What social media networks should lawyers be using these days?
Larry Bodine: I refer to social media as online social networking. I've met many people in real life whom I first encountered on LinkedIn (where I have 3,583 connections), Twitter (where I have 21,000 followers) and Facebook (1,873 friends), and lawyers should aim to do the same.
The starting point is LinkedIn, which is the de facto business directory online. A lawyer must have a fully-completed bio with a professionally-taken picture. LinkedIn should be used to connect with people where you practice law, whom you have a chance of meeting in-person.
Next, lawyers must become familiar with getting reviews online. It comes as a shock to some attorneys that what is said about them in Facebook or Google reviews can determine who gets a client in the competitive legal marketplace. The Shouse Law Firm in California -- a top customer of LawLytics -- celebrates online reviews with gusto. They assemble positive reviews online at https://goo.gl/HMI6FC including links to Google, Yelp, Facebook, Avvo, and a Birdeye mini site. Their Facebook page is similarly brimming with positive reviews.
Now it's time to make friends and engage people on Facebook. Russman Law, a LawLytics customer in New Hampshire, has a 4.9 (out of 5) rating on its Facebook page. It features a slider at the top and videos from attorney Ryan Russman. The page makes the most use of videos, polls, hashtags, famous sayings, scenic photos -- with effective, graphical calls-to-action. It's a model for all law firms.
Any advice for small firm attorneys or attorneys just starting out, on methods for meeting and connecting with new potential referral sources?
Larry: The most effective online marketing is based on corresponding in-person techniques used to generate new files. For example:
- Getting quality contacts: The online equivalent of attending a networking event is to attract potential clients to your website.
- Easily connecting with people: Social media makes it easy to meet new people. I've met people on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn with whom I ended up doing business.
- Generating new business with talks: Creating content online -- whether it is a blog post, video or webinar recording -- are the key to being found in Google.
- Creating good word-of-mouth: Review sites and getting happy clients to write reviews are now an essential part of marketing.
- Generating referrals: Newsletters for clients and a special landing page for referring attorneys are effective for staying in touch.
How important does in-person marketing remain for lawyers, even in today's online driven marketing world?
Larry: Before the Internet, attorneys had to rely on recommendations from potential clients friends and fellow attorneys. Today, most clients search the web in private, on their computers or cell phones, to find an attorney. In fact, 80.8% of clients “check out” potential law firms by looking at their websites, according to Hinge research.
In-person marketing is still important, but the problem is that many task-oriented, introverted attorneys are no good at it. Beside, in-person business development it is a one-to-one transaction, whereas the web is one-to-many.
Websites, newsletters and social media are excellent ways to become well-known. Be sure that you have a mobile-friendly website that is filled with practice information for potential clients. Social media work well to leverage your speaking, writing and charitable activities, and a good place to promote your free downloadable information for clients. Online marketing can be much easier than in-person marketing, and can create a virtual presence that enables your reputation to precede you.
What's your top piece of marketing advice for an attorney starting their own practice in 2018?
Larry: Follow the precepts in Dale Carnegie's famous 1936 book, How to Make Friends and Influence People. Then, build a content plan that builds that bond of trust and takes the show-don't-tell approach: Instead of shouting from the rooftop that you're the best attorney to handle their matter, show them that you are by creating content that showcases your knowledge about the problem they're facing.
- Have solid FAQ pages. Think about the questions that your potential clients ask you when you're sitting across the desk from them. These are the same kinds of questions that they're typing into Google, so if you're answering those questions on a FAQ page, you're giving yourself an advantage with search engines.
- Showcase clients you serve. If your clients are businesses, add a link to “Industries Served” on your website. If your clients are consumers, describe the situations that you help them with. This is information that every client wants to know about.
- Highlight case histories. Client success stories prove that you have actually won cases and closed deals. A case history can be as short as a paragraph, describing the client, the problem involved, the dollar amount at stake and the result you achieve.
That's it for today's blog post, but the legal marketing discussion doesn't have to end here. Join the Let's Talk Legal Marketing discussion groups on Facebook and LinkedIn, and start communicating with other top legal marketing minds today! Also be sure to follow the Let's Talk Legal Marketing Twitter account (@letstalklm), for all of the latest legal marketing news and info.