So you’ve decided to improve your online reputation. It could be because a negative result may have appeared with your name on Google. Or maybe you’re new in the market and trying to reach on top. Whatever the reasons may be, you want to up your online reputation game by reaching up to a good online reputation management firm.
But how can you distinguish between a good and a bad ORM firm?
Well, don’t worry as we’ve got you covered on this topic as well. Just hop on and read our simple yet powerful guide to select the best ORM firm for your business.
Make arrangements for a detailed online research
The first step in this process would obviously require you to do some research on your own. Look for the company’s name on your local search engine and see what comes up. Have a closer look at the service provider’s own reviews and ratings to gain a better sketch.
If the ORM firm itself has poor ratings and reviews – how can you expect that they can improve your online reputation? Moreover, watch out for the firms with extraordinary good ratings, as they might be spending more time on this rather than actually paying attention to building their client’s online reputation.
Assess the team behind the organization
Once you’re done looking for the firm’s own online reputation, it is advisable to get to know about the team behind it as well. See if any negative results show up when you search about the firm’s CEO or any other founder.
This is important because the reputation of the team has a direct relationship with the reputation of the company. Moreover, if the company isn’t careful about their own reputation, how can you trust them with yours?
Examine their strategy
Before you sign-up a contract with a firm, it would be a sensible decision to ask for their proposed strategy. It is a common practice by many firms out there to make big and absurd claims. Many ORM companies offer quick fixes in their strategies by promising for results within six months or less.
Before you actually believe in such claims, ask them about the specifics of their plan. Inquire whether or not they are following the legal and ethical standards of online reputation management. This is so because deceptive techniques, like Blackhat SEO (where people use unethical tricks to boost search engine rankings), can actually cause harm to your reputation in the long run. Therefore, you must check if the company adheres to Google and other social media site’s guidelines and policies.
Request for some case studies
One of the best ways to see if the ORM firm is right for you or not is to dig into their past client record. Before you formally interview them, look for their client history and experiences online. Doing this may give you a brief outline of the firm’s overall performance.
However, if you can’t find anything online, ask them to submit their case studies along with their proposal. Also, you can ask them to schedule a meeting with one of their happy clients for your acknowledgment.
Get estimates for the cost & time-frame
This is important because a firm’s competence can be measured by this factor. Every brand requires a different time-frame for improving its online reputation. However, if an ORM service provider claims for an instant improvement in your search visibility or a quick overthrow of negative search results – it may indicate a need for caution.
Furthermore, don’t forget to take the estimates for the overall cost of the project. It should be alarming for you when you don’t receive rough estimates for the budget after the firm has studied your case. So, you should ask for it in the early stages of the contract so as to avoid any misunderstanding in the future.
Look for quality over quantity
While taking proposals, don’t get impressed by the numbers of websites and social assets the firm has built for their clients. Instead, you should pay more attention to the quality of work they put within these web assets. Just know that Google (the biggest search engine on the web) prefers value over the numbers.
Therefore, you need to ask for value in your ORM campaigns rather than bulks of social media links/posts. You should not rely on a rigid strategy where the firm’s success is measured by the number of posts and tweets it promised to you. Instead, you should be working with a firm that knows how to strategize on the fly to match the evolving market standards.
Take a thorough understanding of the contract
Don’t just start the drill before formally entering into a contract. Ask the service provider to sign a contract whereby all the necessary things have been written down clearly. Among those things, the contract must specify that the firm will adhere to all the guidelines and policies established by the search engine and social media companies.
Moreover, the contract must also include the total cost of the project, its time-frame, and a non-disclosure clause. Finally, there should be a clause that ensures all the intellectual property (websites and social media pages created for your brand) is owned by you – as the client. If your contract does not entail all the above-mentioned things, you must run in the opposite direction.
Have a look at our recent article to learn about “the industries that need customer reviews the most“.