Grasping Your Digital Reputation
Having a good online presence and reputation is key in today’s digital industry but keeping up with platforms like Yelp is crucial.
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Grasping Your Digital Reputation

Nov 18, 2017
Denis Zilberberg
Digital Marketing, Law Firm Marketing, Law Firm Reputation

The daily advance in technology is very difficult to keep up with in this fast-paced and growing digital market. Especially if your focus is building and maintaining the fundamentals of your own law firm. 40%  OR 3.7 billion people of the world are connected to the internet in one way or another. Over 78% of users in the United States are connected to the internet and about 30 million people in a state like California. Of those 30 million internet users, approximately 19 million users are using Facebook as their social media platform in California.

How does your law firm benefit? Do you benefit at all?

With more users converting into internet users every year…No, forget every year, every day is what I meant to say; Does your law firm benefit from the increase? More people using the internet typically means more exposure to your business BUT it also means there is more room for competition. The term, “The world has enough for everyone’s needs, but not enough for everyone’s greed”- Mahatma Gandhi, comes to mind.

With user activity increasing and competition soaring in, people are turning to digital reviews more and more daily. Trust is laid on platforms convinced to provide users with unique, relative and transparent reviews from users that have experienced a law firm for themselves. There are many useful and compatible platforms for users to engage with. I will be pointing out my favorite VS my least favorite review platforms. Here are just a few of the most competitive platforms out there:

  • Google Reviews
  • Facebook Reviews
  • Yelp Reviews

Each review platform is designed with their own algorithm, policies, and guidelines. Some are friendlier than others.

My personal favorite happens to be reviews on Google. As a Gmail user, I am constantly logged into my Gmail account via a computer, tablet and or mobile phone. Writing a review on a business does not require much effort as I am already logged in and ready to go. Google’s review platform is in the middle of a large digital battle. Their search engines allow other Review Platforms to rank well while they fight for their own position in the market.

Google Map Review Benefits:

  • A tool designed in 2005 with constant updates and enhancements.
  • Users that search for your law firm, have a sidebar or direct vision of your Google Reviews, location, and business descriptions.
  • The rating system is simple and fair. Transparency is key in a review platform.
  • Notification of reviews are directly emailed to the account associated with your Google Maps account.
  • Balancing positive and negative reviews on a fairly produced algorithm.
  • Users can easily engage with the Google Maps feature Androidoid devices and now compatible with almost every device in the market.
  • Advertising your Google reviews is rewarding and simple.

FaceBook Review Benefits:

I enjoy and agree with Facebook’s review platform. It is as fair as Google Reviews and the algorithm is just as simple and transparent. We do not have to deal with any hidden and unpractical systems set in place for law firms to scratch their heads over.

  • A highly advanced but user-friendly social media platform.
  • Ranks well in organic search results for users to engage with and redirect to a Facebook page with the law firm’s reviews.
  • Facebook’s business page provides all law firm information as long as the manager of the page has submitted their information.
  • Once a user lands on the Facebook business page, bounce rates are decreased thanks to an effective design page.
  • Advertising your Facebook reviews is rewarding and simple.

My least favorite:

Time after time, I cringe at a notification from the Yelp platform. Law firms nationwide cannot seem to grip the less sophisticated, unprofessional and unfair system of Yelp and I do not blame them. Balancing out your reviews on Yelp is probably one of the most difficult tasks a law firm can experience.

There is one benefit I have found:

  • When flagging or reporting a Yelp review, they actually will review it. If the review does not specifically detail out an actual experience with a business, Yelp will remove it. Then again, every review platform provides this feature. Yelp happens to be somewhat quicker when pointing out this process.

The impact of a negative review on Yelp has probably shut down businesses nationwide because of their unfair treatment towards firms holding accounts with Yelp. The internet is filled with public literature in regards to this.

A quick suggestion. If you haven’t yet claimed your profile with Yelp, DO NOT. Do not be quick to reply to a Yelp review. Why? The more engagement you provide to the negative review, the better it will most likely perform on the search engines.

So what do you do?

Having a good online presence and reputation is key in today’s digital industry but keeping up with platforms like Yelp is crucial.

The Yelp filter: This is probably the most troubling area for law firms. Reviews are written on Yelp, visible to you for several days and then disappear. Many of times, your great reviews are the posts to disappear but negative reviews with 1 or 2 stars end up in this bucket as well.

If you’re a “Yelper”, your review will most likely stick. A Yelper is an active user on the Yelp platform or a user that consistently reviews businesses on the Yelp website.

How does this affect your law firm? If your customer is not an active Yelper, your positive review will most likely not be visible to other potential customers.

Can I ask customers for reviews on Yelp?

I’m sure you’re aware by now but legally your law firm, technically, cannot ask for a review from a customer BUT if your customer happened to visit your website, noticed the WebsLaw Review feature and clicked on it, the system will walk your client through writing a review on a chosen platform.

Problem is, soliciting your customers to write a Yelp review is technically a violation of Yelp’s review platform policies and terms. Meaning, that might be another review that disappears into the horizon.

What is the solution to this mess?

I will be as direct as I can in this section. I believe that their is solution to every problem even with emotions going wild at hundreds of miles per minute. Negative reviews are emotionally, mentally and physically impactful.

  • Do not over react when you’re notified of a negative review on Yelp.
  • Try to determine who wrote the negative review.
  • Trace your steps and conclude on a decision. Was this your fault or not?
  • If it was the firm’s fault, what can you do for this not to occur again? (Contact us for suggestions on this process)
  • If the negative review was not written by a client, report the review. (This means you will need to claim your profile BUT before you do, contact WebsLaw)
  • Do not respond to the Yelp review.

Overall, there are methods to defer these occurrences. With multiple Law Firm relationships over the years, WebsLaw can point you and your staff in the right direction.

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