Reputation is a difficult thing to control, especially in the digital age. But online tools can help you wrench a good reputation from the jaws of Internet haters.
Since suing over negative reviews has proven to be hit or miss, here are three simple things lawyers can do to take charge of their online reputation:
1. Know What's Being Said About You.
They say that the only thing worse than people talking about you is people not talking about you, but there is such a thing as bad online publicity. Instead of laboring under the illusion that online happenings don't affect your business, use online tools to know what the digerati are talking about.
For example, Google News Alerts are a great way to keep on top of any search terms which you select, whether it's changing laws or even mentions of your name. Whether you have a personal or company Facebook account or you operate mainly through Twitter, social media channels are often the quickest way to test the waters online -- especially with tools like Facebook Graph Search.
2. If You Don't Have Anything Nice to Say...
Once you've identified the glowing or horrible things that your Internet followers have to say, you have the opportunity to respond. Try to treat your responses as a customer service task: you should feel bound to limit your responses to something courteous, professional, and hopefully helpful.
Fielding criticism, comments, or questions from online detractors is a great free way to boost your online reputation. Doing so politely shows that you're a real mench who cares about treating people right. However, this good will can easily be destroyed by an ill-conceived rage tweet.
We acknowledge that some attacks on your reputation don't merit any sort of response, so be prudent about how and when you reach out to your online audience.
3. Sign Up for FindLaw's Free Reputation Management Webcast.
Reputation management is a growing field, one that many professionals have made a living researching and marketing. You may not have time to completely immerse yourself in this field, but you should have time to listen to a free webcast on the subject.
As you may know, FindLaw offers free webcasts for legal professionals to beef up their marketing strategies -- including how to properly manage their online reputations. On Wednesday, February 26, FindLaw will host "Reputation Management for Law Firms," a discussion of how reputation management can offer proactive and reactive solutions to controlling your online reputation.
Two sessions are being offered, at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Central Time. You can get some pro-tips on steering your online reputation in the right direction by registering now.