Articles Posted in Social Media

If you doubt the power and reach of social media, think again. The Washington Post reports that some potential buyers of Twitter have marked the social media site at being worth a staggering $8 to $10 billion. The question that has surfaced throughout the Internet is whether Google or Facebook will make Twitter offers to become its new owner. The article plays with potential new names for Twitter if either of these acquisition deals takes place: Goowit, Twoogle, Twitbook, and Facetwit. While these prospective names could use some work, there also may never be a chance for them to be used at all.

Twitter, Facebook, and Google have become the most dominant and widely used sites on the Internet. This is not to say that other competitors aren’t right behind them, but Google, Facebook, and Twitter serve many purposes for businesses and individuals all over the world. And while these sites often play off of each other and offer similar tools, they are also competitors striving to find ways to knock these sites out of the water.
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If you went around asking people what Twitter is, some of them would probably be unable to answer. Others might say something along the lines of, “It’s like a status update,” or, “It’s where you can post links for people to see.” However, what many people do not realize is that Twitter can be used, quite effectively, to market one’s law firm or business.

While it is true that Twitter is nothing more than a 140-character blurb about a particular topic, the power of those 140 characters often goes untapped.
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The advent of social media on the Internet has changed the landscape of SEO, search, and legal Internet marketing. It is one of those “game changers” that comes along every so often that makes everyone stand up and take notice. The popularity and frequency of use of websites like Facebook is staggering. According to Facebook statistics – 400 million people actively use Facebook. Of that huge number, 50% visit their profiles ON A DAILY BASIS. That figure is truly staggering.

Utilizing Facebook and Twitter profiles, attorneys and law firms are able to personalize their practice. They can relate to individuals where they gather to interact with friends and acquaintances and by featuring case results, articles about community involvement and an explanation of their firm’s mission, they can humanize their law practice. By publishing links to articles and unique content that the attorney has published, a good Facebook or Twitter account can help educate individuals and establish the firm and its attorneys as authorities in their respective fields.
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A national survey from Arbitron Inc. and Edison Research reveals that nearly half of all Americans over the age of 12 have a profile on one or more social networking Web sites. The study also states that 30 percent of Americans age 12 and older, who have a profile on at least one social networking Web site, use those sites “several times a day” compared with only 18 percent one year ago.

With so many people going to the Internet for interaction with their friends and acquaintances, it makes perfect sense that attorneys make themselves available on these platforms so that they can increase the reach of their online marketing. By creating social media accounts for their firms and themselves, attorneys can build and interact with new readership groups online.
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Members and readers of social networking sites are adept at sniffing out deliberate attempts to manipulate their thinking, especially when the merits of a product are being reviewed. Members who shill for a particular product or company-particularly members who are posting for the first time-are quickly called out and these social media communities are very good about self-enforcing membership protocols. Starting on December 1, 2009, they are going to get some help from the Federal Trade Commission. Bloggers, twitterers, forum members and others who write product reviews will be required to disclose payment or the fact that they received free merchandise for the items they review.

The new guidelines are an extension of the FTC’s 1980 guide regarding the use of endorsements and testimonials in advertising. The new regulations have drawn mixed reviews from bloggers and other social media writers. Some say it will add credibility to what they do, identify them as serious writers and establish professional standards. This is especially relevant in the fashion blogging community where some bloggers referred to derisively as “cloggers” use their sites or forums as a means of soliciting free samples or gaining invitations to exclusive fashion industry events.

“Cloggers will tweet about how they’d just love a free garment or accessory directly to a brand’s Twitter account,” one supporter of the new rules said. “They brazenly insist on tons of samples even though they haven’t been blogging long enough to build up any sort of readership.”
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Branding consultancy giant Interbrand released its 2009 list of the best 100 global brands recently. Sysomos, a social media monitoring and analytics firm, looked at Interbrand’s data from the perspective of the top 20 brands’ social media presence on blogs, forums and news sites. This led to some intriguing differences in positioning. For example, Google, which placed seventh on the Top 100 Brands list, ranked first in social media mentions. Coca-Cola, the top brand on the Interbrand list, slipped to eleventh on the Sysomos list.

The Interbrand list put Coca-Cola, IBM and Microsoft as the top three in their list, while Sysomos’ top three included Google, Apple and Microsoft. Sysomos found that the fastest-growing brand this fall was Gillette from a social media standpoint. Sysomos determined that most of the mentions that drove the results for Gillette arose from the marketing campaign for its new Fusion razors. Curiously, 13 of Sysomos’ top 20 brands saw their social media mentions drop over the last two months with BMW down 31%, Honda -25%, and Toyota -24% as the steepest declines. Google registered a 13.45 drop for the same period.
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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.
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From the people who brought you the social networking sensation, comes, a Twitter application designed specifically for legal professionals. Why tweetlaw? The webpage explains it like this:

“We believe that sometimes, labels are necessary. So many careers and specialties fall under the legal profession, and we want to give you the opportunity to stand out in your field.”

The site was launched on April 1st, 2009 and as of the writing of this article on May 10th, 2009 has 389 legal professionals tweeting.

Signing up for an account on is easy. You login by using your username and password. You are then able to make a custom profile. Unlike twitter, your profile can be as long as you want it to be (twitter limits it to 140 characters). Creating your profile also allows you to specify several URLs to associate with your profile, one for your “personal” site, another for your ‘work” site. You can also add information like your mailing address, phone number, email address, and a bio about who you are and what you do.
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