Archive for the ‘marketing’ Category

New Lawyer Trade Association

February 21, 2011

The Video Game Bar Association is now open for business.  This is for attorneys who have two years experience working for video game law. The board is comprised of a couple in-house counsel, attorneys at big firms handling this work as well as a solo.

This Nolo blog post suggests that this organization isn’t for attorneys looking to get started in the field but I wouldn’t rule that out. First, the association should reach out to law schools and Barrister groups to encourage the next generation to get involved. This is probably a godsend to young attorneys with a video game obsession as a way to combine something they love with the practice of law. And if they start a newsletter, blog or journal, they will need and want content which maybe an opportunity for attorneys who want exposure to join in.

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Rising Need for Social Media Policies

January 21, 2011

Here are a couple articles that suggest the increasing need for social media policy planning by all kinds of organizations.  First, the Wall Street Journal has a detailed article about the dangers employers face when terminating employees because of social networking blunders.

Second, is this article by Sheppard Mullin’s which describes the issues involved in the Gaskell v. University of Kentucky where a University search committee researched a potential executive hire and found out about his religious views and practices.  They not only didn’t hire him, they discussed in meeting s where minutes were kept about how his religious views impacted their hiring decision.  This candidate sued and the case is to go to trial in February.

One Social Media Policy Does Not Fit All

Both these articles point out the need for assessment in the social media policy planning process.  Too often organizations are falling into two camps – the Scared Rabbits or the Impulsive Leapers.  The first group wants to lock down social networking, restrict everyone from doing anything and adopt policies that tightly restrict employees use not only at work but off working hours as well.  This is a problem because social media isn’t going away and is necessary today and even more so in the future for companies and organizations to succeed.  By burying their heads in the sand, these organizations will create a negative and oppressive culture that will be harder to turn around later on.

Too Much too Soon

On the other side, are those organizations that rush pell mell into social networking and don’t think about the risks they are exposing themselves too and how a lack of a coherent social networking strategy will create headaches for them in the future.

Assessment is the Key

Start with your social networking strategy, inventory the current social networking use both by the organization as a whole and employees individually, review all your manuals and procedures, have key members of your organization learn about social networking and then think about how to apply it to the business and finally take the time to develop a modular approach to creating policies are part of an ongoing process that doesn’t end when the first iteration is released.  A culture that embraces social media thinking will do better than a culture of merely social networking doing or not doing.

Twitter vs. Facebook: The Lawyer Edition

January 13, 2011

Kevin O’Keefe as usual, offer great insight into social networking for lawyers.  He explains that its helpful to think of Twitter as a way to communicate with others about real-time interests, ideas, information and things that you want share while Facebook is more about sharing your lives with people you know or want to know – however you define your sphere of influence.

Auto-feeding

The thing with Kevin is that he gives you plenty of opinion with his posts for which I say, “right on” even when I disagree.  In this case he off-handedly says that neither Twitter nor Facebook should be used to “auto-feed” content.  I assuming he means that one shouldn’t stream blog content to these services.  On this I have to disagree.  I will raise my hand high as an “autofeeder” and I’m proud of it.  Here is why.

1. Establishing a successful niche demands consistent and continued messaging.  Better that people see that you are talking about the same things everywhere than be confused about what you offer and who you are.

2. The beauty of social media is that is a publish once and republish many times kind of medium.  I have different audiences for my blog, Twitter account and Facebook friends.  It is unlikely that the same person will view my content multiple times and if they do they get re-enforced with my areas of interests and expertise.

3. I focus on one social networking hub and let the rest manage themselves.  In this case its LinkedIn.  That’s where I spend what time I have alloted after my blog for social networking.  I answer and ask questions.  I post status updates, I send messages to specific people in my network.  Why should I let my Facebook and Twitter profiles go stale?  I provide valuable content to folks that aren’t friends or followers.

I hope Mr. O’Keefe has a chance to provide the alternative view in some detail as I want hear what he thinks is the big downside to this approach.

For Lawyers – LinkedIn vs. Facebook

January 13, 2011

I spoke to lawyers about social networking multiple times in 2010 and only once did an attorney say he favored Facebook over LinkedIn for business development.  He was a  solo practitioner civil litigator who didn’t have a website which means people who might have contacted him via his website instead did so through his Facebook profile.

I value this comment by Dan Schultz who presented as part of a social networking for attorneys panel and found that most attorneys didn’t find much value in Facebook.  I also know that as an active social networker, Dana has received significant business from his efforts.

LinkedIn

I have gotten speaking engagements and clients from LinkedIn.  It supports lawyers with their Q&As which are heavily used by attorneys and is a great resource for legal information.  Also LinkedIn’s repository of legal publications courtesy of JD Supra means that they are uniquely valuable to lawyers.  If you haven’t done much on LinkedIn lately, review your profile and read theses 26 tips from Social Media Examiner on enhancing your use of LinkedIn.

Twitter for Legal Bus Dev – All Hype?

December 31, 2010

When I talk with attorneys and legal marketers about using social media as a marketing tool, mostly people are respectful of LinkedIn and blogs.  They mostly are dismissive of Facebook and Twitter. Adrian Dayton in this post about the value of Twitter for attorneys, makes the excellent point that typically it takes at least seven touches with a potential client before they will reach out and buy from you.  He suggests that Twitter can help to fill in some of those touch points – send a quick alert to potential clients about new developments in the law, or a blog post or online article link to someone you know would be interested.

Even more than that

I would say that beyond that approach, you need to communicate with your potential clients in the way they are most comfortable. If you know some of your clients are very active on Twitter, then it makes sense to use this medium also.  Same with Facebook. Now, if they are mostly having fun with these sites – posting recipes, photos of their new dogs – then inserting a business related item into their status stream, maybe inappropriate.  But if they seem to use these tools for everything, then you might want to do that as well.

Quality Content Helps Your SEO

December 20, 2010

We are passing through the time where loading a blog with content filled with keywords and little else will help your search result standings.  As this Nolo blog post states, Google has changed its ranking algorithm to focus on quality rather than merely quantity. 

How Does This Impacts Lawyers?

If you have a blog called, “Personal Injury San Jose” and feature posts about recent car crashes with a boiler plate paragraph at the bottom about why you should contact an attorney immediately if you are the victim of such an accident, then this is bad news.  However, if you provide quality articles about how people can work with their car insurance adjusters and ways they can protect themselves through how they purchase their insurance, then you probably are helped by these rules.  Google is looking to promote content which contains professional and technical expertise rather than that which is merely saturated with keywords.

Website Disclaimers – No Magic Shield

December 16, 2010

Lawyers think that if they have a disclaimer somewhere on their website they will be shielded against pesky lawsuits or Bar violations. Wrong. Increasingly, state bars and the A.B.A are putting lawyers on notice that an effective disclaimer needs two additional elements:

  • The language of the disclaimer need to be comprehensible to the reasonable person.  For example, simply stating no “attorney client privilege” is invoked when a person sends an email from the lawyer’s website is not enough to vitiate the confidentiality of the information a person sends because the average person has no way of knowing that the attorney client privilege concerns confidentiality.
  • The disclaimer needs to be located within the proximity of whatever action the person engaging with the website might undertake.  For example, if an attorney has an email form with no disclaimer nearby, then that isn’t good enough for the ABA.  This is particularly pertinent to lawyers and law firms that create separate “disclaimer” pages.  If the visitor is expected to have clicked on the disclaimer page in order to understand that the lawyer is disclaiming liability in same way, this isn’t sufficient.

Featuring Content on Your Blog

December 9, 2010

WordPress has a plug-in for everything.  If you are an attorney who has written posts like “top ten tips in writing  a sales contract” and you want to make sure that your readers can easily find it, then you can install a plug-in such as, “featured post with thumbnails” and allow your visitors to always find it on the homepage.

Most popular posts

If you want to give your readers a chance to rate your best bests based on traffic, then there is a plug-in that allows you feature those posts on your side-bar as well.  I’m not sure I would install both though you can.  From a layout perspective, it might be confusing.

Additional Online Protection for Employees?

December 8, 2010

This article adds an interesting, additional protection employees may have under the National Labor Relations Act.  “Concerted Activity” which is where workers act for the mutual aid and protection of each other may make it difficult for someone speaking to colleagues on a social networking website to be terminated.

However, if that person is bad mouthing their employer to the public at large which may include colleagues, I’m not so sure their speaking out would qualify as concerted activity on the NLRB.

Still Advertising in the Yellow Pages? Ouch!

December 7, 2010

This article suggests that attorneys are beginning to wake up to the fact that Yellow page advertising is a losing proposition.  Give the costs – often thousands a month – there is a diminishing return on advertising in the phonebook.

  • Law firm states that yellow pages which a few years ago made up 50% of business is now down to 10%
  • Another firm spending 10k a month is seeing a decrease the quantity and quality of business generated from phone book ads
  • One firm is still getting bang for its buck but admits one factor is not wanting to give up its space in the phone book to a competitor