LegalTechNY Discussion: Professional vs. Personal Uses of Social Media [video]

Today's post is pulled from the Law Firm Marketing Blog of LexisNexis.  It features a portion of the LegalTechNY Panel Discussion I participated in. Here is the link to the original post.

Most of us live in two worlds — one consists of our personal relationships with friends and family, the other is made up of our professional interactions with clients and co-workers. It can be very tricky to keep these worlds separate in the online world where comments and images are so easily disseminated.

Steve Mann, chief marketing officer of the Research & Litigation Solutions business at LexisNexis, was asked this "professional vs. personal" question by an attendee at our LegalTech New York 2013 panel — "Taming the Wild West of Social Media: The Secrets of Social Media Success in the Legal Profession" — and the responses from our experts were instructive.

I drew a distinction between personal and professional uses of social media. If someone looks me up on social media platforms, they will see lots of content about lawyers and law firm marketing — but you're not going to know what I had for lunch.

Stephen Fairley, chief executive officer of The Rainmaker Institute, agreed with me but noted there are some ways to separate your social media use. For example, he pointed out that lawyers might have a "profile" page on Facebook that is set to private and only used for personal interactions with friends and family, then have a separate "fan" page on Facebook that is set to public and is used for professional interactions with clients and business associates.

You can view a short video segment of this piece of the panel discussion. Stay tuned next week for more details from the session.

 

13 Mobile Stats Your competitors Already Know

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Control — Have a high level of control over your marketing message. Paid search advertising lets advertisers control what your listings say and how they look on the Google results page.  We also specify targeted landing pages, so you're able to drive users to the page that has the exact information they're looking for.

Tomorrow(!) LexisNexis Marketing Experts to Host LegalTech Social Media Panel

Leading experts in law firm marketing from LexisNexis® will be among the participants in a featured panel at LegalTech New York 2013, the number-one annual legal technology event in the world.

The session, "Taming the Wild West of Social Media: The Secrets of Social Media Success in the Legal Profession," will be held on Tuesday, January 29, from 2:00 to 3:15 PM at the Hilton New York in midtown Manhattan.

The panelists for the session are:

  • Larry Bodine, Esq., editor in chief of Lawyers.comSM andmartindale.com®;
  • Steve Mann, chief marketing officer of LexisNexis; and
  • Stephen Fairley, chief executive officer of The Rainmaker Institute.

While it may seem like the Wild West at times, social media does in fact have a very real role to play in both the business and practice of law. According to the 2012 Attorney Selection Research Study by The Research Intelligence Group (TRiG), 26 percent of American consumers used one of the major social media sites when gathering information about a legal issue and more than one in five (22 percent) said they turned to a social media site to actually find a lawyer they felt might be able to help them with their legal need.

The LegalTech panel discussion will explore:

  1. The state of social media in the legal industry today and an update to guide attendees through the year ahead;
  2. New and improved social media best practices in specific online channels (e.g., Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, blogging, etc.); and
  3. The various ethical and legal considerations about which law firms must be aware, including an update of key decisions and guidance issued by various state bar associations.

CLE credits are available — up to 1.5 general CLE credits depending on the state. 

If you can't make it to LegalTech feel free to ask questions, comment or just follow us on Twitter using #LNsocial.

Holiday Gift to Lawyers: Marketing Advice From the Experts

This is a guest post by Stacy West Clark reprinted from The Legal Intelligencer.

Even though I have been advising lawyers and law firms for over 25 years, this "young" dog can still learn new tricks. To be the best I can be for my law firm clients, I read just about everything I can on law firm marketing, attend and host conferences, and speak to "real-life" clients — all with the goal of finding the latest and greatest techniques. This has been my practice for years.

Over time, I have found that there are some real giants in the land of law firm marketing. As my holiday gift to you, I reached out to some of them for their best advice to grow revenues in 2013. Here is what they said:

Sally Schmidt (Schmidt Marketing Inc.):

Start the new year on the right foot by establishing your marketing and business development priorities: First, develop some goals for the year — what do you hope to accomplish? For example, "Take steps to develop my reputation in the area of government contracts." Second, establish some measurable objectives — ways to keep yourself on track. This could be things like: "Schedule four lunches or get-togethers with people outside the firm every month" or "Contribute to two thought-leadership efforts this year (e.g., article, blog, speech, white paper, e-alert)." Third, tend to key relationships. Identify your top clients and referral sources. Then, take them out for a relationship meeting to: (a) thank them for the business; (b) discuss their plans for 2013; and (c) ask how you can help. Finally, better define your personal brand. Spend some time writing a succinct and personal statement about what you do, for whom you do it, how you help clients and what makes you different. Then use this statement to refresh your firm bio, your LinkedIn page and your elevator speech.

Burkey Belser (Greenfield/Belser Ltd.):

First and foremost, focus. Law firms have grown like social media analysis website Topsy, but they should clear up the garden and water only what their firm does best. More and more firms seem to understand this basic requirement of business.

Second, assuming you have a well-defined brand, go mobile. Everyone else in the world is. Make certain a client or prospect's mobile experience of your firm matches the desktop experience, because the desktop may be headed for the antique shop as the touch interface runs roughshod over the mouse.

Finally, put a client retention program in place. They pay the bills. Honor that. It's simple: Feed them new ideas for their business. After all, you know their business, right? You understand their industry, right?

Larry Bodine (editor-in-chief, Lawyers.com):

Now is the time for lawyers to update their online profiles, start or update their blog and get listed in a major online directory. There has been a sea change in the way consumers (including business clients) look for lawyers: Three out of four consumers seeking an attorney over the last year used online resources at some point in the process, according to new research from LexisNexis. (Seebit.ly/LexisConsumer.) The traditional way of finding a lawyer — by asking a co-worker, friend or neighbor — is fast becoming the old-fashioned way of finding a lawyer. Today's clients prefer to look up a lawyer in private by opening up their laptop, iPad or smartphone.

Not to say that in-person marketing doesn't matter — it does. But rest assured that every new client who contacts you will have thoroughly researched you online. Those with little to offer online simply won't get the call.

John Hellerman (Hellerman Baretz Communications):

• Thought leadership as a concept has been around for nearly 20 years, and while I have seen the positive results of many successful campaigns, I haven't seen the buy-in about its value that I'm seeing now. To succeed in attracting talent and business to a firm, more firms are realizing the necessity of getting more of their partners engaged in the process of creating and marketing their thought leadership. They need to take advantage of the ability of social networking platforms — especially, of course, LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook — to open new networks and exponentially increase the reach of their thought leadership.

• Social media is to relationships like what a gas log is to a wood fire: an easy, convenient substitute but not real thing. Make a point to connect and collaborate with client.

• Generally speaking, people like to work with people like themselves. Humanize yourself and connect over shared personal preferences. An effective thought leadership campaign will cause prospects to assume you're competent, but only by sharing personal details about yourself will they come to understand you're similar and someone they'd like to work with.

Susan Saltonstall Duncan (Rainmaking Oasis Inc.):

• Let your clients help you. Engage clients in discussing their issues, challenges and, most importantly, how you can improve your services to them. Ask what other firms do for them that they value and how you can increase your value to them. Use the information to improve and enhance your service offerings.

• Treat your client's money as your own. Don't bemoan the fact that clients are trying to control their legal expenses. They are in a business and you are a cost. Bonuses of GCs are in part determined by how well they run their departments. Instead, initiate conversations about how you can help them better manage their costs and develop predictable budgets. Explore ways they can increase the work they give you and be more cost-effective in doing so.

• Keep your thumb on the pulse. There is a lot going on in the industry these days. Law firms are aggressively and creatively pursuing new delivery, pricing and staffing models. And there are new service and knowledge providers out there offering alternatives. Be sure you know who they are and what they do — then collaborate with them to your clients' benefit.

• Take a chance and innovate. Things are moving forward at a rapid pace. You can watch the train go by, you can get run over by the train, or you can jump on and drive the train (or at least ride it). Take new bold steps in the way you manage, package and price services, always with an eye toward differentiation and value creation.

Deborah McMurray (Content Pilot LLC):

Analyze the strength of your six most important client relationships. Start by answering these questions:

• Over the past five years, is the revenue attributable to you and your practice trending up or down?

• Over the same timeframe, is the profitability of each client trending up or down?

• Is the client in transition, and how? For example, new decision-makers, new private equity or hedge fund investment, change in ownership, merged/acquired, business units divested or added, etc.

• How many decision-makers at the company are directing work to you? How about to others in your firm?

• Have the quality and the frequency of the work changed? For example, more routine/commodity work, or higher end?

• Who else is each client hiring on work that you could be handling? Name these firms and the lawyers who also represent your clients.

• How many additional clients do you have that share the same industry, size, geography or work profile of your top six?

Write down your action plan to go up-market with each of these six clients.

Stacy West Clark (Stacy Clark Marketing LLC):

• Find the "pain" that is keeping your clients up at night. What do they see as obstacles to growing revenues and being successful? Are there certain new regulations, competitors, threats of lawsuits, product problems, market trends or other things preventing their business from thriving? Once you have identified the "pain," then consider ways to ameliorate it. Do things for them that do not appear on the bill — like a free audit, talk to their managers, compliance check, contract review, tour of their facilities and more to show them that you are all about fixing their "pain" and seeing them succeed. It works every time. More on this in the coming months.

• Ask every client how you can do better in every and any aspect of your representation of them. Listen and then remediate. It will bind your client to you. They do not want to change law firms. They like you. Just listen and grow with their advice. This, too, works every time.

Enjoy the new year. Keep sending those cards and letters. I would love to hear from you in 2013. •

Stacy West Clark has been helping lawyers and law firms expand their practices for 25 years. She is a former attorney with Morgan, Lewis & Bockius and was its first marketing director. She is president of Stacy Clark Marketing LLC (www.stacyclarkmarketing.com).

Dec. 13 Webinar: How to Leverage Your Firm's Website to Win Clients

According to recent research…

 
58 million adults looked for an attorney in the past year
 
76% of them referred to the Internet at some point in their search
 
While most law firms already have a website, the majority of them don’t produce new cases on a regular basis. Why?
 
Because they are doing it all wrong!
 
This live webinar – scheduled for Thursday, Dec. 13 at 10 a.m. PT/1 p.m. ET -- will teach you how to do it right.
 
Having a website is no longer enough to generate new clients. You also need to harness the power of key online strategies including social media, directories and blogs.
 
What you really need is a website that converts prospects into paying clients, convinces skeptics to call you first, and turns browsers into buyers!
 
In this fast-paced webinar, I will join Stephen Fairley, CEO of The Rainmaker Institute, and we will teach you:
 
  • 3 specific strategies that can immediately improve your website conversions
  • What elements you should and should not include on your website
  • How to effectively reach the 65% of consumers who like to gather information about their legal issue long before ever contacting an attorney
  • Ways to leverage top online attorney directories to control your online presence
  • Case studies on how top attorneys are using social media to attract more paying clients
  • Best practices for blogging and why Google loves them so much
  • The fastest ways to get to the top of Google
If you already have a website, but you’re frustrated because you are not consistently getting new cases from it, then you owe it to yourself to listen in on this webinar.
 
There are a lot of myths and misconceptions out there.
 
If you’re tired of listening to hype and want to learn from nationally recognized experts who have been in the trenches, then we invite you to join us.
 
Time doesn’t work for you? All registrants will receive a recording of this webinar to watch at their convenience. 
 
Click on this link to register now for the How to Leverage Your Firm’s Website to Win Clients webinar on Thursday, Dec. 13 at 10 a.m. PT/1 p.m. ET.

Business Development with Social Media

In the webinar excerpt "Top Four Reasons Why Social Media Matters," I join Stephen Fairley, CEO of The Rainmaker Institute, to describe how lawyers can generate new business with Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

There's a huge online conversation among consumers about legal issues. You can be part of the conversation, or you can miss it and the business that goes with it.

Stephen and I outline four reasons that social media works for lawyers:

  1. It is one of the most cost-effective means of building your platform.
  2. It will increase traffic to your website.
  3. It will influence buying decisions by your potential clients.
  4. It connects you to referral sources.

"The holy grail of your marketing is to build your word-of-mouth referrals," Stephen says. "Social media gives you a way to build a massive platform rather rapidly and is one of the most cost-effective ways to do so."

To get a free Social Media Evaluation, contact a LexisNexis Law Firm Marketing Specialist.

Blogs and social media are also an effective way to boost traffic you your website. "The two things Google loves are fresh, relevant content and inbound links," notes Stephen. "The more links you have to your website the better Google will reward you by pushing you to the top of search engine results."

To get a free Website Evaluation and Consultation, contact a LexisNexis Law Firm Marketing Specialist.

Social media is so prevalent now that it influences consumer buying decisions. "If you start adding things up, you can see that social media has the ability to influence thousands and thousands of people. If the average person on Facebook has 130 friends, if you can get your Facebook fan page to over 500 connections, you have the ability to influence 65,000 people," Stephen says.

"Does social media work? That is the wrong question," he says. "The right question is, which social network will work best for my practice area?" He quoted from a survey by Hubspot:

  • Is your end client a business, a CEO or an executive of a company?  If yes, you are a business-to-business firm.Business-to-business firms — over 45% — say that the No. 1 source of acquiring a customer was from LinkedIn.
  • Is your end client a consumer?  If yes, you are a business-to-consumer firm.  Business-to-consumer firms — 68% — say they had acquired a new client from Facebook.

LinkedIn is a fantastic place to develop referral sources. One of the things that lawyers enjoy about LinkedIn is the ability to join a group. When you belong to a LinkedIn group, you can meet lawyers and referral sources online and then connect with them in person.

"Top Four Reasons Why Social Media Matters" is an excerpt from the LexisNexis webinar "Join the Conversation: Social Media Strategies for Your Law Firm." View additional LexisNexis webinars for the latest insights and best practices in online marketing for law firms.

 

What Do Online Consumers Do After Searching for an Attorney?

The recent Attorney Selection Research Study by The Research Intelligence Group (TRiG), taught us all sorts of things about where consumers go to search for attorneys online, how they obtain legal information from the Internet and even the specific types of devices they use to do this online searching.  Last week, we concluded our look at the substantive findings by sharing results regarding which areas of legal practice are the most popular when consumers search for an attorney.

Armed with this data, it would be fair to ask: So what? Does it really matter if we know about the online searching habits of consumers with legal needs, if we don't know what happens AFTER they complete their online research?

Follow the link to read the remainder of Amy Kovar's post.

WSJ: Lawyers Learning the Skills Needed to Draw, Keep Clients

From the Wall Street Journal:

"In the last few months, law firms have become increasingly aware that training lawyers in marketing and business development is a key way to drive business. According to a February survey of 120 marketing directors at large law firms -- conducted by legal market researcher, BTI Consulting Group -- business development is one of the few marketing areas where law firm executives are most willing to increase spending. Nearly 70% said they planned to provide more marketing coaching to lawyers.

"Marketing coaching fills in where law school falls short on training. Firms are enlisting coaches who work one-on-one with their lawyers on how to keep up with existing clients and court new ones. While it's certainly not a new concept to the legal world, this kind of strategic networking becomes critical as business wanes. "As business falls off everywhere, all of us need to have an eye on where the next thing is coming from," says Edward Winslow, partner at Brooks, Pierce, McLendon, Humphrey & Leonard LLP, an 85-lawyer firm based in Greensboro, N.C.

"Larry Bodine, an Illinois-based law firm business-development consultant, has been working nights and weekends to accommodate his new influx of clients, which has tripled from 20 to 60 lawyers since January. "Business development is not something taught in law school," he says. "Basically you spend three years reading appellate court opinions and you don't learn anything about building a clientele," he says.

"While many firms are looking outside to hire coaches, others are ramping up internal efforts. At Boston-based Nixon Peabody, where the marketing budget is down 20% this year, chief marketing officer Mark Greene says there has been a distinct shift in how resources are allocated, with more emphasis on coaching individual lawyers. "A year ago the department was more focused on marketing in the traditional sense of brand creation," says Mr. Greene. "We have shifted resources toward one-on-one relationship building."

Apollo Business Development, Larry Bodine, law firm marketingFor more about business development training, visit www.ApolloBusinessDevelopment.com