Table of Contents
- 1. Assess Your Current Online Reputation
- 2. Enhance Your Lawyer Reputation by Soliciting Positive Reviews and Handling Negative Ones Responsibly
- 3. Harness the Power of Social Media and Community Management
- 4. Accelerate Your Lawyer Reputation with PR Tactics
- 5. Build Owned Assets to Strengthen Your Lawyer Reputation
When it comes to finding a product or professional service, most people turn to Google for research, contact information, and reviews. This applies to legal clients as well. According to the 2022 Legal Trends Report, client reviews and responsiveness to communication play a significant role in the hiring process for legal services.
Given this, it’s crucial for law firms to proactively manage their online reputation, as today’s clients rely heavily on online searches when evaluating potential lawyers. In this guide, we will outline the steps you can take to effectively manage your lawyer reputation online.
1. Assess Your Current Online Reputation
The first step in managing your online reputation is to put yourself in the client’s shoes and conduct a Google search. It’s recommended to do this in incognito mode to get an unbiased view of your firm’s reputation. By using incognito mode, you can prevent your browsing history from influencing the search results.
To use incognito mode, you can either press CTRL + Shift + N simultaneously on Windows or Command + Shift + N simultaneously on a Macbook. Alternatively, you can open a regular Chrome window, click the three vertical dots on the top right side of the taskbar, and select “New incognito window.”
When conducting your reputation research, consider the following search ideas:
- Look up similar law firms in your practice area.
- Search for your law firm’s name.
- Look up the names of your attorneys.
- Search for relevant keywords related to your law firm, such as variations of your law firm’s name or your colleagues’ names.
For example, if your name is William Peacock, you might search for “William Peacock attorney,” “William Peacock lawyer,” and “Law Office of William C. Peacock.” This research will likely uncover your website, Avvo, Yelp, LinkedIn, Twitter, and other local listings like Yahoo and Mapquest.
It’s important to note that each query may yield different results, which is why it’s essential to search using various variations of your name, your law firm’s name, and your colleagues’ names.
Ideally, you won’t come across any red flags, such as negative reviews. In this case, your focus should be on building your brand or expanding on existing positive content to strengthen your lawyer reputation. However, if you do find unfavorable results, including negative reviews, see it as an opportunity to turn things around. You can take steps to address these negative aspects and improve your overall reputation.
2. Enhance Your Lawyer Reputation by Soliciting Positive Reviews and Handling Negative Ones Responsibly
Positive reviews and testimonials can significantly impact your lawyer reputation. They provide social proof and demonstrate the satisfaction of your clients. On the other hand, negative reviews can harm your reputation, but they also present an opportunity for improvement and showcasing your commitment to client satisfaction.
To enhance your lawyer reputation, consider the following strategies:
Solicit Specific and Results-Driven Reviews
When asking clients for reviews, encourage them to be specific and results-driven. Ask them to share their experience, the challenges they faced, the solutions you provided, and the results they achieved by working with you. The more specific and detailed the review, the more trustworthy and valuable it will be for potential clients.
Additionally, consider requesting identifying information from clients, such as their name and relevant details like their position or the nature of the case. Including this information in reviews adds authenticity and credibility to your lawyer reputation.
Leverage Different Review Channels
Consider using various review channels to showcase positive feedback. Popular platforms like Google, Yelp, Avvo, and LinkedIn can all contribute to enhancing your lawyer reputation. By diversifying your review channels, you can reach a wider audience and increase your online presence.
Handle Negative Reviews Professionally
Even the most reputable attorneys may receive negative reviews at some point. It’s important to respond to these reviews in a professional and respectful manner. Avoid getting into arguments or defending your law firm. Instead, apologize for any substandard customer service the client experienced, offer to address their concerns privately, and highlight any improvements your firm has made since the incident.
Remember to adhere to ethical guidelines and avoid disclosing confidential information about the case in your response. Your goal should be to show potential clients that you value feedback and are committed to addressing any issues that arise.
Use Automated Review Funnels
Implementing automated review funnels can streamline the process of soliciting reviews and managing your lawyer reputation. Create a page that prompts clients to provide feedback on their experience. If they express satisfaction, direct them to a review site to share their positive feedback. If they express dissatisfaction, provide a feedback form where they can privately express their concerns. This automated process can help you gather more reviews and monitor your lawyer reputation effectively.
3. Harness the Power of Social Media and Community Management
Social media platforms offer a valuable opportunity to establish and enhance your lawyer reputation. Choose one platform that aligns with your target audience and focus on building a strong presence there. LinkedIn is an excellent option for reaching business clients, but don’t be afraid to think outside the box and explore other platforms that may resonate with your firm’s values and culture.
When using social media for law firm reputation management, keep the following strategies in mind:
- Provide valuable content that helps and entertains your audience. Avoid excessive sales pitches and focus on delivering value and building trust.
- Utilize hashtags to promote your content and engage with similar content. Leave thoughtful comments that contribute to the conversation and attract potential clients to visit your profile.
- Be consistent in your social media efforts. Building a strong lawyer reputation takes time, but by consistently providing valuable content and engaging with your audience, you can establish trust and credibility.
Additionally, community management plays a crucial role in strengthening your lawyer reputation. Respond to comments from your audience, listen to their feedback, and find opportunities to connect them with each other. By fostering a sense of community, you can build a loyal following and increase positive word-of-mouth referrals.
4. Accelerate Your Lawyer Reputation with PR Tactics
Public relations (PR) can be a powerful tool for boosting your lawyer reputation. By landing interviews, publishing articles, and partnering with trusted complementary businesses, you can generate positive PR messages about your firm. Seek opportunities to feature in prominent publications, podcasts, YouTube channels, and other platforms that have a large and trusted audience.
When pursuing PR opportunities, consider the following:
- Highlight your expertise and unique value proposition in interviews and articles.
- Collaborate with reputable businesses that serve your target audience but are not direct competitors. These partnerships can enhance your lawyer reputation and expand your reach.
- Leverage the positive PR messages to build credibility and trust among potential clients.
5. Build Owned Assets to Strengthen Your Lawyer Reputation
While social media platforms and external publications are valuable, it’s essential to build your owned assets, such as your website and email list. These platforms give you full control over your content and allow you to tell your firm’s story in your own words.
Building owned assets offers several benefits for law firm reputation management:
- You can control the narrative of your lawyer reputation and showcase your expertise and unique value proposition.
- Implementing content marketing strategies on your website can drive traffic, improve search engine rankings, and enhance your overall online presence.
- Display social proof, such as positive reviews, featured publications, and successful case outcomes, to build trust with potential clients.
By developing owned assets, you can strengthen your lawyer reputation and reduce reliance on external platforms that may change their rules or shut down.
In conclusion, managing your lawyer reputation is an ongoing process that requires proactive efforts. By conducting regular reputation assessments, soliciting positive reviews, handling negative feedback professionally, leveraging social media and community management, pursuing PR opportunities, and building owned assets, you can enhance and protect your lawyer reputation. Remember, a strong lawyer reputation is crucial for attracting and retaining clients in today’s digital age.