Monitoring your law firm’s reputation used to be a fairly simple and straightforward ordeal… clients gave feedback by word of mouth and you occasionally took out an advertisement or put out a client satisfaction survey. The results were fairly well contained and you could continue on with your business dealings. Today, that isn’t so much the case. Every opinion our clients have gets posted to the internet, putting everything out there on the table – whether it’s accurate or not. Managing that reputation has become an incredibly important part of our jobs – but how exactly can lawyers successfully manage their firms’ reputations online?
- Be present – The first step is to be present. Make sure you have a presence on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn – this is crucial to being able to monitor what’s being said. Angie’s List is another service to take advantage of. You can pay to be a member to include your listing, but you can also search the database for free to find out what’s being said about your firm.
- Be aware – Take advantage of free monitoring tools, such as Google Alerts. This free service allows you to enter keywords, such as your firm’s name or lawyers’ names and will send you notices when they are mentioned online. Set up time on your calendar to proactively search through Google, social media, and popular forums to see what’s being said.
- Be part of the conversation – If you aren’t leading the discussion, you’re being led. Proactively join the conversation on forums and social media venues, such as LinkedIn. Not only does doing so provide you with insight and a direct line to feedback, but it also helps to distinguish you as a leader in your space. As an added bonus, when you’re part of the conversation, people know you’re there and have a tendency to bring any issues or comments directly to your attention, whether that be via a personal message or by tagging you in a post or with your Twitter handle; either way, it’s coming directly to you.
- Be responsive – If someone does say something about your firm, take the time to respond to it. Letting it go unnoticed and unacknowledged often only furthers a bad reputation, while responding not only shows that you care and are working to remedy any negative feedback, but also furthers a relationship with someone who provides positive feedback.
- Communicate – Part of managing your firm’s online reputation is to let people know that you’ve heard them and are addressing feedback. Go outbound with updates about changes you’re making or ways that you have improved based on previously received feedback. People like to be heard and they like to know what’s going on – giving this information proactively makes you their “friend” and a resource.