Summary: What steps can you take to ensure your firm’s reputation is as strong as possible on the internet, where anyone can leave damaging comments or remarks in a public forum?
Have you ever Googled your firm? According to AmazeLaw.com, you may want to. It will provide valuable insight into your firm’s reputation. After gaining an understanding of what the online community really thinks, you can take steps to control your image and gain more clients.
So go ahead. Google your firm.
The first result should be your firm’s website, followed by review sites like Avvo, Yelp, and Yellowpages.com. What you see will be the first thing your prospective clients see when they search for your firm.
You may noticed star ratings on the results page as well, where others have revealed their satisfaction with your work. What if there are only one or two stars here? How do you prevent such a result from turning prospective clients away? Similarly, if someone Googles your field of law in your community, how do you compete with the star law firm that pops up everywhere in the search results?
First, you should claim your profile on Avvo. Avvo automatically completes some profile information on your behalf, using your state’s bar association information, but you should also be proactive and fill in other information. For example, make sure your website, phone number, email address, and physical address are correct. It’s also a good idea to include a personal headshot, as most prospective clients want to see whom they will be working with. This also humanizes your firm and brand.
Don’t be afraid to brag a bit—include any awards you have won, publications you have been a part of, and your professional organizations. This can actually improve your Avvo ranking while boosting your online reputation.
You can also ask for reviews, either in your office or via email. In person, it’s a good idea to have a review-optimized business card ready to show your clients where you’d like them to leave a review. If you are asking for a review over email, you should provide a mini-guide that simplifies the review process. You can leave guiding questions, like: How was our service? Would you recommend us to others? Did we promptly address your concerns? Would you do business with us again in the future?
You can ask for reviews on certain websites, or you can ask for testimonials that you can publish on your firm’s website. Just be mindful that some third-party sites delete reviews, both good and bad, from time to time.
Video testimonials are another great idea, if you have clients who are willing to do them. Watching a relatable person explain how your firm helped with a difficult situation is an excellent want to gain new clients. All you really need is a smartphone!
Set up a Google Alert to get notified every time you are mentioned on the Internet. This will save you hours of searching for your firm’s name online. You can set a notification schedule that suits your needs. It is a free way to monitor your firm’s reputation.
It is also wise to respond to all reviews—even the negative ones. If not, some prospective clients may think that you do not care about the reviews or that you are so out of touch that you did not even notice the reviews. Responding to negative reviews especially demonstrates that you are willing to resolve problems. Make sure you respond promptly!
If you are still lost, you can consult a reputation management specialist, according to Forbes. These companies give their clients control over what people view about them on the Internet. If there are negative statements out there that, frankly, are not true, have been manipulated, or are downright damaging to your profession, you can work with these companies to help eliminate these statements from your online reputation.
Take the time to manage your online reputation carefully. After all, it is usually the first place prospective clients go to find out more about your firm. Even a single negative review can cost your firm thousands of dollars in earnings.
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