If I were to recommend you to a new client today, how would they learn about you? They’d Google you, of course.
The Internet, social media, and mobile devices are transforming the way people research and purchase all types of products and services. Clients seeking information and referrals are increasingly looking on the Internet for answers and feedback. Don’t think this applies to lawyers or law firms? Think again.
The 2015 Attorney Selection Research Study by The Research Intelligence Group (“Attorney Selection Study”) revealed that 76 percent of adults who have looked to hire an attorney in the past year used online resources at some point in the process. 73 percent of adults who sought to hire an attorney in the past year also relied on friends and family at some point during the process. Now where do you think friends and family primarily communicate these days?
You guessed it: social media. So my question to you is this: when that new client searches for you on Google or social media, what will they find?
If they find don’t find much information about you on the first page of Google, or can’t find your law firm’s page on Facebook, you may have just missed out on new business. Now I know what you’re thinking: Maybe the client will continue searching on page 2 or 3 of Google. Maybe they will pick up the yellow pages or Martindale-Hubbell, find your telephone number, and call you. Maybe they will think you are so busy providing clients with such amazing service that you don’t have time to create a Facebook page. Maybe you’re right.
But more likely, the odds of any of those things happening is about as good as me winning the Powerball this weekend. So what can you do to ensure that when clients search for you, they find only information about you and your practice that hiring you is now a foregone conclusion? Follow these three steps:
Step 1: Google Yourself
This is the best way to learn what your potential clients will see about you. Your law firm website or biography will appear as one of the first few results. Then take stock of everything else that appears on the first and second page of Google. Note which websites appear and ask yourself: Are all of these websites about you? Are they positive? Do they feature current, professional, engaging content? If the answer is yes to all three, then great! You can stop reading. If not, then you’re like most of us and can move to step two.
Step Two: Take Over Page 1 of Google
This can be done in one of two ways: (1) pay an Internet marketing company several thousand dollars to toy around with search engine optimization and keywords, or (2) do it yourself in a couple hours. To do it yourself, start by identifying all the websites about you that you have the ability to update. These could include your SuperLawyers biography or Avvo profile. The more profiles you update, the more Google will move them up in their search results. This will also push websites featuring other people off the first page of Google, thereby increasing your chances of making a positive impression on your potential client.
Step Three: Search and Update Your Social Media
LinkedIn boasts more than 364 million users. More people spend time on Facebook than other website (including Google). It therefore stands to reason that clients are searching for you on there as well. And the data supports it: the Attorney Selection Study revealed that more than 1 in every 4 clients last tear searched a prospective attorney on social media to find the attorney, gather information, or validate their hiring decision.
Since clients are searching for you on social media, you should too. If you are currently using social media, you should ensure that your profiles are professional and up-to-date. This will ensure that validate their decision to hire you
If you or your law firm doesn’t have a social media presence yet, it’s time to create one. Clients expect to be able to at least find you on social media, learn general information about your practice, and easily obtain your contact information.
Why? If for no other reason that when the next time someone refers you a case, you leave the client no choice but to hire you.