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.

How to Market Yourself Using LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a great way to showcase your professional brand and identity as well as your accomplishments. Not only can your profile reflect your resume, but it can also inform your network of the work you are doing. Utilize LinkedIn to network with people in your field of work, draw potential clientele to your business, and expand your brand over the wide web of digital connections.

Presenting Yourself on LinkedIn

To begin, fill out your entire profile completely. Below are some factors to consider when developing your profile:

  • Make sure your profile picture is professional. If you’re marketing yourself to gain more clients for your business or firm, use your picture to demonstrate that you are an expert in the field and take your job seriously.
  • Your cover photo should be just as professional, but instead of a headshot, it should promote your work. Use this photo as a digital billboard for promoting your firm’s services. Let viewers know that your firm specializes in divorces, injury law, or another field of law as soon as they click on your profile.
  • Keep your bio short and to the point. Tell page visitors who you are, what you do, and why you love doing it. Make sure to show your passion for your career, this tells people you’re dedicated and committed to your position.
  • Showcase your job experience; add your current position and at least two previous positions. This illustrates growth in your career and shows that you have extensive experience in your field of work.
  • Add projects or volunteer work to display the things you’re passionate about in life. If someone can find you relatable, this may lead to more clientele.

Networking

There are three different types of connections: 1st, 2nd, and 3rd. Your 1st connections are people with whom you are already connected. This means you have either accepted their invitation to connect with you or vice versa. 2nd connections are those that are also 1st connections with one of your 1st connections. 3rd connections are people that are distantly connected to your network. For instance, they may be a 1st connection of one of your 2nd connections. The more connections you have, the more exposure and opportunities will become available to you.

Growing your network is important if you want to gain more clients and connections. Start by connecting with people you already know such as colleagues, previous people you have worked with or worked for, old schoolmates from college and even peers from high school. Join groups with alumni from your university, or if you were in a fraternity or sorority, connect with your fellow brothers and sisters.

Sharing on Your Newsfeed

When sharing posts and status updates on your newsfeed, be sure to sprinkle in any blogs or articles you have written. Articles created by you prove that you are extremely knowledgeable of the article’s topic and can increase your credibility on the subject matter. LinkedIn Publishing is great for generating articles, but another option would be to create a Medium account and write your articles through that site. Medium is a platform where thought leaders, CEOs, business leaders, and anyone really, can create a blog and share their stories and articles on Medium. You can post these articles on any form of social media including LinkedIn.

Another great way to increase visibility is to post any videos you may have of yourself giving a public speech at a conference or a similar event. There is no need to worry if you do not have any videos like this, regular articles and blog posts will suffice. Also feel free to share other people’s videos and posts that you resonate with to increase your presence on LinkedIn. Sharing other people’s articles and videos may help grow your network base as well.

Use LinkedIn’s tools to promote your business even further. Lastly, when it comes to marketing your firm or business, don’t forget the most important marketing tool is you.

PR4Lawyers is an experienced attorney marketing firm that has accomplished successful strategies for over a decade. For more information about our services, 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.

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?

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Facebook: The New Face of Advertising

An In-Depth Look at How Facebook is Outpacing Traditional AdvertisingFacebook Ads image

By Erin Marine, Legal Account Executive at PR4Lawyers

The Wall Street Journal recently published an article on Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson’s advertising strategy for his political campaign. At the time, Carson was the leading candidate in the Republican primary polls, surpassing even the “seemingly unstoppable” Donald Trump, but Carson was also leading his political rivals in another arena: Facebook advertising. As of this writing, Carson has over 5 million Facebook fans, compared with Donald Trump, who currently has 4.8 million fans and leading Democratic rival Hillary Clinton, who has just under 2 million.

The article quotes Erik Hawkins, group director of Facebook’s global marketing solutions team, as saying that Carson is the most active presidential candidate on Facebook in terms of paid and organic activity. In fact, Carson campaign officials have already launched over 240 different advertisements on Facebook alone. The Carson campaign has made Facebook advertising a key component of its advertising strategy, while other candidates continue to cling to print and television platforms, the traditional darlings of political advertising.

Clearly, political campaign managers are starting to pick up on what many businesses and organizations have already discovered: Facebook is the future of advertising, and the future is now. Continue reading “Facebook: The New Face of Advertising”

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”

Top Five Reasons to Sign Up for Hootsuite

Hootsuite partnership program
For attorneys and law firms that need to keep track of multiple social media accounts, Hootsuite is the ultimate dashboard for social media management. Rather than remembering multiple passwords and going to different sites to make posts, Hootsuite allows users to manage all of their social media accounts from one central location with either a free or Pro account (paid). Here are our top five benefits of managing social media accounts with Hootsuite. Continue reading “Top Five Reasons to Sign Up for Hootsuite”

Where Should a Law Firm Spend Its Marketing Money

marketing 2

Marketing is essential for the growth of any law firm. Even if your attorneys have impeccable reputations, without sufficient exposure, potential clients may never be aware of what your firm has to offer. Unfortunately, many small firms and solo practitioners do not have a large budget to spend on comprehensive marketing campaigns. Costly forms of marketing can be very effective in attracting new clients, but if the budget isn’t there, law firms can take advantage of alternative methods. Fortunately, there are many ways to attract new clients without breaking the bank. Even basic tools, such as a website, can help inform prospective clients about your practice areas and can convince them to request a consultation. Here are some more tips on where you should be spending your money when dealing with a tight marketing budget.

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How Lawyers Can Use Social Media

By John Zaher

Lawyers and Social Media

With the exponential growth of social media, lawyers and their firms have begun to adapt to changes in online marketing and social networking to grow their brand and attract new clients. In 2012, the American Bar Association acknowledged the trend by dedicating an issue of its Law Practice Magazine to social media. A diversified and well-maintained social media strategy can lead to client referrals, better event publicity, increased interest in a law firm, and a stronger brand. Social media can also establish firms/partners as thought leaders in their fields. Although there are dozens of social media forums, the most relevant for the legal profession are blogging, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.

 

Blogging

Attorneys who conduct extensive research on their field often receive little recognition outside of legal circles.  By editing this research for public consumption, via blogs, lawyers can build a solid reputation among social media enthusiasts, people who share their interests, and potential clients. Sharing self-written (or ghost-written) blog articles enables lawyers to establish credibility and become leading experts recognized by their peers and followers.

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10 Things YOUR Website Needs to be Successful

By John Zaher

Web Design

The internet is now the main way for law firms to gain exposure. It’s an easy and fast way to get found, communicate with clients, and bring in new business. This is your first impression—make it count!  When developing or maintaining a website, there are quite a few factors to consider since websites can easily help or harm a brand. What should the site include? How can I maximize the return on my investment? These are all questions that can be answered by considering a few important factors to gain traffic and build your reputation.

 

Domain Name

The domain name is the primary way to brand your site. This is what will be typed in the search bar to locate your site. Using a .com domain is best because of its popularity — many individuals believe that .net sites are less reputable.

You want your web address to be simple, but including a keyword can help SEO (ex. www.longislanddivorcelawyer.com). Something long and difficult to remember may result in loss of visitors to your site.  We recommend using your firm’s name or a keyword-based description.

Continue reading “10 Things YOUR Website Needs to be Successful”