Can I control what the public sees online about my law firm and me?

To a surprising degree, yes you can. “Influence” is probably a more accurate description than “control.” But you can make an enormous difference in what your prospective clients see. Read on to learn how.

Is influencing my online reputation worth my time and attention?

Reputation is everything for a lawyer. We don’t need to elaborate on that point. What has changed for lawyers is that reputation has moved online, which has made it far more accessible and highly used. Over 2/3s of consumers check reviews before making a vendor selection … including choosing a lawyer.

How has the legal profession adapted to this change?

Poorly and tardily. Of the many types of small businesses, small law firms have been among the slowest to respond to the rising influence of online reputation. Plumbers and restaurants, just to name two, are better at managing their online reputations than lawyers.

Can you be more specific?

Take Google’s hugely-important local search 3-pack as an example. Few small-firm lawyers understand that their reviews affect both (a) whether they appear at all and (b) how they compare to the competition.

When 3 lawyers are listed in response to a prospective client’s search, with 1 lawyer having no star ranking, 1 having 2.5 stars, and 1 have a 4.6 ranking, who do you think the prospective client is going to call?


Staying with that example, how do I improve my star ranking?

Simple: load Google+ with 4 and 5-star reviews.

But how can I direct reviews to Google+?

You can’t when pursuing reviews the old-fashioned manual way. But you can direct reviews to specific review sites with software.

What else do you recommend?

The small-firm lawyer serious about his or her online marketing will take a long-term approach to reputation management. After building a strong collection of 4 and 5-star reviews in Google+, the review-generation effort should methodically be shifted from review site to review site.

Your long-term goal should be to create impressive and dominant review collections in all of the major general-audience and lawyer-specific review sites, and smaller collections in the larger number of minor sites.

Can you give me examples?

The three big search-engine review sites are of course: Bing Places, Google+, and Yahoo.

Other major general-audience review sites are: Angie’s List, Better Business Bureau, Epinions, Foursquare, HundredX, Manta, Merchant Circle, SiteJabber, SuperPages, YellowPages, Yelp, and Yext.

Some of the more influential lawyer-review sites are: Avvo, Find a Bankruptcy Lawyer, Find a Family Attorney, Law Link, Lawyer Ratingz, Lawyers.com, LawZam, Legal Match, Martindale-Hubbell, and Path Legal.

How do I eliminate a negative review?

We find it far more efficient and effective to bury a negative review behind a pile of positive reviews than attempt to have a negative review removed. But you can certainly try to pacify the negative reviewer and then ask him or her to take down the review.

Tell me more about how I can build my collections of positive reviews.

Do-it-yourselfers need to ask, ask, ask. Ask in person during representation, ask at case conclusion, and ask again post-representation. Monitor whether a review has been posted using Google Alerts. But the effectiveness of the manual approach pales next to what software can accomplish. Our review solicitation software:

 

  • Eliminates the need for clients to pre-register on review sites
  • Provides a simple response and star-rating box so no separate site lookup is needed
  • Allows you to read the review before it is posted so you can hide any less-than-positive reviews
  • Permits you to direct reviews to a particular review site,
  • Gathers all your reviews on one testimonial page that is added to your website, and
  • Most important, has a response rate that dwarfs the manual method

 

If you are interested in improving your online reputation, we can help. We are currently building positive review collections for dozens of lawyers, and can give you references who will detail the positive impact those reviews have had on their lead flow and client caseloads.

To request a report showing all your online reviews, simply complete the form below. Please allow one business day for us to prepare and email your custom report.