4. Strengthen Your Credibility and Reputation
Online credibility and reputation equals visibility, and to the extent you control the message, visibility is good. Your presence online is important. People are comfortable finding their spouse online, so finding a lawyer online isn’t a stretch. There are numerous avenues you can take to boost your firm’s visibility. Search engine optimization (SEO), social media platforms, blogs, online directories, networking and more vastly improve your visibility, adding to your credibility and reputation.
It’s important to know what internet users see when they search for you and how they perceive you because of it. Conduct your own “visibility audit” by using the same keywords prospects might use to find you (including your name both in quotes and without quotes). Do you appear in content such as news articles, videos, images, blog searches, etc.? Do you like what you see, or are there gripe sites or negative articles about you? What do you see on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and other platforms? You can draw a pretty good conclusion about your online visibility with these pieces of data. And if you find stuff you don’t like, it’s time to get to work so the most visible results are the results you control.
After your “visibility audit” where do you fit in the following categories:
- Branded (strong and visible): Your name shows up in results through navigational search queries. There is no question about what your law firm does, and you are fully differentiated in your brand identity. This is exactly where you want to be (but there’s always room for improvement).
- Unbranded but visible (you have no message): This is the most result for many lawyers. Okay, you have some stuff showing up in search results, but there’s no particular direction because it’s not tied together as a unified brand. This is a great to be to get to the Branded level.
- Doppelganger (invisible because of the competition): Here’s where the other “John Wilkinses” dominate the search results. Maybe he’s a trapeze artist, but you’re not—you’re an attorney. Prospective clients who need legal help may end up with tickets to Cirque du Soleil instead of a lawyer, never having known you were online in the first place.
- Invisible (no brand, no nothin’): It’s kind of like building credit. A teenager doesn’t have bad credit because he hasn’t had the chance to build or destroy it yet. Being invisible online means that there’s no positive or negative results, which can be both good and bad. Take it as a chance to start fresh. With all the social media and internet tools at your disposal, it’s never been easier to brand yourself and create the identity you want.
It’s up to you to decide which strategies will work the best for you and your firm. One thing is for sure. Being invisible online isn’t the way to grow your practice.