We all know that it’s important for lawyers to have an online presence. The Internet has effectively replaced the Yellow Pages and there’s no going back. That’s why many astute lawyers have taken the time to carefully craft their online face, with an eye toward showcasing their legal skills and knowledge.
Of course, with a strong online presence comes some risks. The most effective way to navigate the online maze is to ensure that you fully understand the different social and publishing platforms and to make efforts to follow what’s being said about your law firm–and about you–in the various online outlets.
While that may seem like an large task, never fear–Gyi Tsakalakis and Allison Shields discussed these very issues at ABA Techshow in April. During a session titled, “Shaping Your Online Narrative: Online Reputation Management,” they shared tips about managing your law firm’s online presence while Stephanie Crowley took visual notes of this session on behalf of MyCase. The visual notes from that session can be found below along with some of our favorite tips and links to sites that provide further information (click to view larger image):
1. Be aware of online review sites. It’s important to understand how potential clients find you and also where past clients may leave reviews about your law firm. According to the presenters, these are the most popular online review sites that lawyers should be aware of: LinkedIn, Justia, Avvo, Yelp, LawyerRating, Martindale.com, Lawyers.com, Yahoo, Yellow Pages, Google Places and Google Business.
2. Request and track feedback. The presenters explained that one of the best ways to obtain positive feedback is to request it from satisfied clients at the end of a case. If you request feedback and direct your clients to certain sites, it will make it easier to track what’s being said about you. One way to do this is to use the getFivestars service. And to locate other comments made about your law office, use tools like Mention or TalkWalker.
3. Augment positive reviews. The presenters offered a number of ways to augment positive reviews, including adding them to your webpage and linking to your Google+ page.
4. Manage negative reviews. Suggestions for managing negative reviews included:1) regularly run searches for your name and your law firm’s name so that you understand what your potential clients see first, 2) resist the urge to tell your story, since doing so adds credibility to the review, 3) but do respond–briefly–and show empathy, 4) avoid getting angry–or at least don’t show your anger, and 5) counteract negative reviews by getting positive feedback on the same site.
5. Provide exceptional client service. The final takeaway from this talk was that the best way to get positive online reviews is to do your absolute best to provide excellent representation. Obtain regular feedback from your clients throughout their cases by systemizing the feedback process and make sure to listen carefully to them. Be receptive to their comments, and, if necessary, make changes. Thank your clients at the close of each case and stay in touch so that you let them know that you appreciate their business. Happy clients often result in referrals so always stay top of mind.