I talk to my clients a lot about the need to manage their online presence. I encourage them to create a compelling profile on LinkedIn and build a network of connections that they know, like and trust – and who know, like and trust them. I tell them to claim their Avvo profiles and complete them. I suggest that – within the bounds of the ethical rules in their states – they seek endorsements from their peers and reviews from their clients. I tell them that this is really important to marketing their practice.
While social media networks will never replace good, old face-to-face relationship marketing, they can either support your other marketing efforts or drive a stake right through them. This point was made painfully clear for me recently when I made a referral to an attorney who’s a good friend of mine.
After I made the referral, I did what everybody does nowadays; I pulled up my friend on Avvo. There he was – a 25- year attorney, board certified, AV Rated, one of the Top 100 Trial Lawyers in his state – and – to my horror – he had an Avvo rating of 7.5. Ouch. And right there next to his profile were links to other attorneys who had an Avvo rating of 10.0 – Superb. (You can block other attorneys from appearing on your profile by upgrading to Avvo Pro for $49.95 a month. A bit of shrewd, albeit annoying, marketing on Avvo’s part, but $50 bucks well-spent in my opinion. Avvo Pro also lets you customize the way your profile appears.)
Even though I know my friend is an experienced attorney who has represented thousands of clients through some very complex cases, I couldn’t help but wonder if maybe those other attorneys might be as good or even better. If I was thinking these things when I saw his profile, what were people who didn’t know him thinking?
I’m not saying that Avvo is everything, but I am saying that if you don’t manage it, it can hurt you.