You’re Not A Dog: Putting Your Best Foot Forward Online Gyi Tsakalakis @gyitsakalakis firstname.lastname@example.org
“On the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog.” New Yorker cartoon by Peter Steiner.
Are You A Dog?Information About Legal ServicesRule 7.1 Communications Concerning ALawyers ServicesA lawyer shall not make a false or misleadingcommunication about the lawyer or thelawyers services. A communication is false ormisleading if it contains a materialmisrepresentation of fact or law, or omits afact necessary to make the statementconsidered as a whole not materiallymisleading.
Social MantrasListen. Regularly monitor the comments about you, your firm, your subject matter.Ask. Ask questions to glean valuable insights and show that you are listening.Respond. Respond to questions, compliments and feedback in real time.Reward. Tweet updates about firm news, awards, successes, changes in law, etc.Demonstrate wider leadership and know-how. Reference articles and links about thebigger picture as it relates to your practice.Champion your stakeholders. Publicize and reply publicly to great shares posted by yourfriends.Establish the right voice. Use a direct, genuine, and of course, a likable tone from yourpractice, but think about your voice as you share. How do you want your practice toappear to your community?Share. Share photos and behind the scenes info about your practice. Even better, give aglimpse of developing projects and events. Users want the latest authentic information, sogive it to them!
Cocktails!“Lately, when people hear the term social media, they tend to think of the fairly newdevelopments of sites such as Facebook and Twitter, but in reality, social media has beenaround as long as we have been social and used media. Letters to the editor in traditionalprint newspapers are an example of social media.” - Vanessa Fox (Marketing in the Age of Google, pp. 185-186)
Who, What & How• Who are my audiences?• What are my audiences looking for online?• Where are my audiences looking online?• When people look, what do they find?• Why are people looking online?• How can I deliver information that supplies their demand?
Public & PermanentEven if it seems private, assumethat everything you do online ispublic & permanent.
Online Participation Guidelines Rule 1.6 Confidentiality of Information Rule 3.6 Trial Publicity Rule 4.1 Truthfulness in Statements to Others Rule 7.1 Communication Concerning a Lawyers Services Rule 7.2 Advertising Rule 7.3 Direct Contact with Prospective Clients Rule 7.4 Communication of Fields of Practice and Specialization Rule 8.2 Judicial and Legal Officials Social Media Policy?
Fear ItselfOf course, beconscientious of yourstate’s ethics rules.But, don’t be afraid.Are you afraid of yourcell phone?Are you afraid of email?Spend time learningand listening.
Effective Writing‘for a blog to be successful your content needs to beuseful and unique to your readers’‘Start with the customer – find out what they want andgive it to them.’- Darren Rowse (ProBlogger.com)
Information Supply & DemandEffective Writing = Supplying the onlinedemand for information of your targetaudiences.
Testimonials?Florida RULE 4-7.2 COMMUNICATIONS CONCERNING A LAWYER’S SERVICES(1) Statements About Legal Services. A lawyer shall not make or permit to be made afalse, misleading, or deceptive communication about the lawyer or the lawyer’sservices. A communication violates this rule if it:(J) contains a testimonial.
What Not To Do: WebspamIn computing, spamdexing (also known as search spam, search engine spam, webspam or search engine poisoning) is the deliberate manipulation of search engineindexes. It involves a number of methods, such as repeating unrelated phrases, tomanipulate the relevance or prominence of resources indexed in a mannerinconsistent with the purpose of the indexing system. Some consider it to be a part ofsearch engine optimization, though there are many search engine optimizationmethods that improve the quality and appearance of the content of web sites andserve content useful to many users. Search engines use a variety of algorithms todetermine relevancy ranking. Some of these include determining whether the searchterm appears in the META keywords tag, others whether the search term appears inthe body text or URL of a web page. Many search engines check for instances ofspamdexing and will remove suspect pages from their indexes. Also, people workingfor a search-engine organization can quickly block the results-listing from entirewebsites that use spamdexing, perhaps alerted by user complaints of false matches. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spamdexing
Comment SpamFACT: Abusing comment fields of innocent sites is a bad and risky way ofgetting links to your site. If you choose to do so, you are tarnishing otherpeoples hard work and lowering the quality of the web, transforming apotentially good resource of additional information into a list of nonsensekeywords.FACT: Comment spammers are often trying to improve their sites organicsearch ranking by creating dubious inbound links to their site. Google has anunderstanding of the link graph of the web, and has algorithmic ways ofdiscovering those alterations and tackling them. At best, a link spammermight spend hours doing spammy linkdrops which would count for little ornothing because Google is pretty good at devaluing these types of links.Think of all the more productive things one could do with that time andenergy that would provide much more value for ones site in the long run.- Google Webmaster Central Blog
Measuring ItHow do I know whether this “stuff” is “working”?
Are They Subscribing?Subscribers – How many people are subscribing to yourblog? Subscribing to a blog is a much biggercommitment than following a Twitter account. Thesereaders have read your stuff and thought, this isgood, I’d like to hear more from this author. They opted-in to receiving your content either in their reader oreven in their inbox. That’s a pretty powerfulendorsement.
Are They Commenting? Comments – Comments were the social web before the social web. They were one of the first ways that we communicated with one another online. Motivating a reader to leave a comment usually means that you’ve engaged that reader. It also means that you’re fostering community and discussion through your writing. Whether a comment agrees, disagrees, compliments or insults you, the fact that someone cared enough to leave a comment means that you’re doing something right. No one commenting on your posts/articles? Be critical of yourself. Ask yourself what you’re doing wrong. Chances are that it’s you, not them.
Are They Sharing You?Shares – Similar to subscribes, natural socialshares are a strong indicator of how yourcontent is being received online. I’m nottalking about auto shares, shares by yourmarketer or artificial shares that you paid for.I’m talking about real people sharing anddiscussing your content.Whether it’s on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebookor somewhere else online, whether or notyour content is being shares speaks volumes.
Are They Linking?Natural Links – Still the gold standard of onlineeditorial endorsement, natural links to yourposts are a powerful indicator of effectiveness.It usually means that you not only connectedwith a reader, it often means you inspired themto publish something and reference you as asource.Of course, motivating someone to publish andlink to your site is challenging. Which is why ithas so much value. Which is also why Google’sultimate quest is to distinguish these naturallink endorsements from those that areartificial.
Discussions?Discussions – Measuring the number of tweets yousend? The number of followers you have? Here’s anidea, measure the number of discussions you have. Andmeasure with whom you’re having these discussions.Marketers? Spammers? Real people in your industry?
Time?How much time should I spend doing thisstuff?- How much time do you spend doing other types of communication?- How much time do you budget to networking?- How much time do you dedicate to other business development activities.Make small investments at first. Don’t spendhours tweeting, liking, etc.10 minutes morning commute, waiting incourt, at lunch, etc.Make largest time investments intodeveloping content that people mightactually want to read and share.