You Can’t Control Your Firm’s Reputation

Remember the good old days when your law firm’s reputation was defined solely by the quality of its work?

In contrast, today can feel like the Wild West. Discussions with clients that once were private and “protected” may now be force-fed into the maw of the insatiable social media beast by anyone armed with a phone and a bad attitude – and spewed out in distorted, inaccurate ways that give you and your firm an undeserved black eye.

That can only mean one thing for enterprising attorneys: opportunity! So says a new white paper from FindLaw, You Can’t Control Your Firm’s Reputation. (But You Can Manage It.)

All Hope Is Not Lost

The big takeaway: While you can’t control your firm’s reputation as easily as you did in the analog-only days of yesteryear, you can manage it surprisingly well by actively engaging past and potential clients on review sites.

FindLaw’s new white paper examines research from its 2015 FindLaw Ratings and Reviews Survey and other sources, revealing ways in which you can capitalize on online reviews, ratings and comments. From an entrepreneurial view, all these digital points of contacts offer virtually unlimited opportunities to build your firm’s brand and business.

Consumers Trust Each Other

Another key insight is that today’s better informed consumers gravitate to law firms based largely on content that isn’t written or approved by you. Yes, your carefully crafted website content is a crucial part of your digital marketing strategy, but third-party perspectives can validate your abilities and character more powerfully and authentically.

It may sound strange that consumers searching for trusted insights rely so heavily on the opinions and reviews of people they’ve never met. But FindLaw research backs that phenomena up.

Two critical pieces of data speak volumes not only about the methods and mindset of today’s consumer, but also about the unprecedented opportunities generated by the plethora of online forums that continue to proliferate.

First, 88 percent of consumers acknowledged that an attorney’s reputation was one of the two most important pieces of information they’d rely on when making a decision to hire. Second, 67 percent of consumers listed “reviews from former clients” as a top two criteria when evaluating an attorney.

Managing The Unmanageable

The best place to start is by monitoring your firm’s online reviews and mentions, which will give you an intimate and detailed understanding of how well you’re meeting the needs of clients. Sifting through these unvarnished opinions provide opportunities for positioning and differentiating yourself in ways that you may not have considered in the pre-digital age.

What’s more, social media sites can identify – and help you track – sources of potential clients. And posting their ready-made testimonials on the sites you do control can prove to be the tipping point for on-the-fence prospects who place great stock in objective testimonials.

Discover more creative ways in which you can harness the power of online reviews and ratings – and gain access to a detailed and valuable blueprint for reputation management – by downloading FindLaw’s new white paper here.

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