Lawyers everywhere exist in a very competitive market and their reputation online and offline can make a huge difference in how successful their practices will be. Word-of-mouth advertising has a huge impact on building a client base and one negative post somewhere online can have serious repercussions. The popularity of blogs and forums makes it easy for anyone to air grievances whether they are legitimate or not and the way that lawyers handle negative feedback will be a big factor on how potential clients perceive their practice.
To that end, here are some tips for lawyers to manage their local online reputation in the search engines:
- Search for yourself and your practice – Hop online and search for your name and the name of your practice in a search engine. Vary the search terms by thinking about how you would find your practice if you were a potential client. Create a bookmark folder and add the sites where you find both positive and negative feedback.
- Read local blogs and forums – Find out how the people in your area perceive you and your practice by visiting local online directories, blogs, and forums. Note each mention of your name and start a list to track trends.
- Participate in these communities – Register and participate in these communities and follow up on negative feedback by asking specific questions about why the poster was unhappy enough with your services to post online about it. The answers they provide will be invaluable for rectifying the situation, if possible, and prevent it from happening again.
- Start a blog on your website – Add your own blog to your site and update it regularly with news and events, information on various aspects of the law, and anything you’d like the public to view.
- Subscribe to Google Alerts – Google Alerts is a free service which you can use to alert you when there are changes to specific terms and phrases that you have chosen to monitor. It’s customizable and can track news, blogs, and search results. This tool is essential for online reputation management!
These tips are a great way to begin managing your online reputation and give you an outsider’s perspective on how your community views you and your practice. Even negative feedback can become a positive if you think objectively about it, learn from it, and implement appropriate adjustments so that it is less likely to occur. In the Digital Age, word-of-mouth advertising has been taken to a whole new level and as they say in sports, ‘Sometimes the best defense is a good offense.’