Every law firm needs an effective online reputation management strategy.
Regardless of whether your law firm specializes in family law, bankruptcy, personal injury, estate planning, or anything else, there’s a strong possibility that you have more than a little competition online.
With so many different law firms out there claiming to be the most experienced, the most dedicated, the most reliable, and the most communicative, how do you make yours stand out online?
Your law firm’s online reputation is what makes it unique, what makes it stand out, and what gives its visitors a reason to stick around and learn more about it. However, if your online reputation isn’t what you need it to be, it can have the opposite effect.
These days, most people trust online reviews just as much as they trust a word-of-mouth recommendation from a friend, neighbor, coworker, or family member. So, for the sake of your future success, it’s critical that you learn how to manage your online reputation properly.
4 Online Reputation Management Tips for Law Firms
#1. Get listed/claim your listings.
The most common place people look for lawyers and law firms is Google, but there are plenty of other places people could be looking. You never know where someone could be searching for a law firm online, and to ensure that your business is as visible as possible to all potential clients, you need to be listed on a variety of review sites and directories.
Whether someone is looking for a law firm on Google, Yelp, or the Better Business Bureau’s website, it’s critical that your business is listed — and that the information listed is up to date. Not only should your law firm be listed on the most popular review sites and directories; there are several others out there that have been made specifically for law firms, including Findlaw.com, Lawyers.com, Avvo, and Legaladvice.com
You may find that, on some of these sites, your law firm is already listed. However, even if you already have a listing, your job isn’t done yet. You should also claim the listing, which will make it possible for you to update your business’ information and respond to future reviews.
If you’ve found listings that you didn’t create, they’ve probably been pulled in by an algorithm, and they may not contain accurate information about your business. These listings may have inaccurate or out-of-date contact information, and if someone tries to get ahold of you and ends up calling a number that’s no longer in business or visiting your old law firm, it does nothing good for your online reputation. But, by claiming your listing, you can keep this information up to date.
#2. Earn more reviews.
People don’t often seek the help of law firms when everything in their lives is peachy keen. Most of these people are stressed, under a lot more pressure than they’re accustomed to, and in need of professional and compassionate legal advice. There’s a lot on the line for your clients, and when they can read reviews about your business, it will help to give them peace of mind and confidence.
If the majority of your law firm’s reviews are negative, or if it only has a handful of reviews online, it can greatly damage its online reputation. In cases like these, it’s critical that you start earning more reviews. However, even if your law firm has dozens of five-star reviews and a solid average star rating, earning more reviews should always be a focus for you, especially because people expect recent, up-to-date reviews.
The fact of the matter is that people put a whole lot of stock in online reviews. People looking to work with you have a lot at stake, and the decision to hire you or not might come down to your online reviews. Make sure that you have plenty of them for people to read and reference by making it a point to ask your clients for reviews.
#3. Respond to your reviews.
Asking for reviews is a great way to start earning them for your business. However, you should never ask your clients to say anything specific about your law firm in a review or hint at how many stars they should give you.
While you can start generating more reviews by asking for them, the one thing that’s completely out of your control is what your clients will say about you online. Even if you provide the best possible experience for your client, there’s no guarantee that they’ll leave you a positive review. It’s, unfortunately, out of your hands what people say about your law firm online, but what’s not out of your hands is how you respond to it.
Responding to your law firm’s online reviews demonstrates to your client just how grateful you are that they took the time to write reviews for your business. And, in the case of negative reviews, it also gives you a chance to soothe an upset client and share your side of the story to anyone who might be reading the review and your response to it.
For most types of local businesses, responding to reviews is a lot more straightforward, but as a law firm, you have a code of conduct to consider, as well as binding agreements with your clients on privacy. Make sure that you always keep this in mind and that you never share anyone’s private information online.
#4. Closely monitor your online reputation.
An effective online reputation management strategy is ongoing, not a one-time thing. You can’t just claim your listings, ask one client to leave you a review, and respond to a single review, expecting your online reputation to be what you want it to be. It takes time and consistency to maintain your law firm’s online reputation, and that requires close, regular monitoring.
One of the best ways to stay on top of your law firm’s online reputation is to sign up for/claim your firm’s Top Rated Local® listing. Unlike any other review site, Top Rated Local compiles your reviews from a variety of verified sites across the web, and it offers lots of great tools to help you manage your online reputation as a whole.
A few of the Top Rated Local monitoring tools that you can take advantage of when you claim your listing include real-time notifications of new reviews, an up-to-date Rating Score™ that reflects your reputation across review sites, and a monthly overview of your online reputation as a whole.
Don’t leave your law firm’s online reputation up to chance. Sign up/claim your Top Rated Local listing today!