As you begin the consideration process for hiring an Online Reputation Management (ORM) company for either your personal brand or your business, you have the luxury of selecting from a wide range of companies: from large digital marketing agencies that have a separate division for reputation management, to companies like Repceptional that focus exclusively on ORM. When it comes to narrowing down your selection, here are five of the most common mistakes that online reputation companies make – these mistakes can have a significant impact on the final outcome/quality of your results. Being aware of them heading into any consideration process will certainly help you make a decision.
(1) Tactics over strategy: Whenever you speak with a company about online reputation, whether it’s for an individual or business, listen carefully to the initial approach. What you’re looking for are companies that first look at the macro perspective, and the overall strategy for a given brand. The companies that jump right into the intricacies of search engine optimization (SEO) and content tactics undoubtedly have competency and know what they’re doing from an executional standpoint, but the risk you run here is that the completed assignment ends up being just a series of arbitrary online listings. This creates a presence that lacks cohesion or vision for your brand, and in the long run, your reputation can take a hit.
(2) Not placing enough emphasis on personal branding: A good online reputation management company should always devote significant attention to the cultivation of personal brands. Even in the case of businesses, it should look carefully at individual executives/employees. The digital realm offers a tremendous opportunity to showcase an individual’s unique value proposition and talents. When a firm’s emphasis becomes too fixated on just adding listings, a valuable opportunity is missed.
(3) Not enough love for LinkedIn: An optimized LinkedIn profile ranks very high in search engine results. Let’s say someone is looking to learn more about you – if you have a high-ranking profile, with a creative summary at the top, a nice header image, a clean, crisp, up-to-date headshot, video (see below), recommendations, and comprehensive details about your career and interests, there’s a good chance that you’ve given the person looking to learn about you everything he/she needs.
We continue to be amazed at people who have already hired online reputation management companies, only to find that they have incomplete, non-optimized LinkedIn profiles, with no summary, header image, video, etc.
(4) Guaranteed Removal of Negative Listings: Always be wary of any online reputation company that places guarantees on content removal. In the majority of cases, it’s just not possible to execute. Here’s why: Let’s say there are high-ranking articles online from reputable media sources that have (unfortunately) put a given brand in a bad light. The media source isn’t just going to take a story offline upon request to appease a person or company looking to strengthen an online reputation. In most cases, the reporting has been responsible, and stories have been fact checked and edited appropriately. There is no legal basis for having the story removed. Moreover, think about the precedent it would set if a media company were to pull a story offline each time a request came in. To say nothing of the fact that it needs all the content it can get as part of its monetization strategy.
The realistic answer you want to hear from a legitimate, reputable online reputation management company is that it will formulate a smart, comprehensive content strategy that will create positive listings that will ultimately push down the negative ones significantly.
(5) Video is not included. By the end of 2018, video views are anticipated to comprise nearly 75 percent of all Internet traffic. So it makes sense that a strong online reputation management strategy incorporates some element of video. And yet, many online reputation management companies do not include video as part of their overall brand strategy. At bare minimum, a smart ORM strategy should include a 1-2 minute video bio that can be added to a LinkedIn summary, and featured prominently on a personal website.
If you’re currently in the consideration process for hiring an online reputation management company, please don’t hesitate to dive into more detail on these five specific issues. The answers you get in return could very well lead you to the company that will do the best job for your brand!