Law Firm Marketing & The Digital Revolution

The above McKinsey Infographic entitled: Are You Ready for the Digital Age? provides some very interesting and important statistics for marketing professionals:

  • 90% of customers trust recommendations
  • 37% of prospective buyers are influenced by word of mouth
  • 70%of customers consult user reviews for informed purchase decisions
  • 10% to 25% of social media users use their social networks to make purchasing decisions
  • 20% of online electronics purchased are from auction sites
  • 60% of consumers who follow a brand on Facebook are looking for deals and coupons

As a Marketing Professional at a medium to large law firm or an attorney at a smaller law firm responsible for acquiring new clients, what conclusions should you draw from these statistics?

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Get Hired! Twitter will help you!

Looking for a job? Spending lots of time on writing your resume? Don’t worry, today it may be enough for you to write just 140 character resume and your short resume can be simply “tweeted” on Tweeter. Also, it is no longer called “resume”. Nowadays, it is called “twesume”. Often times Twesume tweet is included with the hashtag #twesume or directly messaged to employee. “Twesume” is a contraction – blending of two words “Twitter” and “resume”. Even though the word has not been included into any dictionaries, twesume is a very popular practice. According to the CareerEnlightment.com statistics, 92% of hiring managers in 2010 used or planned to recruit via social networks.

However, compelling “sell yourself” 140 character resume is not enough to be considered as a potential employee for any of the companies. You also need to be sure that your profile looks professionally. Most employers are not that interested in your scuba diving pictures. They would rather see you as a professional in the pictures.

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Employment: How to Use Social Media in Your Job Search

A recent Forbes article written by Jacquelyn Smith entitled: How Social Media Can Help (Or Hurt) You In Your Job Search, provides some interesting insights into the world of employment opportunities through Social Media.

Most people know that Social Media is not just for connecting with one of your childhood or high school friends you haven’t seen for ages, and sharing what has been going on in your life. Nowadays you can use this on-line tool to maximum advantage to your career prospects.

In addition to a résumé, cover letter, or interview, many employers successfully use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+ to get a more objective impression of a potential candidate or to connect with their current and former colleagues. These websites are also good resources for you to learn about companies you are interested in and hear about job openings at once.

This explains why nearly half of all job seekers are active on social networks every day, and more than a third of all employers and hiring managers use these sites in their hiring process.

According to Lee Hecht Harrison, a career transition and talent development consulting firm, 48% percent of job seekers are active on social networking sites on a daily basis, 19% log on about two or three times per week, 22% use social networking sites one to three times per month, or less. Only 11% of job seekers never use social networking websites.

Helene Cavalli, Marketing Vice President at Lee Hecht Harrison, and Greg Simpson, Senior Vice President at Lee Hecht Harrison, stated that Social Media is an increasingly important tool in a job search strategy, and job seekers must understand how hiring managers and recruiters are using social media in all phases of the selection process.

Last year, CareerBuilder.com surveyed 2,303 hiring managers and human resource professionals throughout the U.S. via an on-line poll asking if, how, and why they include social media into their hiring process.

According to the CareerBuilder survey, nearly two in five companies (37 %) use social networking sites to research job candidates. 15 % of the employers, who do not research candidates on social media, said their company prohibits the practice. 11% report they do not currently use social media to screen, but plan to start.

Though 12% of hiring mangers said they are using Social Media to uncover reasons not to hire a candidate, most said they are trying to dig deeper than the traditional interview to find out: 65% whether the job seeker presents himself or herself professionally, 51% whether the candidate is a good fit for the company culture, 45% want to learn more about the candidate’s qualifications, and 35% want to see if the candidate is well-rounded.

So, Jacquelyn Smith advises those job seekers who use social networks to be careful.

While candidates may be aware that their social profiles are public to employers’ watchful eyes, they may not realize their on-line personas are costing them a job. 34% of employers said the following social media discoveries led to a candidate not getting the gig:

“If you choose to share content publicly on social media, make sure it’s working to your advantage,” says Rosemary Haefner, Vice President of Human Resources at CareerBuilder. “Take down or secure anything that could potentially be viewed by an employer as unprofessional and share content that highlights your accomplishments and qualifications in a positive way.”

Brad Schepp, co-author of How To Find A Job On LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Google+, says: Make sure any profiles you write are free of typos, the information is coherent and applicable to your industry [or job you’re trying to land], and your photos present you in a favorable light. You can verify the applicability of the information by checking profiles of others in the same field.”

Not all employers use social media to screen candidates out. 29% of hiring managers said some discoveries have led to them extending an offer:This means the job seekers shouldn’t just focus on hiding or removing inappropriate content. They should work on creating on-line profiles that do a really good job of representing their skills and experience in the workplace.

Brad Schepp shared tips for finding a job using social networking sites. Here’s what he suggests:

1. Create Relevant Profiles

Convincing, professional profiles, which include your job history, should demonstrate not only what you’ve accomplished, but where your strengths are and what you can offer future employers.

2. Network

Connect with others in your industry. LinkedIn’s Groups are an excellent place to do this, Schepp says. Join those groups that appear especially active and vibrant, and then introduce yourself to the other members.

3. Be Engaged

Follow companies in your field on LinkedIn and Twitter so you’re automatically notified about new hires, product developments, and other news. “Like” companies you’re interested in and join the conversation about industry trends on Facebook. This is a great way to demonstrate your expertise and value to a potential employer.

4. Be Known As A Resource

If you regularly answer questions on LinkedIn and provide links to great content on Facebook and Twitter, you are building your social capital.

5. Don’t Ask For A Job

Keep your name in front of people in a position to help your career. And instead of asking people outright for a job, make connections with the right people and let them see you are an intelligent, qualified candidate by updating your statuses several times a week, providing content to the groups you join, and tweeting about that interesting article you just read.

6. Search For Jobs

Websites Simply Hired, CareerBuilder, Monster and Indeed provide access to millions of job postings and are used by a proportionate number of job seekers. Improve the odds in your favor by looking for jobs on company Twitter feeds, on their Facebook pages, and in LinkedIn Groups.

7. Make A Plan

It’s also important to have a plan in mind when you set out to use these sites as part of a job search. Don’t try and do too many disparate tasks all day, every day. You’ll waste too much time and not do anything as well as you could have if you were more organized and disciplined. Work on your profile one day, join groups another, and follow companies a third.

Our Legal Bistro website is a great platform for lawyers’ career prospects. So, we hope the information above will be useful not only to our blog readers but also will help our lawyers become more attractive for their future clients.

TechnoratiMedia 2013 Digital Influence Report – Blogs Outrank Social Networks for Consumer Influence

If you are either currently spending or considering allocating a significant portion of your marketing budget to advertising on the social networks, you might want to stop for a moment and look at the affect that blogging has on consumer influence.  The following chart was presented in a article written by Patricia Redsicker entitled: Blogs Outrank Social Networks for Consumer Influence: New Research:

online services high in influence

Equally interesting is the fact that consumers say that smaller communities have a greater influence on a topic than larger ones.  Despite this revelation, most brands marketers only pursue the larger/massive communities through A-list bloggers believing that their message will be virally distributed across the larger community.  Recent evidence shows that trust is what drives action.  Quality triumphs over quantity so if you’re thinking about trying to build consumer trust through blogging, you should evaluate the quality of the community rather than its size.

Although brands typically only devote approximately ten percent (10%) of their total digital marketing budgets to social media, Facebook remains the preferred platform capturing fifty-seven percent (57%) of the ad spending.  Brand managers are seeking to have their Facebook page content generate interaction through likes and comments believing that such interaction will result in viral results.

According to the survey, 86% of Social Media Influencers blog and of these, 88% blog for themselves.  The survey reports that trust is the currency of influence and that consumers are looking for trusted digital friends to give them advice on what to buy and where to go.  It is for this reason that bloggers offering advice are so influential on consumer behavior. Essentially, consumers trust their guidance.

At Legal Bistro, we believe in and support the power of the Community.  Consequently, lawyers who register on the site are able to build their online credibility by obtaining recommendations from colleagues, clients, business associates, family members and friends.  Perhaps even more important is for a registered lawyer to establish themselves as a subject matter expert.

All lawyers who register on the site are assigned author credentials on the Legal Bistro Blog.  Lawyers who write articles receive the following benefits within the Legal Bistro Community:

  • Attorney profiles with published articles are displayed higher in the search results given to consumers searching for qualified lawyers to handle their legal need;
  • Legal Bistro Profile receives a publishers badge indicating the number of articles written by the attorney and quick access to read these articles;
  • All blog postings are also distributed to Legal Bistro’s social network pages including Facebook and Twitter;
  • Legal Bistro provides published attorneys with a small icon (and the associated code) that can be added to the lawyer’s own website. The icon provides a visitor to the lawyer’s website with a link to the attorney’s article published on Legal Bistro’s Blog;
  • Legal Bistro provides real time reports to published lawyers of all registered consumers who have viewed their blog posting and quick access to the consumer’s case posted on Legal Bistro.

So if you want to stand out in the crowd, take the time to write a blog posting and establish yourself as a subject matter expert.  There is no cost (other than your time) to write a blog posting and the benefits from doing so could be enormous.

ABOUT TechnoratiMedia

Founded over a decade ago, Technorati Media has grown into one of the largest social media ad networks bringing top brands and valuable influencers together at scale.  With an advertising reach of approximately 130 million US unique visitors each month, the Company is well positioned to provide a very unique perspective on the social media market.

ABOUT TechnoratiMedia 2013 Digital Influence Report

The insights provided in TechnoratiMedia’s 2013 Digital Influence Report were taken from survey results which included:

  • 6,000 Influencers
  • 1,200 Consumers
  • 150 Top Brand Marketers

 

 

Common Mistakes Attorneys Make When Writing Their Detailed Biography

 

If you or your law firm has a website, you are sure to have a biography or profile page on the site.  When is the last time that you updated your website or more specifically, your detailed biography?  For most attorneys, it’s probably been a few years.  Let’s face it.  You’ve been busy!  Moreover, even if you take the time to update your biography you are not able to make the changes to the web pages all by yourself.  You need to get your webmaster to make the changes and that takes both time and money.

Well, what’s the opportunity cost of not keeping your website and profile current?  Did you know that attorney bios are the most viewed pages on a law firm’s website?  That profile or biography pages generate more than 50% of the page views on your site?

Stop and think for a moment.  Why would a visitor to your website be so interested in reading your biography?  Well, what you do and who you are can make for very interesting reading.  When a consumer is in need of legal services, it’s often a very traumatic time in their life.  Perhaps they had a serious car accident or are getting divorced.  They know that they need help but do not necessarily know where to go.

Legal services has historically been a referral based business. In fact, that’s probably how you or your law firm get most of your business.  Did you know that a study commissioned by the American Bar Association concluded that the market for legal services should be 50% bigger but that many people elect not to retain a lawyer because the process is too confusing or intimidating?  The study is entitled LEGAL NEEDS AND CIVIL JUSTICE – A Survey of Americans – Major Findings From the Comprehensive Legal Needs Study and is well worth reading.

So it certainly seems that your addressable market could be significantly larger if the process of hiring a lawyer were less confusing and intimidating.  Addressing this problem begins with improving your biography.  So what are the things that you can do to acquire new clients?

 #1 – MAKE IT FRESH

If you’ve recently settled a big case, written an article or changed something in your career, take the time to update your biography.  Everyone likes to read fresh and relevant content.  More often than not, an attorney biography has not been updated in quite some time.  Even worse, some biographies read like a legal version of War & Peace.  They simply go on and on and on and on and on.  If you’ve been out of law school for 10 years, is it really important to list some of your accomplishments while in school such as you were the Editor of the School’s Law Journal? Keep your biography fresh and it will be much more interesting for your readers.

#2 – DON’T TRY TO BE “ALL THINGS TO ALL PEOPLE”

Even if you are a General Practitioner, keep in mind that old adage: Jack of all trades, MASTER OF NONE”.  Be honest with yourself.  While you may be capable of doing many different things, identify the things where you feel that you really excel.  How you market yourself does not necessarily have to match how you practice law.  While you may find yourself handling a broad range of legal services, it is always a best marketing practice to concentrate or focus your pitch.  As you are writing your detailed biography, keep in mind the concept of the Elevator Pitch.  Imagine yourself as being in an elevator with a potential client and having only the time that it takes for the elevator to go from the ground floor to the 10th floor to tell this client about who you are; what you do; and why you are the right attorney to handle their case.

#3 – PRESENT YOURSELF AS BOTH A PERSON AND A PROFESSIONAL

One of the most common mistakes that lawyers make is that they try and oversell themselves as a legal professional yet fail to present themselves as an interesting human being. The potential client who has a case that is expected to go on for many months or many years is going to want to retain an attorney with whom they can build a relationship.  While it’s certainly important for you to have all of the necessary legal skills to handle their case, it can be more important for the client to feel comfortable when engaging with you.

According to a study done by LinkedIn who has 187 million members worldwide, “People with photos are seven times more likely to have their profiles viewed”. Getting the potential client to view your page and read your profile is the first step towards acquiring a new client.  Without a photo, it’s very likely that you won’t even be in the game.

You want to find a balance between looking professional and relaxed.  If you are able to present several photos, then you should select at least one photo that shows you in action on your job and one that shows how you are in your personal life.

Highlight those things that make you interesting as a person.  If you speak another language and/or have experience living or working in another country, include these things in your biography.  Perhaps you are an avid skier or tennis player.  Or maybe, you spend some of your spare time in the garden or in the kitchen.  Give your reader something that will help them to get to know you outside of the office.

We are not trying to suggest that a client is going to retain you simply because you are a gourmet chef.  The point is that many potential clients are intimidated by attorneys. They believe that lawyers can be unapproachable.  If you are able to find some common ground with your potential client that will help to break the ice, you have a much better chance of closing the deal.

LEGAL BISTRO OVERVIEW

Legal Bistro is a new online community for legal services where we bring together lawyers seeking new clients with customers who have legal needs.  The client remains anonymous throughout the entire process of reviewing and selecting an attorney.  Lawyers, on the other hand, are provided with many online tools to sell themselves and build online credibility with their potential Clients.

Legal Bistro profile matches your Areas of Practice and any Tag or Key Words that you used to further define your specialized expertise with the specific case needs of the consumer.  We are not a lawyer referral service and do not do anything other than our matching process to encourage a consumer to retain one lawyer over another.  It is up to you to sell yourself.  The first part of your sales process occurs online.

LEGAL BISTRO – ATTORNEY SHORT PROFILE

Your Legal Bistro Short Profile is the first thing that a consumer will see when they search for attorneys matching their specific case needs. The Short Profile includes the following:

  • Your Photo – Without a photo, it’s very likely that your profile will not either be seen or read by your potential client.
  • Title – Partner, Associate, etc.
  • Law Firm Name
  • Area of Practice – Your profile will only be displayed if your Area of Practice matches the case needs of the potential client.
  • Elevator Pitch – This is the most important component of your short profile.  It’s what the client will read about you to decide whether or not they have any further interest.  You have only five (5) lines to convince your potential client why you are the right lawyer or law firm to handle their case so make every word count.  Your primary objective is to get the client to click on your profile and read more about you in your Detailed Biography.
  • Detailed Biography Link – Your potential client Will be able to quickly access and read your Detailed Biography if you have completed this part of your registration process on Legal Bistro.
  • Recommendations Badge – Establishing online trust begins with obtaining Professional Recommendations from other colleague lawyers; business professionals and clients. You may also obtain Personal Recommendations from family members and friends. Keep in mind that according to a 3rd Qtr study by NielsenGlobal Trust in Advertising“70% trust consumer opinions that are posted online”.
  • Publications Badge – Establishing online credibility (i.e. presenting yourself as a subject matter expert) can be achieved by posting articles that you have written to your profile; by also copying the article content and creating a posting on Legal Bistro’s Blog; and/or by writing a new Blog Posting.  Earn your Publications Badge so that potential clients may read further about your specialized areas of knowledge or expertise. Keep in mind that 65.5% of people making purchases online have their purchasing decisions influenced by Bloggers (Media Burst – 2012).

The following screen shot is an example of what your Short Profile would look like on Legal Bistro:

LEGAL BISTRO – ATTORNEY DETAILED BIOGRAPHY

Legal Bistro provides you with all of the tools that you may need to create a professional looking Detailed Biography.  You have the ability to change font sizes, text colors and even insert images and photos.  The editing tools which we provide will enable you to publish a very professional web page with your biographical information.

Keep in mind the importance of first impressions.  Without a well developed and professional looking Detailed Biography, it’s unlikely that you will get the chance to speak with the potential client who learned about you online.  With more than 50,000 law firms and 1.2 million practicing lawyers in the United States, it’s fair to say that you are facing a great deal of competition.

The good news is that the Internet can become the Great Equalizer for you and/or your law firm.  The larger and more established law firms have significant resources and a long standing reputation which they are able to leverage.  As a smaller law firm or a solo practitioner, it’s most important for you to invest the time into creating a professional looking biography.  By doing so, a potential client will want to learn even more about you and hear what you might have to say about their case.

CONCLUSION

Whether you are writing your biography for your own website or when registering on Legal Bistro, we suggest that you consider using some or all of the suggestions that have been presented in this posting.  Put yourself in the role of the person who will be reading your biography and think about what you would find interesting about yourself.  As a highly educated professional, you should have very little difficult convincing your prospective client that you have the legal skills required to handle their case.  The $64,000 question – Are you able to do as good of a job in getting that potential client to trust and confide in you?  If you are able to find some common ground with your potential client, you should be able to succeed at both objectives.

Good luck and try to have some fun when writing your own biography.  It will show in the finished product!

Your Profile Image Can Get You More Clients

According to a recent Wall Street Journal article your profile picture is very important, especially if you are building your own business. And being strategic in the art of creating an image is a key component to success.

The New York City-based Ms. Williams spent some her time among three social-media sites — Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Her research shows that a page with a profile picture is seven times as likely to be viewed as a page without one.

Even a small detail has a great role, for example, the way you are dressed. Imagine a client or an interviewing employee saying: “I don’t recognize you, you look different in reality.” In other words, the appearance should reflect the norms of your profession.

Another detail is to be caught in the moment so your energy in that moment is somehow captured. “If you’re sitting up straight, your shoulders are back, you’re smiling and you have open eyes, you’re non-verbally communicating that you’re confident, competent and have a curiosity about the world,” Ms. Williams says. She also suggests that it would be better if a friend takes a picture of you, because in a professional photograph you can sometimes feel uptight.

As concerns Facebook or other social-media websites the image on the main page has to be carefully selected and chosen. There shouldn’t also be too many photos of you uploaded as soon as you come back from a trip from Italy. Nobody is going to see them all, anyway.

No photos of you with food or drinks should be in your profile. “I don’t think anyone cares about what coffee I’m drinking in the morning, no matter how flavorful it is,” says Ms. Williams.

In addition, tagged photos can lead you to a problem, too. Everything can be ruined by a friend tagging you in a photo drinking wine on a Sunday afternoon. Here is what Ms. Williams says: “I have professional people on this network — I don’t want them seeing what I’m drinking on a Sunday night.” She was horrified when a relative tagged her in a picture showing her drinking wine at a family party.  She untagged herself.

More info. here: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203388804576613561719372694.html#articleTabs%3Darticle

Access to Family Member’s Facebook Account after They Pass Away

What exactly happens when a holder of Facebook account dies and the people who knew him or her well, such as family members, want to get access to their account?

According to a recently posted broadcast at Lawyers.com the host Matt Plessner interviews Editor in Chief Larry Bodine whether it is possible to gain access to a family member’s Facebook, Twitter or Flickr account after the person died.

Currently there are 1 billion Facebook accounts, 100 million Twitter accounts and 200 million LinkedIn accounts. And the people who have lost a member of their family are surprised when no access will be given as they contact a social media company!?

Avvo-LexBlog 2012 Legal Marketing Survey

If you think that law firms are not using social media and online advertising to help find new clients then you are mistaken.  According to the 2012 Legal Marketing Survey Report recently issued by Avvo and LexBlog:

  • 40% of those responding to the survey were Solo Practitioners; 40% worked at firms with between 2-9 lawyers;
  • 60% of survey respondents plan to spend more time marketing in 2012 than in previous years;
  • 24% of the respondents spent 75% of their marketing budgets online. My guess is that Google received most of that benefit;
  • In addition to practicing law, 77% were also responsible for their own business development and 54% use social marketing tools to grow their business;
  • LinkedIn (72%) and Facebook (50%) were the two most popular social media channels;
  • There was not a significant difference in age between those spending time and money online and using social media than those who did not;
  • 56% said they read and follow blogs to grow their professional development;
  • Respondents belief that the key to marketing success is to connect online but to develop relationships offline such as at speaking events and conferences;
  • Clients are becoming much smarter. They no longer simply rely on offline referrals do their own research online before hiring a lawyer;
  • The rise in smart phone usage is also changing the way that clients find and contact lawyers;

Blogging Can Significantly Influence Consumer Purchasing Decisions

  • Women are more active social media users than men.
    Overall, one-half (49.0%) of female respondents—
    including 3-in-5 (58.6%) moms— visit social media sites
    at least a few times per day, versus one-third
    (34.0%) of men.
  • Audiences follow their favorite content sites on social
    media. A majority (62.0%) of independent web users “like”
    or follow their favorite content sites on social media.
  • Consumers get social with brands. Overall, one-half
    (49.1%) of respondents “like” or follow brands on social
    media. Two-fifths (41.8%) never do.
  • Bloggers cast an influential net with their audiences. Of
    respondents who visit or read blogs, 2-in-3 (65.5%) say
    a brand mention or promotion within context of the blog
    influences their purchasing decisions.
  • Consumers interact with socially enabled display
    advertising. One-quarter (25.4%) of all respondents—and
    31.7% of moms—say they are likely to follow a brand on
    social media if the brand is promoted in an online ad.

Technology Post – Forbes Fastest Growing Tech Companies

In a recent Forbes Magazine article entitled Fast Tech 25, LinkedIn captured the number one spot ion the rankings. Forbes reports: “Each year we rank the 25 fastest-growing technology companies. We comb more than 5,000 publicly traded technology companies, looking for profitable companies with a minimum revenue of $150 million and a minimum market value of $500 million. We then looked for firms with sales growth of at least 10% for each of the past three fiscal years and over the latest 12 months. Finally, we ranked companies based on their three-year average sales growth rates in descending order.”

Founded in 2003, LinkedIn operates the world’s largest professional network on the Internet with more than 150 million members in over 200 countries and territories. Members are able to create, manage and share their professional identity online, build and engage with their professional network, access shared knowledge and insights, and find business opportunities. Its platform provides members with solutions, including applications and tools, to search, connect and communicate with business contacts, learn about career opportunities, join industry groups, research organizations and share information.