Immigration Practice News

Volume 3, Issue 1

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Utilize Online Client Reviews to Increase W ord of mouth recommendations from satisfied customers have long been one of the most effective and inexpensive forms of advertising. A cyberspace version of word of mouth promotion that shows great success is online client reviews on social and professional networking/community sites. Large online retailers such as Amazon and eBay make user reviews central to the online consumer experience. As consumers have come to trust "crowdsourced" positive opinion over self-interested statements of a company, online reviews have become—in their own right—a professional service. With their low cost and limitless access (remaining online aſter paid advertising ends), online reviews can stay with an attorney even if the attorney moves to another firm. Taking advantage of the marketing value of online client reviews necessitates some strategizing on an attorney's part, starting with, to state the obvious, a record of solid work. Beyond this, determine which venues for reviews are worthwhile to your practice. Websites that can help lift your firm's publicity include (top to bottom) LinkedIn, Lawyers.com, Yelp, and Twitter. Compose a solicitation designed to garner client reviews of your firm. Then, determine how to request that your clients review their experience working with your firm. Your Firm's Visibility by Lindsay A. Curcio & Stuart J. Reich When seeking reviews in a particular online location, considerations may include relevance of the site to the practice type, client anonymity, and opportunity for attorney response to reviews. Many sites permit attorney reviews in one format or another. Here are a few: Avvo.com—A lawyer and physician rating/ranking site which gives an overall 0-10 ranking based upon factors like length of experience in practice, involvement in legal community and lack of attorney discipline. It allows user reviews on a 0-5 star scale, permits the anonymity of the reviewer and allows an attorney to respond to a review. Lexis/Nexis, Martindale.com and Lawyers.com— Due to Martindale.com's attorney audience, users may be more swayed by educational or experiential background or peer reviews. Lawyers.com focuses on non-lawyer potential clients, so viewers may value more client reviews when selecting an attorney. Reviews may be leſt anonymously. LinkedIn—The largest social networking site for professionals can increase your profile with business to business marketing. LinkedIn requires that users' profiles be "linked" to leave a review so reviews are therefore not anonymous. However, because LinkedIn profiles are only visible to either paid subscribers or those who are "linked" to you, reviews may have limited marketing utility without your significant effort to market through the site. CONTINUED on pg.6 >> FROM pg.1 >> friends, and personal friends, in less time than you think. This issue of Immigration Practice News is dedicated to social networking, and is specifically focused on breaking down the ethical issues so these fears are not an impediment to lawyers us- ing social networks. We need to be mindful of our ethical rules, but most social networking activities are not ad- vertising. In fact, most communication across social networks should not be oriented to advertising or selling your services. Social networking is about conversa- tions. Consumers, colleagues, neigh- bors, friends share, comment, and learn from each other while building relationships with each other. That idea of "conversations" is what drives social media in all forms. Given this, it is not enough for a lawyer merely to "sign up" for social networking. You need to dive in and fully engage. Becoming immersed in social media is somewhat like diving into the middle of the pond—if you don't know how to swim, you'll quickly figure it out. What's most important is that you get started. In just a few simple steps in less than an hour per week, you'll see your business presence grow more than you ever thought possible on the Internet. www.aila.org 3

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