It’s extremely important for everybody to have a good reputation. Especially online. But when you’re a lawyer, having a trustworthy online reputation is a necessity. While all lawyers strive to achieve an outstanding reputation, creating a digital presence that accurately represents an attorney’s expertise and the goodwill they have with their clients is easier said than done. Even The American Bar Association realizes the importance of digital reputations in the legal industry.
Nowadays, consumers no longer have to put in work to find doctors, lawyers or other professional service providers. Now they have Google search. Many professional service providers claim that digital representation is not important because their business thrives and relies on word of mouth referrals. Even so, when being referred to somebody, consumers tend to do a Google search to test get an idea of your business before they call. Does your name appear high on the search page when relevant keywords are searched within your vicinity? Your local SEO should attract and engage people in your are, no matter how they are referred. Building an online reputation, especially locally, is critical for ensuring your message is impactful and achieving sustainable results. For that reason, for the majority of lawyers online marketing is a powerful and effective way to both reach potential clients and covert word of mouth referrals into new business.
Online Reputation Management (ORM)
The process of controlling what shows up when someone looks you up online is known as online reputation management (ORM). Finding and repairing any damaging content about your firm or you online, like risky social media posts and negative reviews and images, as well as promoting positive content that helps you look great online, are all important ORM considerations. Recognizing the need for clarity and direction, state bar associations have weighed in on this subject:
Reputation Management is a pretty new field in public relations and digital marketing, but the significance of it can’t be overstated. Many people now make decisions based solely on digital information in the form of social media, online content found through Google searches, and online reviews. While online resources and content on social media and Google can help customers find lawyers, they can also be used by the same people to express dissatisfaction with the same law firm’s services. With the emergence of many online review websites, Reputation management is not just an optional luxury, but a necessity. Today, building, monitoring and repairing your digital footprint directly influences your immediate success and visibility. Knowing how to respond to online reviews both effectively and ethically is important.
Why Does Reputation Management Matter for Lawyers?
Online searches can be performed by anybody. This includes associates, partners, clients, opposing counsels, personal contacts, staff, and many other people who interact with your firm in a number of ways. Negative references to your firm online can chase away potential clients, har recruiting efforts, affect business relationships, and negatively impact your practice. Negative information can exist online for a long time after the issues have been resolved. In fact, over time, these negative reviews can appear on top of online searches causing ongoing damage.
If you are a lawyer, there are ways to ensure your success online:
- Follow the conversation about you and your firm
You can monitor online conversations by using Google alerts for discussions on your firm. These will send you emails every time new matching results are located. There are also tools available to track online mentions of your firm. Regardless of how sophisticated you get with the monitoring, simply using select and relevant keywords and attorney names is helpful. A proactive approach helps law firms, regardless of their size, address and contain negative news, defamatory content, or an unfavorable client review.
- Know what’s being said on online review websites
The websites that clients use to become clients are often the same websites that get used to leave feedback about the experience. Because of this, it makes sense to track what’s being said about you on these sites. Claiming and completing your profile on each platform can help to ensure that your profiles are updated regularly so that prospective clients can make the most informed decisions. It also helps to build trust in your firm to have complete and comprehensive profiles on these sites. Engaging and responding to the feedback on these sites also helps to establish trust and manage relationships.
- Request and track feedback
One way to manage online feedback is to encourage and ask for positive comments from satisfied clients. These helps to counteract any negative comments that might come your way. Make certain to obtain regular feedback from clients by systemizing feedback processes. Be receptive to your clients’ comments and, if appropriate, make changes. When each case is completed, consider including a request for positive comments in your closing communications. Never hesitate to follow up, either. Just like you, your clients may get busy and forget and could use reminders. After two weeks, follow-up with a phone call and email requesting the review.
- Augment positive reviews
When your clients leave positive reviews about you or your law firm, make the most out of them. Highlight them by adding it to your law firm website’s client testimonial section. Also, consider mentioning, linking or repurposing them on your Facebook page and other social media profiles. Sharing positive reviews engenders trust and encourages potential clients to retain your services.
- Manage negative reviews
If you receive a negative review, you need to thoughtfully and carefully respond to it or the former client’s feedback. Avoid addressing factual allegations, since doing so adds credence to the claims and can also potentially violate client confidentiality. Avoid expressing anger and instead provide a brief empathetic response. Clients want to be heard, especially when they did not have a positive experience or feel that the service they received was subpar. Tactfully contact them to discuss their concerns. Lastly, counteract the negative review by encouraging other clients to leave positive reviews on the website.
Get the best law firm reputation management in West Palm Beach
It is clear that ORM is not just for lawyers that have problems to manage, but for all lawyers including who want to establish a positive online image. Oamii, is Florida’s top digital marketing agency for law firms. We understand how to stay ahead of the pack because that is what we do every day, and we have a roster of law firm clients to demonstrate our success. We provide expert Reputation Management services so you can focus on your firm.
Fill out our online contact form, or call us at 561-228-4111 today