Maintaining a proper reputation online for an attorney can make a drastic difference in the amount of clients you attract. When someone is looking for an attorney, they don't usually go out and shop for an attorney. They sit down and go online, and you want your online reputation to look as attractive as possible to prospective clients. We've put together a list of five effective means to manage your reputation as well as improve it.
The first place people go nowadays is Google. The best thing you can do is Google your practice and find what shows up concerning your firm's reputation online. Checking yourself helps you see what potential clients also find when looking you up.
There might be undesirable content that shows up as a result. You can send a legal removal request if there is a reason for removal under the law. Otherwise you can use the Google Webmaster tools to request removal if the content isn't live (i.e. old info). Finally you can ask the webmaster, if the site is not yours, to remove undesirable material.
Fight Bad with Good
You may not have a basis to have something removed by Google, and not all web masters will be courteous enough to take down something that might be bad publicity for your firm (i.e. a poor review). In these cases your best course of action is use positive to counterbalance the negative online. This might be favorable content, reviews, pictures, etc. of your practice. The only way you can hope to turn clients away from undesirable content on other sites is by giving them positive alternatives online to turn to.
Create Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+ profiles, where you are in control of what others see. This might be anything from contact information and a personal bio to the services your practice provides. You can also link other sites such as your law firm's or others that relate to you and your services. This all consists of content you will want people to see.
Maintaining these outlets gives you multiple platforms to post your content to, as well as increasing the means where you can connect to your current and prospective clients. If you post content regularly, it also gives you more outlets in which it can reach people regularly to remind them of your firm and services.
Google+ may not be the most popular. However, it is a Google product all the same. As such, Google can prioritize its own product in a search over other sites, giving you all the more reason to put content on plus.
Social media also gives your clients a way to post feedback and reviews about your services in an area in which you can moderate as well as readily respond as your firm.
All of this contributes to both your online presence and legitimacy of your reputation by provides outlets where evidence can be found of how effective your practice is through client feedback.
Nothing helps improve a reputation and bring in prospective clients like evidence of satisfied past clients. Reviews are an effective way to gain this desirable exposure. It's also the best way to counter negative reviews. Ask satisfied clients to review your practice on review sites such as Yelp as well as on your social media outlets. That way when others first see your social media, there is immediate evidence of a satisfied clientele. You can offer an incentive to do so as well, whether that's with a discount or a free hour or two of counsel. It is wise however to check on your state's rules governing the use of client testimonials.
Negative reviews can be seen as an opportunity (though it may not seem so). They may provide constructive criticism to a weakness or issue in your firm you may not be aware of and allow you to deal with it. It also offers you the chance to respond to your dissatisfied client, and use the opportunity to illustrate to other clients that you listen to those who are not completely satisfied instead of dismissing them.
The alerts feature on Google allows you to get email updates relevant to your particular queries (in this case you or your firm). It offers an efficient means of keeping up with what is being said about you on the internet through email updates using your firm name or other query, which can be narrowed to even specific results such as news articles or blogs.
Carl Barry, named a Top 40 under 40 lawyer in Texas, is the head of the Barry Law Group in Austin, Texas. The Barry Law Group is devoted exclusively to the practice of personal injury law and has a broad scope of experience ranging from slip and fall accidents to brain injury claims.