3 Tips to Build Your Online Reputation
Online reputation and your potential clients’ perception of your firm go hand-in-hand. I can remember one client in particular that had a website well over 15 years old. The site looked old. It looked low-end. I am not a fan of having a pretty website for show, but I am a proponent of putting your best foot forward online.
To show this to the ownership team, we did a walk-in survey for a week and asked clients what they thought of the website.
Sure enough, clients thought the site looked old and low-end. This online reputation did not match the firm by any means. Their office was very much high-end, bright, and energetic. You may read that and say, “So what does that matter.” It matters a lot to your potential clients.
Think of it this way. Would you want your clients walking into a sloppy lobby or office space? If your answer is no, then you should look at your online reputation in the same manner.
Start with your website and then move on to other areas that create the perception and reputation of your firm online.
Tip 1: Be Active on Social Media
Today, your potential clients are on social media. It is the best relationship and trust building platform, and they are checking you out. You need to develop a comprehensive social media strategy to help you manage your online reputation. It is also important that you use the right social media platforms while engaging with your potential clients.
Regardless of the social media platform you choose to use, following these four rules will help your social media strategy to succeed.
- Be Aware & Share: Take time to listen to the conversation happening via social media about your industry, you will be amazed at the insights you will get. Share your professional opinion and industry knowledge as appropriate to the platform and your audience.
- Be Meaningful: Always publish content that is meaningful and useful to your target audience. Establish yourself and your firm as the go-to source for information meaningful to your target audience.
- Be Authentic: Just as in any walk of life, try your best not to come off as fake. Once you dive into social media, your personality will eventually show up in how you post and respond. Your desire to be a trusted resource must come off as authentic to potential clients.
- Be Focused: Once you create a goal for a specific platform, stick to it. It is essential to define your goal and focus the majority of your social media activity on that area. Try to understand your target audience and what interests them by taking into account their interests, behavior, and demographics.
When using social media to build an online reputation, you must ensure you choose the right platforms. Some of the most popular social media platforms include Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
However, it is essential to consider which social networks your potential clients are accessing and start out with them. Once you have chosen your platforms, post unique and interesting content for your target audience.
Try posting interesting and entertaining videos, blog post, photos or curate content from other experts in the field. Using social media is an ideal way of building your online reputation, engaging with prospective and current clients and building your law firm’s credibility.
Tip 2: Reviews and Testimonials Are Vital
Feedback is valuable. It shows you who is interacting with you and gives you a significant insight into your reputation. Reviews should be welcomed with open-arms, as about 90 percent of review readers believe what they read online, according to a recent study. Always check and maintain your profiles on various review sites.
Even if you get negative reviews about your firm, reply professionally with a solution or an apology. Ignoring negative reviews will help your audience believe the reviewer. With the help of RSS readers, Google Alert and related reputation management services, get updates on the reviews about your firm on various social media platforms, review sites, and blog sites.
It is not always necessary that you receive a positive review because you cannot satisfy everyone on earth. However, you can request your happy clients to post positive reviews about your firm.
Request them to share their great experience with the world and help your customers understand how motivating it is to hear good words from them. More importantly, display customer testimonials on your site.
When possible, display third-party reviews, such as those on Facebook, Avvo, Google, or Yelp.
As a marketer, I would suggest not avoiding the power of reviews in your marketing strategy, specifically with Google. Having positive reviews on your Google Maps listing will not only assist in building your online reputation, but they have the bonus of improving your 3-pack ranking.
If your website is on a WordPress platform, keep in mind that you can place reviews from Facebook and Google directly on your website. Not to get too technical, but the way the code is written for both, the plugins allow the reviews to be crawled by Google.
Tip 3: Communicate Through Your Blog
A blog is a great vehicle that helps you give credible information your firm as well attract potential clients with useful observations and tips. You can establish yourself as a legal expert which gives your law firm greater credibility. Blogging helps you to build a strong relationship with your target audience.
Start your blog, as about 81 percent of people read and trust blogs. Blogging also helps you to deal with misconceptions and rumors about your firm. They give you space to discuss your services in detail and allow your target audience to know how you are better than your competitors.
I am going to back up a second here. I mentioned that blogging deals with misconceptions and rumors about your firm. That sounds petty and childish, right? Well, guess what, competition brings out the worst in some people.
Do not, and I repeat DO NOT, get into a reputation campaign contest against a competitor on your blog.
If you are reading that asking why I would even mention it here, it is because I have seen it in action. It will not end well for your firm.
Also, remember that your content needs to be client-centered. A well-written blog will build your online reputation and show off your authority to your potential clients and competitors.
What tips would you add to build or improve your online reputation?