Articles Posted in Social Networking

Social media marketing is a continually shifting field due to continual changes in demographics and policies from social media sites, which can make many businesses, including law firms, nervous about their current or future plans in these avenues. Over the last few months, many have become skeptical of whether or not promoting their business on Facebook is worth it. However, despite worries, advertising and marketing via Facebook is still valuable for your career as an attorney, you just have to find the right plan.

Major Companies and Facebook Advertising
On May 15, General Motors announced that it would be pulling its advertising from Facebook, calling it “ineffectual” according to The Wall Street Journal. GM spends approximately $40 million on marketing through Facebook, that’s right, $40 MILLION, $10 million of which is used for advertising while the rest is for content creation.
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The simple fact that LinkedIn public profiles are indexed is reason enough to employ a little bit of SEO when filling out your LinkedIn information. However, it’s not always about SEO, particularly when it comes to social media profiles. For businesses especially, it’s important to remember that there is a difference between your company website and your social media profiles, namely the simple fact that one web presence is (by name even) more social than the other.

When filling out your LinkedIn profile, all the experts recommend you do one thing: show rather than tell. Showing your accomplishments always goes much farther than just telling people what you’re capable of. In the world of legal Internet marketing, showing accomplishments can involve a variety of options. Talking about successful case results, mentioning awards you’ve received, and highlighting positions of authority within legal associations are all ways that prospective clients can see how accomplished you are.
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Google.jpgAs you’ve probably heard by now, Google finally released their own version of Facebook’s Fan Page, simply titled Google Pages (not to be confused with Google Places). While Google’s new product may not have as much functionality as Facebook Fan Pages (at least not yet), the potential it has for being an effective marketing tool is unmistakable. Although Facebook is still king as far as business specific profile pages are concerned, it may not be long before Google Pages become not only a necessary part of any legal Internet marketing campaign, but the desired platform for businesses to represent themselves in the world of social media.Facebook.jpg

For anyone familiar with Google+ profiles, Google Pages basically follow the same format. There are four sections that a business is able to utilize in order to market its brand, with one of those areas set aside for businesses to interact with other Google+ users (very similar to Facebook in the sense that it takes on a newsfeed type format and is ordered with the most recent postings of not only the company but also its followers). In the remaining three sections, businesses may upload videos, photos, and fill in information about their brand. The information section, otherwise known as the “About” section, is the most versatile in that it allows users to link back to their website, practice area pages, biographies, etc. and can include keywords to help the page rank.
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Are you on Twitter? Did you know that for even the least social person in the world, Twitter is a great place to interact with other users and post links to your own work? And did you also know that, as an attorney, there are many people that may turn to your legal prowess on Twitter during their time of need? In you answered “no” to any of those questions, you’re unfortunately missing out on one of the best ways to promote your online brand, and interact with others who have already done a good job of marketing themselves.

Twitter is the world’s most recognizable micro-blogging service. In 140 characters or less, users are able to talk about anything they want, and are even allowed to post shortened URLs to web addresses that would otherwise be too long and cumbersome to include. Pictures can be posted, links to social media profiles can be shared, websites can be promoted, and links to blog articles can be automatically posted. Twitter users have “followers,” not “fans” or “friends.” Unlike Facebook, where users are likely to personally know the people whom they interact with, Twitter users generally follow individuals and companies whom they typically do not know in real life, but are interesting enough to subscribe to, nevertheless.
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CNN recently reported that LinkedIn has surpassed Myspace as the second-most popular social network in relation to online traffic in the United States. Facebook, as many would guess, is the most visited social networking site.

According to the article, there were 33.9 million unique visitors from the U.S. to LinkedIn last month, which is an increase of approximately half a million from May. In comparison, Myspace had less than 33.5 million visits from Americans in June, which was a decline of about 1.4 million visitors from the previous month. In sharp contrast, Facebook had 160.8 million unique visitors in June.
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Recently, Bing paired up with Facebook and rolled out its Social Search, which is similar, but not an exact replica, of Google’s system with the same name. While Bing’s search is solely Facebook-orientated, Google’s Social Search system integrates data from Flickr, Google Buzz, Twitter, Quora, and YouTube, in addition to the soon-to-launch +1 Button by Google.

To access Bing’s Social Search, users need to log into Facebook. Search results through Bing are then filtered by what a user’s friends “Like” on Facebook. As in, when a user is searching for something, Bing takes into account what their Facebook friends have liked and returns results based upon that information. Bing has dubbed the practice the “friend effect” and believes that people are more likely to trust what their circle of friends Like on Facebook. For example, if a user is searching airline tickets and finds that many of their friends clicked Like for Southwest, the assumption is that the user is much more likely to book through Southwest rather than United or other airlines.
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If you haven’t heard of Quora yet, chances are you will soon. The latest trend in online social networking, Quora is a Q&A platform that began in 2009 and was made public in early 2010. Similar to Yahoo! Answers, Quora allows users to ask, answer, or edit questions on a wide variety of topics. Users can also invite someone who is not on the platform to answer a question, as well as share questions on Twitter or Facebook.

Mashable recently featured an elaborate infographic about Quora from KISSmetrics, a web analytics company. According to their research, the platform grew an astounding 37,000 percent between January 2010 and January 2011. As of January 2011, Quora had over 547,000 registered users, with approximately 160,000 of them active users. In February 2011, Quora had an estimated 283,500 unique visitors, and that number is expected to continue to grow.
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In our last post, we discussed three of the top mistakes some law firms and small businesses make when it comes to marketing themselves on Facebook. We covered how some law firms broadcast their message on Facebook repetitively, instead of trying to engage their fans by giving them content that is interesting and relevant. We also addressed the importance of presenting the content in a varied manner; through video, status updates, articles, and more, to guarantee that fans won’t become bored and block the law firm’s Page. We also talked about how many attorneys don’t realize the substantial amount of time it takes to maintain their Facebook Page. Now, to conclude our two-part series, we will cover the least anticipated mistakes businesses and law firms should be sure to avoid.

  1. Failing to learn enough about Facebook’s tools and mechanics.
    Law firms sometimes do not take enough advantage of the tools Facebook offers. Business Pages are able to create a custom welcome page, which many law firms and attorneys don’t do but should. Oftentimes the “Info” tab isn’t filled out fully, which can make Facebook users question whether a Page is legitimate. Another common mistake occurs when a law firm uploads a version of their logo to be their profile image but the resulting thumbnail image only shows their logo partially; resulting in the almost meaningless image as the law firm’s brand throughout Facebook.
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Facebook has become an integral part of the way businesses, including law firms, communicate with their audience and establish an online community. Whether a law firm is large or small, there is no denying the power this social networking site wields and the far-reaching impact it can have. However, many law firms, particularly the smaller ones, are still struggling when it comes to marketing themselves on Facebook. A recent article on Mashable discussed the top 5 mistakes made by small businesses when using Facebook for marketing. Read on for the first in a two-part series on what mistakes you should be sure your law firm avoids making.

  1. “Broadcasting” your message rather than giving your fans content that is relevant and engaging.
    One of the wonderful things about Facebook is that it enables businesses of any size to employ word-of-mouth marketing that is effective. However, one of the cornerstones of Facebook is authenticity. If a law firm or practicing attorney fails to be authentic or engage with its fans in a way that doesn’t feel genuine; users see right through it and immediately lose interest. Facebook should be a place where a law firm is constantly interacting with and engaging fans; it’s not just a place to continuously broadcast the same message. When a user clicks the “Like” button, they’re looking for a connection, and it’s a law firm’s job to give them a reason to stay connected. Many law firms and various other businesses fail to recognize this and instead focus on how Facebook can make them money through connecting with potential clients.
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You’ve probably heard the stories of Facebook scams and fraud that have been circulating recently. While it’s important to be aware of these potential scams and acts of fraud through Facebook, there is no reason to delete your profile or fan page!

A recent article posted on Yahoo! highlights a few ways that some groups and individuals have been using Facebook to run scams. Over the past year, social networking sites such as Facebook have risen to fourth place from 17th for “most treacherous web terrain,” right behind sites for software-sharing, which most of us already know to avoid.
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