Previously, I discussed the need to focus on geographical location in a firm’s SEO marketing efforts. Now, I would like to discuss the importance of authority. Would you believe me when I say that I’m an authority in online marketing? Well, for one thing, if you didn’t, you probably wouldn’t be reading this blog or accepting my services in other aspects of online marketing. I am an authority because I have experience in this field, and have built a base of loyal clients who know that they can take me at my word. Thus, if you want to expand your brand and be recognized in the legal industry as an authority you need to do the same. Lewis Howes of Entrepreneur says:
So many entrepreneurs and business owners are striving for elite status, but just don’t have the authority to make it happen. And the best way to set yourself up to win with your business is by becoming the authority in your industry. What does that mean? Most of the top authorities get more leads, consistent clients, have higher rates, endless demand, along with countless opportunities knocking at their doorstep.
I have discussed the importance of becoming an authority in previous postings, and briefly touched on it as a sub-topic to other SEO related articles, and now we are going to take a closer look at what it takes to gain this title.
Content Can Boost Your Authority Level
I know I talk a lot about the importance of content and I’m about to do it again. If you want to be an authority, your content must ring true. Think about it like this; if you were looking for a doctor to care for your family, and you found out that a particular doctor you had been considering was proven wrong or lied in his or her online medical blog, would you still want this physician to be in control of your health and the health of those you love? True, a lawyer may not be preventing loss of life or curing disease, but the work that your firm does can be just as detrimental to your clients. Mean what you say and say what you know to be true. This will reflect on the way that clients see you and your opinions in the future. Marketing Blog, Kissmetrics reports:
Another important key in writing content is keeping it updated. Because people can access an article anytime, if it isn’t up to date, it may appear that you don’t have a good grasp on the subject.
You can build client confidence in your content by backing up the points that you make with references to precedent cases, links to articles that provide similar information from reputable sources, or by quoting other authorities in your industry. Think about the way that you would use precedence to support a case, or the way that you referenced legal texts for papers during law school. Your clients may not be as critical as a law professor, but they like to know that what you are telling them is true, and providing examples is the perfect way to show this.
Show Your Clients What Others Are Saying About Your Firm
Have you ever noticed that companies, which offer products or services online, tend to promote themselves through customer testimonials and positive reviews? These will often be displayed on their website or the online retail channel they offer sales through. True, a law firm is different from a retail business in some ways, but in other ways you might be surprised at how similar you are. For example, your clients want to know how good you are, because nobody wants to hire a subpar lawyer. You can build your authority in your field of practice by collecting positive reviews from previous clients and utilizing them through your website or social media accounts. DIYThemes.com suggests:
Short, impactful testimonials get your customers excited about your work AND prove that they aren’t the first one to hire you! The quotes collection plugin was meant for quotes, but it can be used to rotate testimonials in any widget-ized section of your site, too.
This is an easy and inexpensive way to promote your firm, and prove how great you are at what you do. Using widgets like the one mentioned here can bring some reality to the claims you make about being the top firm in your location, and help build confidence in your services by those who have yet to use them. This also means that future clients may offer their own reviews and testimonials which continues the cycle and builds your brand.
Offer Your Expertise To Others
No, I am not suggesting here that you go ahead and begin offering your services pro bono, but rather that you get in contact with those who might appreciate your expertise in the form of an interview, guest blog post, or even an article for an online legal site. Other law firms, local businesses, and potential customers who see these publications are more likely to believe that you know what you are talking about, simply because others appear to want your opinions. It can be tricky to get your content noticed or wanted, but it isn’t impossible; Prolonger advises:
Befriend the big players in your niche. Tag them on thoughtful posts via social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook. Write about them on your blog and leave a trackback. Engage in discussions with them on their blogs, on forums and on social media. Develop relationships with them, as not only will others see you as a solid part of the niche, but these relationships make it easier to get published on the blogs belonging to the big players.
This is also an excellent way to spread your brand across the nation and the world, as any sort of online publication can be shared, emailed, liked, commented on, and passed around the online community with a simple click of a button. In a sense, becoming a guest blogger or offering a professional article for publication is a form of advertising in and of itself.
Last time, I discussed how to take advantage of the web crawlers used by search engines. Meanwhile, as many law firms finally embrace the phenomenon of social media as a marketing platform, lawyers are beginning to open more Facebook accounts and make an effort in building their brand through the many features of this platform. One problem that seems to be a reality for most firms, however, is the inability to post much in the way of content. Legal Productivity says:
Twitter and Blogging are pretty much one-trick ponies. But Facebook has a whole slew of features, not to mention the trickiness of blending personal information with work information.
As with your firm’s website, when it comes to search engine optimization, content is key, and Facebook requires some of that clear cut, high end content as well. There are many options to consider when seeking out valid content to post on your account, and I’m going to go over a few of them right now.
Transfer Your Data
I have talked a bit about Facebook, Twitter, and other less socially accepted media platforms for law firms in the past, and while I have listed pros and cons for using each, one thing that I must encourage all of my clients to do is embrace your choice. Once you have decided to go ahead and utilize the functionality of Facebook as a marketing tool, don’t do your job half way. You need to put the same dedication into networking here that you do on your website. Nextpoint suggests:
Posting to Facebook is easier than many social media sites. But remember that Facebook you will want to post the entire URL into the body of your status update. Facebook will then create a link preview, including a headline, any available image, and a short synopsis of whatever is available at the link you’re posting.
One way that you can do this is by transferring data from your site or blog directly onto your Facebook page. You can post once a day, or once a week, and each post can be a link to a new blog update, a video that was uploaded to your firm website, or a tidbit of news that is interesting in your niche. Not all Facebook posts need to be original content, so long as they are still quality content with a focus in your field of law.
Get Visual For Your Clients
If you can’t think of new and exciting content to post each week, and you want a little more than just links to the firm’s blog every time something hits your Facebook wall, consider getting photographic. Facebook loves photos, and so do the people who use the site. It may not be as photo-centric as Instagram, but it still operates on a fairly visual basis. In between key updates, add a little spice to your Facebook world by snapping up a few photos of the office at work, business functions, or interesting images that can be captioned with a quote about your firm. For example, if you are looking to draw in more business in the personal injury or worker compensation niche, an image of upturned carpet where someone could trip, or a slippery walkway could lead to the title, “this is an accident just waiting to happen.” Mycase.com says:
Photos foster the greatest engagement. One way to include photos on your page is to post photos of people from your law firm – this helps to humanize your law firm. Increase engagement by tagging photos and permitting “open tagging.”
If the rest of the lawyers in the office are willing to jump on board, you could post a new image of each member each week with a bit about what kind of cases they enjoy working on, or just fun candid shots around the office.
Bring In The Team
I have made this suggestion in the past for company blogs, but it works just as well for Facebook accounts, too. If you find that you are running short on information to post to your firm’s wall, get the team to help out by putting the content for your account on rotation. If each member of the office takes turns to post something each week, not only will you have a full line of continuous content on the go, but it will be genuinely unique because somebody new is writing each post.
This works for videos, photos, or long wordy updates about the firm and what they are working on now as a team. It may also help to have each lawyer sign off with their initials or a distinct signature after each post so that potential and current clients can see that this is a team effort. Similar to using imagery to humanize the firm, this sort of behavior will also help clients to see the humanity in your office, and that is always an attractive factor for a law firm, especially when clients need to hire you for personal or upsetting cases.
Invite A Guest
Just as you can have a guest poster on your blog, you could invite a local writer, celebrity, or another law firm to take part in posting some content on your site once a month. The more localized the guest is, the better the impact will be on the community in which you live. Having a guest poster from a nearby firm, or a less competitive but still relevant industry leader will bring in new readers, and make it more interesting for the town in which you live.
Another way to utilize the concept of guest posting is to take this opportunity to add client testimonials and reviews to your Facebook account. Adding a review or testimonial once a week brings in new content, and it can be particularly wonderful in terms of brand loyalty and brand awareness if the client is posting directly to your account of their own accord. In order to allow guest posters for your firm, you may need to do a little bit of research in terms of security settings, but Facebook isn’t as intimidating as it seems, and once you get the swing of things, you will never look back.
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