Check Out the Greatest Blog Post in the History of the Internet! (The Perils of Fake Online Reviews)
Seriously, did you really believe that headline? Like that, you may have noticed seemingly too-good-to-be-true claims and reviews on social media sites. Turns out, some of those reviews are too good to be true. Recently, New York State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman's office busted 19 companies for writing fake reviews for Yelp, Google Local, CitySearch and other websites. According to the Attorney General's office, many of the companies worked to hide their identities and paid freelancers in the Philippines, Bangladesh and Eastern Europe as little as a buck per review.
Of course, lawyers would never consider subcontracting a stranger to write fake reviews. That would be extraordinarily unethical. However, lawyers might be tempted to ask friends, family and others to be somewhat — shall we say — generous and flexible with their own reviews. Even if you haven't technically represented your law school buddy, he knows you well enough to credibly comment about your skills as an attorney, right?
The answer to that is no. Artificial reviews can harm your reputation, they can appear inorganic and are overall an injustice to the ethics that govern the legal profession.
If you want real clients to write authentic reviews, you will probably have to specifically ask for them. While this may seem intimidating or awkward, it doesn't have to be. The trick is to be thoughtful about who you ask to write reviews and how you do it. Make it easy and pressure-free. People are accustomed to being approached about reviewing their services and offering feedback.
You can start with clients who are effusive with praise and who seem comfortable with social media. If a happy client sends a glowing email about the way you handled a matter, for example, you can mention that you have been reviewed on specific platforms. Ask him or her to repeat those sentiments so others can see them. Provide links directly to you and your firm on the sites where you have been reviewed.
Be sure to explain to clients how that review could help your business and livelihood, as well as encourage potential clients to seek out your services. Appeal to people's humanity and remove the corporate hesitation. You may be pleasantly surprised by the enthusiastic response you receive.
To learn more about leveraging social media sites and reviews, contact a LexisNexis Law Firm Marketing Specialist.
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