Think back to the mid 1990s. Everyone was talking about what to do with the Internet? Was it just a resource. A play toy. Or was it something that was going to revolutionize the worldThe explosion of social-networking is about the same. And it is becoming one of the standard ways people research a service or your background.In addition to social networking, Google is more or less becoming everyone’s brand homepage now. In other words, people search Google first when trying to find you. They might stumble across a dissatisfied client’s complaint before anything else.So today were going to talk about your personal brand and how you can utilize social networking to make you more findable and to build trust with your online network.Before we begin, I will say that Social network is only one aspect in the multiple things that it takes to get a client.
Ok, to start, I want to talk about your personal brand. There are two general ways to generate business. There is the business that comes in through the firm. And the business that you bring in. You are a brand. And when I say brand, it is the personal feelings and emotions people feel when I say your name or show your picture. For you in Dallas, what feelings do you get when I say Don Godwin. For those of you in Houston, what do you think when I mention Rusty Hardin. You need to acknowledge that you are a brand. And who better to market your personal brand than you.
Why Would Someone Choose You? You have a diversified and unique skill set You have previous accomplishments with great results You have endorsements from respected colleagues You have a robust professional network. You know everyone.But keep in mind that your potential clients have to know this information about you.
Thus a key part of branding is visibility!Clearly displaying your VALUE to the world. The more people who either know you or have heard of you AND know what you do, the better. This can be done in a variety of ways many of which are covered in the Looper Rain program. But today, we are focused on how Social Networking Creates this Visibility
What is social media?Tools that foster exchange of ideas. Exchanges become conversations. And Communities form.More importantlyIt’s about people. Tools that easily let people share and be quickly foundConversations of the marketplace
Why should I use Social Networking?Social Networking:Makes you easy to findHelps you Build your brandBuilds an online presence (helps you rank on Google)Helps you establish professional creditabilityLegal consumers are just like any other consumer. They want to know what they are getting before they buy. In selecting a lawyer, they are looking for reasons to trust one over another. They have little objective help in this. Someone buying a car or a washing machine can find plenty of guidance. They can buy consumer guides, compare test results and read online reviews. Legal consumers don’t really have this option.So they are going to reach out to friends and colleagues to get recommendations. And they are going to probably pull you up on the Internet before they give you a call. Relationship marketing is about getting the client to stick around long enough to keep using you. STORIESI lost touch with a college buddy of mine about 12 years ago. But this spring, we found each other on facebook. He happens to be CPA for physicians. So I introduced him to Darrell Armer and Charles Koerth. Since that meeting, we have already received two pieces of business. My wife and I were looking at possibly going to Charleston for vacation. I posted on my facebook if anyone had some good recommendations, to send them my way.
This chart shows the overall level of trust in these types of advertising.Note that approximately 90% trust recommendations from consumers and that 20% completely trust recommendations from consumers. In addition, you will see that over 60% trust consumer opinions posted online.
What Are Your Choices When It Comes to Social Media?Social Networking (LinkedIn, Facebook, MySpace) BlogsMicro Blogging (Twitter)Profile Sites (Martindale-Hubbell Connected, Avvo, Spoke)Multimedia Sharing Sites (YouTube, Flickr, Slideshow.com)Social bookmarking – relatively new (del.icio.us, Digg, Sphere) The reality is that is a small piece of the pie.
This will give you a better feel for what is out there. This is a good time to say that you can’t do everything. In fact you will need to find what works best for you based off of your goals and your own time management. I am going to cover some of the main social networking sites and give you some tips and recommendations but there is no way we could go through all of this.
LinkedIn is a professional networking site – so it is business oriented not personalLinkedIn is over 40 million users (approximately 840,000 lawyers)It helps you find people but not nearly as good as facebook. Your LinkedIn Profile usual ranks very high in Google (usually in the top 10)Allows for referencesOlder demographicDifferent functionality than a typical social networking sitePost resumeMake business connectionsGet recommended by colleagues and clients
How do I use LinkedInProfile - PROFESSIONALConnectionsGroups he belongs toI am only going to show you the differences in the sites. I am not going to show you how to setup an account. All of these are fairly simple. If you have ordered something off of Amazon.com, you can setup a LinkedIn or Facebook account.
How do I use LinkedIn GroupsProfile - PROFESSIONALIndustry ConnectionsGroups & discussions - THIS IS HOW TO GENERATE EXPOSURE ON LINKEDIN
How do I use LinkedIn AnswersDesigned to ask questionsCan be used for announcementsAgain, designed to build exposure to new groups
LinkedIn Tips Make your custom URL your name. (ex: www.linkedin.com/in/michaelblachly) Completely fill out the profile as best you can.Shoot for 75 percent completionAt least fill in Summary, entire Job History, Education, and your photo. Join groups (legal and your industries in which you practice) and post articles under the discussion tabs. Only connect to relevant connectionsSet your privacy so people can see your information (default shows everything)
Facebook is a personal networking siteFacebook is very good at finding people you may knowOver 200 million active usersIt allows you to passively update your connections with what is going on in your life.
How do I use facebook? Profile Connections Groups & discussions ApplicationsNo one including me is usingfacebook the way I would recommendInclude your entire job history. Under the About Me section write a paragraph that explains what you do.
Getting Business? Use groups if you want to do business on facebookOtherwise, consider facebook the best tool for finding old friends and colleagues.
Facebook Tips Turn on your privacy settings so only friends can see everything. Default shows your profile to your networks. Also change “Photos tagged of you to “Only Me” or “Friends Only” Create a polished profile Join Groups Post content when you can but don’t go crazyUltimately, Facebook is about networking. Through Facebook you can get in touch and interact with individuals around the world who share your professional or personal interests, and build long term relationships with them.Extend relationships outside Facebook - once you begin communicating with other members, see if you can't find opportunities to build the relationships outside of Facebook - maybe a lunch if you are in the same city.
TwitterTwitter is a free microblogging service that lets you get news and information and have conversations in real time quickly and easily. This information is exchanged in posts of 140 characters or less when users answer the question, “What are you doing?” These posts are called “tweets.”Think of microblogging as an instant message merged with a blogOver 20 million people are now reported using TwitterTwitter messages can be sent from just about any computing device—through cell phones, instant messaging, and the web.Because of the 140 character limit, the Twitter universe has generated its own language, which may look goofy to Twitter newbies but is simple to understand, easy to use.
Lawyers on Twitter are using the service for Networking Information gathering Sharing Branding Marketing. A patent lawyer uses the service to tweet about new court cases involving patents and other developments in his specialty Another lawyer monitors conversations about legal issues and his firm’s and clients’ reputations A third lawyer, a blogger, says he has replaced his blogging activity with Twittering because that’s where the conversation is happening; A fourth uses it to monitor breaking news that could be relevant to his practice.At its most basic, a good tweet is something of interest to your followers. Many people use Twitter to post links to interesting articles they find online. Others publicize and promote their own blog posts on their Twitter streams. Some use the service to find information by asking questions. It’ not about when you brushed your teeth or when you fed your dog.The Big Question is … Does it work?Larry Bodine - “After months of using Twitter, I've learned that it is a shouting post for relentless self-promoters, a dumping ground for press releases and advertising, a competition to amass followers, and a target for computer-automated Tweets. It doesn’t lead to new business.”60% of Twitter users drop out after one monthTwitter can get lawyers and firms into trouble.My feeling is it isn’t worth it unless you have a blog.OFFER PACKET –
Blogging70 million blogs in just 4 years120,000 blogs being added each day43% of internet users read blogs
Great way to show your expertise to an audience It nurtures relationships with your readers over a long period of time.VERY TIME CONSUMINGThis is why I say it requires a Masters Degree in social networking …Should post 1 to 2 quality articles a week minimum.But you have to do all the other social networking stuff to drive traffic to your blog.PROVIDE ARTICLE
Myspace - RUN!!!!!!!MySpace is over 110 million usersNot professionalDestroyed reputation due to recent announcement that it has 90,000 registered sex offendersCan’t recommend it at all!
PROFILE SITESAll have too little trafficPost your profile and walk away. Just keep it updated. Martindale-Hubbell Connected “Official” Launch this March 2009. Today there are about 7,500 members It's for lawyers only All members are authenticated to be who they say they are. OthersGoogle Profile (brand new)Spoke (makes a profile for you … usually with incorrect information)Avvo (allows people to rank lawyers)NaymzPlaxoXing
So what do you have to worry about … Privacy (most sites allow you to control this) Time Management (can spiral out of control) Rules of Etiquette (observe before you go to crazy) In-person rules of engagement = online rules of engagement
As lawyers you have advertising rules to worry about. Don’t give legal adviseDon’t give client informationDon’t give misleading informationAdhere to the Advertising Commission RulesList your city on your bio somewhereList your firm/your name somewhereDo not make comparisons that are not backed up by a legitimate resourceDo make obscure “marketing” statements “like I will guarantee you a win”The Easiest thing is to match the firm bioOh, And don’t put naked photos up
Perception is Reality. So make sure what is shown, represents who you are.Be niceBe responsiveOnly say meaningful thingsCreate value rather than expecting valueThe challenge is engagement – not just pushing the content but engaging others.Social Networking is about who, not how many. The internet lets you take really good care of 100 people instead of harassing 2,000Returns Take time. Expect results after 3-6 months
Again, you don’t have to do all of this. You have to find the right mix for you.
Anything more than this, you should consider a blog.
Social Networking 101 for Attorneys
Social Networking 101By Michael Blachly<br />Creating ABuzz <br />About You<br />