By Peter Boyd, a Florida attorney who founded PaperStreet. He has helped over 1,500 law firms with their websites, content and marketing.
Because negative reviews or comments might be unavoidable at some point in your career, promoting good press about your law firm is a key aspect of maintaining a positive public image. It’s also a huge part of the game that you can control.
By actively promoting positive news from your law firm, you create a strong foundation of positive public perception that can enhance your brand’s reputation and attract new opportunities for success. It also makes bad press just a drop in the bucket versus a game-ender. There are three core ways to implement promoting good news into your overall marketing strategy:
1. Showcase awards and recognition.
Promoting news about promotions or awards received reinforces the notion of excellence and showcases your commitment to providing exceptional value. It demonstrates that you and/or your firm are consistently striving for growth and recognition within the legal industry.
Every time a lawyer at the firm is presented with an award, you should post the announcement online, tag the lawyer in the announcement, link back to your website press release or blog post, update the attorney’s biography on your website and—don’t forget—include the logo of the award organization for brand recognition.
2. Highlight what you do for others.
Featuring your community engagement initiatives not only demonstrates your law firm’s social responsibility but also fosters a sense of goodwill and trust among local stakeholders. Partner with local organizations and other professionals for community service activities and other events. Connections are great for referrals, and this visibility also helps build trust for your potential clients when you are connected to other individuals they know well.
Even if you’re not 100% invested with community partners, you can share on your social media channels about any other service-based activities you participate in. This might include supporting a local book fair, providing luncheons for your team or supporting an important cause, for example.
3. Demonstrate positivity with non-career-related events and moments.
Every once in a while, there’s no harm in having social media and/or blog content that spreads cheer. Whether you choose to display office pets, share holiday traditions or post informal pictures of your staff, providing a more personal view of your law firm can help potential clients get to know you in an amiable way that could make them doubt the credibility of a negative review or comment.
Featuring your teammates as “humans”—parents, sports lovers, tech gurus, athletes—is one of the top ways to form connections with potential new clients. Any effort you make to show the people behind the curtain is rewarded with the opportunity for community partners and new clients to recognize similarities, making the conversion to a client more likely.
Reminder: Protect your reputation cautiously.
The rapid dissemination of information and the power of social media have given rise to an environment where customers and stakeholders expect brands to take a stance on social issues. However, this involvement can carry inherent risks and challenges.
Engaging in discussions about politics and trending events can result in divided opinions and lead to a polarized audience and potential backlash. It is crucial for law firms to align their involvement with their core values and target audience to ensure consistency in their messaging. Attorneys need to assess whether taking a stand on controversial topics might strengthen their reputation among their target clients or alienate segments of their audience.
This does not mean that attorneys need to stay neutral on social media. For example, if a new law limits your targeted clients’ right to recover via the legal system, you’re absolutely allowed to have an opinion. Similarly, if a new law or policy affects your targeted population’s well-being, you can also express discontent. For example, if you’re an immigration lawyer and a new law impacts your clients’ loved ones, you can certainly post your disappointment.
Sharing your thoughts in an insightful and respectful way can actually improve your reputation, as you will come across as more human and connected to your potential clients. An insightful post can also help you establish yourself as a legal authority.
To protect yourself from the possible dangers of sharing your thoughts on social media, perhaps turn off comments to these types of posts to prevent the start of incendiary communications. Further, don’t point fingers or target individuals directly in your posts. The goal is to come across as knowledgeable, not biased.
Proactively promoting positive news within your legal career and law firm is a strategic move to fortify your public image and reinforce your brand’s reputation. While the occasional negative review or comment might be inevitable, cultivating a strong foundation of positive public perception can make such incidents mere ripples in the vast sea of your accomplishments. By striking this balance and actively promoting the positive aspects of your career and firm, you can navigate the world of public perception with confidence and authenticity.