Last time, I discussed how to make your blog the authority in your field. Meanwhile, the world of internet marketing and SEO is becoming a vast one, and while I try to keep up with all of the ins and outs it has to offer, it takes dedication and some serious research sometimes to keep on top of the competitors in your industry. This week I thought it would be a good idea to compile a short list of dos and don’ts that every law firm should understand about online marketing techniques. Some might be straightforward, others I may have touched on before, and still more may be new to you.
What I really want for my readers is to know that they have come away with a sense of new knowledge on the subjects about which I write. This article proves no different, and I hope that it inspires you to stay on track and take a few chances with the newer tips and tricks offered.
Do Stay Focused
Staying focused is nothing new to a lawyer or law firm, as every case requires your utmost attention and some deep digging for facts, but what I am talking about here is staying focused on long term marketing goals. Many companies, not just law firms take on a one-time event, activity, or marketing concept in the hopes that it will pay off forever, but the truth is that just like anything else, in order for marketing to work on a constant basis, it must be used consistently. Olmstead & Associates suggest:
Frequently law firms experiment with marketing and engage in isolated promotional activities not integrated with the firm’s business plan with the expectation of immediate results after the one-shot activity. The firm engages in fits-and-start activities that are completely unfocused, unrelated to an overall plan, unmeasured, inconsistent and often inappropriate.
It is still a great idea to interact in community activities, take on projects that are local and may bring in some additional brand recognition, but you also want to branch out with a few long term marketing techniques as well. Sometimes the addition of a one-time event can make a big difference to a long term campaign if you know how to correspond the two. An example of this is when law firms use social media as a promotional tool, a community fundraiser can be advertised through your social media feed, and your involvement may gain you some additional recognition from new potential clients.
Don’t Disregard Video As A Sincere Form Of Marketing
It can be tricky to incorporate videos in your day to day marketing without feeling like a bit of a phony, but here is the thing: your videos don’t need to be commercials for your firm. The videos that you create can be promotional without sounding promotional, you just need to show potential future clients that your team is approachable, human, and caring. Use videos from the above-mentioned public events, make a short video diary of daily life at the firm, or post up one tip from your niche of law for viewers each week. Web Marketing Today states:
Two sites started to change the value and importance of videos as an effective marketing tool. First is the growth of YouTube into a powerful search engine that’s now owned by Google. That combination started giving increased significance to video as a better form of content than the written word. The second site is Facebook.
The world has become a very visual being, which means that we all love to see what’s going on, rather than just read about it. If you can show viewers what it means to use your firm’s services as opposed to a competitor, you could find yourself with some much higher levels of website traffic.
Do Use Marketing With Visible Results
While all traditional marketing methods shouldn’t necessarily be off the table in favor of internet marketing, you do want to minimize some of the strategies that increase spending, but give you no sign of success. Larry Bodine suggests:
Don’t waste any money on marketing that is not measurable. If you can’t measure it, don’t do it. For instance, advertising and public relations are widely used, but after you’ve spent $20,000 on it, do you have any way that you can check to see if it actually generated any results? I don’t think so.
Try to keep your focus primarily on processes that can be measured, as this will give you a better overall ability to stay on track, plan, and organize. Success comes in many ways, and in the marketing world, it is the little things like being able to monitor traffic that can really let you understand whether you’re wasting money or making a worthwhile effort.
Don’t Ignore The Power of Communication With Your Clients
Finally, don’t give up on the power of communication, or just sit around waiting for all of those potential clients to contact you. Make an effort to get out there, speak to people who are interested and make them believe that you are the right man or woman for the job. Many cases that require a lawyer are very personal, whether they are based on family law, criminal law, injury claims, or any other field, you will find that if a person can see you as dependable and approachable, they will be much more willing to trust you with their personal issues. ABA Journal says:
Contact three to five potential referral sources a week—every week, regardless of how busy you are—and arrange to meet for coffee, drinks or a meal. That works much better than reaching out only when business is slow.
This can be through e-mail, social media, or telephone, although the more personal method of a phone call is often the most successful, even in today’s world of modern communication methods. If you call and the response comes back in email, it is fine to switch to this more low key method of talking, but making the first move in a firm, self-assured, and confident way will set the tone for your first impression on a client.
Previously, I provided more tips on SEO. Meanwhile, as a lawyer, it’s important to show authority in your field of law, and although I have talked about blogging in the past as a general subject, I really want to get into how blogging can do more than compliment your website. It can also build authority for your firm. Gaining credit where credit is due can be difficult through word of mouth alone, but by implementing a few tips and tricks you can turn your blog into the perfect brand builder and put your firm on the map locally and within your legal niche.
If you aren’t already a well-recognized lawyer in your industry, whether you’re new to the field, or simply haven’t had the time to get online and start promoting, starting with a strong foundation is the best way to begin. Your clients need to find you interesting, but also want to know that you are the best at what you do, which is why your prices are worth the extra pennies.
Celebrity Guest Bloggers Build Confidence
This isn’t absolutely necessary, but if you have the connections, it might not be a bad idea to have a guest blogger type up something for your blog. The article doesn’t even need to be brand new, so long as the author has given you permission, and will promote the article through their own signature and additional tidbits of information.
Getting a celebrity involved, even if it is only a celebrity in the world of law can give your blog an air of authority, because somebody whom potential clients have heard of before is promoting your firm. You may need to offer your own promotion in response by linking the guest blogger’s website or firm in the process, but as long as it isn’t direct local competition, this shouldn’t be a problem as far as business is concerned.
Get Your Press Involved
When you write a press release, or have any kind of publication delivered to the public, it gives you the perfect opportunity to pad your blog with relevant information that is honest, trustworthy, and interesting without the need for typing up a new blog on your own. It also helps promote the firm by linking back to an original press release which may promote authority of your firm as well. Legal Marketing Review says:
When you do a press release for your law firm you can make a shorter version of the release as a blog post. That way after the search engines dropped the post in terms of visibility the blog will provide the Evergreen version.
By keeping the release fresh, rather than posting it word for word, you can encourage new readers who may have already seen the release but are interested in additional information on the publication and its contents.
Make Your Blog Personal
Authority usually means keeping things professional, but it can also mean connecting with your client base, which is why I suggest mixing it up a little bit by adding personal opinions and updates as well as business content. Business Of Law Blog reports:
Should your website strictly contain legal-oriented content? No, said the panel. While this idea may surprise some attorneys, adding personal touches to a website such as including a personal hobby or family connection can help prospective clients get a flavor for you as an individual and broaden your firm’s appeal.
If you post one blog update a week, make one out of each month a personal interest piece on the members of the firm, extracurricular activities enjoyed by the firm, or content regarding the community and how the firm has helped further the local economy.
Finally, being an authority in your field of law means being able to teach clients something new that competitor firms may not be talking much about. To do this, a little research may be necessary, but making an update regarding specifics of your niche, question and answer posts, and other content that can prove your ability to not only practice but teach your field of law can make you seem like an expert in your industry.
Last time, I focused on an important Google algorithm update that determines the truth score of websites. Meanwhile, I have talked about nearly every social networking website on the internet in an effort to educate my readers on how important it is to connect with your clients outside of the office space, but Pinterest is something I haven’t really had the chance to share too much about. Pinterest is a tough one for many law firms to approach, even more so than Twitter or Instagram, because it tends to appear in the form of a more artsy crafty sharing platform, but this isn’t always the case. LexBlog.com notes that:
Networking that allows us to build relationships and establish a word of reputation that we’re a good person who can be trusted. If business owners, including attorneys, discover how Pinterest can be used for networking and have fun in the process, more power to them.
Businesses, including law firms, can create company accounts to draw in new customers and clients, and make their work more accessible to those they supply services or products to. For your firm, Pinterest is a way that you can share interesting articles, photos, and advice to those who might be looking for a lawyer in your area of study. It can also serve as a way to create a less professional atmosphere and a more human personality to those that are nervous about the stuffiness of your firm.
When you make a Pinterest account you are then able to create areas for sharing and these are called pinboards. A pinboard allows you to add different images, videos, and interesting articles or tutorials that you find on other boards and across the internet. Legal Marketing Review suggests:
It is also a good idea to use local content if you want to be associated with a particular area. Since there are a lot of different types of people/personas, it can help to have a few different people in your firm come up with ideas and content.
Each board can have its own title and unique pins that offer clients insight into your office, your area of law, and other interests that your firm has outside of the industry in which you work.
Promote Your Pinterest
Just as you would promote your website through social media to create more traffic and in return more revenue, you can promote your Pinterest through your website by making it accessible for visitors to pin things from your website to their own boards. Mavenagency.com explains:
The Pin It bookmarklet is also a useful tool that allows you to take an image from any website and add it to one of your boards. Get your followers on other social media platforms to also follow your firm on Pinterest by connecting your Pinterest to your Facebook and Twitter profiles.
The more links that are created between different platforms and websites that eventually lead clients back to your main site, and to your firm, the better. Think about this as something like word of mouth, only on a much more accessible level. The most times your content is pinned, the more people, local and otherwise, who will see it.
Whether you choose to use Pinterest as a constant effort in your marketing plan for the company, or you use it as a personal tool, which includes firm content, you will find that there is much to be gained by opening yourself up to this and other networking platforms. This is the future of marketing, and although I still recommend various other methods of advertising your firm, this style of promotion won’t be going anywhere anytime soon. Worst case scenario, you find that Pinterest isn’t your favorite method of social media, and you can move onto something different. The key is to keep an open mind.
Previously, I have focused on the use of keywords for a firm’s website. Meanwhile, I have discussed my stance on internet marketing for law firms time and again, and it never becomes less important, especially in this modern age of technology. While many firms still depend on word-of-mouth advertising, there is certainly something to be said for how affective online marketing can be.
Online marketing includes a large selection of various methods of communication and advertising such as e-mails, pay per click, web design, and of course, high quality content. All of these come together to pack quite a punch in the online market, but even individually you can see results for your firm.
Make An Effort To Reach Out
Reach out to your existing clients, and make it an option for new clients to receive interactions such as e-mails as well. Even if it is a simple newsletter from your firm wishing all of your clients a happy holiday, or letting them know that you will be involved in a local community event can bring your name back to the forefront of their minds and have them forwarding your message to friends and family. Legal Marketing Review explains:
Email marketing has the highest ROI of all the tactics. Keeping in constant contact with your customers is an essential part of getting the most out of each lead.
As mentioned by Legal Marketing Review, simply sending out these general e-mails may not always be enough to seal the deal on a new client. It can also be helpful to contact potential clients with specific detailed information on how you can help with a case that he or she seemed interested in when they first contacted you. This lets them know that they were memorable, and in turn keeps you memorable as well.
Simplify Your Client’s Process
The age of the internet means that a local law firm is just a click away, and if yours is too difficult to discern on the first try, the next one will do just as well for many. This is certainly a far cry from the days of client loyalty and legal research for a top notch firm, but that’s the way the online cookie crumbles and if another firm can give clients what they need, you may find yourself kicked to the curb. To avoid this, it may be time to brush up your website with some easy to navigate design and mobile friendly applications. CBA.org explains:
Since some prospective clients may be inexperienced and unsure about how to approach a lawyer, a firm’s website provides an excellent opportunity to simplify the process of searching for, and working with, a lawyer.
Another way to make it easier on your potential clients who are seeking a lawyer in your field of expertise is by making sure that your firm appears when they use keywords that pertain to you. Keyword research is crucial to ranking highly on search engines, but you have to know how to use them to your advantage.
Find Some Help
Don’t just rely on an aesthetically appealing website and a well-written blog to get your firm noticed. When it comes to ranking well on Google, there is no shame in getting help by entering your name into directories where you know people might search for a lawyer in your niche. Juris Page writes:
One great way to let the world know your firm’s website exists is to have your firm’s attorneys appear in attorney directory services. Sites like martindale.com, lawyers.com, and superlawyers.com, are the leading lawyer directory services.
Once you’ve listed with an attorney directory, be sure to enter your name into other local directories in your area where potential clients might be searching.
Last Tuesday, I explored the value of niche blogging for online marketing. Now, with all of the hustle and bustle of big business, especially in the field of law, it can be easy to get lost in the work flow and forget about how important marketing is. Not only is it easy to lose track of the marketing initiative, it can also be difficult to get motivated and to motivate your team.
I have given advice in the past on marketing tips and tricks, but what I want to talk about today is how you can increase your online potential and also get your firm more involved in the process.
Make Marketing Tangible
Making your SEO tactics and marketing ventures more enticing to your staff might be easier than you think. By getting more involved in marketing efforts in a tangible way, you can let your firm see the success as it comes in. Mannix Marketing states:
Sponsor Events, Not only are you helping your community and getting your brand out in the public, there is also an opportunity to get link backs form the organizations you are helping. If you or anyone on your Board is supporting a local charity or event, ask for a link on their site. This could be a very valuable backlink.
Sponsoring events in your neighborhood will help with local potential clients and also help get the word out in a big way through multiple word-of-mouth opportunities. You can tie this kind of advertising into your website by adding website links to signs and other ads being offered to support the event. You can also advertise the event on your website, through your blog, and on social networking resources.
Finding The Right Person For The Job
Not all of your firm may be interested in SEO or the tasks associated with it. Many people have trouble coming up with entertaining blog subjects, or keeping up with social media accounts, but one huge part of good SEO is monitoring your traffic, and this is something that anybody can do from the comfort of their office, with little to no real mental effort or time constraints. HG.org suggests:
Web traffic monitoring should be your top priority. You have to determine the incoming web traffic in order to gauge the visibility of your website, and effectiveness of your marketing. Once you understand your user habits, you can definitely increase your market profits.
Collecting data like this is fairly easy, even if you have a few different resources to monitor, and it is one way that you can motivate other lawyers to get involved when they are nervous about SEO taking up too much of their time or effort.
Give Some Incentive
It is easy to be motivated in any marketing venture if there is an incentive on the line. Your law firm could be looking at a higher rate of productivity in terms of increased SEO by simply recruiting the members of your firm in a blogging, social media, or e-mail contest. The most client interest gathered, most comments or likes, or most shares of a certain blog idea could provide your firm with a winner.
You could also have each member weigh in with a niche article from their field of law. All of these can be used at one time or another, making it easier to stay on track with posting content, but in the meantime, the best article could be given an incentive or an extra vacation day, a free lunch, or a coffee card for a local company. You might find that local businesses would get on board with this type of company contest and provide gift cards or free products in return for a mention on the blog or a link on the website, making it a win/win for everybody involved.
On a recent article, I have discussed the value of using social media to boost a firm’s search engine ranking. Meanwhile, I have already touched on blogging a few times throughout my updates, but with a new year upon us and a clean slate for many law firms looking to grow as an online business, taking advantage of this tool is crucial for success. Of course, you’ll only grow successfully from this endeavor if you know how to market yourself correctly. Paper Street explains:
Some of the best legal blogs out there are written by attorneys who are passionate about their profession. But often times, these same lawyers have no idea how to go about making these blog posts rank high on search engines like Google – a key factor in attracting new clients and business.
The most important factor in creating a blog worthy of readers and potential new clients is speaking directly to the consumer public as though they were sitting in your office. This means not padding your blog updates with jargon, fluff, and information that don’t really need to be present. People want to read interesting data about subjects that relate to their situation, and this means putting your niche knowledge to good use.
Get Your Client’s Questions Answered
This doesn’t mean you need an FAQ update in your blog, but simply use each post to answer one of the many questions you find your clients asking about your firm. As a lawyer it is likely that you get many e-mails daily regarding a myriad of tedious questions, repeatedly. This might seem slightly boring to you, but you can use these questions and put them to work for you, by placing the answers in your blog articles.
Consumers love seeing what they are craving to know, written in plain English, right in front of them. The internet offers convenience and ease of searching, so make it easy for readers to find what they want with subtitles and easy to understand language.
Use Guest Posting To Your Advantage
Guest posting might not directly relate to your own blog, but it can if you use such guest appearance to your advantage. Writing for other blogs in your niche attracts new clientele to view your firm’s site as well. In order to bring in new interests, however, you’re going to have to give it your best. Larry Bodine of larrybodine.com states:
Guest posting is a great opportunity. Never take it for granted. Always give it your best. Before submitting, make sure your post does three things: 1) matches the quality of the blog’s other posts, 2) brings a fresh angle or insight into a niche topic, 3) is good enough to post on your own blog.
Find other local sites and blogs that might need a hand from somebody in your field of law and offer to write a piece. You may also find people asking for your assistance in this department as your own blog becomes more well-known and your client base grows.
Repurpose Your Presentations
If you’re struggling with subject matter, look no further than your own office. You have all of the materials that you could blog about at your fingertips. You want to blog on topics relating to your particular field, and nothing encompasses that more than the presentations and write-ups that you are already involved with.
Repurposing previously written work is a great way to create interesting and relevant blog updates. You can’t copy and paste your report word for word, because the general public isn’t likely to understand what you’re trying to get across, but rewording your work can give you a premium quality blog update without all of that time researching what you’re going to say. It also gives clients something worth reading about, and you might even attract other industry leaders hoping to get some insight into your field.
Use Your Niche As A Tool
Whether you work in family, corporate, or civil litigation law, you can use your niche to your benefit. Potential clients are seeking information on cases that they take personally, and that means that as divorce lawyers, for example, you’re far more likely to bring in new customers by speaking about your talents in this department throughout your blogs. People want to see success stories, relatable subject matter, and more than anything else, they want to understand their rights and abilities as legal clientele. Legalproductivity.com suggests:
For lawyers who want to blog, it’s easy to identify a niche: an area of practice, like tax law, family law, or, more narrowly, corporate tax, or divorce. This allows lawyers to establish themselves as experts, gain trust, and be discovered by potential clients, other lawyers, even the press.
This works in all areas of law; take for example, if you are a real estate law firm. Writing articles related to this field, on buying, selling, the documentation that needs to be filed and the affidavits that must be written, this is how you draw in potential new consumers looking for a real estate attorney.
With that being said, if you are a firm that works with more than one niche of the legal market, you should also be taking advantage of that. Write one update about law, one about family, or whatever it is that your firm specializes in. The more specific you can be, the more likely it is that more consumers will come to your firm in hopes of doing business with your firm.
Blogging is quickly becoming a key factor to the success of many marketing and SEO strategies, allowing companies, both small and large, to find some footing in the massive online marketplace. For lawyers, it opens doors to a little more than just word-of-mouth clients, as people begin sharing blog articles on social media like Facebook and Twitter, or e-mailing them simply and quickly to friends, colleagues, and family members who might be interested in your particular branch of law.
Take your blog updates seriously, and always check your work before posting. Remember that the impression you make through these posts, could be the first impression that clients takes away from your firm before getting the chance to meet with you.
Last Tuesday, I gave some tips on how to use SEO to bring your firm to the top of the search rankings, but today, I would like to focus on the use of social media sites. Law firms are not immune to the success that social media can bring, especially as the New Year brings in new opportunities. I have stated in the past that it is important to be wary of which sites you use to represent your brand, and while this is still true, there are benefits offered by each and every social media outlet on the market now, and you can take advantage of all of these if you understand them properly. Hootsuite.com states:
Social media marketing is an important aspect of promoting your small business. In order to set up an effective social media marketing strategy, a basic understanding of the relationship between business and social media is needed.
Just as you present your firm to clients and contacts in person, the way that you promote your business through social media should be clear, confident, and relevant to your market. If you are aware of what you post and keep it honest, genuine, and easy to understand, you should have no problems keeping your brand respected and well represented.
Quality Over Quantity And Gaining New Users
When it comes to social media, gaining additional users is one of your top priorities as a business because the more users you have, the more possibility there is for sharing your information with potential clients. However, Google monitors the way that you achieve these new users and has the ability to scout out whether they were purchased or connected through organic means. Forbes.com states:
The total number of followers and connections your social media profiles contain does have a significant influence on your rankings. A company with 100 Twitter followers won’t receive nearly the ranking bonus of a mega-corporation with a million Facebook likes and a million Twitter followers.
Twitter is one of the easiest sites to find extra users, but the means aren’t always legitimate, and as a law firm you should know better than most businesses that if you don’t follow the rules you will get yourself in trouble. Many businesses slip into this trap and buy some 100,000 followers to help advance their social media stance. Unfortunately, this can bring them down just as quickly when search engines catch on and cut your rankings altogether.
Sharing Is Caring
When people share on social media it is almost as important as gaining additional followers. You can think about that share button just as you would a link on a neighboring website. As social media advances to higher levels of acknowledgement in the online world, Google and other search engines are taking sharing more seriously. If you get 100 shares from those following your firm, you can guarantee that Google will look at this when determining your ranking and the more shares you have the better. Similar to gaining followers, you must be sure that your shares are all organic. This way you won’t get dinged by Google for cheating the system.
Analyze Past Content To Improve Future Traffic
Just as you wouldn’t repeat yourself on a blog, or copy and paste the same thing over and over on your website landing page, you have to monitor what you post to Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and any other site you choose to network through. It’s okay to promote upcoming functions, mention blog updates, or link to interesting law articles that help explain what your firm can do for future clients, but if you continue to post the same items over and over again it will not only push away online users and lose you followers, it may also cause Google to raise an eyebrow at your activity when determining whether or not your site is operated by humans or bots. Spam is spam, even if it is on social media rather than your company site.
I have touched briefly in the past on how making your website more accessible to users can increase the traffic to your firm’s page and last Tuesday, I focused once again on the importance of SEO. But today, I want to be more specific in what you can do to create a more mobile friendly website. Here’s a scenario that influences many seeking legal help and other online answers on a regular basis:
A woman on a train is trying to find more information on family law practice in her neighborhood. She types in all of the keywords that lead her directly to your website, but unfortunately, when she opens the page, she receives an error message, data display is skewed and not where it should be situated, or the website causes her phone to freeze or shut down due to data overload.
This could happen to anybody, whether they’re seeking a business savvy law firm from the backseat of a taxicab, or they need a criminal law attorney and don’t have a computer handy when they run the first search for more information on local attorneys. If you don’t want your firm to be stuck in a position where you are being overlooked due to poor website construction, I suggest taking the following tips into consideration.
Think About The Way That Mobile Phones Navigate
A mobile phone is different from a laptop or even a tablet in some ways; for example, an iPhone 6 is only be 750 pixels across which means that it might not have enough screen space to view what you have on your website, especially if you’ve got the pages loaded down with large images or video feeds. Design your page with the concept of a small screen in mind. This helps clear out clutter and gets right to the point for mobile users who are trying to find specific information in what could be a clutter on their screens. Bruce Clay suggests:
Ask yourself, what links need to be included to help your user complete priority tasks? What elements from the desktop navigation aren’t relevant in the mobile environment?
You can also limit your mobile site so that it doesn’t link to every single page the way that the regular formatted website does. Keep things to the point and add a header logo that navigates to the homepage so that users don’t need to seek it out in the navigation menu.
Remember That Time Is Precious
People who don’t have the time to get onto a computer to search for their law firm also won’t have a lot of time to click around figuring out whether or not your firm will work for them, so put everything right up front and easy to see. I tell my clients whether they are creating a mobile friendly page or designing a basic layout, that they should always have a straightforward strategy for communicating with their existing and potential clientele. Quick is always best for mobile users, because they are typically looking for an express experience with little time to spare for the details. CIO.com explains:
Many clients also ask me what I think they should do in terms of making navigation and “buttons” more mobile friendly as well. I often suggest that you consider the touch screen as the main focus of a mobile platform. You don’t want your clients to be pinching and expanding everything that appears on the screen so think in terms of one touch, thumb or finger navigation and how this could create easier access for those using the site.
Last time, I discussed the Google Penguin algorithm updates. Now, let me get back to the use of social networking sites, particularly Facebook. Many law firms steer clear of Facebook as far as social networking goes, and while I usually recommend LinkedIn for my clients, I have touched a few times now on the ways that different online networks can have positive results for you and Facebook is no different. This is especially true with all of the changes that Facebook has made within the last few months, which allow businesses and personal accounts to take advantage of more benefits than ever before. Cube Social says:
We find that most law firms start out by assuming that the best social media platform for them is LinkedIn, but that’s not necessarily the case. It’s best to do some research first. Create a list of keywords that reflect your law firm’s areas of business. Phrase them in the way your clients might talk about those topics. Next go through each of the major social networks and search for those terms.
People will always complain about Facebook and have something negative to say about it in regards to the way that it compares to other social media, but the truth is that millions use this website every single day, and if you can put it to work for you, you might be surprised at the positive results that come out of your campaign.
Facebook Group Application
One of the latest and greatest changes that Facebook is making in the new year is the creation of a new group application for iOS and Android devices. This allows groups to communicate better through the application, which means that whether you’re chatting with family and friends, or a team from the office that you’re working on an assignment with, you can stay in touch and communicate better. Socialmediaforlawyers.com quotes Facebook in reference to their latest search feature update stating:
With a quick search, you can get back to a fun video from your graduation, a news article you’ve been meaning to read, or photos from your friend’s wedding last summer…Your search results are personalized and unique to you and, as always, you can only see things that have been shared with you.
You can manage conversations and start new ones easily from the convenience of your mobile device. Fortunately, this latest update to the system won’t have any effect on your firm outside of the possibility of you finding it easier to interact with those you work with, but it is still a great new tool.
New Content Controls
In the past, there was really only one way to view your news feed and for a professional law firm that wants to interact with employees, clients, and other local businesses, this can make for a lot of clutter. Fortunately, this new change makes it possible for you to limit what you see, expand what you see, or be selective about which posts appear on your timeline at all. Paperstreet explains:
In an effort to cut through the clutter on News Feeds, Facebook will be using new “volume and content controls” to limit the number of posts from pages that you see in your News Feed.
The types of changes that your firm might see due to this change in content may be the inability to post anything that is too promotional, and the inability to repost content that comes directly from an advertisement. Other than this, you can still promote yourself in a natural and non-pushy way and interact with clients and colleagues easily.
How These Changes Will Work For You
Although the changes aren’t scheduled to take place until 2015, this is a great time to take advantage of the update by clearing out your friends list, contacting any clients with whom you haven’t spoken with for some time, and bringing in possible new consumers by posting professional and original content. Facebook is another tool that you can use to post links to your website, photos of your staff, contests and special offers, and articles or relevant data regarding your firm or specialty. Every new change that Facebook makes is for the benefit of their users, not just for the benefit of the company. Think about it like this: Facebook may have millions of users but those users aren’t likely to stick around with so many other options available these days if they aren’t being treated right. This is one reason that Facebook seems to be doing their best to stay on top and keep their name in the good books of those who use the service. If your firm doesn’t yet have an account, either personal or professional, then it may be time to get on board and create a fan page or an individual account so that your clients, and new potential clients have a way to get in touch with you.
Sharing And Caring
Facebook can also help you better your business and brand by giving clients the opportunity to share information with others on their friends pages, by liking, sharing, linking, and commenting on anything and everything that you post. This is one way that businesses can grow, and even go viral. If you have a website for your law firm and you plan on utilizing it as a client contact base, a Facebook page can bring in traffic to your site, and even make people curious about what you do and how you can help them.
You can post videos, upload rows of photos, and leave examples of previous cases. You can also offer incentives to new users, and find a number of other advantages to the service, including more search results when your brand is typed into Google, and the possibility of a larger following than ever before. This isn’t to say that you should cut back on your other social media and switch to Facebook altogether, but having an account on the side as an additional tool can be a big perk later in the game, when you’re finding it difficult to think up new marketing methods to bring in new business.
Last Tuesday, I discussed a number of blogging mistakes that should be avoided. Today, let me discuss the use of social media sites in marketing online. When it comes to social media platforms some lawyers balk at the idea of liking on Facebook or tweeting among the myriad of Twitter subscribers, but there may be something to be said for what this sort of interaction can bring to your firm. True, there are always pros and cons as far as online marketing goes, especially in terms of social media, but you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, and similarly, you shouldn’t judge a Twitter feed by its title.
Twitter offers lawyers, businesses, individuals, politicians, celebrities, and even government organizations like the IRS a way to send out short messages, links, and photos up to 140 characters. Now, in the past I have mentioned that many of my clients don’t use twitter, but have turned to such worthy competition as LinkedIn, and I don’t know that I have completely changed my tune just yet, but there does seem to be some benefits to trying this platform.
Think Of All Those Potential Clients
Okay, first and foremost, what is online marketing if not an effort to reach all of those potential clients and consumers that you just can’t reach by word of mouth? Twitter is an excellent way to do this; not only can you reach out to various individuals and companies with one short message, but you can make this even more specific by including hash tags, such as #newyorklaw or #businesslawyer, along with your messages, for example. Nancy Myrland of Myrland Marketing suggests:
There are 645,750,000 active Twitter users, sending an average of 58 million Tweets a day. Users conduct 2.1 billion search queries every day. If you don’t think that Social Media are now search engines in a box, you might be mistaken.
Instead of thinking of Twitter as a low brow version of LinkedIn, think about it like an untapped resource, crawling with individuals rather than other companies and professionals. All you need is one person to find what you say intriguing and to share this with their own news feed. The share button is a simple click and voila, your message is floating around hundreds of other feeds in a matter of seconds.
Keeping Up-To-Date On What Is Important
Twitter isn’t only for sharing your own thoughts or the achievements of your firm with those who follow you and those whom you follow, it is also for helping you stay up-to-date on information that might be relevant to your business. You can use Twitter to follow the news, keep in touch with other lawyers, and keep an eye on any cases that might have caught your eye in the media lately. Inside Counsel says:
Twitter allows you to sift through information to quickly determine which articles you want to read in full, instead of committing to an entire publication. Twitter enables you to efficiently stay abreast of the most relevant and current information in your practice area or industry.
Twitter users may only post 140 characters at a time, but sometimes these characters are links that bring you to informative and witty articles, informative websites, and various other tools and pages that you might find pertinent to your field and your firm.
Use It As A Tool
Finally, you can use Twitter not just to read news and find new clients, you can also use it as a research tool, to work for you. Law 360 advises:
Using a program like Tweetdeck or Hootsuite allows users to set up different columns — one might be dedicated to following a group of antitrust lawyers, another might be set to track new opinions from the U.S. Supreme Court and others can be devoted to lists of clients who tweet, journalists who write about the law or any other subjects you’re tracking.
You can also use the private messaging feature to contact other users, whether they are reporters or lawyers, and gain more information on topics that you are interested in. You might be surprised to find just how much Twitter can do for you if you learn the basics and use them to your advantage.
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