7 Key Changes To Social Media Marketing For Lawyers in 2016

LawFuel Editors –  Generating clients for your firm is always a number 1 priority – or close to it – but the changing social media scene also changes the approach you need to take in generating leads that can create growth.

So what can you expect in 2016 that will let you take advantage of the fast-changing social media and marketing situation?

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Content marketing has been the buzz term in recent years, but having great content only goes part of the way towards generating client leads that pay.

What is required is to actually promote your content to the right audience.   That is a more difficult objective to accomplish.

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Author Michael Boyen has written and lectured on this topic frequently and he talks about not just reaching an ‘influencer’ who can generate business, but also to contact an immediate network around the key influencer.

He talks about the “Influencer effect” and the different roles that different influencers

have.

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If you’re attempting to get in front of a client, or a media source, then don’t just try and contact the client CEO or legal counsel, for instance, but contact the other key influencers in the organization who can assist in making the right contact.

If you’re advertising on a channel like Facebook with its one billion users, you can drill down and slice-and-dice their audience, but if you’re doing it wrong you’ll blow a lot of money and not generate a lot of activity for yourself.

You need to research your offer and ensure you’re putting yourself in front of those who actually want to hear from you. Whether it’s Facebook or LinkedIn, you want to make sure you’re getting the right audience.

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With LinkedIn groups, for instance, you want to make sure that you tap into a group that meets your requirements, reading the profile description and knowing something about the managers and what they’re intending to do with their group.

Make sure you join a group that is focused and more likely to deliver the audience you’re seeking.

LinkedIn’s Success

LinkedIn is the best place to start generating leads, particularly for lawyers and that is set to continue into 2016.

A recent study from HubSpot found that the network is far more able to deliver leads than the other major social networks.

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So think carefully about not just the networks you want to use, but also the groups within those networks.

Choose carefully because your content marketing efforts will reward careful thought about the audience you’re targeting, the content you’re producing for them and the groups you’re selecting.

The YouTube Factor

YouTube’s dominance and growth will also continue and you need to ensure that your website is using video to get across its message and to promote yourself.

Here are some tips on how to find out the hot topics on YouTube that you can use to develop for your own site.

Go to YouTube and put in hour main topic in the search box.

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Check the videos that display and if you see anything with at least 8000 views you should consider the video carefully, including the content and other information in it to see how you can leverage off it for some content of your own.

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While you’re not guaranteed success, you can see from the videos what is resonating with the audience and what titles and content can be used.

The Wallin & Klarich video on “DUI Checkpoint Refusal Explained” for instance is a topic that obviously reaches an important, target market.

Create some high quality content with a similar focus and delivering value to motorists.

It’s not a question of copying the content, but providing an update or other information that can be used to inform people interested in the topic but with content that is delivered effectively.

Provide a call to action on the video and connect with those who respond or comment.

The key to this section is to connect and leverage off the connections.  The same can be done with other social media networks like Instagram, Quora, blogs and other media.

Strategy #1:  Develop Your Authority

There are plenty of experts on every subject and the law is certainly no exception.  While there will almost certainly be those lawyers out there with more expertise or experience, bigger budgets or firms, you can still develop your authority and your ‘voice’ in your area of expertise.

Readers and potential clients will respond to the personality of the writer or expert making comments upon any area of interest.  It is the basis of the trust that will develop and that too will lead to potential contact and a new client.

This idea of developing “thought leadership” is what generates the basis for authority.  See the Harvard Business Review on the matter (and below).

 

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Once you’ve posted our news or commentary or video, you need to make sure you connect with those who respond or comment on it.

By generating feedback you are also creating the ability to develop trust and authority – and respect – by acknowledging and responding to those who comment or query your content.

That, after all, is what social media is all about.

If you use this ‘circle of leverage’ idea you can help create a targeted list of leads for your firm and apply the same concept to other social media outlets too.

Strategy #2:  Drive Clients Through Thought Leadership

You don’t want to just parrot what others are saying, but to create your own voice and views.

Clients (and potential clients) will respect that and respond accordingly.  Build up your expertise and your presence as an expert in any particular area. As was stated in the  Harvard Business Review, “become someone who doesn’t just participate in the conversation, but drives it.”

So what is a ‘thought leader?’

Here’s how Thought Leadership Lab defined it:

Thought leaders are the informed opinion leaders and the go-to people in their field of expertise. They are trusted sources who move and inspire people with innovative ideas; turn ideas into reality, and know and show how to replicate their success.

If you develop this skill, and it’s not a particular problem for lawyers who tend to be articulate, intelligent and thoughtful, then you will start creating a blog or a social media presence that resonates and reacts.

People will increasingly respect you and listen to you.  And then ask you to act.

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You need to develop your voice and your leadership in your content marketing at every level.

According to Forrester, thought leadership “sits at the pinnacle” of content marketing.

But to do so you need to deliver good, valuable, unique content with your ‘voice’.

 

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What are the best ways to develop thought leadership?

Write regularly on different topics and develop your thoughts and views so that they become recognizable and ‘brandable.’

Consider someone like Kevin O’Keefe at LexBlog, who is a major leader when it comes to law blogging and marketing and is someone able to generate interest, stimulate discussion and provoke action.

Michael Stelzner, founder of Social Media Examiner, is a thought leader when it comes to social media marketing. He writes and talks extensively on social media topics and hosts one of the most popular social media conferences – Social Media Success Summit.

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You may be a specialist in a narrow field of law, as many lawyers are, and you should and need to focus on that area and become a niche specialist.

In fact, the more ‘niche’ the topic the better it can be for you.

Consider someone like Jim Walker a cruise liner accident lawyer with a vast Facebook following, as well as publishing his “Cruise Law News”.

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Jim has become the ‘go to’ cruise line lawyer and created a highly successful practice on his niche area by frequent blogging, posting, commentaries and media exposure.

There are plenty of examples.  Even  if you don’t consider yourself an expert in a particular area, you will become more expert and confident as you write more.

The ‘thought leader’ concept begins with your content.

 

Becoming a thought leader takes time, but you can cut that time in half by narrowing down your niche.

You are always better to focus on a niche and avoid the rush to blog on everything.

Simply casting the net wide will exhaust and frustrate you and also fail to deliver the client leads you’re looking for.

 

Strategy #3:  Use Your Competitors’ Resources

As Tony Robbins would say, success leaves footsteps.  Follow them and look at what successful competitors are doing.  See what others in your area of specialty are doing and what posts in a blog or via Facebook or LinkedIn are working.

Competitive auditing reveals things about your competitors that you otherwise wouldn’t know at all. You get to know both their strengths and weakness,as well as being able to take advantage of opportunities that emerge.

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Don’t emulate them, but check on what you can learn and leverage off.

What and how could you add to the content that they have published?

The law is constantly changing, evolving and being debated and discussed.

New, major issues arise daily with some – such as Donald Trump’s ‘ban Muslim’ announcement creating a storm of media and legal commentary about its legality.donald-trump

So, let’s say you’re an immigration lawyer, what can you do or say about the issues?

Can you relate what Trump said to other immigration matters that can create interest and debate?

Of course you can.

What you also need to do is be creative about some of these matters too.

Instead of merely writing and blogging – not that writing good content is any mean feat – you could create an infographic for instance, which can generate huge interest and also spread easily through social media.

Attorney Eliana Phelps uses infographics for instance, which spread across the social media spectrum and generate clients for her firm, such as this one on immigration policy reform:

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These sort of tactics will also generate quality links to your site and its something relatively few law firms do.  Yet creating an infographic is very simple and can be outsourced for a few dollars.

You are using your competitors as a resource – as a means of testing what is ‘doable’ – and then just doing it.

You can generate a video or an infographic around a very popular post and notify those who have commented on it about your content.

You can even forward our additional content to the original provider and tell them you’ve done it, added some additional interest and value and create further traffic, links and authority for your firm.

 

Strategy #4:  Create Viral Content

If ever there was a buzz phrase around the social media universe it is the desire to generate and embrace “viral” content.  If you can can help to build your content so that you get picked up by other sites in the law or otherwise then you will also pick up traffic – and potential clients.

 

What is viral content?

This is content that your target clients enjoy and share and giving it a promotional boost via social media until it catches other people’s attention.

It has been used by popular food companies (McDonalds, Pepsi) and even more staid operations (supposedly) like Intuit Inc, who used viral marketing with an interactive web interface to create leads of small businesses that engaged them and also grew their revenues to $2,670,000,000.

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The secret to creating viral content is to get contagious, says Derek Halpern.

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There are some secrets to creating ‘viral’ content.  One of the experts is Jonah Berger who is the assistant professor of marketing at the Wharton School of Business, and has been featured on several authority media sites like the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal.

In a bid to crack the code behind content virality, Berger teamed up with Katy Milkman to conduct a research study and find out “What Makes Online Content Go Viral?”

They discovered that most viral content shared 3 things in common:

i).   Positive outlook: This was the first thing that they discovered. Content that projects positivity always outperforms content with a negative message. It’s a myth that downbeat and tragic news stories are the most popular.

ii).  Evokes high emotions: But consider this: Whether it’s positive or negative, strong emotion triggers virality more than content that evokes no emotion.

iii). Practical & useful content:  Sure, entertaining videos that serve no other purpose than to make us laugh goes viral, but content that can be put to good use goes viral more often.

The other key is to put emphasis on a great, catchy headline.

But nothing beats having intensely useful and interesting content.

Strategy #5:  Place Contests on Facebook

There are other ways to also create added interest in your news, commentaries and articles, such as creating social media engagement via Facebook posts and contests.

Great contests are not necessary front-of-mind for law firms, but when you consider that Facebook has over one billion active monthly users you need to also think how you can attract the attention of that part of Facebook audience that may want to see your own content.

It is an essential platform for promoting business and engagement can be enhanced due to good contests that then permit you to funnel audiences to your firm.

There are various ways to use Facebook using contests but of them all there are  3 core ways a Facebook contest can help you generate great potential leads for lawyers:

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Launching a contest alone is not enough to do the job.  Consider what HubSpot’s infographic says, below:

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There are unlimited ways in which contests can create engagement and interest.

Dinesh D’Souza, a public figure and author, launched a Facebook contest a few years ago and gave away a free ebook which resulted in  4,501 people viewing the contest page, and 2,282 people entering their email addressed to join Abbott’s list. That’s a conversion rate of almost 50%, which is massive.

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What about something totally different.  Take a family-owned motorcycle shop also launched a Facebook contest for a “Sons of Arthritis” t-shirt. In the first few days of the contest, 1,974 people visited the page and 544% opted in, for a 38% conversion rate.

Here’s the contest page:

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The ability of Facebook to provide targeted leads through their own ads and the ability to join groups that are active also means you can quickly grow the authority spoken of (above) and your contest success.

Check out these resources to help you run a successful Facebook contest:

 

  1. 9 Tips for Running Successful Facebook Contests
  2. 2 Free Tools to Run a Facebook Contest and Pick a Winner
  3. How to Run Successful Contests on Facebook

Strategy #6:   Write About Real-Time Case Studies

Using case studies of what has happened to others is a great way to generate engagement with potential leads for your firm.

People are interested in people and what happens to them.  Providing examples and explaining how cases have developed or were resolved helps others understand what is happening and also how you can help.

It is a well known fact among marketers that case studies on a company website will help generate targeted leads in over 62% of cases.

See eMarketer

If you’re a specialist attorney that has helped in cases, be it DUI or cosmetic surgery malpractice, dog bite injury or bankruptcy, provide examples of how you have helped.  Effectively you are showing how you can get the results your client wants.

This is more than merely outlining a bunch of successful case names, but actually bringing them to life with details about what happened, what the challenges were and what results were achieved.

Strategy # 7 – Be Mobile-Ready

Mobile devices continue to grow and dominate online activity, which means you must be ‘mobile ready’.

The importance of mobile search and everything else that goes with it, including mobile optimization, mobile conversions and more is phenomenal.

Mobile devices and our collective addiction to them are fixtures of the modern marketing era for lawyers as much as for anyone else.

You need to ensure your website is capable of mobile search and responsive.

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An article in LawMarketing.com pointed out 10 favorite facts about the impact of mobile marketing:

Here are my top 10 favorite facts that will help you see the impact of mobile marketing today:

  1. There are 6.8 billion people on the planet at present. 4 billion own mobile phones. (But only 3.5 million use a toothbrush. Oy!) Source: 60SecondMarketer.com.
  2. Twenty five percent of Americans use only mobile devices to access the Internet. (My 19-year-old son is one of them.) (Source: GoMoNews.com)
  3. 90 percent of text messages get read within 3 minutes of delivery. (Source: ImpigeMobileStrategy.com, 2011)
  4. As earlier noted, 9 out of 10 mobile searches lead to action. More than 50 percent lead to sales. (Source: SearchEngineLand)
  5. 70 percent of mobile searches lead to action within one hour. (It takes a full month for the same percentage of desktop users to catch up.) (Source: MobileMarketer.com)
  6. 81 percent of smartphone users have done product research from a smartphone, and 50 percent have made a purchase via their phone. (Source: Prosper Mobile Insights)
  7. “I’m oughta here.” 60 percent of mobile users expect a site to load in 3 seconds or less.  74 percent are willing to wait only 5 seconds for a site to load before leaving. (Source: Compuware.com)
  8. 95 percent of smartphone users have used their phone to look up local information.
  9. After doing so, 61 percent called.
  10. And 59 percent visited.

So there are seven key ‘hacks’ to make social media work for your firm in 2016 and create new clients and a heightened profile online.

Let us know how you’re going with the development of these and other strategies and how LawFuel can help you achieve your goals online.  We’d love to know.

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2 thoughts on “7 Key Changes To Social Media Marketing For Lawyers in 2016”

  1. Pingback: Out with the Old – In with the New Wave of Thought Leadership | Olivia Kantyka

  2. Pingback: 2016’s New Wave of Thought Leadership | Olivia Kantyka

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