4 Tips for Developing an Online Review Strategy For Your Law Firm
If you haven’t done so recently, try opening up another tab in your browser and searching your firm’s name plus the word “reviews”. If you like everything you see, that is an asset you want to grow through focused reputation management.
The web isn’t the final word on public perception. However, search engine results are an increasingly important element of your reputation. As early as 2014, more than 40 percent of people ages 18 to 44 were turning to the internet first in their search for a lawyer.
Managing your reputation is a multi-stage, multi-channel effort. It involves in-person and virtual strategies, the implementation of some of which is more technical than others. However, at its core, reputation is one thing: what people say about you. All of the techniques in this field are focused on controlling this so-called buzz. Here are some of the tricks of the trade.
1. Develop Review Systems
You can help generate your buzz by actively encouraging clients to leave reviews. Sending follow-up emails, adding links on your website, and putting review links on your social media profiles are all good ideas in most cases. Some of these techniques serve a double function: Directing potential clients to read what others are saying about you.
2. Stay Active
Aside from the reviews themselves, your responses are the most important elements of your online reputation. Each is an opportunity to give your firm a presence. Responding shows that you are listening, that you care, and, implicitly, that you have the ability to interact in an online forum.
3. Be Personable
When you make your responses personal, do so by personifying your firm rather than identifying the reviewer. It is generally never advisable to reveal or refer to any confidential or sensitive information. Even using names might be problematic.
One reason to keep things non-personalized: On most online platforms, users can choose to anonymize or apply a pseudonym to their profiles. Your published comments might still unintentionally identify them after they do so.
4. Respond as Your Firm
Always remember that you’re acting publicly as your firm when you respond online. There’s also a technical element to this. Especially with Facebook, double-check that you are navigating as your firm’s page before you respond to comments, posts, or reviews. The way to change this setting is different depending on the situation, the application, and the device you’re using.
The bottom line is this: The things people say online are part of your firm’s public reputation. Nowhere are people’s opinions more accessible than on sites that offer review options:
- Google My Business – this feeds into various other Google products
- Law directory sites, such as Avvo, FindLaw, Justia, Lawyers.com, and Martindale
Forward Marketing offers online marketing services for law firms to manage these and other sites. This would involve helping you encourage authentic, positive, high-quality reviews for your firm, as well as listening to and responding to client-generated content. Feel free to contact us at any time, and we can discuss whether this type of effort could advance your business development goals.