With the explosion in popularity that social media and social networking sites like facebook, twitter, youtube, videojug, and linkedin have recently enjoyed, many attorneys are faced with the question of whether or not to invest the time and money involved in creating and maintaining profiles on these sites. Can tweeting 30 times a day and having hundreds of followers to your profile increase the number of great cases you get? Will it cause your phone to ring more often?
The answer, in most instances, is a resounding ‘no’, but that does not mean that these sites don’t serve a purpose. The real value of these types of sites becomes obvious when you view your name (and your law firm’s name) as a trademarked brand name. A brand name that like any other in the business world, needs to be protected.
While it is true that you don’t have to devote large resources to social media sites, you do have to protect your brand name and trademarks by registering or ‘claiming’ your profiles. Almost all of the profiles that you create on the most popular of social networking sites are free. It just takes time and a valid email address. By taking the time to create profiles for yourself and your firm, you successfully claim your virtual identity online preventing brand and trademark abuse while contributing to your legal Internet marketing efforts.
Another variable here is the potential that some of these social networking sites have for exploding in popularity. Let’s not forget the story of facebook.com, a social networking site that started very small. Originally the site was intended to be a networking tool for Harvard students. As it’s popularity increased, other colleges and high school were allowed to join its ranks as well. It wasn’t until late 2006 that the site actually opened its membership to non-students. Today the site has more than 200 million active profiles. Who knows which social networking site will enjoy similar success? By claiming as many of these profiles as possible you insure that you are well positioned to take advantage of future success.
Additionally, and this is actually the most important factor from an SEO standpoint, social media sites can rank very highly in the search engines, especially for people’s names. If you’ve ever done a search for an individual you know that very often the first page of results can be dominated by myspace, facebook, youtube, and linkedIN profiles. The pages where the profiles are listed can also have very high page ranks, offering valuable links back to your firm’s website.
The most attractive part of this plan of action is that it costs virtually nothing. Any intern or office administrator can log into these sites and create profiles for your firm. The potential benefits far outweigh the time invested, and protecting your brand name on a prime domain can reap substantial benefits to you and your firm’s online identity.