Saturday, August 10, 2013

The Verdict: Lawyers need help with Online Reputation

Legal Reputation Building 101

Let's jump right in and look at 2 examples of firms doing an excellent, and not so excellent, job of reputation building.  Think of as the scorecard by which to compare these examples, because it's simply a place to store all the different pieces of the reputation puzzle.

A Great Example:  Douglas J. Smith Law Office
30 seconds on this page is all it takes to see the variety of reputation tools at legal firms' disposal.  Mr. Smith's page has a 90% completion rating thanks to presence of a website, a blog, a facebook and twitter presence, and he has even produced a few YouTube videos.  Now, none of these is overly difficult to establish, and they all represent unique channels to attract new clients or impress existing ones.  He has also used the 'Notable Links' section to link to his other web-presences:  merchant circle, insiderpages, yahoo local, etc; though if we were to offer some advice, it would be to take advantage of the 'Achievements and Recognition' section to post links to major milestones or press mentions (maybe Mr. Smith won a major case, or won an award within his industry circle, or was mentioned in a local news outlet -- those kinds of things)

A Not-So-Great Example:  Offices of Johnny Law
Unfortunately, this is a much more common story.  A law office will begin to work on their online reputation, but stop before they have a chance to realize the huge potential upside.  30 seconds on this page is illustrative that Johnny Law has a great niche to share with the internet audience, however has only taken enough digital strides to reach a 15% completion rating on Spoke--by posting a name, summary, address, and phone number.  This may have been valuable information in 1995, but today it's not even enough to be taken seriously, we hope that they just haven't updated their Spoke page lately.

Now to clarify, we're not saying that everyone needs to have a universal internet presence.  Our view is simply that it's important to push yourself to new levels in the year 2013, because more and more people rely on these channels everyday for increasingly important information (like finding a lawyer.)  Even if you don't have a website, get creative!  I'd be willing to bet that clients have left reviews on Yelp about your office -- and you could post that link to your 'Notable Links,' or make it your 'website!'  You could even use your page.  (Oh, if you haven't heard of Yelp or Avvo, go check them out this second, they're critical to your firm.)

So go experiment with these important digital tools, and send us messages on twitter or facebook when you do!

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