Manage your reputation before it manages you

Social networking can be your friend – getting you high rankings in Google search, connecting you with potential clients and powerful referral sources.

OR your enemy – people who use your services give you a negative review on Yelp, slam one of  your blog posts or extort you by writing something negative and making you pay to remove it  – and these things can do considerable damage to your reputation.

What to do:

1.  Establish a web presence if you haven’t already.  Make sure you have a SEO optimized website, write a blog if that’s your thing, add your profile to legal and non-legal directories.

2.  Set up (or have set up) a Google alert on your name, law firm, your partners, associates and other key employees.  Learn in real time what is out there so you can respond quickly.

3.  Manage your reputation through iGoogle.  You can stream your searches as well as any blogs or media sources that might mention you, or colleagues or law firm.  This way you have only one place to look for the various feeds.

4.  Manage thyself.  Think about what you are posting and where.  Want to post a photo of you drinking with your buddies outside a gentleman’s club?  Feel the urge to write a funny, lewd comment on a photo of an attractive person?   Sure, it great to have fun on the web but if you stop a moment and think, “How would I feel if a client saw this?”  and you cringe, then maybe you should avoid memorializing your adventuresome lifestyle.

5.  Check out this Google Official Webmaster post:  It provides tips on how to remove negative comments, posts, photos and how to focus on the positive to crowd out any of the negative.

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