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Reputation Management for Lawyers and Law Firms – 10 Ways to Get More Visibility
The internet is changing how people find information about products, services, companies, professionals, and more. In today’s search-driven environment, online reviews play a critical role in how people seek out information. A recent study by BrightLocal found that 4 out of 5 consumers trust online reviews as much or more than personal recommendations.
Unlike other marketing efforts such as TV commercials, print ads (newspapers/magazines), radio spots, and billboards, which provide you with one shot at communicating your message to your audience, online reviews can be posted by clients who have had direct experience with you or your law firm for years into the future. The implications of this reality are profound for any lawyer looking to build or maintain a solid reputation with consumers (potential clients) and businesses.
Here are ten ways to manage your firm’s reputation online and get more exposure (and clients).
1. Register with Google My Business and Bing Local
Consumers find law firms online by typing in their city in a search engine (Google, Yahoo!, Bing) and including “near me” in the search. This is why it is critical to register your Google My Business page and optimize it for local searchers. This will also help you show up on mobile devices when someone uses the search engine from their phone.
2. Create a website and blog for your law firm
With more than seven out of ten people using search engines to research products/services before buying, taking action and coming into contact with businesses through their website has become an essential part of generating new clients. If you don’t have one already, consider hiring a professional to handle this for you.
3. Claim your business listing on Yelp
Whether or not you have a website, people will be able to find your company profile and reviews on Yelp by typing in your company name (you can always claim the page if it’s not already taken). According to BrightLocal’s 2012 study, 16% of consumers trust user-generated content more than any other type of marketing and advertising. So this is clearly worth doing if it hasn’t been done yet.
4. Monitor your online reputation
Use Google Alerts to set up alerts so you know when companies from your industry are mentioned online (in news articles, blogs, industry forums, etc.) If users mention or review you positively online (or neutrally or negatively), you can leave a positive reply or add your own feedback. You should also set up alerts for your business name and address so that you know when someone has mentioned your company online.
5. Make it easy for clients to give reviews
The BrightLocal study found that 68% of consumers said they would post an online review if prompted to do so, which is why any business should make it as easy as possible for customers/users to share their experience with others (which in turn will help boost your potential customer base). For example, suppose people have a positive experience interacting with you or using your law firm’s services. In that case, they are much more likely to go to the trouble of posting a review on Yelp, Google, etc., especially if you ask them, “would you mind if we include your comments on our website?” by providing them with a comment card/comment box or if you have a question and answer section.
6. Engage in online discussions
Posting on forums (like Yahoo! Answers, Quora) is an effective way to start conversations about yourself and your law firm that can drive traffic to your site through links. You can also drive new traffic by engaging in social media sites like Facebook or Twitter, where users discuss their experience with companies and brands they love and share tips related to your industry.
7. Remove negative reviews
If you find negative reviews of your business online, check out the company’s policy for removing “false” reviews. Some businesses provide this information publicly on their website. You cannot remove reviews from a website if they are authentic, but you can contact the reviewer and ask them to change them or remove them. It’s best to avoid doing this manually since differences in opinion and typos can confuse which reviews are false.
8. Keep your online reputation consistent
Before making any changes to your business location info or content on Yelp, Google Places for Business, etc., ensure that all of the information is up-to-date and consistent across these sources (e.g., address, phone number). This will help keep your company image hassle-free and ensure that customers continue finding accurate information about your business when they search online
9. Connect your accounts
Suppose you have a Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn account for your business. In that case, it’s crucial that you connect these social media sites with your other online profiles and reviews ( Yelp, Google Places/Business, etc.) so that all of this information appears in one place (and is updated) when someone does an online search for your company.
10. Use a professional reputation management firm
A professional reputation management firm is an excellent resource for keeping your online reputation consistent and up to date. To ensure success in managing your company’s online reputation, you need a skilled team of web developers, search engine optimizers, user experience specialists who can provide a variety of services related to online marketing (web design/development, SEO, social media engagement, etc.).
If you’re interested in learning more about how Stature Optics Management can help you grow your business, please feel free to contact us today.