Monday, March 5, 2012

Is Google + a Minus For Attorneys?

There is an old saying in marketing that you should "fish were the fish are" so when Google announced their competitive offering to Facebook, many people took immediate notice. This was then, this is now:

- Google + has 90 million registered users VERSUS 845 million for Facebook
- PC users on average are spending 3 minutes a month on Google + VERSUS 6-7 hours for Facebook.

These numbers were courtesy of a recent report in ComScore and further reported on in the Wall Street Journal

As I previously posted in July of last year about Google +, I had my doubts about the effectiveness and sustainability of Google + for a number of reasons: chiefly amongst them was the value proposition and intuitive ease of use provided by Google with this new system. I recently heard a lecture where the speaker referred to Google + as the best social media system that nobody uses. The WSJ went further to describe Google + as a "virtual ghost town" compared to places like Facebook - surprise!

Of all the analytical measurements people use on the web, time-on-site is one of the most critical in measuring user value: Facebook has it is spades and Google + clearly does not. It is becoming clear at this point that not only do people create Facebook accounts, but they also use them. Google + might have had a large initial signup - but how many have returned? Social media is largely about connections and reach and what is the point in hanging out in a ghost town? I suppose you could have a good gunfight but who would know?

For attorney marketing, my advise in July still stands: fish were the fish are. If nobody is hanging out on Google +; what type of ediscovery could you possibly gather, how many of your referral partners will follow you, and how will you generate more visibility and new cases from it?

More on Google + for Attorneys :

Friday, March 2, 2012

4 Steps To Create An Effective Online Review Strategy For Attorneys

Yesterday online review company Yelp Inc. exploded onto the scene with a strong IPO with first day trading up 61% from their strike price – not bad! Yelp’s IPO follows recent IPO’s of GroupOn and Angie’s List, with Angie’s List still fairing the better on the two on the street. Yelp currently averages around 66 million unique visitors a month and users have created more than 25 million consumer reviews to date.
Why Are Online Reviews Important to Attorneys?

There is a 90% chance that somebody has already written a review about you online. To date there are at least 20 major online review sites where anybody can write anything about you and your practice and unsolicited reviews are very often negative! How long will these reviews remain online? Well, according to recent IPO’s like Yelp, it looks like forever at this point!

As we have previously reported - according to studies by AC Nielson; 70% of people now indicate that they trust online consumer opinions. This is second only to opinions received from friends (90%). The question of whether or not you need an attorney website and/or an online reviews strategy is no longer optional when reviews about you and your practice are now being written online – like it or not.

Impacts of Online Reviews on Your Referrals

As yourself a question about how you behave today before you buy a product or service. I know when I buy a book, product or get a referral to a service provider; I almost always look online at what people have said (online reviews) about each before I contact them. Your clients and referrals now behave in the same manner. In the world of the internet, your referrals now have something they had never had in the past- a fast an effective means to help validate, measure and compare the quality of a referral.

In today’s world, attorney referrals are commonly given out in numbers – thanks largely to a process fostered by your insurance companies in their malpractice avoidance procedures. Because of this, a referral to you may also include a referral to 1-2 other attorneys that the potential client must now consider and compare. In the past, they would simply call you and the others and make decisions from the phone call. Today, referral clients look online and make judgments about you BEFORE THEY CALL YOU based on such items as how your website, blog, news and online reviews are in comparison to the other attorneys referred to them. Still think online review management is not important? What do you think happens when they see at least one negative review online about your practice? Your chances of converting that referral business just went down and that negative review is costing you money!

4 Steps To Building a Successful Online Review Strategy

  1. Start by creating a proactive review strategy for your practice. In this case, create a preformed email that includes a link directly to the reviews section of your Google + Local Page and Your Yelp Page. Send out these emails to all of your clients who had a successful outcome with you IMMEDIATELY AFTER that outcome – this is the best time to ask them to create a positive review for you online. Follow-up with them as needed in order to get a steady flow of reviews in Google
  2. Ever wondered why some Google Local and Yelp listings have those 5 gold review stars listed and others do not? That is because the listings with the stars have more reviews – typically 7 or more to display prominently in the search results. Set a goal to have at least 7 positive reviews to help improve your conversions and performance from your Google Places Listings
  3. Check your reviews on a regular basis. There are at least 20 places to check: Google Places, Yelp, Ask, CityVoter, CitySearch, iBegin, Bing, Dogpile, NoMoreClipboard, Yahoo, Blogs, Demandforce, SuperPages, Mojopages, Manta, Local, Yellowpages, Lycos, Avvo, and
  4. If you have negative reviews written about you, try to track back who the client is and request that they remove the review. If you are unsuccessful, write a response to the review (in your Google + admin screen) or simply be proactive and push the negative review down the list with more recent positive reviews. Remember, the more positive reviews you have listed at the top, the least likely the negative review will impact you.

If you need help in setting up and executing your online review strategy, contact us today for more help…