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When prospective clients shop around for legal counsel, they actively and consciously seek tangible strong points such as experience, expertise and any disciplinary records kept by the state bar association. With the advent of social media, prospective clients have a new and seemingly decisive factor in their decision to retain counsel. [...]
Podcasts and YouTube videos are more often associated with animals making cute noises or playing musical instruments than they are with a serious reputation management agenda, but they can be a useful, if unorthodox, method of maintaining relationships with consumers and improving your law firm’s brand recognition.
The term “viral video” has risen to popularity in recent years as companies have taken advantage of consumers who enjoy sharing their favorite media on social sites. Just like them, you can use the viral nature of videos to help promote your work as a Las Vegas estate planning lawyer and manage your online reputation.
This has extended to search engines like Google, which will often rank video media above similarly ranked text media based on keywords tagged in the video. This can act almost like a PPC ad — except it is one where you don’t have to pay per keyword click. If your video looks interesting and is tagged with the proper keywords, search users will be as likely if not more likely to click it, just to see what it is all about. If your message is strong, it can help develop positive associations for your business and may even turn the viewer into a customer.
This post concludes our series on reputation management. The things you need to remember are that as your company grows in scope, so too does the chance of a public relations crisis breaking out on the Internet. Proactive reputation management strategies, including developing a plan of action and producing blog, social media and video content, can help to keep your online reputation strong.
While reputation management may seem prohibitively expensive or time-consuming, think of it as an insurance policy against the perils of success. As your company grows and develops, reputation management will become a regular part of your marketing strategy. Best of luck in your business endeavors!
Self-generated content is a positive way to promote your business, protect your reputation and showcase a side of yourself that your clients may not normally see when they come to you to discuss issues like selling their home or seeking a child custody order modification. A blog lets you discuss your interests, link back to your website and attract social media clients.
Blogs are the original form of social media, providing a simple way to share your thoughts with friends and potential clients searching for a Massachusetts personal injury attorney (or any other type of lawyer) online. They can provide a way to proactively manage your reputation. It’s a known fact of SEO that it is harder to get into the search rankings if there are several websites devoted to the same keyword updated on a regular basis. Your blog or blogs can help you prevent negative reviews from having as large an impact. It can also help you showcase your expertise in your field of business through a more candid, unofficial medium.
There are several guidelines to keep in mind when starting a blog for or related to your business. You should:
A great blog will do wonders for your reputation. You may develop a professional following and receive positive feedback from potential prospects, but even if you don’t, blogging is an important SERM technique that will help you keep your law firm in the top search rankings.
Coming up next is videos and reputation management, the last subject up for discussion in CaseDetails.com’s Reputation Management series.
As a lawyer, your brand is one of your most important assets. Your company’s name recognition and any positive or negative associations represent its potential for success or failure. This is ultimately why you have to keep tabs on the Internet for any and all discussion of your law firm and your brand. One oft-overlooked form of reputation management involves purchasing domain names related to your company as a means of damage control.
It goes without saying that you should buy the .com, .net, .org and all other public domain versions of your main website. If you have the funds, you should also buy common misspellings close to your domain name. This is because sometimes,unscrupulous individuals wishing to do harm to your brand will buy websites related to your business. If you can buy them first, you may be able to head off potential crises.
Make a list of all the domains you might want to buy, including any potential secondary “spin-off” sites with catchy titles. Ohio consumer collections lawyers, for example, could buy http://www.ohioconsumercollectionslawyers.com if it is an available domain.
First, check to see if anyone owns your domains by using the “bulk upload” feature on a domain registry site like GoDaddy. If nobody owns a domain, it is easy to purchase. Simply register the domain in your name. However, if you think of a catchy name for your company and the domain has already been taken, you may have to engage in some negotiation with the owner.
You can contact the owner by finding contact information on the site or use the whois directory for owner information. Once you find the owner, contact him or her and see if the domain is for sale. You may be able to agree on a price, but keep in mind that the shorter and punchier the domain name is, the more it is likely to cost. Good domains could cost thousands of dollars.
Domain name management is an important part of reputation management. Your domain name is often the first thing people see in a search engine. Make sure you own your domain name and that it matches your positive brand!
Want to know what’s up next in our series? Part Fourteen covers blogging to protect your reputation.
The bloggers of today will be the thought leaders in your field tomorrow. For this reason, it is important to build relationships now that will further your legal career down the line. While a blog may just look like an inexpensive website, serious writers seek to increase their audience using blogs. If you can develop a relationship with a respected blogger in your field, you might be able to guest blog for them or otherwise become involved in their Internet community. It never hurts to reach out.
Business relations with press and journal publishers have long been a method of mutual support. Writers get access to inside information and expert opinion, while business owners get access to a large pool of untapped prospects as well as allies when others besmirch their reputation. This is as true now as it was in the early days of newsprint and is something all lawyers should keep in mind when developing a reputation management crisis plan. The relationships you build now will sustain you well into the sunset of your career.
If an online reputation crisis occurs and you need to start promoting what your firm can do for, say, victims of railroad accidents, you should quickly shoot off an email to bloggers who know your law firm and the quality of work you produce. Ask if you can publish an article on their site, or see if they’ll write something positive about the topic related to your crisis while plugging your business. Customers will be more likely to discount negative reviews if they can find unique content on several different websites presenting a positive view of your firm or your firm’s lawyers.
By keeping in regular touch with bloggers you trust, you can make sure positive content about your business spreads across the web on a regular basis from many different sources. The stronger your web footprint, the less likely it is that a single piece of negative content will make a noticeable impact.
Develop relationships with three to five serious, trusted bloggers, and try to identify the online thought leaders in your field. They will be helpful in terms of finding you new clients, helping you manage crises and contributing to your business’ overall health for years to come. They can also help you protect your name brand, a topic covered in Part Thirteen of the CaseDetails.com Reputation Management series.
Taking advantage of social media can be a huge help when it comes to reputation management, especially among a young, connected consumer market. Social media provides an easy way to connect with large numbers of people online. It humanizes your law firm and helps you seem more approachable to your prospects. A properly mobilized social media response can mean the difference between a customer relations crisis and a positive resolution to a minor reputation hiccup.
It’s not enough to simply have a Facebook account or a Twitter feed. You have to be active in the right way and monitor social networks for conversations about your business or your particular services and products. This way you can get the jump on any user-generated content that could lead to finding new prospects. Again, think of social media as a 21st century business necessity, just as important as any standard marketing practices. It is another sphere of business and customer influence.
Social media does a lot to eliminate the boundaries between personal and professional interaction. This is neither intrinsically good nor intrinsically bad; it simply represents a different way of doing business. With this in mind, your social media presence must represent the best side of yourself.
People expect you to be more than just a business partner or professional resource; they expect you to be friendly and personable online as well. Your online presence must dance precisely between not being too open for risk of being seen as unprofessional while not being too staid for risk of being seen as out of touch. Just remember to let your love for what you do shine on social media at least once per day, and you will do fine.
There are several tools that you can use to keep tabs on your law firm’s brand in the sphere of social media. These tools allow you to construct topic clouds that comb social networks for mentions of certain terms, like “child support attorney in Newport News,” and names. This ensures that you aren’t caught flat-footed in the event of a major issue. In most cases, it is simply a matter of downloading the program and installing it to begin monitoring.
By monitoring and staying active, your social media presence will help you develop a sterling reputation much more quickly than it otherwise might, which is especially important because building relationships now can greatly help you down the line. Turbocharge your business and set up your social media presence today!
While responding to negative reviews and producing positive content are reactive reputation management methods, you want to use proactive methods as well. These should be part of your firm’s overall marketing strategy that you pursue on a day-to-day basis. Proactive reputation management, in addition to improving your business, helps you to be more resilient when reputation issues come up. If you already have a strong online marketing strategy in place, reactive tactics won’t need to be quite as complex.
One of the best ways to proactively improve your reputation is known as linkbuilding, and it is an oldie but a goodie. Linkbuilding has long been a staple of best SEO practices, and it can be applied just as easily to SERM. For those unfamiliar with SEO, linkbuilding consists of placing links to your site using social media channels, blog comments and other online tools.
According to search engine algorithms, success on the Internet is a popularity contest. The more times your website is linked, the more authoritative it is likely to be. By using linkbuilding techniques, you can present your site to the algorithms as a noteworthy site on par with sites that might print negative reviews.
A good way to promote link networks is to begin a blog devoted to topics in your particular field. A civil rights attorney in New York, for example, could blog about topics such as police misconduct and battery whenever a new instance is reported in the news. Likewise, an immigration law attorney could blog about changes in legislation across the United States and how such changes impact foreigners seeking residency.
By posting regular links on your blog to your main site, links to each other in content produced for one or both of them, and links to every one of your pages on relevant locations around the Web, you will improve your linkbuilding prospects that much more quickly.
Be sure to post your links on well-established sites and blogs whenever possible. Try to establish your blogs using SEO techniques so links on the blogs will provide more of an impact on your search engine ranking. Ultimately, that’s what proactive reputation management techniques are about: Making sure your Web ranking is strong and positive to mitigate the effect of crises in the future. Social media can go a long way in improving your rankings, which is the next topic CaseDetails.com is going to tackle!
If someone makes damaging statements about you or your firm online, you can kill two birds with one stone by using PPC advertising to counteract the negative messaging while simultaneously promoting your services as an attorney. PPC is unique in that it allows you to create hyper-targeted ad campaigns. You can target your ad’s messaging to a particular online reputation issue.
CaseDetails.com has a whole section devoted to articles on paid advertising, so this is just a quick synopsis just in case you have wandered in from elsewhere. PPC stands for pay-per-click, and it is a huge form of online advertising. With a PPC campaign, a business agrees to pay a certain amount of money if a prospect clicks on an ad related to a particular keyword or keyword phrase. (A Milford immigration lawyer would use that as one of these keyword phrases in a PPC campaign.) If prospects search for that keyword phrase through a search engine, your firm’s advertisement will pop up as a featured or sponsored ad. This places the responsibility on the business consumer to convert click-throughs into sales.
PPC can be a powerful tool to counteract a negative statement. It combines public relations and advertising, and as such is somewhat more complicated than either. A good PPC reputation management campaign:
The Internet remakes itself every day with new content, new blogs and new potentials for trouble. A PPC campaign can be developed and rolled out in a matter of minutes at a fraction of the cost of a standard ad campaign. This improves your business’ visibility, brings in potential new clients, and addresses the reputation management issue. It also gives you the opportunity to build links back to your site, which is another technique you can use to manage your online reputation.