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I'm just not that interesting ... and other excuses for not engaging

Over the past few years, social media has really taken off as a means of attracting new business. Consider this: 10 years ago, only 7% of the US population was using social media. Today, 76% of Americans are on social networks.

Given this trend, no law firm can afford not to have a social media presence. And yet, so many attorneys are still hesitant about posting to their Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter accounts.

Today, let's look at three of the excuses lawyers often tell themselves, and why it's important to overcome them.

Excuse #1: Clients won't find me on social media anyway.

Last year, 20% of legal consumers who found their attorney online learned about that attorney on social media. That number continues to grow each year as more and more consumers turn to social networks for everything, including legal services.

You Can Drive Engagement Every Day

I work with law firms every day, and one of the most common concerns I hear is that attorneys don't feel they have time to maintain an active presence on social media. And if managing your social media accounts took an hour each day, I would say those attorneys are completely right. They should be spending that hour helping clients instead of browsing Facebook.

The good news is that law firms today can drive engagement, and keep their firm top of mind with their target clients, with as little as 5 minutes every day. You'll find a more detailed recommendation for driving engagement each day on the Engagement 101 page of this website, but these suggestions should get you started.

Why should I care about driving engagement?

What comes to mind when people in your community hear your law firm's name? Do they know who you are? Do they have any negative or positive reactions?

For too many law firms, the answer is that people simply don't know who they are.

Why should you care if legal consumers in your area know who your firm is? After all, most consumers don't need an attorney very often, right?

While that's true, there are significant benefits to making sure that your law firm is known and trusted in your community - even by people who don't have an immediate legal need. 

Holiday Dos and Don'ts on Social Media

It's that time of year when law firms across the country are celebrating the holidays and showing appreciation to their staff and clients alike. It's also the time of year when many firms are evaluating how to make 2016 as successful as possible.

One thing is for sure: social media will continue to be a critical component of every attorney's marketing strategy in the coming year. And the holidays offer a great opportunity to build your firm's brand with posts that let consumers feel like they really know your law firm.

If you're going to be posting on social media this holiday season (and we strongly recommend that you do!), here are a few dos and don'ts to follow:

Blog Optimization: Four Essential Practices

If you have read our recent white paper -The Futility of Chasing Silver Bullets: What Search Techniques Unlock Law Firm Website Success? (download here) - then you know that performing well for "long-tail" and informational search is critical for your online marketing success, and that one integral component of this approach is the frequent publication of fresh, relevant content.

Luckily for you, that's exactly what blogs are designed to address. So how do you maximize the value of your blog through smart optimization techniques? Whether you are an experienced blogger looking to revitalize your presence or are looking for a solid foundation of optimization principles upon which to base your new blog, the four practices below, if followed consistently, can deliver excellent results.

Spam: A pervasive aspect of the Internet

Recently, a small number of our customers noticed an influx of spam comments being submitted to their blogs. This is an unusual but unfortunately not unique situation. The uptick is reflective of the constant struggle against spammers faced by any individual or business on the Internet.

This post is designed to give you a little insight into spam and detail our latest efforts to minimize the inconvenience spammers pose to our customers.

Blog Layout Change

As part of the ongoing services FindLaw provides, we periodically review our design best practices to ensure features and layout are optimized for search relevance and visitor usability. This enables us to be proactive and to stay on top of trends in search performance and reader engagement.

Our most recent review has led us to make a slight change to the layout of your blog.

What's changing?

You may have participated in having a blogroll on your blog's side column. By participating, you provided links to other relevant sites for your readers and the opportunity for other FindLaw blogs to link to you.

Recent analysis indicates that this traditional blog element, while not harmful, is no longer providing measurable benefit to blog readers or to our customers. With search engine behavior ever-evolving -- and in light of our commitment to ensure that your blog is of maximum use to readers and potential clients -- we are removing the blogroll component from all FindLaw blogs.

What's not changing?

All your core functionality will remain intact. This is a layout change only. Your blog will remain high quality and we will continue to focus on strategic creation and promotion of your blog content. If your blog is listed on FindLaw.com, it will remain so after this change.

FindLaw remains committed to delivering high quality blog services and will continue to monitor and respond proactively to market changes to ensure your blog meets industry best practices.

Thank you once again for choosing FindLaw for your blogging needs.

Beyond visibility: the deeper benefits of active blogging

Every year, our law firm customers publish thousands and thousands of informative, engaging, topical and timely blog posts. In aggregate, these posts answer questions, spark conversation and provide insight for literally millions of blog readers.

That's millions of unique visits and views to our customers' blogs and websites. That's pretty impressive. But this powerful solution can delivers benefits that extend beyond visits and views.

The value of blogs in a nutshell

Every day, more and more individuals are going online to seek out legal information. And every day, more and more Internet users are saying their decisions were influenced by informational and topically relevant content and conversation.

Whether integrated with your FirmSite or on its own standalone domain, establishing and maintaining a blog that is frequently updated with meaningful and topically consistent content can be an extremely valuable addition to an effective legal marketing portfolio. Blogs can:

  • Help establish topical expertise and social authority around your firm's area of practice.
  • Increase your firm's visibility to searchers looking for information, not marketing messages.
  • Expand the firm's online footprint by serving the needs of an additional (and potentially very large) audience that is not particularly receptive to commercially-oriented content.
  • Help your firm become a trusted resource for members of the community or communities it serves.

At its core, a blog is designed to bring visibility to your firm, not just as a source for immediate legal help, but as a valuable resource for information and insight. This builds trust in readers. Trust is essential, because the law firm any individual trusts is the law firm they will contact when they need help, and the law firm they will refer their friends, family members and co-workers to.

Put simply, the purpose of a blog is to seed your marketplace with future leads. And due to their non-obvious approach to marketing - building trust and authority vs. outright "selling" - blogs are uniquely positioned to influence and drive one of the most powerful marketing channels any firm has - word-of-mouth referral.

So the next time you have an idea for a quick blog post but are tempted to put it off, remember that this is not only an opportunity to communicate your knowledge, insight and perspective to today's potential clients, but also to build relationships with tomorrow's potential clients and referrers.

With those substantial benefits in mind, it's not hard to see that spending a small amount of time to create a blog post or two each week can be a very wise investment in your firm's current and future success.

Spring cleaning for your blog

broom.pngSpring is here at last, and that means now is a great time to get organized. Many folks are going through closets and garages, evaluating what is needed and what can be discarded, and finding better ways to organize the important stuff that remains.

As in life, so in blogging. In the spirit of spring cleaning, spending a little time organizing (or reorganizing) your blog now will pay dividends throughout the year.

When your blog is new, you really don't have to think very hard about organizing the content for maximum utility to readers. But once your blog has grown to contain hundreds of posts on a wide variety of topics relevant to your practice, you may find that the way those posts are organized is somewhat less than ideal.

So how can your blog be organized to not only provide readers with greater access to the information they are interested in, but also to help create a solid framework for use in categorizing and tagging future posts?

A good first step is to consider exactly what categories and tags are for.

Tagging: separating the truth from the myth

You've written a thought-provoking, engaging blog post. Now, before you publish your post for the world - and potential clients and word-of-mouth referrers - to see, don't forget to add tags to help your readers follow the topical trends on your blog.

Tagging is similar to categorizing posts on your blog in that it allows readers to quickly find other posts you have written on the same topics. Think of tags as frequently-mentioned subtopics within a category. Even though tagging is really quite simple, there are many misconceptions out there.

Here are five statements about tagging. Can you tell the true from the false?