Which social networks are really worth all the fuss?
Why: LinkedIn allows lawyers to maintain a list of people they know and trust in business, expand their professional network, and locate other qualified professionals.
How: The key to expanding a professional network is engaging other professionals in conversation; participate in LinkedIn’s Q&A section. Ask questions to receive advice from other professionals in your network. In order to position yourself as an industry leader, search for questions related to law that you would be able to answer effectively. “Best Answers” are recognized each week which increases visibility and credibility.
Why: Promoting your law firm online as a business through a fan page.
Use for Jury Selection:
Law firms can search Facebook profiles to screen potential jurors. Facebook pages can tell a law firm more about a person than a background check. A person’s individual preferences, “Likes” and hobbies can let an attorney know if the juror is a good fit for a trial.
The latest blog by “The Nutmeg Lawyer: Should Lawyers Facebook Their Clients? states:
In my status updates, I began posting things like "in Hartford Superior Court today" or "doing a commercial closing today at 5." Although a bit pretentious, my various updates reminded friends and family what I did for a living. "Hey Baron, I hear you are a lawyer now. Do you do real estate closings, can you help prepare a will for my mom, I ran over the neighbor's cat - any chance you do criminal defense work?" For my small practice, the increase in clients was a godsend. People I hadn't seen in years began referring friends and family to my law practice. I began seeing my client base grow.
Why: Meet new business contacts. Building credibility through providing relevant information increases the opportunity for referral sources.
How: Gina Rubel from The Legal Intelligencer Blog defines the approach as:
Define Purpose -> Follow-> Listen -> Create -> Engage.
Below is the approach the Auctori:law team takes from Gina Rubel’s direction:
Define what your law firm’s “purpose” is for participating in Twitter conversations.
Are you speaking on behalf of the law firm?
Are you speaking from the first person?
Will you tweet law-centric information?
Will your tweets be more personal and less professional?
Decide how you’re going to position yourself and stick to it.
Follow people speaking about topics you are familiar with and professionals in the industry. In order for people to regularly see that you’re tweeting, they must be following you. Actively use the “search” feature to find people who are discussing a certain topic, who are in your area, or are in your industry.
*Try searching for a legal professional with a lot of credibility and “following” that person’s “followers.” By doing so, you know you’re following people who already have an interest in legal professionals.
Listen to conversations. Twitter is an excellent avenue for quickly intervening and participating in conversations. This allows you to rapidly connect with others that can share their knowledge and benefit from yours.
Create content unique content to share with peers; become a resource in the legal industry for Twitter users.
Engage in conversation. Social Media is a two-way online conversation tool that must be used as such. Simply tweeting without replying to people, those who have re-tweeted you, and starting a conversation with peers will ultimately result in failure.
Why: JDSupra.com allows lawyers and legal professionals to showcase their expertise by posting and sharing articles and blogs through the website and its LinkedIn group.
How: By posting articles on a variety of platforms (such as your website, blog, article sharing site), you position yourself and your law firm as an industry leader. JD Supra allows legal professionals to create an online portfolio of their work including articles, presentations, minutes, and blogs.
When social networks are used to promote a lawyer or law practice, though effective on their own, they should ultimately contain a call to action to drive traffic back to the law firm’s website. Not only do these social networks offer increased exposure to legal professionals, profiles and content, they also have the ability to increase your search engine rankings if used correctly. Here you will find tips on optimizing your Twitter account to boost search engine rankings.
More information on embedding your law firm’s social networking profiles into your website.