Don’t Let Your Revenues and Prospects Drop; Manage your Law Firm’s Online Reputation

In the vast world of the internet, information travels in the blink of an eye. Although it is valuable tool for law firms to reach out to clientele and potentially grow a business, the internet can just as easily make a firm come crashing down.

Hackers, internet “trolls” and hate sites are a reality that haunt many business owners. This results in specific firms being projected poorly due to untrue information, or bad reviews being vastly distributed and easily accessible. To avoid this as much as possible, it is important for law firms to be proactive about their online presence in order to stay on top of scammers and divert clients away from negative material.

Think of having a strong digital footprint as part of your overall brand. If your online presence is low, then your firm does not stand out and clients are unaware of where to look for your firm online. That leaves plenty of room for negative influencers to divert your potential clientele to inaccurate information. So, the stronger the footprint, the more control you have over your company’s image and the content that is present online about it.

In most cases of reputation crisis, publishing content online in a strategic manner that will push the damaging material out of the spotlight is the best course of action. However, this is not an easy and rapid task by any means. New content must compete with other materials and somehow make it to the first page of search engines. Content and review management programs may be a helpful to rise your content to the top at a faster pace to avoid negative repercussions as much as possible.

One program that could be established is to reserve applicable domain names. Malicious websites can easily host a website address that is similar to a firm’s name, diverting the attention of search engines and clients to the hate site and away from your firm.

One may believe that something as drastic as this would never happen to their law firm, but the truth is that anyone could be a target for malicious sites that are meant to attract inappropriate attention; sometimes for no reason at all. By purchasing all the appropriate domain extensions of your firm’s name, which can sometimes mean buying over 10 domains in a variety of iteration, you lessen the chances of potential attacks.

Some other ways to take control of your reputation include:

  • Making sure that the photos of you that appear online are appropriate and depict an image that you wish to portray.
  • Utilizing LinkedIn for most of your information sharing and connecting.
  • Maintaining a consistent schedule for publishing content to build a professional and reliable online profile.
  • Having a comprehensive AVVO profile.

Although there are several ways to deter the negativity online, many law firms simply do not have the time to regularly maintain an online presence. But, being there for your clients online is just as important as being there for them in the courtroom. That’s where PR4Lawyers can help.

PR4Lawyers integrates traditional marketing techniques the modern marketing necessities of social media, web development, and SEO. PR4Lawyers’ multifaceted approach helps law firms reach potential clients across all media, while also managing your online reputation to help your law firm succeed.

If you would like more information on managing your law firm’s digital footprint, or to set up a complimentary consultation, please call 1-866-PR4LAWYERS (866-774-5299) or fill out our online contact form.

An Overview of the Security Settings of Social Media Platforms

Social media can be both a beneficial and dangerous tool for businesses and individuals. While it can help spread your company’s message to the masses, sometimes, it can also share too much or the wrong information and can give users an undesired perception of your company. In addition, today’s increasingly popular digital world has brought with it the danger of hackers (people who gain access to others’ accounts and make unauthorized changes that can be detrimental to a business’s online persona).

In order to help prevent some of these issues, many social media platforms have started to offer improved security options. Many of these can be found on the platform’s “settings” header. These options vary from site to site, however. Below are some of the most noteworthy security settings from each major social network.

Facebook

One of the most popular social networking platforms, Facebook offers many security options to protect one’s page. The platform allows users to “turn off” the ability for people to leave reviews and send direct messages, post comments to the business page, or tag the page in another user’s posts and photos. This helps to prevent the company page from being associated with other users who do not represent the organization.

In addition, comments made on a publicly-shared post can be “hidden” so that only the person who posted the comment and his or her Facebook friends can view it. While there is no way to prevent these comments from being posted, these comments can be deleted by the page admin after they become public.

Another security feature Facebook offers is the ability to set a targeted demographic for a company page’s posts. A business can select a preferred audience for its posts and can restrict the audience who views it.

Twitter

An important thing to note about Twitter’s security settings is that not everyone has to see your tweets. While you can set your account to private — meaning that only your followers will have access to your tweets — you can also declare “approved connections,” naming specific accounts to receive your tweets. These approved connections will have the ability to like, comment, or “retweet” your posts. Twitter also allows users to prevent people from tagging their account in photos and can block other users from sending direct messages to the account. However, one of the greatest security drawbacks is that Twitter does not allow users to prevent their handles from being tagged in other individuals’ tweets.

Instagram

With a focus on photos rather than wordy posts, Instagram is a social media platform that seems to attract more individuals for entertainment rather than for professional use. However, many businesses still utilize the social platform to reach a specific audience.

One of Instagram’s security features favorable to businesses is the ability to turn off comments on specific posts. This feature is used to prevent other users from posting negative comments to a shared post. If you do not want to turn off comments completely to welcome positive posts, Instagram does allow the user to delete other users’ comments on their post. However, like most other social media platforms, these comments can only be deleted after they have already been posted and there is no way to filter out negative comments before they are posted without completely turning off the ability to comment on a post.

Instagram also offers the option for users to make their account “private,” which means that other users must request to follow an account and the owner of that account must approve or deny each request. This feature allows an account to control its audience, but it is used by personal accounts more often than business accounts because it tends to decrease visibility and traffic to a page.

If online interactions become too negative, Instagram also allows users to block other users. Without notifying the other user, the “block” option will prevent the blocked user from viewing your posts and will also prevent you from seeing theirs. You will also no longer appear on each other’s lists of “followers” or “following” and the blocked user will not be able to comment, like, or view your posts or direct message your account. In addition, the blocked user will be unable to find your account in his or her searches.

LinkedIn

When a user creates a LinkedIn account, it comes with many default privacy and security settings that may not be ideal for the business. For this reason, it is important to review your settings to ensure that your account is set up with the privacy and security features you would like. LinkedIn offers the following security options:

  • Under the “Privacy” tab of the “Privacy & Settings” header, the social platform allows users to turn off a setting that notifies the user’s network and connections whenever he or she updates the profile. When users make multiple changes to their profiles at once, their networks would likely see every change through their notifications, which could be a nuisance to some people.
  • Users can prevent people who they are not connected to from seeing all of their activity while browsing their page. This can be done under the “Blocking and Hiding” header, which allows users to select which connections may or may not follow the account, view the account’s activity, and view public updates.
  • LinkedIn has a feature that allows users to see who viewed their profiles. It also allows users the ability to limit the amount of information others see when they view their profile. A user can change these settings to show their complete information, a vague amount of information that hides their name and photo, or simply “LinkedIn Member.”
  • The ranking system on LinkedIn can be beneficial to a business or individual, but it can also be harmful. A bad ranking may deter others from taking interest in the user or their company page. However, LinkedIn allows users to exclude themselves from this ranking.
  • LinkedIn also allows a user to prevent others from seeing his or her connections and limit which emails he or she receives from the platform and those who may be trying to contact the account member or business.
  • The social platform also allows users to hide their photos completely or limit their accessibility to just connections or networks.

Some settings may be better suited for a company’s page than they are for an individual’s page and vice versa. For this reason, it is important for users to understand their audience and the message they would like people to perceive by viewing their profile.

Google My Business

In order to publish a business listing on Google, a business must be verified. This security measure is set up to ensure that whatever information is being posted about the business is being done by a representative of the organization. To verify a business, Google will send the user a verification code to the listed phone number either by call or text — or it can be sent by mail to the business’ address. In addition, these measures help to verify that the business name matches the contact information associated with it. Once an account is verified, the user will have full access to post to the page, upload photos, and engage with their audience.

While Google My Business does not allow individual users to delete negative comments or reviews, it does provide the option of “flagging” an inappropriate or inaccurate review. Once a review is flagged, a Google representative will review the post to see if its contents violate the platform’s policies. However, it is important to note that Google will not remove a review simply because it is negative. To be removed, the review must be in clear violation of Google’s policies. If the Google representative deems the post a violation of one or more of the platform’s policies, it will process the request and remove the post. This process may take several days.

New Features in Google My Business

Earlier this year, Google added insight reports, tailored actionable buttons (think take-out ordering or hotel reservation booking) and bulk upload spreadsheet functions to its Google My Business features. Though all are especially helpful to restaurants, the latter is a great tool for businesses with more than one location (and, thus, more than one listing on Google) as it enables page owners to collect information for all locations to one central location. For results-driven business owners, the addition of insight reports means they will have greater access to digital marketing analytics, while the other changes make it easier for customers viewing a profile to take action directly from the listing.

Continue reading “New Features in Google My Business”

The Good, The Bad, The Ugly: How to Effectively Deal with Negative Reviews

There is only one way to avoid criticism: do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing. – Aristotle

Client feedback is essential to the growth and sustainability of any business, including law firms. Today, there are more outlets than ever for clients to provide feedback about their experience with a law firm and its attorneys. Yelp, Google My Business, and Facebook are some of the most well-known platforms and are very accessible to clients to post reviews. But what happens when a client decides to share their negative experience about the firm or its lawyers on one or more of these public forums?

Continue reading “The Good, The Bad, The Ugly: How to Effectively Deal with Negative Reviews”

Why Facebook Advertising Is Important for Law Firms and Solo Practitioners

As of the third quarter of 2016, Facebook boasts 1.49 billion monthly active users and, during this time, 1.18 billion active users visited the social media network on a daily basis, according to Statista. Facebook is the largest social media platform in the world, which means it should be an integral part of any law firm or solo practitioner’s advertising strategy, as it allows you to connect with clients or prospects in a way not seen with traditional advertising strategies.

Continue reading “Why Facebook Advertising Is Important for Law Firms and Solo Practitioners”

Trust: The Key to PR’s Success or Failure

Trust in MarketingWhat’s the most important part of public relations? You might think that the answer is in the word “public”—in other words, how wide an audience you can reach with information about your organization. However, an equal amount of attention needs to be focused on the “relations” component of PR. PR is less a set of tried-and-true formulas for communicating with customers, and more a discipline of building trust. The relationships you cultivate with audiences will ultimately determine your company’s success or failure.

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“The Times” Is Changing: Study Shows Increasing Role of Social Media in News Delivery

Social Media Is Shifting News SourcesWhere do you get your news? If this question were asked forty or even twenty years ago, the most common responses would have included radio, television and good old-fashioned newspapers. But the Pew Research Center and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation recently released a study on news and social media, and the findings reveal a significant demographic shift over the past few years.

Shifting News Sources

The big statistic revealed from this study is that 44% of American adults get their news via Facebook. Yes, 44% of all adult Americans stay informed through the world’s most popular social networking platform. This number represents two-thirds of all adult Facebook users, up from 47% of Facebook users in 2013.

Some other figures from this study are worth mentioning as well. The total percentage of American adults who get their news from any social media network (including Reddit, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Instagram, Tumblr, and more) is 62%, and almost two-thirds of those usually get it from just one social media network. For journalists and marketers alike, this represents a paradigm shift. While news consumers of a previous generation might have read the day’s headlines in the morning paper, heard additional news on the radio during their commute to work and returned home to catch the six o’clock news on TV, today’s consumers are increasingly likely to get their updates from just one source—most often Facebook. Today, information and advertising are still delivered on a screen, but the screen can be found more and more on consumers’ desks or in their hands rather than in their living rooms.

Shifting Attitudes

Another important statistic: Among Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube users who get their news online, about 60% report that they merely see the headlines while they’re doing other things online; only 40% specifically search the web for it. The Internet has made it easier than ever before for information and advertising to reach consumers wherever they are, even if they don’t intentionally seek it out.

It is impossible to predict whether social platforms will ever completely crowd out the “traditional” media of newspapers, radio, and TV. But in regard to marketing and public relations, organizations can gain valuable information about consumers’ shifting news sources from last month’s report. A thoughtful, relationship-driven approach to advertising is essential to navigating the complex avenues of social media successfully.

If you have questions about how best to promote your organization across social media, PR4Lawyers is happy to help. Don’t hesitate to contact us at 1-866-PR4LAWYERS or at johnzaher@pr4lawyers.com.

5 Free Tools to Support Your Social Media Marketing Strategy

With the amount of social media programs available on the Web, law firms must be able to efficiently leverage time spent on social media marketing. This article will provide readers with a brief introduction to the social media services Eventbrite, Tweriod, WiseStamp, Disqus and Unfollowr. These five tools are quick to use, helpful, and conveniently free of charge.

  1. Eventbrite — Eventbrite’s mission is to make events as easy to create, find and attend as possible. With this online service, firms can create and promote events online. This tool allows users to customize event pages, integrate with email marketing services, connect with Facebook and offers the ability to scan QR-coded tickets for attendees with smartphones at the door. If your event is free, this service is free to use. For paid events, there is a small fee to sell tickets online.
  1. Tweriod — This tool analyzes both your firm’s tweets and your followers’ tweets to provide you with the best times and days to send tweets. By tweeting during time periods where you’ll receive the most exposure, you will make the most out of your efforts. Firms should run a free monthly Tweriod analysis and use the provided data to schedule posts in programs such as HootSuite or TweetDeck. For more information on scheduling social media posts at the right times, please read our article, “Timing is Everything: When to Blog, Tweet and More.”
  1. WiseStampWiseStamp allows users to create unique, branded email signatures through customized apps. For example, you can link your email signature to any social network, share your latest WordPress blog articles, include QR codes and much more. The free version of WiseStamp allows users to create one personal and one corporate email signature.
  1. Disqus — For those who receive an excessive amount of spam in the comment section of their blog, Disqus can be very helpful. This free tool can get rid of spammers by upgrading your comment system so that users must create an account before they can comment. This program is compatible with WordPress, Tumblr, Blogger, Drupal, HTML and JavaScript. Also, Disqus has been approved by the Google Search Quality team to be organically crawled unlike any other comment platform. 
  1. Unfollowr — If you need to clean up your “following” list on Twitter, this free program will help you keep track of people who have stopped following your account. To join, just follow @unfollowr on Twitter and you will receive digests to your email or direct messages with a list of unfollowers. This is a great tool to remove inactive or unfruitful accounts and ensure that you aren’t losing any important firm contacts or personal connections.

For more information, please contact The Public Relations and Marketing Group at 1-866-PR4Lawyers or johnzaher@pr4lawyers.com. You can also visit our blog for more valuable articles, advertising spotlights and more.

 

5 Quick Tips to Grow Your Followers on Social Media

Social-Media-TreeAttorneys are increasingly turning to social media as a way to communicate with their prospective clients. But, as an attorney, growing your presence on social media can be tricky, especially if you are just starting your pages. Here are some tips on how you can make minimal changes to your social media platforms, and quickly receive an increased number of followers.

1. Be Consistent in Your Content

Your content is what your law firm will largely be known for on social media. Therefore, you want to maintain a clean and consistent image. Content should always be relevant to the type of legal services you provide. For example, you may feature new blog posts you have written, post relevant articles about cases in your area or briefly comment on largely publicized cases in your field of practice. Law firms may even choose to share news and events pertaining to the firm.

Once you find content that is appropriate for your firm, regularly post similar concepts on a rotating basis. This way, your followers know exactly what to expect on your social media pages, and others will begin to follow your pages as a reference for current events. You should also include a mix of updates on law and local news to keep your feed up-to-date with current information. Continue reading “5 Quick Tips to Grow Your Followers on Social Media”

Start Planning Your Holiday Marketing

Wrapped presents and computer mouse

The fourth financial quarter and the holiday season are approaching. How can your firm capitalize on the holiday rush? Start planning your holiday marketing efforts now! Use your firm’s social media sites, online marketing, and public relations efforts to build a comprehensive holiday marketing plan.

Social Media Marketing

As each holiday season comes and goes, we are becoming more engulfed in our social media accounts. Therefore, it is beneficial to use social media as a way to directly influence your client base. First, grab their attention by adding fun and festive elements to your usual marketing strategies.

The holiday season means that consumers want a good value for their dollar. By offering a promotion on social media sites (whether it is “Take 10% off your consultation” or “$50 off services provided”), you are giving existing and prospective clients alike a reason to visit your firm. Even visitors who were not previously considering your goods or services may be enticed to do so. Continue reading “Start Planning Your Holiday Marketing”