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.

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

 

LegalTechNY Discussion: Barriers to Social Media Adoption

At LegalTechNY, Steve Mann, chief marketing officer of the Research & Litigation Solutions business at LexisNexis, posed this question to Stephen Fairley, chief executive officer of The Rainmaker Institute and myself: If we have passed the tipping point for firms to use social media, why are so many firms reluctant to dive in?

 

 

Feel Embarrassed When Asking for a Referral?

Stephen Fairley offers a way to beat embarrassment you may feel when asking for referrals.

We know that many attorneys build a good portion of their practices on referrals – yet, why is it so many feel embarrassed to ask for a referral?

 
I believe that these attorneys are not looking at referrals in the right way. They see them as asking for a favor, when in fact you should regard it as extending a favor. That’s right. You are not asking to get a favor, you are asking to bestow one.
 
The secret to getting lots of referrals is to make it about them, not about you. Think about what benefits you offer your referral sources and what problems you may help them solve. When you help someone help a friend, family member or colleague, you have done them a favor. 
 
Think about how referring you can make your client’s life better, and you will never be embarrassed to ask for a referral again. 
 
Attorneys who rely on referrals for new clients also have to have a referral mindset. Always look for those moments in your relationships with others to create referrals – when you have won a case for a client, when you have helped someone avoid litigation, when you have provided a referral – all opportunities for you to generate referrals.
 
You also need to make it as easy as possible for people to refer you. Provide them with a written document that outlines the characteristics of your ideal client. Create white papers or give seminars that solve problems their clients may be experiencing and co-brand them, so your referral source benefits. 
 
The real secret to feeling comfortable about generating referrals is to think give, not take. And to implement a system that creates a referral environment throughout your organization.

 

Shhh! The #1 Secret to Boosting Client Referrals

Stephen Fairley shares with us the #1 secret to boosting client referrals and retention in this blog post that can found on the Rainmaker Blog.

When it comes to communicating with clients, listening is often more important than talking. It is by listening that you learn what clients want, and then you can give it to them. Which makes for more referrals and better client retention.

Here are some important methods you can use to actively listen to clients:
 
Open feedback. Always offer clients a way to provide feedback, through your website, an online survey and in your e-newsletter campaign. Simply asking for their thoughts is often enough to garner some important insights.
 
Transactional feedback. If you’re a regular Starbucks customer, you have undoubtedly received a free survey at some point with your receipt. You provide them with some feedback online and you get a free drink for your efforts. What attorneys can learn from this is the importance of asking clients for their thoughts about their experience with your firm after the case is over or at important points along the way. Keep your finger on the pulse of how satisfied they are with how your firm is treating them, and you’ll have a satisfied client.
 
Social media interaction. Monitor your social media channels to see what people are saying about you. You can search for your firm name on Twitter and Facebook , and you should be regularly monitoring Avvo, FindLaw, Yelp and Google for other comments about your firm.
 
Client satisfaction surveys. Using formal client satisfaction surveys is another good way to gauge client experiences with your firm. Send one out after each engagement is closed and respond immediately and personally to any negative feedback.

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.

How to Realize Your Dream of a More Profitable Law Practice in 2013

On Monday, Stephen Fairley of the Rainmaker Blog, wrote about his next webinar that is to be held tomorrow, January 24th at 1 p.m. ET.  Read on to learn how you can register for this webinar that will provide ways to bring your dream law practice into reality.

____________________________________________________________________________

Today we’re celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and I know that many of you have a dream, too...a dream of building a law firm that allows you to live the life you’ve always wanted to live while doing satisfying work that you enjoy.

The question plaguing most of you is, how?

Start by signing up for my webinar this Thursday, Jan. 24 at 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT: The 5 Best Strategies to Beat Your Competition in 2013.

Knowing which legal marketing strategies are working in today’s economy gives you a huge advantage. Implementing the correct business development strategies allows you to spend less money and get better results faster!

Join me on Thursday, Jan. 24 at 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT for a one-hour webinar where you will discover:

  • Why you can’t afford to dismiss social media any longer (Google is forcing you to use it)
  • 3 major ways to triple your website traffic in the next 90 days
  • How to use online tools to generate more offline referrals
  • 3 keys all the best law firms are using to turn more website browsers into buyers
  • 2 critical numbers you must track every month to measure your success
  • Specific ways to jump-start your marketing efforts fast…even if you’ve stumbled before
  • Last year many of our clients experienced their best year ever! How is that possible when we are in the midst of the biggest recession our generation has ever faced?

It’s simple, they developed a game plan based on best practices and proven strategies and then they consistently took massive action! Notice I said it was “simple” not “easy.” There is no “easy” way to build a million dollar book of business, but if you’re willing to do the work we can show you the right path to take.

Click on this link  to register now for The 5 Best Strategies to Beat Your Competition in 2013 webinar on Thursday, Jan. 24 at 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT.

All registrants will receive a recording of the webinar to watch at their convenience, so if the scheduled time doesn’t work for you, you can still get this critical knowledge by getting your own copy of the webinar recording.

 

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.

 

Why Lawyers Should Love Inbound Marketing

On The Rainmaker Institute blog, Stephen Fairley, the CEO of The Rainmaker Institute, fills us in on why attorneys should just love inbound marketing.

Just when most lawyers got used to traditional marketing – print ads, Yellow Pages listings, billboards, radio and TV ads – along comes a discipline called inbound marketing that turned everything you thought you knew about law firm marketing on its head.

Here at The Rainmaker Institute, inbound marketing is about all we do, and what we have done for years. Traditional marketing may have its uses, but it doesn’t do what we like to do – generate qualified leads. Traditional marketing is all about the push – pushing your message out to a mass market in hopes of finding those needles in a haystack.

Inbound marketing pulls people in who are interested in what you have to offer. It consists of social media marketing, SEO, blogging, e-newsletters, videos, free report offers on landing pages, email marketing and other strategies that attract consumers naturally.  

Inbound marketing allows you to nurture relationships with potential leads all the way along the various stages of the buying cycle. You can automate your messaging early in the cycle for the shoppers, then spend your resources more carefully on interacting with those who are in the later stage of ready-to-buy. 

This infographic from The Whole Brain Group, a Michigan-based inbound marketing agency, explains it simply and succinctly: 

 

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.