5 Ways Lawyers Can Make More Money Using Social Media

The biggest problem with attorneys using social media to market their law firms is that social media is not a marketing platform. Traditional marketing involves a brief statement offering legal services, and it ends. The prospective client either calls or doesn’t, and that’s it. Social media just isn’t the same thing. Traditional advertising is a pitch, the lawyer speaking and the prospective client silent. Social media, on the other hand, is a conversation. Attorneys who treat social media like a billboard or a TV ad just end up looking stupid, like this: What might look normal on a billboard just ends up looking like spam on social media. However, just because social media can’t be used like traditional marketing channels doesn’t mean social media can’t be part of your marketing strategy. In fact, used properly, social media can help you generate leads. A lot of leads. More leads, more clients, more money. Three Drivers of Lead Generation In order to understand how social media can help you generate leads, we need to understand what influences a potential client to choose you over another firm. What motivates them to take their legal problems to you? I’ve found that there are three different but interconnected reasons someone chooses a particular law firm: 1) familiarity with the firm or an attorney in the firm, 2) the authority of the firm or attorney in a particular area, and 3) referral recommendations from a trusted source. Familiarity Absent any other factors, a potential client is much more likely to hire the firm he feels like he knows. Whether it’s by reputation, through advertising, or... read more

6 Simple Tools to Create the Ultimate LinkedIn Profile

Ask any lawyer about social networking, and you’ll hear the same thing: “LinkedIn.” Hell, ask pretty much anyone working as a professional or anyone in corporate America, LinkedIn is the place to be. Why? Because LinkedIn has made itself a wonderful combination of Facebook and Twitter – for business hours and serious business people. The stats are insane: 2 new members per second; 100 million users in the U.S.; 40% of users check the site daily; 3 million business pages; 2.1 million groups; 34% annual web traffic growth. It’s where you want to be for business-to-business (“B2B”) communication. Wow, suddenly you realize that you’ve been using LinkedIn to stand out as a professional. Using your LinkedIn Profile. Among 100 million people. Turns out, you’re gonna need a bigger boat! Fortunately, there’s help! Here are 6 Simple Tools to help Create the Ultimate LinkedIn Profile: 1) On-the-fly editing of all major elements of your profile. This may seem small. It’s not. In fact, one commentator described it as the biggest update LinkedIn has announced in the past year. Why is it such a big deal? It’s all about ease of use, combined with speed. Oh, and it turns out it used to be really hard to make any edits on a mobile device! Before, to modify your LinkedIn profile, you had to open the “edit profile” box, go to a different screen, and make your edits. Now, you can update any element of your LinkedIn profile by hovering your cursor over it. Changes can be made easily, wherever you are.  If you’re having trouble visualizing, I’ve sacrificed my LinkedIn profile page to demonstrate: Any of those spots you... read more

6 Reasons Your Law Firm Needs a Social Media Manager

Social Media. Just like “Law Practice Management,” the term “social media” itself is enough to make most attorneys bury their heads in their desks. Like many aspects of business management, getting the most out of social media requires experience, practice, and patience. Unfortunately, most law firms don’t give social media the attention it deserves. However, in 2015, being active on social media is essential. With more and more people turning to the internet to find attorneys, an effective social media strategy – as part of an overall marketing plan – creates the best opportunity to secure new clients. But it’s not easy. Here are 6 reasons your law firm needs a social media manager. A Social Media Manager Before I dive into the 6 reasons discussed above, first allow me to describe what I mean when I say “Social Media Manager.” I don’t mean your teenage son/daughter. I don’t mean a part-time, $10/hour college kid who has no other affiliation with your firm. A social media manager can have other duties, but it has to be someone the firm trusts. A social media manager must have intimate knowledge of the firm’s overall marketing strategy, with the power to modify approaches when needed. A social media manager must be able to post on social media without violating the Rules of Professional Conduct. Mostly, a social media manager must know, or be open to learning, how to use the various social media platforms included in the firm’s marketing strategy. Here’s why your law firm needs a social manager in 2015: 1) Effective social media requires being social. In order to achieve anything... read more

How to Create Professional Videos to Market Your Law Firm

Why do clients hire you? For most attorneys, it’s because the client felt some type of connection with the attorney before they set foot in your office. Whether it’s because a friend referred you, or because they heard you speak at a local event, a personal connection of some kind is still the best way to get a client. Video can be an excellent way to make that connection. Whether for a small presentation to prospective clients, your firm’s website, or an aggressive advertising campaign, video can help you expand and engage your audience. Even more importantly, although marketers everywhere are putting even greater emphasis on video in 2015, not many lawyers are on board. As Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and even LinkedIn are stressing the power of video content, a lawyer doing it well is a trailblazer. With the right tools and strategy, you can create high-quality video for nearly any purpose. Here’s How to Create Professional Videos for Marketing Your Law Firm, without breaking the bank (and watch for more detailed posts soon to come!): 1) Determine what you want out of your video. Your video isn’t going to market your firm on its own. It has to be a part of a broader strategy. Even on your website, you’re going to have different types of videos in your attorney bio page than elsewhere on your site. However, remember that these videos are for your potential clients. Think about your clients, particularly about what you hope they get out of your video. Make sure that you plan your videos around their interests, needs and behaviors. What good is a 20 minute... read more

A Better Firm Website: Improve Your Google Search Rank

Part 8 in a continuing series on improving your firm’s website. When you search for something online, what makes you decide which link to click? A catchy name? A recognizable company? Your absolutely terrible lack of impulse control? For most people, it’s about what appears first. In fact, a recent (massive) study on click-through-rates (aka CTR) put the issue in stark terms. Only about 5% of all users even clicked on a result appearing in the 2nd or 3rd page. On the other hand, nearly 70% of users clicked on a result in the top 5 listings on the first page. The obvious takeaway: a better Google search rank is critical if you rely on business from the internet. Oh, and in case you haven’t been paying attention, that’s where people look for lawyers now. So how do we do it? Well, a year-long study on Google search rank has these suggestions: 1) If you don’t have one, start a blog. I’ve already given you four great reasons to add a blog to your law firm’s website. You can build your firm’s brand, establish your authority, and get your younger associates some excellent exposure. Moreover, it will likely increase your firm’s Google search rank. Another great reason? The tips that follow work best if used in conjunction with a blog! 2) Make sure your site is managed properly. Content may be king, but Google places a lot of value on how your site works too. Generally, unless you have someone in your firm with particular expertise, you probably want to begin with a professional. One option is using a managed platform on... read more

5 Social Media Trends Lawyers Need to Know in 2015

Social media is always changing. Some might even argue that the essence of social media itself is change. That’s one of the things that makes it so difficult to predict from year to year. At the beginning of 2014, Facebook was pronounced dead. Since then, Facebook has added 100 million active users. I wish my blog would “die” like that! So, clearly, making specific predictions isn’t that helpful. But recognizing trends, the direction that social media may be heading based on where it’s been, much more valuable. Recently, Ryan Holmes, CEO of the social media company Hootsuite, published a list of 5 trends that will change how you use social media in 2015. But how do these social media trends affect the practice of law? I’m so glad you asked. 1) Your Social Network Wants to be Your Wallet Like everything we’ve learned about the inner workings of Sony Pictures, this little tidbit comes to us thanks to a hack. It turns out that the program for the Facebook Messenger app contains a hidden payment feature. If activated, Facebook would allow the 200+ million people who have the Facebook Messenger app to send money to each other free of charge. They already have an autofill feature to store payment data. What does this mean for lawyers? Be prepared to accept payment for your services in ways you didn’t consider yesterday. That means being able to accept payment for your services via social media. It also means that if you accept credit cards, you need to be ready to accept not only the new chip-and-PIN cards that will roll out in early 2015, but... read more

8 Tips for Increasing Your Law Firm’s Facebook Audience

Have you noticed recently that no matter how many likes your law firm’s Facebook page has, your new posts seem to reach fewer and fewer people? Sure, you can pay to boost your posts, and with options starting at $5, it seems like a reasonably cheap option. But you maintain your Facebook page for the free advertising that you can get through social media! Every dine you spend there is above-and-beyond what you had planned for! Sadly, the era of being able to generate a ton of engagement via your company page on Facebook is over.  While there are some success stories still out there, more companies are following Copyblogger’s lead and deleting their company pages entirely (Copyblogger had over 40,000 page likes!) However, there are a few things you can do to improve the circulation of your company page’s posts.  All it takes is understanding how Facebook determines what appears in your followers’ news feeds.  Here are my 8 Tips for Increasing Your Law Firm’s Facebook Audience: 1) Pony up and pay a little. Yes, I’m sorry that this tip had to be first, particularly considering how obvious it is.  Unfortunately, paying for some advertising is the best way to get your posts seen by as many people as possible.  Your ad buy can be as little as $5 to boost a particular post, but there are other things to keep in mind as well! #165908176 / gettyimages.com Your default setting will be to advertise to friends and people who have liked your page.  However, you can also have your ad targeted based on geography, age, and interest, something... read more

The Ethics of Social Media, Pt. 5 [Slideshow]

Part 1: The Importance of Social Media to the Modern Law Practice Part 2: Marketing Your Practice on Social Media Part 3: Personal Use of Social Media Part 4: Social Media in Discovery Part 5: Social Media as a Research Tool Part 6: Advise Your Clients Wisely! (June 12, 2014) Social media is, at its most basic level, a tool for communication. Sure, it’s a great way for your firm to market your services locally. It’s also a great way for some 23 year-old to completely screw up their own personal injury case by posting inappropriate pictures shortly before trial. But at it’s core, it’s about communication. However, it’s a communication tool that archives, stores, indexes, and is searchable. That’s right, it’s your communication history. I can find out quite a lot about you by checking out your social media accounts. Quite a lot of information that may be useful, say, if you were to be on my list of potential jurors for a major case. The ethical rules have been particularly slow to keep up with this facet of social media. However, in Part 5 of my presentation on the Ethics of Social Media, I discuss some ways to keep yourself within ethical bounds while performing your due diligence. Ethics of Social Media, Part 5: Social Media as a Research Tool from Brian Focht Using social media to conduct research on witnesses, parties, jurors, and judges is about as close to walking through a minefield as one gets in litigation. On one hand, given todays society, most people share critically important information about their personal beliefs, prejudices, and predispositions... read more

5 Reasons Social Media Discovery Doesn’t Work

Social media is where we go to tell people about what’s going on in our lives, particularly for millenials and Gen-Xers. It stands to reason, then, that social media is one of the first places attorneys should look during discovery. In the abstract, failing to request social media in discovery is really poor litigation strategy at best, legal malpractice at worst. Practically speaking, actually obtaining all relevant information from an opposing party’s social media will rarely be worthwhile, and in general, doesn’t work. There are a lot of reasons why: 1) the sheer number of social media options available now render many requests irrelevant because they’re either to0 narrowly written or incredibly overbroad; 2) many attorneys use the same form discovery they’ve used for years… which predate the Carter administration, let alone the rise of social media. However, other barriers that are not quite as institutional stand between an attorney and full, complete disclosure of relevant social media. Those barriers are tedious and often expensive to overcome. And it is due to those barriers that social media discovery is a waste: 1) Social Media Discovery relies on the willingness and honesty of opposing party. So you write your discovery, narrowly tailored to the personal injury case that you’re defending. It asks for all posts concerning the injury in question, as well as any posts concerning the emotional trauma the injury allegedly caused, as well as the loss of consortium claim that has been posted. No question that they would hold up under a judge’s scrutiny. You send them to plaintiff’s attorney, whose paralegal calls up the plaintiff and asks… what exactly? That’s right –... read more

The Ethics of Social Media, Pt. 4 [Slideshow]

Part 1: The Importance of Social Media to the Modern Law Practice Part 2: Marketing Your Practice on Social Media Part 3: Personal Use of Social Media Part 4: Social Media in Discovery Part 5: Social Media as a Research Tool Part 6: Advise Your Clients Wisely! (June 12, 2014) Knowing how to use social media is important not only to improve your ability to market your firm. Social media is ubiquitous in our society – everyone uses it in some form or another. Messages, pictures, videos… discoverable, frequently relevant information. It’s becoming increasingly clear that in order to competently perform our jobs as litigators, we have to know how to request, and produce, social media information in discovery. In part 4 of my presentation, The Ethics of Social Media, I discuss ways to conduct discovery involving social media. Ethics of Social Media Part 4: Social Media in Discovery from Brian Focht When requesting social media in discovery, there is an essential distinction that you must understand in order to be effective: the difference between making a narrowly-tailored, effective request and an overly broad fishing expedition. The first request will be honored – opposing parties will be obligated to search their own social media for responsive information. The second request will result in being bench slapped. Understanding the difference is beginning to be thought of as an ethical requirement. At the moment, there is no existing standard for what truly separates an overreaching fishing expedition from a relevant, appropriate request. Various courts have decided the issue in very different ways. In Moore v. Miller, No. 1:10-cv-00651-JLK-MJW (D. Colo. June 6, 2013),... read more
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