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Reputation management has become a necessary part of customer-oriented businesses with an online presence, such as law firms. Keep in mind that your reputation precedes you, which means that whatever a person says about you online becomes either valuable or harmful for your brand.
Reputation Management — Why You Should Care About It
People will talk about your professional work and share their experiences with others online, given the fact that you provide professional services. Thus, your name and firm credentials will show up not only on search engines and social media platforms but also on a vast number of directories, as well as sites built to provide legal information. As soon as you have an online presence, it is highly likely that you will get reviews, comments, and ratings of 1-5 stars. Your online presence will become very significant for potential clients and referrals from websites that specialize in rating attorneys, such as the Justia Lawyer Directory.
Thus, running reputation management campaigns is a must. The good news is that you have a valuable asset to maintain. Make sure that you put it to good use and boost your business. Cultivating your reputation will improve your firm’s image and profitability.
Online Reputation — Why It Is Important
As a law firm, a positive online reputation sets you apart from your competitors and allows you to attract and retain prospective clients. At one point, word-of-mouth marketing was the most common and successful way to get clients. However, things are quite different in the digital world, and online reputation management matters more than ever. Some attorneys might be surprised by what they find if they Googled themselves, since most of the search results would not be favorable enough. If you want prospective clients to choose your services over your main competitors, your online reputation is your strongest asset going forward.
What people say about you online has a significant impact on the behavior of potential clients before they decide to retain your services, so it is crucial to take active measures to protect your reputation in advance. A recent survey shows that most consumers are highly influenced by positive reviews, and these make a difference when choosing a business.
You must make sure that consumers perceive you as a trusted expert in your area who wants to make your clients happy. Thus, when receiving a negative review, it is critical to handle the situation properly. We encourage you to take an active role in managing your law firm’s review process. Some of the key benefits from a good reputation management campaign include:
1. Better site performance and visibility in search engines as a result of good reviews.
2. A direct impact on potential clients’ trust and credibility.
3. Higher revenues through prospect conversion.
4. Clean and professional image.
How to Run a Solid & Successful Reputation Management Strategy
First and foremost, you need to cover the most important aspect of reputation management: client satisfaction! Going above and beyond your clients’ expectations will set your business up for success and will make it easier to maintain a positive online reputation. At this point, you should define the platforms and places that are important to you. If you take an active role in managing your reputation online, your law firm will look authoritative and reliable. Find out what people are saying about your law firm online and address anything that might be hurting your name. Here are eight key tactics that we recommend when running reputation management campaigns:
1. Google Yourself
A search on Google is the easiest way to find what is being said about your firm and you online. First, log out of your accounts and clear the cache, cookies, and browsing data. Then, “Google” your name, your practice, or your law firm name and see what comes up in the results. We know that you are busy, so take advantage of the Google Alert service. Set up alerts associated with “your name” or “firm name,” and you will get notified whenever they pop up online.
2. Claim and Update Your Profile in Lawyer Directories
Prospective clients who are considering retaining your services will thoroughly think about how to use their money. As a result, it is highly likely that they will look at reviews and testimonials associated with your name or firm in lawyer directories. Make sure to claim and update your free profile in highly trafficked attorney directories, such as the Justia Lawyer Directory. With a powerful built-in search engine, our directory categorizes and ranks lawyer profiles based on consumers’ legal needs for each city, county, and state. If you have not claimed your free profile yet, get started today!
3. Set Up or Claim Your Business Listings
Google My Business has become the most valuable and widespread listing online because it displays your business information in a search for a related service in or near your area. Make sure that you have claimed and edited the listing with the name of your business, the physical address, a business category, your contact details, and your website URL. It is important to read and reply to all reviews in the listing to build credibility.
4. Receive and Respond to Reviews
Reviews are essential for the success of local businesses. There are two types of reviews: those from happy and satisfied clients and those from unhappy clients.
- If you want to succeed, encourage your happy customers to review your services at your Google My Business listing, Facebook fan page, lawyer profile in attorney directories, etc. The more places, the better. If a customer writes a good review, they are advertising your business to people around them. It is an excellent idea to provide them with alternatives to leave a review. Do not hesitate to ask for a review; you are simply asking for feedback.
- A bad review hurts. Always respond to negative reviews if you do not want to drive your referrals away. While it may be tough, it is important to stay composed and demonstrate your commitment to service. Let the reviewer know about the next steps to work things out. It is all about courtesy, responsibility, and good manners; people are watching. If you want to make things right, show the reviewer that you appreciate and value the feedback, say thank you in your response, and indicate that you feel sorry even if it is not your fault. To bring the issue to an end, talk about it with the person offline.
5. Show Yourself as an Authoritative Source in Magazines, Blogs, & Journals
Establish yourself as an authority by publishing in industry magazines, blogs, and journals. Publishing stories and articles helps you control or influence what comes up on the first page of search engines when people search for your name or law firm name.
6. Take Advantage of Social Media
Social media is very important to enhance exposure. Your firm should have a company page on the most popular social platforms, such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. If you are a lawyer or a law firm, all of your clients are probably on social media. Thus, testimonials from happy clients posted on any of your social media pages is a great way to show your friends and followers that you are skilled at your practice. Use social media to distribute a new blog post, video, or web page too.
7. Make the Most of Testimonials
Having a testimonials section in a highly visible place on your website lets people visiting your website know about clients’ experiences with you as a legal services provider. A testimonials web page shows prospective clients the quality of your services; testimonials build trust and improve conversion rates. From an SEO standpoint, each time that a testimonial is added, your website content is automatically updated, which eventually alerts search engine crawlers.
8. Learn How to Deal with Fake Reviews
If someone posts a fake review about your business, do not panic. Do not fight back, creating chaos and further damage to your reputation. We all know that false or defamatory reviews can be irritating. However, keep in mind that most review sites do not take down every post that you do not want. If possible, try to get the review removed before anyone sees it. Request that the review be examined at your earliest convenience. Some major reviews sites, such as the Justia Lawyer Directory, Facebook, Yelp, and Google, will remove reviews under specific circumstances. For instance, a review may be removed if it violates community guidelines, if it has an apparent conflict of interests, if it includes offensive language, if it shares private information, or if someone is impersonating someone else. Finally, respond to the reviews that cannot be removed.
Reputation management is definitely worth the time and effort. You should carefully monitor your reputation online, since a few negative comments may tear down your name or brand if they are not handled correctly. If you have spent a lot of time establishing your name online, do not take it for granted. Start building a solid online reputation to grow your business.