Thursday, February 23, 2017

Should Solo and Small Firm Lawyers Use Chat and Photo Apps Like Snapchat for Marketing?

By Gina F. Rubel

Should Solo and Small Firm Lawyers Use Chat and Photo Apps Like Snapchat for Marketing?
I am of the opinion that lawyers don’t need to be early adopters of new technologies, and that includes many social media tools.

As with most businesses, law firms have a finite amount of time and money to invest in marketing. Limited marketing budgets, particularly for solo attorneys and small firms, should be focused on social media platforms that already have been tested and proven effective for legal marketing. For example, I advocate that all lawyers should have robust and active profiles on LinkedIn. And attorneys with consumer-targeted practice areas like family law, criminal law, wills, trusts and estates, workers’ compensation and social security disability also should maintain robust firm pages on Facebook.

But social media changes rapidly. Some platforms will flourish while others will fade away - think Ping, Orkut, Xanga, Digg, Friendster, Myspace and a myriad of other sites, many of which you’ve probably never heard of.

That means that until some of the newer photo and chat apps are tested by those aforementioned early adopters and found to be effective for legal marketing, law firms should focus their time and attention elsewhere. For example, Snapchat, What's App, Pinterest, Instagram and other chat / picture applications used by entrepreneurs are probably not good investments in legal marketing for most firms in 2017.

There are some legal marketers who would disagree with me on this, particularly as it relates to Snapchat, and others who are in full agreement. My biggest issue with Snapchat is that the majority of users are female between the ages of 13 and 25. Of those who are considered Generation Z (born after 2001), none of them are the target audience for law firms (yet).

Snapchat For Lawyers - Various Points of View

Snapchat for lawyers – is it really happening by Kevin O’Keefe
Lawyers Need to Pay Attention to Snapchat by Casey C. Sullivan, Esq. for Findlaw
4 Things Lawyers Need to Know About Snapchat by Monica Zent for Inside Counsel
Practical and effective social media use for lawyers: Snapchat edition by Scott MacMullan for The Daily Record

If your law practice is focused on reaching young millennials and, more specifically, millennial consumers, you should by all means keep a cursory eye on the social media platforms as they evolve. Until they are proven to work well enough to justify a return on your marketing investment, you likely will be better off focusing on creative ways to use existing social media channels for which content marketing best practices already have been developed.

Does your small firm use social media for legal marketing purposes? What kind of results are you seeing? Tell us in the comments.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

And the Winner Is…

By Karen Preston-Loeb

Entering your company into awards competitions is an important aspect of your company’s marketing plan. Awards programs administered by reputable third parties bestow recognition on your company and help position your executives as leaders in their fields – all of which helps validate your business to existing customers and can help attract new customers.

While the daily grind can push entering awards contests to the back burner, making the effort to complete awards applications boosts the chance that your business brings home a shiny new trophy. Multiple entries can raise your chances of winning, as long as the entries are smart and well thought out. Undeniably, awards entries are time-consuming and can seem costly at potentially hundreds of dollars per entrance, but the benefits generally outweigh the labor involved in completing the application or nomination.

Benefits of award submissions
  • Increase name recognition: Whether you win or not, if you are among your competitors in appropriate awards categories, your name gets out there as a credible member of the industry.
  • Retain and acquire employees: Gaining accolades boosts employee morale and entices potential future talent.
  • Generate great public relations: If you win a particular award, a press release can be distributed to generate free publicity for your company. Don’t forget to post it to your company’s website to drive traffic and further spread the news. 
  • Gain customers: The free publicity generated can lead to new customers and more business—especially if you win.
  • Improve industry positioning: Once you’ve won an award, your company’s marketing language should incorporate such descriptors as “award-winning,” which again acts as validation when seeking new business or retaining existing customers.
Awards submissions sometimes may be greeted with an inter-office groan, as they can be perceived as “extra” work that is outside of daily tasks. Though they can be time-consuming, awards entries can be tackled more easily when your company has an awards submission plan.

Tips to make your contest-entering process less daunting:
  • Plan your award strategy by researching the types of awards your company would be suited to enter.
  • Once determined, make a list of due dates, submission requirements and entry fees for each award.
  • For annual awards, keep a calendar of due dates and set reminders as submission dates are approaching for the following year.
  • Throughout the year, maintain a folder of projects that would be appropriate to enter into awards competitions. By saving PDFs of media coverage, marketing collateral, reports, data and other supporting materials, the amount of work needed to track down the items needed for entry requirements at submission time will be substantially lessened.
  • Evaluate the impact of your initiatives once the awards have been announced to determine future award submissions.
When your company does win, take advantage of the PR opportunities to announce your achievement. In addition to distributing a press release to local media and posting it to your website, share the news in email newsletters, congratulate your company on social media platforms, and display your trophy or certificate with pride in the office for co-workers and visitors to view.

The awards-submission process may seem daunting but the payoff is worth the investment of time and effort. And remember – you can’t win it if you are not in it.

Thursday, February 02, 2017

5 Social Media FAQs for Lawyers

By Gina Rubel

We recently discussed the top social media trends that we are likely to see in 2017, many of which apply to organizations that have been active on social media for some time. Still, we field questions all the time from lawyers and law firms about whether social media should be a part of their marketing plan. During a recent legal marketing webinar hosted by MyCase, I addressed the basics of digital marketing for lawyers. Here are links to a full recording of Digital Marketing for Law Firms along with a MyCase recap of the webinar on their blog.

This program discussed the reasons why lawyers should be engaging on social media, in blogging and what types of content draw the most attention. Here are answers to some of the most common legal marketing questions that came up.

Should companies that have various office locations make separate profiles for those locations, particularly on Facebook?

For companies such as franchises, the answer to this question is yes, and there is a framework in Facebook that allows users to do that. There is a Facebook discussion on the issue at Can you set up multiple locations for a business’ Facebook page?

For law firms, however, I do not recommend setting up separate social media profiles for each office location. The bottom line is that it dilutes the firm’s brand, increases marketing costs unnecessarily and decreases marketing productivity, thus diminishing the return on investment in marketing.

How often do you recommend lawyers update social media?

Social media is just that, “social.” Pick one platform to start with and make sure it’s the one that is used by the majority of your clients and referral sources. Remember, people do business with those they know, like and trust. Then spend 10 to 15 minutes each day updating your profile, connecting with people and sharing relevant information. That’s it.

If I’m posting on LinkedIn, do I really need my own blog?

If you are publishing on LinkedIn Pulse already and you are sharing that out, you do not necessarily need a separate blog. LinkedIn Pulse is essentially a blogging platform, but remember that it is not branded for your business nor does it have a URL that is unique to your practice area or location, which helps with search engine optimization.

Is there an application that will allow you to post on Facebook and Twitter at the same time, for efficiency purposes?

At Furia Rubel, we use Hootsuite for some clients and CoSchedule for others. There are many other apps that allow you to share on multiple sites and schedule your shares. Keep in mind, however, that when scheduling your social media shares, if something happens in the media, your posts can be easily misconstrued. For example, you don’t want to be advocating for Second Amendment Rights on the same day as a mass school shooting.

What is a reasonable ‘investment’ in SEO? Recommended budget figures seem to vary widely.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) comes in many forms. “Organic” SEO is supported by creating and sharing content such as blogs, images, videos, and making website updates, distributing online press releases, garnering online media coverage, and just about everything we do at Furia Rubel for our clients. Organic SEO is a strategic byproduct of well-thought-out marketing and public relations initiatives. On the other hand, there is paid SEO services, which vary greatly from company to company, practice area to practice area, and region to region.

A good place to start in determining your SEO budget is to read “How much should you spend on SEO services,” published on Search Engine Watch, which provides more technical and detailed information about search engine marketing.