Why Attorney Online Reputation Management Matters to Local Law Firms:
Your legal practice online identity is no longer just your practice web address. There is much more to it. Google says this:
“Your online identity is determined not only by what you post, but also by what others post about you, whether a mention in a blog post, a photo tag or a reply to a public status update,” – Google Blog
Many local attorneys have found themselves in the defensive position of being falsely accused, lied about, slandered, and attacked online. It’s a surging problem with no checks in site. The cost to preserve the most positive first impression is invaluable to any legal professional. The best offense for attorneys managing their reputation online is a an even greater defense.
Here are some common internet search facts you should know about:
– 95% of internet users do not search past the first page of search engine results.
– 80% of the United States population researches a product on the internet before purchasing.
– 72% of those that research will not buy if there’s a negative comment
In simple terms, your attorney online reputation consists of everything about your law firm that exists on the internet. The range of materials that could potentially impact your specific attorney online reputation is more vast than you might realize at first. Here are just some components of your online image:
-Comments made about your practice on social media networks such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn
-Comments that others make about you on review sites like Yelp, Citysearch, RipOffReport.com and PissedConsumer.com
-Pictures regarding your law firm online 4. Posts and articles published on the internet about your legal practice
-Geo-location information broadcasting through services like Foursquare or Gowalla
-Videos regarding your legal practice (Good or Bad) on YouTube, Vimeo and many other video sharing sites
Regardless if the site is validated as credible is immaterial. Today’s consumers rely on the internet as an anonymous referral to make a purchasing decision. If you don’t engage the commentary expressed online about you, the next possible client doing a background check on you may perceive the negative reviews as true if you haven’t neutrally addressed the complaint.
Though considered ‘private’, what people write in an email or through instant messaging could potentially be copied and made public.
In fact, if you’re beginning to feel like almost anything that others remark about you on the Internet could become part of your attorney online reputation profile, then you’re starting to get an idea how important it is to preserve your brands’ identity to secure your ‘social proof’.
An even larger growing, and faster to engage segment is mobile searching online. Smart phones allow people to read and write reviews from anywhere. You can see how a bad review about your business will hit harder and spread faster than ever before.
Google estimates that 40% of local searches happen on smartphones when consumers are seeking a local service provider. That number appears low, and is trending upward everyday with no sign of slowing.
How Do You Control Your Attorney Online Reputation?
The first step is to find out what people are saying about your business online. The best way to do this is to simply Google your business name. Are there any reviews about your company on the first page?
How many spots do your business own on the first page? Look at the top 10 results for attorneys in your area.When looking at their Google Places page, do they have their profile setup properly? On profiles with consumer reviews, have they responded to someone’s complaint?
By first claiming, and then building out your Google, Yahoo, Bing and other authority local profiles, you are empowering yourself to control your legal branding message. If you haven’t claimed yours, type in “Attorney Google Places Directions”, into Google, and create your FREE profile today. They have just released their Google+ pages which will become every attorneys rep hub online. See this reputation management consultant example here:
There are many solid reputation management tools you can put in your toolbox, in the next article we’ll discuss Attorney Social Media Monitoring. You can contact us here regarding reputation management consultant advice here: http://www.linkedin.com/in/reputationmanagementconsultant. What strategies have worked for your practice?