The next time a potential client wants to read law firm reviews, they may go to Facebook to do it.
The company has been quiet about it, but last month, an article confirmed that Facebook is testing out its Professional Services directory. And, much like Yelp and Angie’s List, the directory plans to include a large collection of local businesses and services reviewed by Facebook users.
But businesses and services on this directory won’t be ranked solely on their overall review score (Facebook uses a five-star rating system). Much like Facebook ads and News Feed preferences, it’s likely that directory results will be tailored to each user based on their social media activity.
With no shortage of online directories, some may wonder why Facebook has decided to start their own. But the company may be on to something: a recent study points out that more than 80 percent of shoppers do research before they buy anything – and more than half of people look to online reviews to assist them in their selection. If we know that people are doing research and using directories to help in that effort, it may seem like a no-brainer to suggest that attorneys should care about online directories.
However, with so many to choose from, things can get complicated. Lawyers may find directories aren’t equally as useful – to either themselves or potential clients. Plus, claiming and updating profiles for multiple sites can take a lot of time. So, it’s worth looking into what makes a directory valuable to your law firm and to those seeking reviews, and to exercise some discrimination.
Here are a few questions you may want to ask yourself about whether this is a directory your law firm should participate in:
Does this directory provide value to its visitors? Do they find the information useful, and do they use it to inform their decisions?
Are people actually using this directory? For example, lawyers may want to consider directories like Yelp, Avvo and Google My Business because they’re quite popular on the web. Yelp has not only seen an increase in their general traffic, but they also have seen a sharp rise in the number of reviews on their site. That means that people are not only reading the information there, but they’re actively participating in reviewing businesses and services.
Does this directory currently rank well in search engines? It’s unlikely that people will spend their time on a directory that’s on the seventh page of search engine results. People want their information quickly, and they tend to be unwilling to hunt around for it. Therefore, well-ranking directories may be a good choice for your law firm because of their popularity and visibility.
Facebook’s directory could be a good decision for a lot of reasons, particularly in terms of popularity and visibility. Two-thirds of American adults use Facebook, and more than 40 percent get their news from the social media site, more than ever before. Additionally, both Yelp and Facebook have an overlap in the audience that regularly views their sites. Yelp’s primary users are between 18-34, and more than 80 percent of Facebook’s users are between 18-29. If Facebook’s directory proves both useful and easy to use – as well as giving users personalized results – Facebook could be in a position to win over many Yelp devotees.
So, directories aren’t only good for those using them, but choosing the right ones to participate in can be valuable to your law firm, as well.
While filling out a complete profile on these directories may take a little time on your part, there are plenty of reasons why building a substantial profile can encourage potential clients to reach out to your firm. A completed directory profile makes it more likely that users will:
- View your profile
- Visit your website and contact your law office
- Leave a review about their experience for others to see
While a lack of social media presence can frustrate potential clients or make them suspicious in the internet era, creating substantial profiles on the right directories can help make your brand more visible and gives your brand consistency wherever your potential clients may find you on the web.
Residents of larger cities may consult directories such as Yelp to find a nice restaurant on a block where there may be several other restaurants, but the Facebook directory could appeal to the needs of smaller, local audiences.
Attorneys may want to consider the downsides to ignoring online directories such as Avvo, Yelp, and Google My Business. Now that Facebook is getting into the directory game, lawyers may want to start thinking about claiming profiles on popular directory sites if they haven’t already.