
Do you have any case studies or examples of previous work?
When making any decision, proof of results is a must. A good agency will provide as many case studies or examples as needed to feel comfortable. Don’t just ask for before and after results, dig into exactly what that agency did to get those results. Each strategy should be specific to that business. Look at the time frame in which results started for each business to get a better idea of how long the process might take for you. If you take the time to dig into some of these results, you can learn a lot about the reputation management agency and their process.
If a damaging issue arises, what are the steps taken to fix the issue?
This is an important question to ask. Preventative reputation management is just as important as reputation management after the damage has already been done. But if damage does occur, what steps is that agency going to take to get you back on track?
How Much Does Reputation Management Cost?
Preventative reputation management could cost anywhere from $300-$600 per month. This depends on the plan and the agency. You could find prices that are higher or lower but generally, a quality reputation management company is going to be priced within that average. This typically gets you social media sharing, link building on positive content, monitored phrases and key terms, and more. Not to mention, with the right company, you will have very little to worry about on your end. With extended focus on day to day business items, having an agency to spend their time on your online presence offers piece of mind.
Specialized Reputation Management work will likely cost more than preventative management. Much more work is needed when dealing with an already damaged reputation. If you are looking to get rid of a specific issue, you should expect the process to be more expensive. Depending on the situation, more pressing issues could be anywhere from $3,000 – $6,000 per month. Some review management companies will offer a one-time payment option for situations that need to be handled as quickly and as aggressively as possible. Depending on the time frame offered, this could be anywhere from $8,000 – $22,000 as a onetime fee. More time and resources will need to be put into suppressing a major issue. The aggressive strategy that is needed will cost more than preventative services.
Why is it worth spending more for specialized Reputation Management?
Ultimately, hiring an experienced agency will form the foundation needed to avoid continued damage on your company’s reputation. Think about your company’s future. Long term, the monetary damage that a bad reputation could have on your business will exceed the cost of this service. Whether you choose to deal with the situation on your own or you choose to hire an agency, online reputation issues need to be dealt with. With online reviews and testimonials becoming so prevalent in deciding who to work with, having a trusted reputation management agency that will manage this for you relieves the stress of you having to do it on your own.
How Long Does It Take To See Results?
Similar to SEO work, Reputation Management is a game of time. Like SEO, it is about consistent link building, copy additions, and getting Google’s attention. Just like the amount of effort that needs to be initiated for a social media campaign or an SEO campaign, review management is about consistent work being put in over an extended period of time.
Preventative measures tend to take shape a little quicker. Depending on your company’s current situation, it may be a 5-7 month waiting period before you begin seeing the results and reputation that you were looking for.
Specialized Reputation Management work might take longer because working on the current damage will be the number one focus. That alone could take upwards 6 months, and once the fire has died down and the reputation is just starting to be repaired, the agency will begin to really focus on preventative measures so this issue doesn’t occur again or if it does, doesn’t have the same effect. Combining these two process is what will usually extend how long it takes to see results from a review management campaign.
It may be possible to find a company or plan that can offer a shorter time frame for emergent situations. This is where one time fee’s come into play. Spending more time and money upfront could allow for a quicker turnaround time but it is also important to note that no time frame can be promised. It is not possible to know exactly how long an online issue is going to take to resolve.
This is why it is so important to pick the perfect review management company. Making sure the agency is following best practices and not buying links or publishing duplicate content for the sake of content will allow for this process to go as quickly and as smoothly as possible.
Picking The Perfect Company For Reputation Management Work
In order to pick the perfect company for reputation management, you need to know what your end goal is. Whether you are looking for preventative services and review management or a quick fix for a solution to a major brand issue, having a goal in mind will help you ask the right questions when looking for the perfect company.
Ask for case studies from each perspective agency and learn how that company got those results. If you have a specific issue that needs fixed, ask the agency if they have dealt with a similar issue or how they are planning to handle yours if it is new to them.
Make sure you and your agency have the same expectations and end goal in mind. Be open and clear with what you want out of the campaign. Map out the strategy together and keep your goal top of mind. Express any pain points up front so the agency has all of the information before forming the strategy. The agency should be willing to work with you on to accomplish your goals.
Be realistic. Not only with your goals, but with the time frame and cost it will take to complete those goals. Reputation management is not an overnight solution. This is an ongoing, sometimes costly, but a completely necessary process that offers brand awareness in a positive and healthy light.
If you have a larger issue that needs to be handled, be aware that it will cost you money upfront but it is important to remember that the customer loss of a damaged reputation will cost more in the long run. Keeping this in mind when looking for the perfect reputation management company will allow for the best decision for your business. Online reputation is important now but with time, will only become more significant. Preparing your business for a positive online presence may be the best investment for your businesses future.