With the speed of information travel on the internet, it’s more important now than ever before that you monitor what people are saying about you. In addition, you need to add to the online conversation so that you have a presence and forum for building your own reputation.
I want to address not only ways you can build your reputation online, but also some suggestions for tracking what is being said about you.
1. Create a blog and regularly contribute to it – By writing articles about the fields of practice you work in is a great way to build trust and reputation. Others will look to you as an expert and you will build a great catalog of material to “show off” to prospective clients.
2. Google Alerts – This handy, free tool from Google allows you to enter keywords you want to track online. It will then scour the internet looking for new instances when they appear. You can have the results emailed to you or connected through RSS to a reader such as GoogleReader. Start by entering your name, the name of your law firm, other employees, etc. This is a simple way to track when new discussions mentioning your arise.
3. Check Twitter – Twitter allows you to search the stream and follow when others are talking or mentioning you or your law firm. Some desktop Twitter tools such as TweetDeck will allow you enter search terms that will automatically populate when they are found. Utilize the Twitter stream to your advantage.
4. Involve yourself in social media – Take time to answer LinkedIn discussions and questions. Submit blog posts to Digg.com. Friend other professionals and lawyers on Facebook. Taking part in these activities will establish connections and build your reputation.
Fundamentally, interactions on the web are very similar to those in the offline world. As you get recognized as a thought leader in your areas of expertise, people begin to trust you and your reputation gets built. This comes in especially handy if others write negative things about you or have questions about your work.
Negative comments and conversation should be tracked and viewed as an opportunity to address the problem and win people over. Often times how you react and handle bad situations is a better reflection of you and your law firm than how you act when things are going well.
If you take the time to establish an online reputation and follow up on monitoring it correctly, you will see gains in trust and ultimately more business coming your way.
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