Reputation Management for Lawyers
With your profiles now built, you are getting ready for the next phase which is to start posting your own content and sharing some great insights.
But, there are pitfalls you should be aware of from day one. As is the case for firms, the digital age and social media will give some challenges to you as an individual lawyer too.
Things occur online that can negatively affect your personal brand. If your not aware to this possibility, you will be caught off guard by it.
You need to put time into controlling what people see on you online. You can proactively do the work to maintain a good reputation online. If you neglect to do this, the work will build up to a place where you can’t manage any future negative event.
Social media can be detrimental to your brand when not used correctly. There are numerous cases where lawyers have got themselves and their firms in trouble because of their comments on social media.
Besides some worst case scenarios, you should be able to combat some negative things that can occur. These include negative reviews or a news article where you are mentioned that you’d prefer if people did not see.
They will always cause you some pain. But you can help reduce the severity to which it affects you.
Below are some steps you can take to maintain a strong online reputation. While you won’t be able to sweep anything under the rug, you can aim to gain control back if a prospective client searches for you:
1. Have a personal site
This is something you fully control. You can get your website to become the top ranking site when someone searches your name.
This will require a small bit of SEO work and consistency but it is achievable. It is a great way to ensure you manage the top results under your name. Your site should act as the hub of all the content you produce. You can then use your other channels to deliver it.
2. Have a low budget Google PPC campaign
This may not be achievable when your starting out. But as you grow your name and profile, you should ask your firm for some budget towards this.
You can have different ad groups based on some of your best pieces of content and categorize them across your level of expertise. You should also run ads against your own name. This will take up valuable real estate on the first page of results when someone is looking you up.
3. Create content
Creating content is one of the best ways to negate negative press online. One of the best ways to circumvent negativity is to drown it out with lots of other pieces of content that people enjoy.
4. Respond in kind
If you do receive something from a disgruntled client, respond publicly to the criticism. People respect transparency so if the negative review is public then you should respond in a rational manner.
Tell them you’d be happy to chat with them further about their issue and you're sorry for their experience. This shows you aren’t hiding from it. Instead, your showing your human side and that you can own up to your mistakes if they are legitimate.
5. Ask for the good stuff
Negative experiences are always more likely to be shared, it’s human nature. So it is important to have a system where you are encouraging happy clients to share their positive experience.
Keep in touch with past clients and ask them for a review after you have worked with them. Explain that you would appreciate if they would share something positive about the work you did for them. It is best to get them to do it on Google, LinkedIn or Facebook as it can be seen by the public. From there, you can ask their permission to add it to your website at a later stage.
This blog post is part of our Branding For Lawyers Series. Look out for our next post on it.