Effective Strategies for Managing Your Online Reputation
While the internet has revolutionized the way we connect with each other, it’s also made it much easier for someone to impeach your credibility or reputation as a professional or business owner. With one click, a single negative review is potentially available to billions of people. The best way to protect your hard-earned credentials online is with a proven online reputation management tool such as GetLegal’s Catalyst™. Catalyst and similar tools include features to help you manage and protect your good name online:
- The ability to collect all online reviews in a single location
- Email notification any time a new online review is posted
- Mobile access to client feedback
- The ability to highlight positive reviews online
- Tools to help you contest or remove false, malicious, or inaccurate reviews from the internet
- Tools to automate the process of soliciting reviews from clients
In addition to tools like Catalyst, there are other concrete steps you can take to minimize the risk of someone tarnishing your skills, abilities, and reputation online.
Know Where You’re Starting From
Before you do anything else, it’s always a good idea to know how you and your firm are currently perceived online. Search Google for the name of your firm as well as the names of the lawyers in your firm. You may also want to look up lawyers and law firms in your geographic area who handle the same types of cases you do. You may find references to your firm in their reviews or comments.
Ideally, you won’t find any disparaging or negative reviews or references online. If you don’t, you can start with a clean slate. If there are any less-than-favorable reviews, you’ll need to take specific steps to either have them removed or counteract their impact. Among the ways of negating existing unfavorable comments or reviews are:
- Carefully manage your firm’s website, directory listings, and social media output, ensuring that plenty of positive reviews are available. The best way to get those? Ask your clients for them.
- Be willing to respond to criticism or unfavorable reviews in a positive and respectful manner, indicating a willingness to listen, be in dialogue, or improve the level of services provided.
- Regularly post informative and helpful content on your website and social media platforms.
Get Positive Reviews Posted
While a reputation management tool can help you learn of negative reviews and solicit positive ones, you can also be proactive about ensuring that you put your best foot forward online. It’s essentially a two-step process:
- Ask for positive reviews from satisfied clients; and
- Respond carefully to negative reviews.
Whenever you get a good outcome for a client, be sure to ask them to write a favorable review. Even better, if your client is willing to be videotaped, do that. Videos are a far more effective and engaging way to communicate most types of information. If you can’t film a video, ask if you can include a picture of your client with the review.
The more specific the review is, the more effective it will be. Encourage the client to tell their story—stories are far more compelling than simple statements like “my lawyer did a great job.” Details can also help a potential client engage with the review.
Deal Effectively with Unfavorable Reviews
A negative review doesn’t have to significantly damage your credibility or your practice. The way you respond to a negative review has the most impact on a potential client. Here are some dos and don’ts:
- Don’t ignore the review— That can make it look like you either don’t care or you agree with the reviewer.
- Don’t argue with the reviewer— It’s a war of words that you cannot win. You’ll only come out looking unprofessional.
- Apologize— Do so even if you don’t think you did anything wrong.
- Contact the reviewer— Ask the person who submitted the negative review to contact your firm privately, so that you can take steps to remedy the situation.
- Be careful about ethical constraints— Don’t reference details of the case in your response, as you may violate confidentiality.
- Inform the reviewer of changes— Let the reviewer know if you make changes in your practice or procedures in response to the situation.
Let GetLegal Help You Maintain a Positive Reputation Online
At GetLegal, we bring more than 20 years of online marketing experience to lawyers and law firms nationwide, offering a broad range of digital tools to help build your practice, including full-service website development (with custom content and design), online reputation management tools, search engine optimization (SEO), full video production capability, directory placements, and social media campaigns. We have the skill, experience, knowledge, and resources to help you build your practice online. To learn more, go to https://www.getlegalpracticebuilder.com/ or call 1-877-359-7077.