Tag Archives: Twitter

Five Top Social Media Tips for Law Firms

This week I was invited to be on a panel for a discussion hosted by Martindale-Nolo and the young lawyers division of the American Bar Association about using social media to grow your law practice.

More than 1,400 young lawyers were on the call and there were six panelists including attorneys and social media people from Martindale-Hubbell.

facebooksocial media strategies for law firms

I was blown away by a poll taken at the start of the call that revealed more than half of these young lawyers are not using social media for their practices. I would have expected that kind of response from people my age or the older partners at firms who view social media as a disturbing new development. However, most of these participants were in their twenties and from the social media generation

My law firm has used social media for about four years now but I still face something of an uphill struggle to persuade the older partners about its importance. Facebook is a platform their wives spend too much time posting pictures of their kids on; it’s a place for cuddly cats.

Both of these statements are true. They also go to the heart of why social media is such a powerful tool for attorneys and other businesses such as accountants that you would not necessarily associate with social media.

You won’t get dozens of cases every month from Facebook unless you are a firm like The Law Offices of Jacob J Sapochnick, a San Diego immigration lawyer who has more than 139,000 Facebook likes and gets as many as a dozen cases a day from the social media.

That’s immaterial in many ways. Facebook and other platforms are a way to get into people’s lives in a subtle and unobtrusive way without proclaiming you are a lawyer and turning people off. It’s the online equivalent of that fridge calendar from a landscaping company. You don’t think much about the company until you suddenly need a tree removed and think “I know a landscaping company.”

When my firm started experimenting in social media it was an unimportant sideline. Now it’s the third or fourth biggest source of traffic to our website and posts routinely get hundreds of views. It’s certainly not our most important marketing tool. But it’s gaining in importance all the time and the potential is unlimited. In the second quarter of 2016, Facebook had 1.7 billion active users and as many as a third of all people get their news first from social media. It’s not going away any time soon.

If your law firm does decide to build social media platforms, you should adopt a strategic approach. Here are five top tips.

Five Tops Tips for Using Social Media as a Law Firm

1 Decide Which Social Media You Should Concentrate on

Unless you have unlimited resources, you won’t have the time to establish a comprehensive presence  on all social media platforms. Decide on your main platforms and devote most of your resources to one or two. You can develop others at a later stage.

Facebook remains the most popular of social medias and the one it makes the most sense to have a  presence on. We also devote considerable resources to producing and posting videos on YouTube. Given that YouTube is owned by Google it makes sense to set up your channel and post videos regularly. YouTube videos show up in Google searches and Google is as dominant in the world of search engines as Facebook is in social media.

Consider the strengths and weaknesses of each social media and consider what people want to see. For example, LinkedIn is a lot more business-orientated than Facebook. This is a good social media for developing contacts and possibly getting referrals from other lawyers. It’s not the social media to post lots of pictures of the partner’s dog on.

People often ask me about Google+, the social network that was set up by Google to rival Facebook, but ultimately failed. I believe it is important to have a presence on Google+ but not because anyone will see your content. Rather, it sends the right signals to Google. And don’t forget to verify your Google My Business listing and seek out reviews. These are golden.

2  Don’t Treat Social Media Posts Like Ads

If you have a social media site, one of the worst things you can do is to treat is like a platform for TV ads or a place to bombard people with legal material. Some of our most popular forms of content are pictures of office staff having birthdays, their children or attorneys doing very un-attorney like things. Tag people in the posts and you’ll generate interest, shares ,and comments.

Educational posts are also great things to run on social media and may be shared. These can relate more closely to your practice. Examples can include safe walking to school tips or how to strap children into car seats.

There are also a variety of feeds you can use to vary up your content that may have little to do with your practice areas. If an important football game is taking place, think about how you can tailor your content to the game everyone is talking about. Use humor and post memes now and again.

3 Use Social Media to Promote Your Own Content

Having a social media presence is far more important if you can drive people to your own website or even to another social media channel like YouTube. You need to create your own content and share it on social media. If you get traffic to your website from a social media site, it may boost your website’s ranking with the search engines.

The proviso here is that content on your website should generally be related to your practice area. You shouldn’t be posting all of your immigration or family law blogs because your Facebook page will quickly become dull. One method we have used to drive people from social media to our website is to have competitions . People won’t mind being directed to your website if they think they will win something. It’s a win for you too because you will be boosting your site and hopefully capturing their information.

You can keep the narrative going by announcing the winners on social media and even posting a video of the drawing.

4 Be Ethical

The fact you are posting material onto a more informal platform is no reason to forget about the ethics a law firm has to abide by. Check with your local state bar association to establish the rules. In Virginia, for example, there are rules that require a lawyer to maintain a client’s confidences and secrets. You should be very wary about posting anything about a client until a case is settled and, even then, you should obtain the client’s permission.

There are also rules about misrepresentation that can get an attorney in trouble. If, for example, he or she makes a friend request to a potential client in order to solicit their business, the lawyer may fall foul of the state bar.

Advertising rules are as pertinent on social media as anywhere else. It’s one thing to blog about a case result (providing you meet the disclaimer requirements) and to post a link to the blog on social media. But you can’t make subjective comments like boasting you are the best in your field.

Also avoid using social media to vent your frustrations about a court case or another attorney and steer clear of politics and religion.

5 Consider Paid Promotions and Review Analytics

Platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter have increasingly moved toward a “pay to play” model.  Businesses won’t get the organic exposure they received two years ago. Although this may be an irksome development, social media advertising is still very cheap compared to Google Adwords and it’s a quick way to build your following and to target the people you want to reach. Facebook has very sophisticated targeting tools.

As well as promoting posts or considering limited advertising spends, you should regularly check analytics to see which kinds of posts are working and which are not.  This will allow you to develop a more sophisticated social media strategy and to concentrate on what works best for your brand.

 

How the Google algorithm change “Penguin” could affect your law firm

By David Macaulay

Vertaslegalmedia@hotmail.com

It’s affectionately known as “Penguin” but Google’s new algorithm change has left some businesses wondering if they are going to be left in unfamiliar waters.

As a legal writer, blogger and marketer, the recent tweak has led me to ask some fundamental questions about whether the SEO techniques I have picked up over 18 intensive months no longer hold good or at least need to be amended.

There are no easy answers from the outset. Google doesn’t provide a list of do and don’ts but there are some pointers about how we should adapt our writing techniques to ensure we remain ahead of the curve.

Google’s tweak has had a dramatic effect on some businesses in a short period of time. The Wall Street Journal carried a recent article about the San Francisco-based company Oh My Dog Supplies, LLC.

Co-owner Andrew Strauss said more than two thirds of customers found his business on Google searches in the past. No longer.

Google’s algorithm change at the end of April 2012, led his Google traffic to plunge by 96 percent, according to the Wall Street Journal.

That’s a dramatic and atypical kind of change. Strauss said he believed his site’s rankings fell because he paid for hundreds of inbound links in the past in response to a 2011 algorithm change that also affected his business, according to the Wall Street Journal.

“Google declines to divulge specifics of its search-ranking algorithm, but it discourages paid links and low-quality website links,” the Wall Street Journal article states.

The lack of specifics is problematic but Google has revealed guidelines. Penguin is intended to discourage sites that aim to get a higher ranking than they deserve by manipulating search engines.

Google dislikes the idea of “key word stuffing,” in which large numbers of key words are put in articles with an eye to fooling search engines.

Although it will take weeks to work out what works the best in terms of SEO, the latest change may well mean a movement away from blogs and articles that overload a lot of linked terms such as “New York family law attorney.”

Penguin is just the latest of changes that Google has brought in to its algorithm. And with more than 60 percent of searches going through Google they are not tweaks we can afford to ignore.

 In 2011 Google brought in a change that would allow the latest news to float to the top of searches.  This was significant for law firms because it made regular and topical blog postings more important, giving firms with regularly updated sites an edge over those with static websites.

There appears to be little in the new change that will fundamentally change the accepted wisdom of legal marketing. But the tweaks are likely to reward original and interesting writing even more than previously at the expense of unnecessary repetition for the sake of SEO.

The need for law firms to continue to develop multiple websites still holds good. While the main website may rank high on Google for some of the important search phrases, there always are gaps that specialist sites can exploit be they linked to a geographical area or a specific area of practice. 

A multifaceted website strategy that concentrates on keyword-rich domains to fill those gaps is still likely to prove effective.

And businesses should look at wider strategies to stay ranked.

 

  • Work on local directory listings: Listings with sites such as Google Places, Yelp, Insider Pages, City Search and the Better Business Bureau will show you are a reputable firm as well as allow clients to post reviews.

 

 

  • Work on content: Make sure content is interesting, topical and relevant to the wider community. Don’t pack your blog with insider material that will only be of interest to other attorneys.

 

  • Use Social Media : Links to Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook will build following. And consider other up and coming sites, in particular Google+

 

 

  • Consider more press releases. News releases on a topical issue are effective tools in promoting what is new in your business. Sites such as PRWeb can provide rapid distribution.

 

  • Work on links to credible sites : Aim to work with charitable organizations and get links back to your business. Charitable organizations that use .org domains are good links as are educational sites (with .edu domains).

 

How the Google algorithm change “Penguin” could affect your law firm

By David Macaulay

Vertaslegalmedia@hotmail.com

It’s affectionately known as “Penguin” but Google’s new algorithm change has left some businesses wondering if they are going to be left in unfamiliar waters.

As a legal writer, blogger and marketer, the recent tweak has led me to ask some fundamental questions about whether the SEO techniques I have picked up over 18 intensive months no longer hold good or at least need to be amended.

There are no easy answers from the outset. Google doesn’t provide a list of do and don’ts but there are some pointers about how we should adapt our writing techniques to ensure we remain ahead of the curve.

Google’s tweak has had a dramatic effect on some businesses in a short period of time. The Wall Street Journal carried a recent article about the San Francisco-based company Oh My Dog Supplies, LLC.

Co-owner Andrew Strauss said more than two thirds of customers found his business on Google searches in the past. No longer.

Google’s algorithm change at the end of April 2012, led his Google traffic to plunge by 96 percent, according to the Wall Street Journal.

That’s a dramatic and atypical kind of change. Strauss said he believed his site’s rankings fell because he paid for hundreds of inbound links in the past in response to a 2011 algorithm change that also affected his business, according to the Wall Street Journal.

“Google declines to divulge specifics of its search-ranking algorithm, but it discourages paid links and low-quality website links,” the Wall Street Journal article states.

The lack of specifics is problematic but Google has revealed guidelines. Penguin is intended to discourage sites that aim to get a higher ranking than they deserve by manipulating search engines.

Google dislikes the idea of “key word stuffing,” in which large numbers of key words are put in articles with an eye to fooling search engines.

Although it will take weeks to work out what works the best in terms of SEO, the latest change may well mean a movement away from blogs and articles that overload a lot of linked terms such as “New York family law attorney.”

Penguin is just the latest of changes that Google has brought in to its algorithm. And with more than 60 percent of searches going through Google they are not tweaks we can afford to ignore.

 In 2011 Google brought in a change that would allow the latest news to float to the top of searches.  This was significant for law firms because it made regular and topical blog postings more important, giving firms with regularly updated sites an edge over those with static websites.

There appears to be little in the new change that will fundamentally change the accepted wisdom of legal marketing. But the tweaks are likely to reward original and interesting writing even more than previously at the expense of unnecessary repetition for the sake of SEO.

The need for law firms to continue to develop multiple websites still holds good. While the main website may rank high on Google for some of the important search phrases, there always are gaps that specialist sites can exploit be they linked to a geographical area or a specific area of practice. 

A multifaceted website strategy that concentrates on keyword-rich domains to fill those gaps is still likely to prove effective.

And businesses should look at wider strategies to stay ranked.

 

  • Work on local directory listings: Listings with sites such as Google Places, Yelp, Insider Pages, City Search and the Better Business Bureau will show you are a reputable firm as well as allow clients to post reviews.

 

 

  • Work on content: Make sure content is interesting, topical and relevant to the wider community. Don’t pack your blog with insider material that will only be of interest to other attorneys.

 

  • Use Social Media : Links to Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook will build following. And consider other up and coming sites, in particular Google+

 

 

  • Consider more press releases. News releases on a topical issue are effective tools in promoting what is new in your business. Sites such as PRWeb can provide rapid distribution.

 

  • Work on links to credible sites : Aim to work with charitable organizations and get links back to your business. Charitable organizations that use .org domains are good links as are educational sites (with .edu domains).

 

Facebook is Cited as a Factor in a Third of Divorces, says Report

Veritas Legal Media – 757-582-1836 – veritaslegalmedia@hotmail.com

Social media may allow us to track down old friends again. But it has also become an increasingly significant factor in divorces.

This may not come as news to many divorce attorneys. Every year more of them are using information from sites such as Facebook in divorce proceedings. 

A recent study from the United Kingdom website Divorce-Online found Facebook to be a driving force behind about a third of divorces in which unreasonable behavior was a factor.

Facebook typically is causing relationship problems where a spouse finds flirty messages, photos of their partner at a party they did not know about or with someone they should not have been with. This suggests Facebook may be playing a part in exposing behavior that would not otherwise have been known about, but there’s also evidence the site is fostering illicit connections.

Family lawyers have been seeing the nefarious influence of social networking sites on relationships for some time. Emma Patel, the head of family law at Hart Scales & Hodges Solicitors, in the United Kingdom told the Daily Telegraph, Facebook acted like a “virtual third party” in splits.

“Facebook is being blamed for an increasing number of marital breakdowns, and it is quite remarkable that all the petitions that I have seen here since May have cited Facebook one way or another,” Patel said in a Jan, 2011 article.

The extent to which some spouses will use Facebook to cheat was highlighted in an article in on Missouri’s ky3.com site.

Dana Williams of Springfield, MO believed she had a good marriage. 

“She and her husband had been together for eight years when she was faced with a gut-wrenching reality online.  She said her friend showed her pictures of her husband with another woman on Facebook.com,” the channel reported.

“And it was him saying he was so happy.  He had his three month anniversary with this girl,” said Williams.

Williams said her husband even set up a secret Facebook account with a profile picture that showed him with another woman.

“People need to be careful what they write on their walls, as the courts are seeing these posts being used in financial disputes and children cases as evidence,” Mark Keenan, a spokesman for Divorce-Online, said.

Users of social networks often make the mistake of assuming the information they put on those sites is private. In fact, information posted on Facebook, Google+, Twitter or any other network can be used in divorce proceedings.