OTLA Using Social Media Links & Resources
I recently had the privilege to speak at the Oregon Trial Lawyers Association (OTLA) 2011 Annual Convention in Bend, OR in a session titled “Using Social Media: Marketing and Messaging”. My dear friend Beth Bernard partnered me with David Sugerman, an attorney with a notable body of work practicing in Portland, Oregon.
We had great discussion that referenced many social media websites and features that can be highly beneficial to independent attorneys and large law firms alike. The following is a list of websites and resources referenced during the session that has been expanded to include additional items worth consideration for expanding and engaging an online audience.
- WordPress – The recommended blogging platform.
- It’s Free to Download and install on your website!
- Not just for blogs, you can run an entire website on the WordPress CMS platform.
- WordPress also has 1,400+ Free Themes for you to choose from. Although, if you have the budget, it is recommended hiring a developer and creating and unique design for your site.
- There are even 15,000+ Plugins allow you to completely customize it for your WordPress blog with different tools, features and interactive widgets.
- Facebook – The largest social network with over 750 million users.
- Facebook is primarily used for personal communication with family, friends and close colleges.
- Facebook is also used by people to share and things they are highly passionate about.
- Besides personal use, you can create a Facebook Page for your firm or personal practice to help communicate with your clients and legal colleagues.
- You can get a Facebook Badge for your site to show your visitors that you have an FB page that they can check out.
- You can advertise on FB to reach potential new clients.
- You can add FB Social Plugins to your website so that your visitors will have an easier time connecting with you and sharing your content with their friends.
- You can also create or join a FB Group with other people that share common interests.
- LinkedIn – The social network for business professionals.
- People commonly use LinkedIn to manage their professional connections, gain recommendations, and communicate with other people in the same or similar industries. It has become the business resume the 21st century.
- LinkedIn recommendations are a great way to gain testimonials from other professionals and clients that you have done business with.
- You can create and join LinkedIn Groups to connect with and share information with other professionals in your industry and place job listings.
- You have the option to create a Company Page on LinkedIn to show off your firm or personal practice and to help connect with clients and colleagues and employees.
- LinkedIn also provides Buttons and Widgets that you can add to your website to help people connect with you and share your content.
- There is even an extensive LinkedIn Jobs section where you can post jobs to reach qualified individuals.
- You can also advertise on LinkedIn to reach potential new clients.
- Twitter – The 2nd largest social network, primarily for brief messages.
- You can use Twitter to connect with people and share short bits of information and updates 140 character at a time.
- Twitter provides Buttons and Widgets that you can add to your website to help you grow your followers and promote your content.
- You also have the ability to create Twitter Lists to follow groups of people that share common interests.
- Check out the Twitter for Business resource. You can read about recommended Best Practices and how to Grow your Community.
- You can advertise on Twitter if you have a large enough budget.
- TweetDeck is a great *free* desktop tool that you can manage your Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn accounts fight from your computer.
- Google+ – The new kid on the block.
- Google+ (Plus) is only a few months old, but has made some big strides in gaining users.
- Easy to access, if you already have a Gmail account, you can use the same user name and password to create a Google+ account.
- Once of the best things about Google+ is the ability to create Circles, which are lists of people that you can use to control who and what you share with people.
- Google Analytics – The recommended web analytics.
- Google Analytics is a failry comprehensive analytics program that will allow you to understand you website’s activity and help you to measure your return on internet advertising budget.
- It’s Free to use on your website!
- The Google Analytics online help resource is fairly comprehensive and should provide insight if you have questions or if any issues should arise.
- There is even a Google Analytics WordPress Plugin that makes instillation of the analytics code into the blog easier for WordPress users.
- Google even provides the Analytics Blog to keep users updated with new and upcoming features.
If you like this post and want to find others related to it, then you can find me on LinkedIn and Twitter: Follow @RealicityADD COMMENT
James, great summary of some of the top social media platforms out there today. If I might, here are some additional recommendations for inclusion into your list:
•YouTube – Most people don’t realize that YouTube is now the 2nd largest search engine, which is why video marketing should be considered an important part of an overall Social Media strategy. Developing videos that address common questions will garner interest, traffic and more importantly potential clients.
•Flickr – As Universal Search combines not only web page search results, but also videos, places pages, twitter feeds, blogs and images, it is important to have all of your bases covered. The more times you can show up on the first page of results for a search related to your services, the more likely you are to get the visitor. Flickr is the largest and most popular online photo sharing site today.
•Quora – This is a question and answer site that has been gaining buzz in the social media field. You can elect to answer questions in your area of expertise and the community will decide who has the best answer. The more times others “vote” for your answers, the more you are seen as an expert in your field.
•Yelp & Google Places – It is important to monitor your reviews and should anything negative appear, respond quickly in a professional manner. As reviews are playing a much larger role in organic rankings, you will want to make sure that you have claimed your business page on both Yelp and Google Places. Make sure to fill out as much as of the requested information about your practice as possible. Also, encourage your clients to share their experiences with others on these platforms.
Trying to keep track and up to date with all of your Social Media platforms can be difficult and time consuming. Here are a few tools I havefound to be valuable resources:
•Twepe (www.twe.pe) – Twepe will send you a daily summary of searches, direct messages, new and lost followers, plus you will receive a direct email whenever somone mentions you in a tweet. You can also email updates, direct messages and more through their free service.
•Social Mention (www.socialmention.com) – See where your company is being mentioned in the various social media platforms with this online social search tool.
•Mobile Apps – The majority of the platforms listed above have some type of mobile phone app that can be utilized to interact with the platform. These platforms either have their own app (i.e. Facebook & Twitter) or there are apps you can utilize like the popular “Instagram” app that allows you to directly upload stylized images directly to Twitter, Facebook, Flickr and more. Tweetdeck is also available for mobile phones. Utilizing these various applications will allow you to interact from the road, and stay connected while sharing instantly with your fan base.