Optimizing Referrals Using Social Media Teleseminar Led by: Martha Chan, VP Marketing, Divorce Marketing Group

SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE:

The basics of generating referrals on social media platforms
How to generate followers to your social media pages – Facebook and Linkedin
How to use social media to develop relationships and generate referrals
40% of Facebook users are over 35 years old

Hello there, welcome to the teleseminar hosted by Divorce Marketing Group. My name is Martha Chan. I will be the person leading this seminar over the next 30 minutes.

Today’s topic is on optimizing referrals using social media. If you are here we are hoping that you are someone who is looking to join the social media scene or are already participating in it and wants to know more as to how you get noticed; and if you’re totally new to social media, have no fear, we will be talking slowly. If you are not in front of a computer, maybe you want to find your way to sit in front of a computer, so that as I refer to certain sites, you can bring them up. While you’re doing that I will take 30 seconds to give you a bit of background on our seminars.

First of all, a bit about Divorce Marketing Group. We are an agency dedicated to helping divorced professionals market their practices and we’ve been doing this for over 15 years. We have over 200 families, law firms, mediators, CDFAs, financial planners, as our clients; and I am the VP of marketing for Divorce Marketing Group. Today’s session will be taped, as well, a transcript will be made available. If you are interested in receiving the transcript, please send me an email. This is my address: marthac@divorcemarketinggroup.com.

Okay, so let’s begin by talking about the three social media platforms that we’ll be looking at, which will be Twitter, Face Book, and Linkedin. Today we are talking about how it is that we can gain referrals from these three sources. I’m going to start by discussing basic principals about doing social marketing as well as generating referrals. The basics of generating referrals online

We have been telling our clients and potential clients that the key to referrals is to make sure that you

1. Create awareness about you as a professional as well as the services that your company offers.

2. Create a relationship with your potential clients so that they can get a sense of who you are, how you conduct your business, and why it is that they should choose you over other people. We want you to keep this in mind that with every interaction with people whether on the phone, on the web, or in person, you’re striving to create a memorable experience that you are offering them something that they did not expect, or more than what they expect.

So, with that background, let’s discuss how it is that we can generate referrals online. In the online environment, especially through social media, there are a few characteristics that serve the purpose of creating a relationship particularly well. When you’re online, a lot of communication seems one way, but with social media you are able to create more of an interaction; although it might not always be instantly. When you are online it’s needless to say that we want to be coming across as professional as possible; meaning, do take care and double-check your writing, spelling, as well as grammar. I know that a lot of us are a lot more lenient when it comes to internet writing or email writing, but it’s always a good habit to make sure that you come across as clean and professional as possible through your writing.

3. Stay on-topic. On-topic means you recognize and acknowledge who the people are that are participating on Twitter, Face Book, or Linkedin. To you may actually be interacting with several different groups through one social media platform, but make sure that whichever group you are interacting with that you stay on the topic that is of interest to that group; and, also, be as authentic as you can. Naturally we want to be authentic all the time; but we can come across being inauthentic if we’re rushing or if we’re generalizing. For example, if you’re talking to a group of people who are going through a divorce, it is easy for us to say “divorcing people do this and do that,” and forgetting that maybe you are responding specifically to a couple of comments that are on that page.

Okay, so if you’re trying to generate referrals, you want to first of all create the pages. Today we’re not going to go into too much about how to create these pages. If you haven’t created a facebook page, you haven’t created a Twitter page, or you haven’t created a Linkedin page, I highly recommend that you do that. If you’re interested in knowing how to do that, send me an email and I will send you transcripts to previous teleseminars that we’ve had which cover these topics. Again, my email address is marthac@divorcemarketinggroup.com. How to generate followers to your social media pages

So, after you have created a page, how do you increase the number of people that are following you on Twitter, or are connecting with you on Linkedin, or what they call Friends on Facebook or have people like your Facebook page?

A. Facebook

• Pay Per Click. That’s a really good kick-start to generating visitors to your pages and having them follow you. If you’re not familiar with Pay Per Click, it basically is a short little ad that you could buy on Google, Face Book, Linkedin, and they don’t cost a lot of money, but best of all you could limit the amount of money that you want to spend on it. What I recommend is that you start by trying. If you spend $100.00 on Facebook, it is highly likely that you could generate about 100 to 200 people following you. Naturally, your ad will have to be enticing enough and I will show you a few tips on creating the ads as we go on a little latter. There are specific words that you use that could help you. So to create awareness, create followers, friends to your pages, I recommend that you test out Pay Per Click.

• Leverage other people’s networks. A second way of creating awareness of your pages is to speak to your friends and associates and have them market your pages. So for example, one thing we do for our clients is that because we have over 1,000 people following us on Twitter, when a client of ours post an article on Facebook, we can tweet about it on our Twitter pages. So instantly they are exposed to over 1,000 people; and when they tweet, we also offer the service of re-tweeting, meaning when they post something on their own Twitter page; we will then repost that on our twitter pages. When you leverage other people’s network, you’re getting a big boost especially if you are starting out. Even if you have lots of followers, that is still a good thing to do.

Recent studies that have done on Twitter and Facebook that says that one of the ways to have your tweets or Face Book messages be repeated or shared by other people is simply by asking “Please retweet or please share.” These are simple little two words that could help people to think, “Oh, yes, maybe I want to send this to my network of people.”

• Follow the comments and interact with people online. The third way of generating awareness is to read what people are posting and then leave comments on what they post. I know a lot of us get busy, we create the pages, we could hardly keep up with posting what we want to say, never mind read what other people have to say; but, it is important to give it a read. After you have posted something on your social media pages; other people may be making comments on those; and often I find people asking “I have this situation XYZ, does anybody know anything about this?” And, from time to time, I have referred them to my clients who might be a lawyer in their area, or a mediator in their area that could address the child custody question that they have; and that’s how I do it. But if you’re a lawyer or you’re a mediator, you could actually respond to the question yourself. Every time you respond, they will be able to see you and connect with you directly. Now, I’m going back to the very beginning where I said “You need to be authentic and professional, and you want to create a memorable experience with them,” by offering helpful hints, helpful tips. Actually, start giving some suggestions, of course I know that you cannot give full legal advice when you have limited information, but any pointers that would allow someone to engage you in a discussion would be helpful; and then you can also take it off the social media page and suggest that you connect directly.

• Post regularly and be on topic. As far as posting goes, I see a lot of people going on Twitter or Linkedin or Face Book, and they make comments; so, that’s one of the very easy way of letting people know where you stand on certain issues. And when people read about what your views are, they will begin to interact with you.

B. Linkedin

Between Twitter, Face Book, and Linkedin, Linkedin is the largest and most dedicated professional networking platform. There are over 40-million people on Linkedin, and if you’re someone who hasn’t got a page on Linkedin, it’s quite easy to create one. You just go to linkedin.com, register, and you can begin a page. Here’s how to increase the number of people connecting to you:

1. Create a good Linkedin Profile. It’s important that on your page, you do your best to fill out the profile that they ask you to do and that you present yourself in the way that you want people to remember you by. Remember, nobody’s going to read your entire profile. They’re only going to maybe read the beginning and if it’s enticing and it’s relevant, then they will keep on reading; but, even still, you want to make sure that what you are writing there is precise and powerful because nobody’s going to read everything.

2. Join relevant groups. If you already have a Linkedin page, I would highly recommend that you participate in discussions by joining groups. If you don’t know how to join groups, all you have to do is go to your Linkedin page, go to the “search” bar and there will be a dropdown menu that you could click on “groups” and there you could just type in the word “divorce” and then hit the “search” button, then there be all kinds of groups available for you to choose. Some groups are a lot more specific topic-wise so they could be about child custody; some groups are more general by profession, so for example, one of the biggest groups on divorce is “American Divorce Lawyers.” If you’re someone wanting to get referrals from divorce lawyers, that’s definitely a group that you want to join. There is also a big group on “collaborative family law group,” so if you’re someone who does collaborative law, you want to make sure that you join that group. We have a group that I started; some of you might be on this teleseminar as a result of being in that group. The group that I started is called “Marketing for Divorce Professionals.”

So I just talked about two things: one is to join groups that are already there; the other is to start your own group. I’m going to speak a bit about joining the groups that are already there and how you could generate referrals; and then I’ll go and speak about starting your own group.

3. Start or join group discussions. Once you’ve joined a group, you can go in there and start a discussion. How you start the discussion is by having, obviously, highly relevant content. One discussion that I started which generated over 120 comments was about child custody; whether the law should be changed so that 50/50 child custody is the starting point. Out of that discussion, I have connected with probably 20 or 30 professionals who wrote me and said they wanted to connect with me. I have had at least three people who wanted to find out more about my company’s services, and I have connected with two potential bloggers because my company has a blog which is called blogsondivorce.com, and I’m actively looking for experts to blog for us. So you obviously have your own objectives as to why it is that you want to connect. Referrals can come to you for various reasons. You may want to connect to other family lawyers. You may want to connect with financial advisors, CDFAs, and business valuation. If you’re a lawyer, you need to have that kind of expertise to support you with your case. When you post something, make sure that it’s not all about you. Obviously, you can go on there and say “I am a lawyer looking to connect with a business valuator in Maryland.” When you say that, you will get very specific people commenting on your posting.

4. Take it off Linkedin. You could generate some interesting posts so that the topic could involve a lot of people and out of that you want to then create a relationship with these people. Just because you started the post, doesn’t mean that you should just leave it. Read the responses and then you can begin to interact with them; and then you’re able to take it off the Linkedin platform and communicate directly with them.

5. Create your own group. Next, I’m going to talk a bit about starting your own group. There is a reason that you may want to start your own page; because you have special privileges as someone who started the page. For example, one of the privileges is that anything you post, you can make it so that it appears on the top of the page. We all know that anything that appears on the top of the page gets read more often than things that go below that. Also, when you are something who started this page, you have the ability to control who can join your group. You can delete people if you want. Those are some of the privileges of starting a page. So, Linkedin mostly is for professionals. You hardly get teenagers or non-business people on Linkedin.

If you haven’t started any social media pages, or if you’ve got all three going and you are wondering which one you should spend more time on, Linkedin is it.

Attracting the right people on facebook — Facebook profile and facebook pages for your company

Many of our clients have said they do not want to be on facebook because it is for teenagers and that facebook is for families and friends. I want you to know that facebook is fast changing. In 2009, 40% of facebook users were over 35 years old and they represented the fastest growing segment of facebook users.

For those of you who may have started a personal profile, and you use it to communicate with your friends and families; you have personal photos posting there, I suggest that you start two other pages for your business.

1. Facebook page for your company. Start a page that is about your company. Facebook has this option where you could create a facebook page and they’ll be different pages within that page that allows you to post what your company’s all about; information about your location; description for your services. You can also have some photo albums where you could, if you’re a law firm with five people, you could post your lawyers’ pictures and a short profile on each one of them. So it is highly, highly professionally-driven and if you include the word divorce as part of the name of your page, when someone searches “divorce” in the “search” bar of facebook, your page will show up. Try this out, next time when you are on facebook.com, in the “search” bar you type in the word “divorce,” what you see are all the pages related to divorce and you’ll see a page for Divorce Marketing Group; you’ll see a page for Divorce Magazine, which is a magazine that we publish. So we recommend that you do that.

2. A professional facebook profile about you. If you already have a profile on facebook that you use for yourself, for family purposes, you can also create a second profile. When you create the second profile, keep it professional and then you can use that to post; so, therefore, when people are tracing back to your facebook profile page, they’ll be going to a page that is more business related rather than family-oriented.

Words to use in your Pay Per Click ad and posts I said before about how to write an ad that is going to help you generate results. I’m going to quote a couple of studies that were released not too long ago, maybe about April this year, and then another one last year. It is on the use of words on your ads as well as mostly this one is about the use of words when you’re posting on Face Book and Twitter. What word should you use that would entice people to share your posting or retweet. If you are interested in the URL for these articles, you can send me an email and I’ll send that to you. Again, my email address is marthac@divorcemarketinggroup.com.

So I’ll give you a brief example: On faceook, the research results say “These are the five top words that help you’re posting be shared.” The top one is the word “facebook”; second is the word “Why”; third is the word “Most; fourth is the word “World;” and the fifth one is “How.” So when you are posting, or in your Pay Per Click ad, you want to incorporate these words; and the least sharable word on Face Book is the word “versus” or “vs”, “at”, “review”, “down”, and “poll.”

Now, these are guidelines for you to use. Obviously if you are interesting in polling someone, or telling someone about maybe a poll that you did, you will still use that word; but, otherwise, these are the least sharable words. And then another tip that we could get from this study is that the use of numbers. So when you say “Seven top tips you need to know before you hire your divorce lawyer.” So the word “seven” instead of spelling it out “seven,” this recommendation would be to just use the letter “7.” And, lastly, this study says that the days on facebook where people get shared the most is on Saturday; so, if you have the time post on late Friday afternoon or Saturday, that’s where it’s most active and people are reading and sharing.

Link people to your website from social media pages

1. Post links to articles/FAQs on your website. The other one is by posting links to articles on your web site that perhaps you have written. If you’re someone who has written FAQs, articles on a specific topic, what I encourage you to do is to post these on your social media pages. People will read them and they would be taken to your website. Within your website, of course it would be really helpful to a place where they could clearly contact you. I say this and some people will say, “Well that’s pretty obvious.” I still see a lot of websites where the “Contact Us” page or button or information is not that clearly accessible. The other thing is that a good way of making it visible is to have a form, a really short form, on your website where you would ask for the person’s name, email address, and the topic that they are interested in. So, I’m kind of jumping back to your website, but all these are online tools that are interconnected; so, obviously, if you’re someone who doesn’t have a website, clearly I encourage you to get a website; and if you’re someone who has a website, take another look, make sure that your contact page is clear and easy to find, or that you may want to incorporate a submission form to “contact us” which gives the “contact us” aspect a lot more prominence.

Twitter
A couple of things on Twitter. For sure if you are someone who’s been using Twitter, you know the limitation is 140 characters for each post. If you are trying to bring people to your website by giving out a URL to your web page, a long URL can take up a large part of the 140 characters. There is a service that would shorten your link so that you have more characters left for description purposes, and the website is bit.ly. Not only will bit.ly shorten your URL, it will also track the click throughs to your website for you.

We are at the end of our 30 minutes for this teleseminar. I hope you have enjoyed the tips that I have given you during this teleseminar and we hope to see you at the next one which will be the third Thursday of next month, and the topic will be “How to turn your administrative assistant into your marketing department.” It will be held Thursday at the same time, 2:00 P.M. We hope you can join us. Again, if you want to receive a copy of the transcript, please email me at marthac@divorcemarketinggroup.com.

Thank you and have a good day.

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