With the internet and online platforms riding a growth wave, it is very important to maintain a good online presence for a law firm providing legal services. Reputation management basically consists of controlling the message everyone sees relative to you and your profile, or that of your firm.
It plays a vital role in every law firm’s and lawyer’s online presence. Bad reviews or comments about a law firm can cause damage to the firm’s reputation and hence cause a major hindrance to business growth. Where a particular review is posted also plays a huge role as the audience who views the same is more important than the content of the review.
Hence, the main thing to remember when it comes to online reputation is that no matter what you do, you’re doing it in front of an audience. While you take any action or implement any strategy, always keep in mind that people will see the same and judge accordingly.
A lawyer having a poor online presence or one with bad reviews will find it difficult to acquire clients, as the first thing a prospective client does while looking for a lawyer is to check the reviews.
Here are some statistics related to the online presence of a law firm –
- Over 1/3 of potential clients start their attorney search online.
- 65% of law firms spend most of their marketing budget online.
- 55% – the percentage of solo practitioners who have websites.
- 70% of law firms have landed new cases through their website.
- 79% of law firms use one or more social media platforms for professional purposes.
How lawyers can build an impressionable reputation to attain great professional success:
#1. Monitor your website and social media accounts regularly
As a lawyer, it is very important for you to constantly assess how well you rank in the market. For the same, routinely search your business and product names and see to it that there are no negative reviews about your recent work by your clients. If you find any such content, make it a point to immediately follow up on the same to remove any negative material from your site or forum. You can use tools like Mention, Google Alert or Talk Walker for locating other comments that are made about your law firm.
It is not a one-day task to build a good reputation for a lawyer. Nurture your reputation by making constant efforts. Make sure that your website is engaging enough for the customers with adequate call-to-action statements. Adding pictures of your workplace and people who work for you also creates a positive impact.
In case you are running a one-man show, create a unique bio along with your picture and highlight the legal services that you provide. Your website should be glitch-free and have references to all your social media links. Following are some social media platforms that can be of use to your legal business –
- Google Plus
- Lawyer specific directories
Having a good blog section is a great opportunity to improve your online reputation, establish yourself as an industry leader, and to win over new clients. You are majorly missing out if you still do not have a blog on your law firm’s website. According to the statistics, 77% of Internet users read blogs and are interested in opinions and experiences shared by the professionals.
Prospective clients often tend to view the blogs while visiting a law firm’s website, and this is when you have a chance to grab their attention. By sharing informative articles and valuable experience about the field that you are working in, you can answer any questions that the client may have in their mind while also advertising your services at the same time.
#3. Online Business Reviews
Responding to online reviews is crucial for your law firm as it gives you the chance to improve as well as know what your customers are expecting out of your business. This helps facilitate reputation management and is also very advantageous when it comes to your search engine performance.
In fact, statistics from BrightLocal show that:
- 80% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations
- 60% of consumers need to read four or more reviews to perform an opinion
- Nearly half of all prospective clients say a lawyer’s reputation matters
Users not only see the reviews that your clients post, but also your interactions with the testimonials. When you receive a positive feedback from a client, thank them for taking the time to write it and sharing the same. If you receive any frequent negative feedback, try resolving that issue rather than disregarding the same.
To receive a positive feedback –
- Request the same from a satisfied client at the end of a case.
- Make use of social media platforms and place an option on your website for your clients to review you.
- Encourage your clients to leave video testimonials.
- Few most popular online review sites that lawyers should be aware of: Yellow Pages, LinkedIn, LawyerRating, Yelp, Justia, Lawyers.com, Avvo, Martindale.com, Google Business and Places.
#4. Use online reputation to enhance your offline marketing
If your law firm is already highly ranked in many popular website reviews, utilize the same as the major element of your online and offline marketing strategy. Use links of your five-star reviews on your blogs, company website and in e-mails. You can also consider displaying such callouts in the waiting area of your law firm.
Staying on top of SEO is another practice that can help bring you business as it ensures that your firm shows on top of the search engines when a prospective client is looking for a law firm and there’s less room for any search result with bad word to rank where anyone will see it.
#5. Always have a backup plan
Internet moves really fast, and hence, it is important always to have a backup plan when things go wrong. Be prepared and always have a plan B and C in mind while implementing a strategy so that you can contain any damage well in time.
Having a single go-to spokesperson is also important to issue a statement. Everyone must be notified that this spokesperson is the only one authorized to send an official statement. People’s trust in you can be undermined if they receive mixed messages coming from different people.
Most importantly, you are a legal authority and hence, use only gender-neutral and politically correct terms. Take a deliberate role in planning your reputation management as the same can secure your future as a lawyer or a law firm.
#6. Adequate client servicing is essential
You might already know the importance of clients to your law firm; thus, it is essential to keep them happy & satisfied. Always be available to your clients regardless of the volume of business they give you. Respond to their queries, emails, and phone calls promptly to make them realize that you value them. Include contact information on your website and emails to make it easier for clients to reach you in need and send regular updates about their cases.
Another way to improve client servicing is to request feedback and ask them what else they expect from you as a legal service provider. Make sure you read/listen to the feedbacks carefully and, if needed, make changes accordingly. Always thank your clients once you close each case and tell them that you appreciate their business. Remember, happy clients are likely to refer you to others, so make your space in their mind by giving excellent client service.
#7. Consider outsourcing reputation management
If reputation management is something that you are struggling with and cannot manage on your own, especially if you have a large firm, you may want to consider outsourcing the same. Hiring experienced and skilled staff for your law firm’s reputation management can prove to be both beneficial and cost-effective. These companies have a good track record of providing unprecedented litigation services and ensure that you have a good online presence and that your reputation remains clear over the internet.
Having an excellent online presence is becoming essential, especially when most of the client market is shifting online. Reputation management is crucial, and every independent lawyer or law firm should consider the mentioned solutions to make this process efficient and effective.