How to Reach a Broad Audience with a Niche Practice

Sean Stonehouse fills us in on ways to reach a broad audience when you have a niche practice.

For many attorneys, reaching new clients is a challenge. For those with hyperspecialized niche practices, the task becomes exponentially harder. Consider the difference between attorneys who handle divorces and attorneys who focus on handling assets in divorces. When you are a general divorce attorney, your practice is easy to explain and you can assume some of your clients will eventually know others who are getting divorced and can recommend you. But when your practice focuses specifically on handling assets in divorces, your potential circle of new clients contracts significantly.

With niche practices, attorneys often rely on referrals from their peers and have not had many opportunities to see worthwhile ROI on traditional advertising methods. So when seeking to expand their practices or increase revenue, these attorneys must wade through territory that is new to them.

robust online presence that combines actively participating on social media sites, regularly blogging, and maintaining an informative, engaging website can allow you to set yourself apart from all the other attorneys in your area who are practicing a similar, but more general, type of law.

Start with social media. This is your first channel to connect through peers who can recommend you (typically through LinkedIn) and to the people who may hire you directly (Facebook is generally the first choice here). Through LinkedIn and Facebook, you can promote your blog, which you can use to set yourself apart as a thought leader. When people find your blog, either through your social media profile or by Internet searches, you can guide them to your website. Once they arrive at your (well-designed) website, potential clients can quickly learn how you can help them with their unique legal issues.

Read article at the source here.

Google+ for Businesses

This post has two parts.  Part one is an inforgraphic that my colleague, Stephen Fairley, shared on The Rainmaker Blog that explains 7 benefits Google+ provides for business. Part two is a video that explains the benefits of using Google+ instead of Facebook.  This can be particularly beneficial for businesses.  Although I would counter, using both gets your business out in social media more fully, which translates into more business.

Fairley states: "Google+ is one of those social media networks that many attorneys are still not sure what to do with...but with more than 500 million members now making it the fastest growing social media site ever, it’s worth your time and attention.

The following video answers the all important question: Facebook or Google+? 

 

 

 

Facebook Moves To Make Search More Personal

Phillip Livingston, CEO of Marketing and Business Solutions at LexisNexis, posted about Facebook's new "Graph Search" feature that they will begin to allow people to test.

What Graph Search will mean for lawyers looking to leverage social media remains to be seen. According to Whitson Gordon, editor in chief at lifehacker.com: "This is an awesome new feature for Facebook, not an awesome new feature for the internet. For anything not related to Facebook or your Facebook friends, you'll still be better off going to Google, or Yelp, or Amazon...." Others are predicting Graph Search will prove useful to people seeking lawyer referrals, lawyers looking for job opportunities, journalists needing legal SMEs, and more. We'll be watching the Graph Search launch with keen interest!

So what is it?

"It's going to cause people to do all kinds of searches they have never done before because you couldn't do these searches before," says Danny Sullivan, founding editor of SearchEngineLand.com in a story by the Los Angeles Times. In short, it adds another layer of possibilities for what you'll be able to search for and find on the site. As opposed to searching the Web, Graph Search takes place within Facebook. If it proves popular, it could mean users begin to spend even more time on the site.

According to Facebook, Graph Search will enable you to search using simple, specific phrases like "photos my friends took in New York City" or "restaurants my friends like in London." You can look up anything shared with you on Facebook, and others can find stuff you've shared with them. Each person sees unique results. If there isn't a match, it will show results from Bing.

"Web search is designed to take a set of keywords (for example: 'hip hop') and provide the best possible results that match those keywords," Facebook further explains in a press release. "With Graph Search you combine phrases (for example: 'my friends in New York who like Jay-Z') to get that set of people, places, photos or other content that's been shared on Facebook."

Graph Search is available now in a very limited beta. It is expected to launch publicly within the next few months. Stay tuned!

Read original post here.

Using Social Media to Accelerate the Referral Process

In the following post, Stephen Fairley, author on The Rainmaker Blog,  describes how using social media can accelerate the referral process.

Social media has become a fundamental shift in the way we communicate and find information -- or rather, the way information finds us.  

When you consider the overwhelming number of people who are now using social media, the question you should be asking is not, are my prospects, clients, and referral sources using social media? The question you should be asking is, which network are they using most often?

A survey last year by the American Bar Association's Legal Technology Resource Center found that 56% of attorneys are already using a social network. This means for you skeptics out there, if you are not maintaining a presence on at least one social network you are already behind the curve. Of those networks, LinkedIn is the most popular, followed by Facebook – however, Facebook is still the social site favored by prospects.

For attorneys who are looking to connect with consumers (versus business owners), like criminal defense, personal injury, bankruptcy, estate planning, and family law just to name a few, Facebook should be your primary focus because of the sheer number of people that can be found there (over 950 million registered users and growing).  

Depending on the demographic of your clientele, you may have more success with one social media platform compared to another -- but it is important that you have a presence on them all.  For example: Business oriented attorneys, like business litigation, securities, and intellectual property, should focus more of their efforts on LinkedIn. However, LinkedIn also has the highest number of attorneys who use the network so it's a little more difficult to stand out as compared to Facebook or Twitter.

What many people fail to understand is how people are starting to use social media.  Social networks are more and more being used as personal search engines mainly because Google has become too generic and they often don't trust what they find there.  

This trend is especially true in the under-30 age group. In fact, many social media experts are starting to point to Facebook as the new Google! Tens of thousands of searches are conducted every day on Facebook for resources and reviews of products, services, and service providers.  

The long-time phenomenon of asking your friends and colleagues for a referral has simply gone viral and online. Social networks are quickly multiplying the number of connections a person can ask when seeking a referral to a trusted advisor.  

Read about Stephen on his bio.

How to be a Social Media Rock Star With Your Firm's Blog

Here is an excerpt from a recent  paper from LexisNexis demonstrating social media’s viability for law firm marketing purposes.

When a consumer faces a crisis—a failing business, an unfaithful spouse, a family member in trouble—that person is more likely than ever to turn to the Internet looking for answers to his or her legal issues.Three out of four consumers who sought an attorney in the past year used online resources, including search engines, websites, YouTube™, Facebook® and other tools at some point in the process, according to a recent survey.

 
So by including information about legal topics being frequently searched, an attorney’s blog will be more visible on search engines results—and that increases the chances that consumers and referring attorneys will find and select that attorney’s firm.In fact, one out of two respondents to a recent survey (from firms of nine attorneys or fewer) who are blogging reported retaining clients directly or via referral as a result of their legal topic blogging.
 
That’s landing actual paying clients.Enhance your firm’s ability to attract more, higher quality prospects through blogging and social media marketing by following these proven techniques.
 
Read the 10 tips here.

55% of Marketers Have Closed Deals From Social Media Leads

law firm marketing, legal marketing, facebook, linkedin, twitterSmart law firms are using social media to generate leads. 55% of marketers have closed deals from social media leads, according to a report from Webmarketing123, “2011 State of Digital Marketing Report.”

The November 2011 report says that marketers have had the most success with Facebook, with 40.7% saying they have closed a deal from a Facebook lead.

Roughly one in 5 have also closed a deal from a lead generated on LinkedIn or Twitter. 68.4% of marketers say they have ever generated a lead from a social network, with Facebook (47%) again ahead of LinkedIn (34.8%) and Twitter (33.8%).

"Lead and sales generation activities dominate as the most important objectives for digital marketing campaigns," according to the report, far ahead of other goals such as building brand awareness, generating web traffic or building a community.

68% of marketers have generated leads from at least one of the three major social media platforms. As for spending, "as expected, B2B marketers invest 1/3 of their digital budgets on SEO activities, while B2C marketers invest most heavily in PPC," according to the report.

The results are based on an online survey of 500 US marketing professionals. Webmarketing123 is a digital marketing agency that helps clients convert online visibility into measurable results.

4 Things You Need to Know to Protect Your Online Reputation

The infographic below from Mashable describes:

  1. What's an e-reputation.
  2. Why your online reputation matters.
  3. What potential employers are looking for.
  4. What you can do about it. While there are companies like Reputation Defender out there to help you manage your online reputation, there are still plenty of things you can do on your own. Feel free to check out my PowerPoint slide show "How to Monitor & Enhance Your Reputation on the Internet as a Lawyer."

protecting your online reputation, blog, facebook, google, twitter

 

Adios, Facebook and Twitter ... Hello, Google+

Google plus, facebook, twitter, legal marketing, law firm marketingHere's my latest article in Law Technology News:

"Dear Facebook and Twitter,

I know we've been together for about five years, but I think it's time we start connecting with new people. Facebook, I appreciate that you've reconnected me with all my old girlfriends who still criticize my opinions. You've also hooked me up with people from high school that I've deliberately had nothing to do with for 20 years. And your security issues drive me crazy.

Twitter, I have trouble understanding you because you speak in only 140-character blurts. I've unfollowed your most irrelevant messages, but you still jumble my day with noise. I don't have enough bandwidth for you.

It's true. I've found someone new. Yes, I'm a "plussie." I've fallen for Google+.

With G+, lawyers can follow a client, send messages to chosen recipients, and collect information on any topic and share it for business development purposes.

For me, it's a social media do-over. I get to pick the people whose messages I follow by placing them in a Circle (without friending them or getting permission). Being a lawyer, I separate my circles into "clients," "potential clients," "colleagues," "friends," and "family." I can send a message to clients and it's like a business newsletter. When I address it to "public," it's like a blog entry. When I address it to "my circles" it's like a tweet. Lawyers like control and G+ offers it.

Facebook is one of the ten most hated companies in America. Yes, 750 million people use it, but a survey conducted by ForeSee Results found that Facebook ranked near the bottom for customer satisfaction. In contrast, 20 million people joined Google+ over the first three weeks in July. ..."

For the rest of the story visit Adios, Facebook and Twitter ... Hello, Google+

New Data: Law Firms Must Create Mobile-Friendly Websites

smartphone, texting, email, facebook, website, law firm marketing, legal marketingHalf of smartphone owners say "It's My Life!" A majority of smartphone users are fully integrating their devices into every aspect of their daily lives, according to a new smartphone survey conducted by Prosper Mobile Insights.

 

The survey found that 52.9% say they utilize all of the functions of their smartphones, 30.4% say they use the basic functions of their smartphones and 16.7% only use their smartphones for calling, texting and emailing.

Calling features, GPS, and Facebook are also necessities to some. Despite privacy concerns - such as someone tracking their location - 55.9% of smartphone users say they prefer using their smartphone to access the Internet over using a computer (35.3% prefer to use a computer while 8.8% aren't sure).

smartphone, lawmarketing channel, law firm marketing, legal marketing, mobile webThe vast majority of smartphone users say they use their smartphone to browse for products or services. Three quarters use their smartphone to locate stores or look for store hours. Reading reviews and researching specific products are also top smartphone activities, and half say they have made a purchase via their smartphone device

Law Firm Marketing Takeaways

If your law firm website can't be viewed well on a 2-1/2 inch screen, you are missing a lot of online traffic. It's time to put a mobile marketing plan in place.

82% of businesses plan to increase their spending on mobile phone marketing over the next year, as I reported in May. In response, 33% of businesses currently have a mobile strategy in place, a

The LawMarketing Channel, which I operate, has had a mobile-friendly version for two years. I took a cue from my own personal habit, which is to view websites on my Samsung Droid Charge with 4G capability whenever I have even two minutes of downtime.

Call me compulsive, but law firm clients are just like me. For further evidence, read The M-dot Revolution is here. Has Your Law Firm Marketing Joined It?

Use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Blogs for Law Firm Marketing

It's no surprise that the top four social media tools used by marketers everywhere (not just the legal profession) are, in order: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Blogs, with YouTube close behind.

The hidden gem in the study by the Social Media Examiner blog is that video marketing is on the rise.  A  significant 77% of marketers plan on increasing their use of YouTube and video marketing, making it the top area marketers will invest in for 2011. Businesses with 1,000 or more employees indicated YouTube is a key area of marketing activity.

Facebook, twitter, linkedin, blogs, YouTube

 Respondents said:

  • The #1 benefit of social media marketing is standing out in an increasingly noisy world.
  • 2/3 of marketers said a benefit of social media marketing is a rise in search engine rankings.
  • More than half of marketers found the social media generated qualified leads.
  • 72% of marketers who have been using social media for more than three years said it helped them close business.
  • Nearly all marketers report it generates increased exposure for their business.
  • B2C marketers focus on Facebook.
  • B2B marketers focus on LinkedIn and video.

Social Media Examiner's survey had 3,342 participants.