Just a few years ago, people turned to the Yellow Pages and word of mouth for information about lawyers. Today, over 55% of your potential clients use the Internet to research you (or any lawyer). Word of mouth is still important, but don’t think that even with a glowing referral, you aren’t being vetted online before you get the call.
That being said, reviews are now an accepted part of online life. Consumers looking for restaurants, dentists, caterers or law firms now turn to sites such as Yelp.com and the various social media networks for detailed ratings and information. They can even post reviews directly to your Google+ Local profile and Avvo profile!
So what do you do if someone has written a negative review about you or your law firm? How do you manage your online reputation in an effective, strategic manner? Read on for a few tips on online reputation management for lawyers.
Tip #1: Pay attention!
If people are talking and writing about your law firm, you need to be aware of it. That makes online reputation management for lawyers a necessity. One option is to use dashboard-style tools that offer at-a-glance details on when and how your law firm appears on the Internet.
Step #2: Respond.
In the right manner. If you feel that replying is in your best interest, respond with a carefully crafted, respectful response. Not only does providing a genuine reply to a reviewer’s concerns good customer service and a skillful public relations gesture, it can also help repair the damage done to your law firm’s good name. As always, be sure to check what your local bar association and other governing bodies say on the topic.
Step #3: Ask for reviews.
If it’s permissible in your state. Hopefully, the more positive reviews you have, the less potential clients will pay attention to the negative reviews. Of course, a savvy online reputation management for lawyers team can utilize other tools to help you ‘push down’ the negative content.
Step #4: Avoid reviews-for-hire.
Given the importance of consumer reviews, it’s not surprising that there’s an entire industry devoted to writing them. However, what seems like a no brainer can actually put your law license at risk. Paying for reviews is an ethical violation and a direct defiance of Federal Trade Commission guidelines.
If you would like to learn more about how WebPresence, Esq.’s legal marketing solutions can help your firm and your online reputation, contact us for a free consultation.