Search engines are the first place people go when searching for just about anything, especially legal services. People look for attorneys and when picking one trust the reviews they find as much as a referral from a friend. That means it is critical to maintain a good online law firm’s reputation. In fact, falling below 4 stars can cut your phone calls in half!
There are many aspects of building an law firm’s online reputation but if you use these hacks you will be ahead of the pack.
Find out where people can find you
Do a search for your own name and your firm name if different. Which sites show up in the results? Some of the most common examples are: Google My Business, Avvo, Yelp, etc. The sites at the top of the search results are the priorities. Now that you’ve identified where people are finding you, you can start working on improving the most relevant directories.
Register for all of those sites
Once you know where you should be, be there! Register so you can manage your profile and reply to the reviews you get, add information visitors will find useful, and make the most of it.
Respond to all the reviews that you have
Now that you have claimed your profiles in these directories, you may be curious to find out what people are saying about you. Respond to all the reviews, if they are positive it can be as simple as a “Thank you!”. If they are negative you can still use them to seem compassionate for prospective clients that will read them.
- If the person who left the review was never your client (either if it was someone who was opposed to you on the court or someone you had a free consultation with) “Dear John, we don’t have any record of you being a client of our firm. Please call us at _________ and we’ll see if we can come to a resolution.
- Another option on some platforms is to mark the review as not given by a former or current client.
- If the person was your client you can still turn the situation to your side by replying to them something like “Dear John we’re sorry to see that you are unhappy. Not everything goes the way we would hope. Please contact our office at___________ and we’ll do everything we can towards a satisfactory resolution given the circumstances of your case”
Be mindful that if they are or were your client, privilege is an important consideration. Also, use an honest and compassionate tone in both situations.
Analyze which platforms impact your firm
Do a little bit of analysis of which platforms are having the greatest impact on your firm. Having a star rating between 3.8 and 4.2 is the tipping point where your calls double, according to our research and a lot of research out there.
The best way to get good reviews is to ask for them from your happy clients! When your good job is done and they are glad they chose you to help them out, ask for an honest review. It won’t take much of their time but as you learned above can change your practice.
So, your main goal is to have a minimum of 3.8 stars on those more important platforms, and, depending on the competition in your practice area or your local market you may need to get up to 4.2. Do not spend a lot of your focus on a platform that is on page 2. Be strategic. Focus on the ones at the top and get that 4.2 rating.
Create a system to automate
Your law firm’s — or your own — online reputation building isn’t a one-time thing. You need to keep working on it consistently. In order to do so automation is key. Think about the typical milestones as you work on a matter for a client? Anytime you are able to deliver positive or better than expected news you should also consider asking for a review. This could be:
- When the case is decided in your client’s favor
- When money shows up
- When you completed the contracts
Take some time to think through those milestones and document a review request into your systems.
If you have a practice management system it would be good to put the reminders in there to ask. If you have a trusted paralegal or assistant you may want to put it into their workflow.
Online presence is crucial to growing your practice. Reviews on social media have the power to change the way people perceive you and your practice. Word of mouth is still powerful, but is no longer the only good way to get noticed.
To change and manage the perception of you you need to take strategic action and be consistent with it. Use these hacks and see your calls increasing. If you want to go further, read our blog post on how to increase your Avvo rating