There is a lot in the press and in business journals about reputation management. Everything that applies to a restaurant or an auto mechanic applies doubly to you, an attorney. In fact, your reputation is what encourages customers to walk through the door.
Given that nearly everyone you talk has gone online at some point during the attorney search process, online reputation management for attorneys is vital. In fact, a bad reputation can cripple your practice.
According to a survey from BrightLocal, 82% of consumers say that they use online reviews to help choose a local business.
That means that 8 out of 10 of your clients, or more, have used online reviews to help them decide to hire you.
Every business can claim a Google listing on Google Local/Google My Business. This is probably the single most important piece of internet real estate you’ll find. When someone googles for an attorney in your area, they will usually get Google Local business listings. This shows the attorney’s name, address, and Google reviews.
Make sure that your Google My Business listing is perfect. It’s the number one resource for most clients for getting a hold of your and learning who you are.
2- Your spot on attorney listing sites
There are a huge number of attorney listing sites. These are great places to put your information and create links to your website. Importantly, for those people who use these sites, the ratings and reviews can change their minds.
Here again, make sure that your information is 100% correct on the site. Potential clients who land on these sites will need to use that information to contact you.
3 - Ask for reviews
Many clients don’t want to admit that they hired an attorney because of the reason they needed one. Many, however, don’t mind posting reviews online.
Ask every client if they would post a review for your services online, wherever they found you. Don’t ask for 5-star reviews or coach them as to what to say. Let them tell the truth. If everyone who posts a review writes the same thing, it will become apparent that they were coached.
“If you’re not making mistakes, you’re not doing anything.”
You’ll get negative reviews occasionally. In fact, many consumers have learned not to trust someone who has a spotless record; it looks fake. A negative review gives you a chance to recover and show people how you treat clients.
When you get a negative review, even if it’s completely fake, you need to respond calmly and professionally.
First, thank them for their review and express sympathy that they weren’t happy with the service they received.
Next, have them contact you away from the review site. Invite them to email you or call to talk about their situation.
After you’ve spoken to them and done what you can, go back to the site and put up an update that says that you’re glad that you spoke and you hope that they are satisfied with the outcome.
How you handle negative reviews is as important as getting positive reviews.
5- Post law-related content to your website and as a guest blogger
While every case is unique, there are some generalizations that you can share with readers. Talking about what they need to know about divorce in your state or how to handle an arrest can go a long way to building your reputation as an attorney.
As an example, imagine that someone’s son has been arrested for a crime. Mom has no idea how to deal with the police or what to say to an attorney. She doesn’t want a public defender. You write an article that guides her, and him, through what to do now and how to handle things going forward.
Simple ideas, like don’t discuss anything with the police but cooperate and get your attorney there ASAP, can help the mother, who isn’t in jail, have a plan.
For her, this builds trust. You’ve already helped her out and she’s much more likely to call you for help.
Post content on your own blog, as well as guest blogging on other people’s blogs.
You should also be posting to Facebook. That might seem like a strange place for legal information, but when locals follow you and see your name, they’re more likely to recommend you to a friend in trouble.
How to Choose a Reputation Management Tool
Get started on your online reputation management today. One of the things you’ll notice is that it’s surprisingly quick to reap rewards. As you build your positive reviews, you’ll get more and more business.
Don’t get overwhelmed. This is a project that can be done piece by piece. Plan to claim your Google My Business profile this week and your Avvo profile next week.
You can speed up the process with the help of an online reputation management company. They can do much of this work for you and make sure that everything they do is SEO-friendly and links together well.
That said, this is a project that you can do if you have the time.
Do you want to improve how you look online?
We are an online reputation management company focused on helping people grow personally and professionally.