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Online Reputation Management

By March 28, 2019 June 13th, 2019 No Comments
online reputation management

How to Obtain More Reviews from Clients

Reviews can be your friend or your enemy.

Since many people will only take the time to post reviews if they are angry, negative reviews can quickly tarnish your online reputation if you don’t actively manage your law firm’s review process.

Below we examine how you can figure out what people are saying about your law firm, as well as what protocols you can put into place so that you can quickly tackle anything that might hurt your name.

By the end of this article, you’ll understand what needs to be done to protect your reputation and how you can avoid the mistakes made by other firms when it comes to this topic.

What’s the current situation?

If online reputation management is a new concept to you, then you may not have a clear sense of where your current online reputation stands.

Broadly speaking, there are three online mediums that can impact how your firm is perceived online.

  • Search engine listings
  • Social media
  • Third party review sites

Each medium will demand a different approach from you, should you want to fix any reputation issues.

Let’s first look at how you can identify reputation issues within search engine listings.

Data suggests that 58% of Americans research a product or service online before they consider purchase. There’s no reason why that percentage should decline when a prospect is researching a law firm, and there’s a good chance it may even be higher.

The most common way people conduct their research is through the use of a Google search. It makes sense, therefore, that potential clients will research your law firm by simply searching for it in Google.

In order to learn more about your firm, people will generally input the following information into Google –

  • The name of your law firm
  • Associates within your firm
  • The name of your law firm alongside a form of legal assistance that your firm deals with. An example might be – “ ‘your law firm name’ divorce.”

It is important that you perform regular online searches using the keyword formats suggested. Doing so will help you identify any negative search listings. You can then take steps to deal with such listings, which we cover a bit further along in this post.

You’ll also want to see if there are any comments being left about your law firm in social media.

You can do this by searching for your law firm on Facebook and Twitter. To find mentions of your law firm on Facebook, login into the platform, and then type the keywords suggested above, within the ‘Find friends’ search bar.

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This search bar is not just designed to find people. It can also help you identify what people are talking about, in relation to a given keyword/topic – in this case your law firm.

If you want to see how people are talking about your law firm on Twitter, the process is pretty much the same. Create an account with Twitter, and then use the search feature provided.

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Again, use the keyword formats mentioned, to bring up any relevant results.

You’ll also want to pay attention to third party review sites.

Third party review sites are especially important to monitor, because Google can often create an aggregated review for your law firm, based on the information it collates from these review sites.

To begin with, there are three review sites that you will want to focus on –

  • Yelp
  • Yellow Pages
  • Avvo

The easiest way to see if your law firm is being mentioned on these sites is by visiting them and searching them using the name of your law firm. So, you could go to Yelp.com and search the name of your law firm, while also including the correct location.

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You’d also want to do the same for the Yellow Pages.

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Avvo also requires a similar process.

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Additionally, it can also be useful to ‘Google’ the name of your law firm and its associates, alongside the name of a review service.

Download our free guide and learn about the importance of key performance indicators (KPIs)

How to control your reputation

If you want to control the online reputation of your law firm, you need to make sure that you have ownership of your brand online. This means that you need to do the following –

  • Purchase a domain name that represents your law firm
  • Publish content that represents your firm in a positive light, highlighting the positive experiences and outcomes of your clients
  • Create social media profiles that represent your firm
  • Create profiles on third party review sites

Owning the domain name that represents your firm is essential, as this will help your site rank higher in the search engines when people research your law firm using Google.

People are more likely to click on results that appear higher in the search listings as shown in the chart below.

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As a result, if you can have your site appear higher in the search listings, people are more likely to click on your site before they click on anything that might represent false or negative information.

If your firm does not have a lawyer website, create one and make sure that the domain name represents the name of your firm.

It’s also worth creating PPC ads which target the keywords discussed earlier. This will also help you appear at the top of the search listings, if you do not currently.

You also need to focus on creating content.

By creating content for your website’s blog, you can impact what appears in the search listings when someone types in a relevant keyword.

By creating a lot of content, you’ll be able to ‘crowd out’ any negative or false information that appears when people are researching your firm. Examples of content might include:

  • Positive news related to the law firm
  • Informational blog posts
  • New clients the firm might be working with
  • Community work the law firm is involved with
  • Press or media mentions

It’s essential that you create social media profiles that represent your law firm.

For Facebook, you’ll want to create something known as a Facebook Page. You can create a Facebook page for your law firm by visiting https://www.facebook.com/pages/create and then selecting the ‘Company, Organisation or Institution’ option.

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When you go through the setup process for your Facebook Page, make sure you provide all the information that is needed. Make sure you also implement proper branding for the Facebook Page, so that the it appears to be official and representative of your firm.

You’ll also want to create a Twitter profile for your law firm. You can do so by visiting https://twitter.com/signup. As with a Facebook Page, make sure that you complete your profile fully, to emphasize transparency and improve branding.

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You should create profiles on the third party review sites that have been mentioned earlier.

As with the social media profiles, make sure that you fill out your profiles as extensively as possible.

To create a profile with Yelp, visit https://biz.yelp.com.

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To create profile with Yellow Pages, you can visit this page.

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If you want to set up a profile with Avvo go to this page.

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Because Avvo is designed exclusively for the legal world, you’ll be asked for a lot more information. This should not perceived be as a burden, however.

Many people use the Avvo platform when searching for legal assistance. By providing more information, your profile will rank higher within Avvo, helping you improve the odds of acquiring clients using the platform.

Potential clients might also use Avvo for research, and by completing your profile to the fullest extent, you’ll come across as more trustworthy, further aiding your online reputation.

Below are some suggestions for improving your Avvo profile.

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By creating profiles with third party sites, you’re now able to deal with any negative reviews that might be present on such sites.

If you find a negative review, the best way to handle it is by publicly apologizing and reaching out to see if there is anything you can do to amend the problem. This can be an effective way to signal to potential clients that you take client satisfaction seriously and that you’ll do what it takes to amend any issues.

What you do not want to do is publicly have a disagreement with a client who left a negative review.

This can have the opposite effect, affirming everything the negative review suggested, thereby scaring away future clients. If you can sincerely deal with those who left negative reviews, there is even a possibility that they will come back to the review site to amend their review.

They might raise the score or leave a comment that explains how your firm consulted with them to help improve things.

How to stop future problems from damaging your reputation

If you can react to future problems with speed, you’ll be able to minimize the impact of issues that have the potential to damage your reputation.

One of the best ways to speed up your ability to react to problems that can harm your reputation is by using Google Alerts. Google Alerts is a free feature provided by Google which will notify you whenever there are mentions of your law firm online.

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Using this feature, you can quickly receive a notification if there are any negative reviews related to your firm. You can then respond to these negative reviews and take steps to improve the situation.

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Since you can customize the keyword you choose, there is some flexibility in terms of what you can choose to receive notifications about. You may, for instance, want to create alerts based on the keywords we covered earlier.

Note that this feature does not work as well for social media mentions, so it can be a good idea to use Google Alerts alongside the steps we covered above, in relation to learning how your firm is perceived on social media.

Building your reputation over time

The best way to improve your online reputation over time is by increasing the number of positive reviews and testimonials that exist for your law firm and its lawyers.

The best way to generate positive reviews and testimonials for your law firm is to ask for them when the client is feeling good about you. Ask both in-person and with a follow-up email drip series.

Automating the process, with pre-screening

As described above, it is certainly possible to have an active and successful review-generation-and-repair program at your law firm without spending a dime. But what you don’t spend in money you will expend in time.

An alternative is to automate the review process.  The four big advantages to using software to conduct your review efforts are:

  1. You can read the reviews BEFORE they are posted and privately park any lukewarm or negative reviews.
  1. Every review on the internet is instantly gathered for you and placed on a page on your website, minus any reviews you want to privately park.
  1. Your clients need not have any technical knowledge for their reviews to be posted.
  1. The ask is 100% automated; you need not say a word about reviews to any clients or expend any effort other than deciding which reviews to park.

This review management software is one component of our administrative and attorney marketing automation software. To schedule a conversation with our president Travis Hise about increasing your lead flow and reducing your administrative work, click the button below.

14 Influential Legal Review Sites

Your online reviews, or lack of them, have become a major influence on your lead flow:

  • 91% of consumers read online reviews when searching for local businesses
  • 84% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations

In addition, your site’s ranking in Google’s 3-pack and in organic search results are improved by favorable reviews, according to studies by Moz and Local SEO Guide.

Important review sites

In alpha sequence, here are 14 legal review sites you should pay attention to:

This list is based on overall quality, Domain Authority, Citation Flow, and Trust Flow.

Your personalized review report

To find any reviews you have on these specialty sites, you can search for your individual name and your law firm name on each of the 14 listed sites.

Or we can prepare a written report for you that displays every one of your reviews on these 14 sites and on Google+, Bing, and Yahoo.

To obtain your free report, simply click below. Some manual effort is required to compile and email all your reviews, so please allow one business day for delivery.

Marketing Your Law Firm on Yelp: Responding Positively to Yelp! Reviews

The online review and social media site Yelp is a dynamo when it comes to driving (or driving away) clients.  Yelpers can post reviews for businesses ranging from ice cream parlors to—you guessed it—law firms, eventually earning that organization an online reputation as a go-to spot or a destination to avoid at all costs.

Much of the business driven by Yelp profiles is local, which can hugely benefit your firm by developing a community following and establishing your brand name within the market.  These benefits all start with responding correctly to reviews and accruing an overall positive reputation when marketing your law firm on Yelp.  When interacting with prospects and clients on your law firm’s Yelp page, be sure to follow these best practices.

1.       Be personable.

While it’s fitting to take a formal tone on LinkedIn, Yelp is a more casual forum.  Don’t hesitate to convey a more personal message when responding to positive or negative reviews.  For instance, feel free to use the person’s first name and lean toward a softer tone, thanking that person for taking the time to leave a review and expressing your excitement/regret that the reviewer had a positive/negative experience.

2.       Jump into problem resolution mode.

With the good reviews also come the bad—they are an inherent part of law firm marketing on Yelp.  Prospects and clients may take to your law firm’s social media pages to express their frustrations or expand upon negative experiences, and it’s important to address their concerns as soon as possible.

Yelp business pages allow organizations to respond to Yelp reviews publicly or privately.  Depending on the situation and the level of anger in the review, it may be best to first respond publicly to thank the reviewer for leaving feedback and apologize that he or she experienced a negative encounter (as explained above).  Then, explain that your firm will be reaching out privately to discuss the situation further and determine whether you can reach a resolution.

When drafting a private message, approach it as an opportunity to reverse their experience.  Suggest one or two ways to repair the situation such as a refund or a one-on-one discussion with a high-level case manager or attorney.  Sometimes, moody Yelpers simply want their complaints heard and that is enough to mollify them.  If the Yelper no longer wants anything to do with your law firm, it’s best to apologize once again and go your separate ways.

3.       Create raving fans.

When marketing your law firm on social media, respond to positive reviews in the same vein as negative ones—think ‘What can I do to make their experience better so they become a raving fan of the brand?’  After thanking a satisfied Yelper for their kind words, extend an offer to take advantage of like 5% off their next case or a $50 referral bonus if they refer a client to your firm within six months.  Also, your response provides a perfect opportunity to mention that they can follow your law firm’s blog for free legal information and provide the link to sign up.

Law Firm Social Media Tell-All: How to Help Your Clients’ Yelp Reviews Get Past the Dreaded Filter

If you’ve ever wondered why some client reviews are instantly posted on your page while others disappear, the answer is Yelp’s review algorithm. Only so much is known about the mysterious review filter algorithm, leaving many attorneys scratching their heads. When it comes to maneuvering the dreaded review filter, follow these best practices to hurdle the Yelp review wall and build your law firm’s social media presence.

1.      Don’t ask; tell.

Yelp discourages businesses from asking for Yelp reviews. Rather, Yelp states that your law firm should merely inform clients that you have a Yelp business page and let them write a review if they feel so inclined. The ideal product is a law firm social media page with a collection of objective reviews posted throughout the life of your law firm.

2.      Educate clients about completing comprehensive profiles.

Businesses often complain that Yelpers review their companies—oftentimes favorably—yet these reviews are shuffled to the “filtered reviews” tab on the bottom of their pages, leading to worse overall ratings. You may have experienced this frustrating phenomenon yourself!

The company reports that it does this for users who appear to have ghost profiles, such as those who have neither a photo nor Yelp friends, and possess a track record of only one (or a handful of) review(s). Encourage clients to develop full profiles by:

  • Writing a brief user description
  • Making connections
  • Posting reviews of other local businesses
  • Connecting their profiles to social media
  • Checking into businesses from their smartphone app

Overall, completing a comprehensive profile over the span of a few weeks can greatly increase the chances that their reviews will pass the review filter when it comes to your law firm’s social media page, as well as other businesses. It’s also possible for reviews that were previously filtered out to appear back on your page once those Yelpers start building a more significant Yelp presence.

3.      Interact with clients and reviews.

As mentioned above, the client reviews that pass unmolested through the Yelp algorithm are the ones that appear to be from active Yelpers… so help your clients reach that level by interacting with them on a variety of fronts.

  • Befriend them on Yelp
  • Respond to all reviews, commenting and marking them as useful, funny, etc. (responding and engaging audiences is generally a best practice for Yelp and your law firm’s social media sites anyway)

4.      Encourage honesty but rein in excessive emotion.

Yelp reviews that are heavily slanted in either direction—favorable or unfavorable—are sure to be flagged. Therefore, when telling clients about your law firm’s Yelp page, inform them that ranting or excessively congratulating could get their reviews filtered out.

5.      Be patient.

No one goes from being a Yelp stranger to superstar overnight. The key to becoming known and trustworthy on this platform is to consistently craft a few reviews of local businesses every week. Be sure to let clients know that it’s a marathon, not a sprint.

We Can Show You All Your Online Reviews

Have you recently read your online reviews? Do you know what prospects are reading when they are deciding whether or not to call your office?

It is a good idea to periodically examine your review collection. It only takes one bad review, or a couple lukewarm reviews to send prospects to your competitors.

If you have any bad or weak reviews, the best strategy is to bury them underneath positive review after positive review.

Your Star Rating

Google will display your star rating in 3-pack search results (used for local searches) once you have 3 reviews in Google+.

You will want a 4.8-star or higher rating to show up when you appear in Google’s 3-pack. Until you have ten 5.0 star ratings, Google will not display a 5.0 rating.

Free Report

We can show you all your online reviews.

If any of your reviews are unfavorable, or you are not displaying a high star rating in Google’s 3-pack, or perhaps worse, if you have no online reviews and thus have no star rating, you may want to consider building up your collection of positive reviews.

We can explain how to do that when we provide your report. Or you can simply request a free report and skip the recommendation.

Some work is required to prepare your report, so please allow one business day for its creation.

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