Any little slip-up online nowadays can quickly take on a life of its own and turn into a PR nightmare for your law firm. And when enough slip-ups compile, your practice’s reputation may never recover. Maintaining a positive brand requires proactivity—implementing processes to avoid online reputation bombs. Read on to discover a handful of these attorney marketing strategies as well as one helpful idea for recovering from a reputation hiccup if it does occur.
Proactive Strategies to Avoid an Online Reputation Bomb
- Make exclusive PR connections
You probably already know that the best way to avoid any reputation killers is to develop a strong brand that is synonymous with high quality work, great client management, and a hefty success rate. But did you know that electronic press releases can help you do that?
No, press releases are not dead; they have just moved from the world of print to electronic. Publications large and small now send press releases out online, which provides your law firm ample opportunity to announce to the internet:
- Any new partners hired at your firm
- A new line of legal services
- Prestigious awards won by your practice or attorney team
- Partnerships with community organizations
- Philanthropic milestones achieved, such as X number of dollars raised to combat food insecurity in your community
Think of press releases as another branding tool to add to your attorney marketing arsenal. To make them effective, however, you should avoid sending them to every publication across the board. Instead, develop a relationship with one or two publications and give them exclusive access to your PR content. They are more likely to publish for your law firm when they have priority over other publications, and when they have developed a strong professional relationship with the staff at your law firm.
- ABM: always be monitoring
Part of ensuring that your reputation is constantly intact means always monitoring your brand online. Not only do you want to keep track of how you are representing your law firm on social media, your website, and other publications (mentioned above), but you always want to see how other sources are mentioning you.
Set up a Google Alert for your law firm’s and attorneys’ names. It is simple:
- Visit google.com/alerts
- Type terms into the query box
- Click the “Show options” link to adjust your settings, such as how often you receive notifications
- After creating an alert, you will receive emails when Google finds matching results
Google Alerts are an easy way to keep a finger on the pulse of your brand online so you can stay informed and respond accordingly.
- Build a cache of positive online reviews
Every negative review about your law firm on Google, Facebook, Avvo, and Yelp can significantly harm your reputation. According to an infographic from Vision Critical (which pulled from sources such as Oracle, LinkedIn, and Businessweek), 80% of people refuse to work with companies that have negative reviews.
However, you can proactively combat these reputation bombs by building a cache of positive reviews that demonstrate your value to online searchers. The online reputation management (ORM) system included in our James Legal CRM (client relationship manager) is an attorney’s marketing dream, as it makes gathering positive online reviews faster and easier.
It automates the review-gathering process so you do not have to worry about spending valuable time begging for reviews, and it makes leaving a review simple for your clients.
Some of our clients have seen incredible success growing their caseload using positive online reviews, since glowing assessments and a high average rating can help convince potential clients to reach out during those critical “should I or should I not call?” moments. Reviews really are one of the best resources at your disposal to build a great reputation online (and avoid a poor one).
How to Recover from an Online Reputation Hiccup
- “Park” negative reviews
We get it: you just want to make those negative reviews go away. It is time to do just that by taking control of review posting.
Our lawyer-specific software (the only one of its kind that we know about) enables you to pre-screen reviews before the public sees them. This means that you can look through negative reviews, determine whether they are justified, and “park” reviews (what we call hiding reviews) that unfairly represent your law firm. This ensures that you can recover from an online reputation hit before it even becomes a problem, and that your attorney marketing stays on track.
Eliminate negative reviews. Gather positive ones that can result in more leads.
Try our James Legal CRM with its suite of online reputation management features!