The Legal Chamber Newsletter • July 2010
Top 10: Twitter Marketing for Lawyers
If you're not on Twitter, then people are almost certainly gossiping about your generation gap.
Okay, that's probably not true but you're really missing out on a great free advertising opportunity. It's not often sharing quips of legal information or insights on legal news can garner clients.
Nearly every Podunk law practice has a website; we've previously explored some of the worst. Using Twitter is a new method of connecting with clients as well as getting people to visit your website or blog.
Below are 10 tips for any lawyer using twitter, seasoned veterans and newbies alike.
- Specific Material – It's nice to know about stranger's personal lives, but keep your practice separate. Topic specific content lets people know you're serious.
- Follow Related Users – When you follow other legal Twitter streams, they will often follow you and in turn, your network will grow.
- Check-in, Don't Loiter – Only the most recent Tweets are displayed so it's best to log on periodically.
- Valuable Material – If you're not saying anything pertinent or interesting, users won't want to follow you. People don't want to subscribe to spam.
- Network – Remember that Twitter is a social networking website. The idea is reaching as many people as possible. Be patient for users to find you.
- Short URLs – Using websites like Bit.ly and TinyUrl will allow you more characters to comment on the link you're sharing. Those 140 characters do go quickly.
- Hashtags (#) – Hashtags are like keywords. By including them in your Tweets, users are able to search for specific content. They also allow you to engage in more direct discussions with users who are not in your network. Just don't abuse them! If you spam, users will not follow you—it only takes 1 click to un-follow.
- Re-Tweets – Retweeting material is an easy way to share a follower's Tweets with your followers. If you're asking for your followers to retweet your material, remember to leave about 40 characters so they have room to write, too.
- Direct Messages – Sending a direct message to someone is a great way to offer a link to information or let them know you're an expert.
- Promotions – These are the most viral from day-to-day. Great deals are one way to make a splash on Twitter. Many companies like my favorite burger place, @GottsRoadside, offer special information or deals to their followers. Lawyers could try offering a limited time flat rate deal for a service like uncontested divorce or drafting a will.
Whether you're just getting started, determined to get serious, or consider yourself a Twitter maven, there's always something additional with social media you could be doing, and the trick is balancing the return on your invested time. Follow the LegalMatch Twitter to learn more about how we utilize this amazing free tool.
Are You Wasting Money on SEO?
If the internet were a city it would be Camden, New Jersey where, by the statistics, you're most likely to get burgled or slain. SEO, the lingo for Search Engine Optimization, is the process of increasing and improving the traffic of your website and normally is gauged in terms of PageRank. Some companies promise "huge SEO benefits" for doing everything from placing an icon to paying them hundreds of thousands of dollars and crossing your fingers. There seem to be no real guarantees or effective methods of online marketing.
The question of SEO success is also tough for attorneys because a rising PageRank doesn't necessarily correlate with bringing in clients. And it should, right? You could be the most interesting attorney in the world and still not retain any clients: look at Orly Taitz.
The best method of gauging SEO success is by setting reasonable goals. Obviously there is an initial investment in building your site up, but your firm is a business that survives by making money.
One way of measuring client flow is by asking people where they heard of your practice or having an online request for contact. You will see a difference if your site is getting the appropriate traffic. If you're dead set on SEO marketing then you could be paying up to $20 each time an affiliate sends you a user. There are still no guarantees that $20 will even amount to a paying customer.
SEO is a risky venture for those on a budget. The easiest way to market your law practice cost-effectively is through a matching service like LegalMatch. LegalMatch allocates more of their resources toward marketing than any sane law firm could, all for the goal of helping their member attorneys find good quality clients. The easiest way to handle your SEO is not having to worry about it at all.
2010 CLE Scholarships and Ideas
Each U.S. state or territory has different requirements for attorney's Continuing Legal Education (CLE). Most of us are required to do about 12 hours of CLE each year, but it can easily be 3 times this amount in some states. It's tough to tear yourself away from profitable work to sit through a seminar for which you probably had to pay and don't learn anything new.
Below are a few ideas of how to get the most out of those hours so you're not feeling like you completely lost them.
It's been a particularly hard year on lawyers. At the risk of jinxing it, we're finally rebounding! There are a lot of seasoned legal professionals vying for lower positions which make it hard for less experienced lawyers to find work. All kinds of bar certified lawyers are looking for employment while trying to maintain their eligibility to practice law.
While the CLE hours are obviously aimed at making sure you're in the know, you can also utilize the time you're spending there and turn it into good material. The easiest way to convert those CLE hours is by using them as fodder for your blog or Twitter. Potential clients want knowledgeable lawyers who stay abreast in their field, so let them know that's exactly what you're doing by sending out a Tweet and following up with a blog.
Publishing a blog about the seminar, or a "Top 5 Things" you learned is a great way to build out the content of your website and foster confidence in your expertise. Going to CLE events are also a great opportunity to network with other lawyers and share ideas.
Tip 6: Cut Bait Out of Your Diet
Are you frequently stuck on the phone, answering questions for people who are inevitably just fishing for free legal advice?
You should be able to decide whether a person is probing for free advice within the first 30 seconds of a conversation. So before you give away your entire practice over the phone, politely invite them to come into your office and discuss their case with you.
Let the caller know that you are serious about their case and committed to your practice, and that if THEY are serious about their case and would like to discuss it further, then they should come into your office. If they come in, Great! The chance that they will retain you automatically goes up. And if they don't come in, that's fine as well.
It just means that you've saved 30 minutes of valuable time that would otherwise have been wasted on a dead-end phone call.