Many people wait until there is a crisis before they think to start managing their online reputations. But this is the wrong approach. It is much easier to handle a crisis if you’ve been working hard to build a positive reputation all along.
Consider two law offices. One law office, Law Office A, is aware that many clients don’t leave good reviews no matter how good the service was, thanks to the exhausting and emotionally draining nature of most legal battles. So Office A launches an in-depth legal blog from the day that they open their doors. They get active on social media. They put together profiles on every site that will take them. They issue press releases about successes that they can talk about without breaking attorney-client privilege, or about conferences where they present information. They may even put out helpful video presentations that answer common legal questions.
As they get busier, Law Office A finds that they don’t have as much time to create all of this content. So they reach out to a reputation management firm to continue building them up as trustworthy experts while they continue to do a great job.
Law Office B also does a great job in the courtrooms. But they are content to simply put up a basic website. They then focus exclusively on the business of practicing the law. They believe, somewhat naively, that if they simply do a good job they will be rewarded with a great online reputation.
Which law office is going to lose the most money and time when someone finally slams each of them on a third-party review site like Yelp, or a consumer advocacy site like The Ripoff Report?
Law Office B, of course. While Law Office B can repair their reputation with help they will have to start from scratch. It may take up to 60 days for their phone to start ringing again as they scramble to have the damage repaired.
Meanwhile, Law Office A might not even experience a blip in their case load. The bad review might not ever make it to the first page of Google. In the meantime, the reputation management company they’ve already hired can get to work; either quietly removing the review or working to bury it further so it doesn’t do any real damage.
Furthermore, Law Office A has more business to begin with, because their reputation management activities have also been building up the office’s brand. They’ve been well-positioned as experts in the eyes of the Internet.
It’s obviously better to be in Law Office A’s position! So take a moment to consider what you will do to proactively manage your own business reputation today and in the future. It could save your business!