What to Know about Preserving Your Law Firm’s Reputation
While any business can benefit from a good reputation, law firms depend on their reputation for clients. Many attorneys are hesitant to promote themselves online, but their clients have certain expectations, and they need to ensure they meet those expectations.
We talked to some legal experts to get advice on how lawyers can protect themselves in this digital age while putting themselves out there online so their potential clients can find them.
Does it hurt to not have an online presence?
The research Intelligence Group (TRiG) found that over 75% of people who were trying to hire an attorney over the last year took their search online.
If they don’t find an attorney online or find much trace of them there, then they are likely to form a less than desirable opinion of the firm.
Would the firm not have any online presence if no one inside the firm created one?
Every firm has an online presence and online reputation, whether they created one or not. Consumers will talk among themselves, and firms that are not online won’t be a part of that conversation.
There will also be those who will only say negative things about any company they view online. A firm that doesn’t have much of an established presence online is an easy target for these people, often labelled “trolls”. The firm needs to stake out its claim and establish itself so that this doesn’t happen.
Does social media play an important role in online reputation?
Social media’s popularity among consumers has only grown over the past decade. The major social media sites have been around since the early to mid-2000s, and they have only become more and more pervasive in our culture.
There are messages being exchanged about lawyers and their firms through these sites. Those conversations can send business their way, if it is positive. Or it can drive business away from the firms, if it is negative or if the firms ignore the conversation.
What can a firm do to monitor its online presence and determine what its reputation is?
How much your positive reputation does for you is hard to measure. We can gauge it somewhat by how much revenue is generated, but it is harder to correlate that revenue stream to the reputation of an offline business. Online, it is much easier to connect them and measure the level of success.
We can look at how many like a Facebook page has, how many recommendations a LinkedIn profile receives, how many followers a firm has on Twitter, how many unique page views its site receives and how many leads are generated by their online profiles.
Our team can actually monitor your reputation online and tell you what kind of effect it will have on your revenue stream.
How should a firm handle criticism and negative feedback?
You want to be careful about reacting with a counterattack. It is far better to try to understand where the criticism is coming from and deal with the issue. Make sure you do not respond with anger, as that can exacerbate the situation. Show that you are a reasonable person who uses logic and sound judgement.
The criticism will die out at some point, and you can counter it best before then with positive reviews. These are going to overwhelm the negative reviews, if you can urge people to post honest reviews.
Does it help a firm’s reputation to post YouTube videos?
If you have good production values and your videos show your firm in a way that offers good will, then it can really help your image and public perception of you.
Videos can help to capture people’s attention and lay out how your firm works so that potential clients know what to expect. If you make your message relevant and helpful, you will gain an audience and boost your reputation.
Can lawyers improve online traffic for their firm?
While you can use algorithms to ensure that your site and its content are optimized for search engines, there is really no better way to drive traffic to your site than to produce good content and provide a fresh voice.
You may be able to draw people in with clever marketing or by promoting tweets, but the only way you will hold their attention and bring them in as clients will be through offering something practical and relevant.
What resources are there to help lawyers become established?
Many lawyers will hire professionals to write blogs for them or to produce content that is used to promote their firm. They use this content to bring in new business, but the lawyers should ensure that the copy is as authentic as possible. They may even want to try their hand at creating the content themselves, to give it a voice and some personality.