In today's world of search engines and social networks, the drive to "be number one" and "get more followers" has clouded our judgment. For a little higher visibility, we cut corners. For increased exposure, we sacrifice a little in terms of our reputations. We forget that there are people performing those searches and reading those tweets.
We get calls all the time from legal professionals who want to "get clients" from the Internet. They want to know how fast and how much it will cost to be ranked number 1 for "blah blah lawyer". They ask about automated blogs, article spinning, automated tweets, and the like. They want to know how many followers they need to get before Twitter starts delivering clients. They have forgotten that there are people reading their content.
Some legal professionals have already gotten a "number 1 ranking" and "tens of thousands of followers". They are eager to show us their name in the "Internet lights". They want to know why their law firm Internet marketing isn't working. They too have forgotten that there are people behind the web.
In the offline world, lawyers work hard to build their professional reputations. They work long hours serving their clients. They participate in community organizations and events. They sponsor charities. They volunteer. They speak. They listen. Unfortunately, when it comes to online professional reputation building, they expect quick and effortless results. They don't want to participate. They spam online groups. They buy links. They shout and make noise. They hardly ever listen.
The truth is that successfully building your legal reputation online is very similar to building it offline. It takes work. Most importantly, it takes conversations, communication, and people. Don't forget that there are people behind the web. And tell your marketing consultant not to forget too.