SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE:
• How can you take advantage of the social media movement?
• How can you use Wikipedia, blogs and Facebook Pages to build and grow your practice?
• How to use social media to establish yourself as a thought leader.
• This article is part two of the Social Media Teleseminar Series. You can check out Part One here and Part Three here
Social Media Part Two – Using Social Media to grow your practice
My name is Martha Chan. I’m the VP Marketing of Divorce Marketing Group and I’ll be leading this seminar. I want to welcome you and thank you for joining us today.
It would be helpful if you were in front of a computer. If you don’t have your computer on or you’re not in front of one, please turn it on or go and sit in front of one. You’ll want to check out a few of the things that we’ll be recommending and talking about in this seminar.
So while you’re doing that, I’ll give you a bit background for those of you that have not attended our monthly teleseminars before. This seminar is put on by Divorce Marketing Group. We are a marketing agency dedicated to helping family lawyers and other divorce professionals grow their practices. We work with over 200 family law firms, mediators, financial planning firms, etc., and we host these free teleseminars every month. You can find out more about upcoming seminars on our corporate web site: www.DivorceMarketingGroup.com.
As promised, this seminar will not be a sales pitch for Divorce Marketing Group or Divorce Magazine. However, by way of introduction, you might want to know that our company has been working with divorce professionals, family lawyers, mediators and financial professionals for the past 14 years and we’ve helped them get their message out. There are also, by the way, a lot of articles on DivorceMarketingGroup.com that you might find of interest to you on the subject of marketing.
This is part 2 of a 3-part series of Teleseminars we are conducting on social media. If you missed the last teleseminar, the transcript can be made available by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, part 3 of this series will take place at 2PM Eastern Standard Time on March 17 and will discuss branding through social media and promoting your pages. As well, we will offer a Question and Answer section for the next teleseminar. If you have questions in advance, please email them to me at marthac@divorcemarketing group.com.
Now, our last teleseminar gave an introduction to Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Today, we will delve further into Facebook and discuss Pages, Wikipedia, blogs and how they should all tie into one another.
Let’s begin by discussing Wikipedia. Wikipedia describes itself as “… a multilingual, web-based, free-content encyclopedia project based on an openly-editable model. The name “Wikipedia” is a portmanteau of the words wiki (a technology for creating collaborative websites, from the Hawaiian word wiki, meaning “quick”) and encyclopedia. Wikipedia’s articles provide links to guide the user to related pages with additional information.” For the purposes of this teleseminar, I’d first of all like to mention that one should be cautious if contributing to Wikipedia for the first time. There are a number of tools in place and rules to be followed. For example, you can create a page for your firm on Wikipedia, however, it can not be a promotional piece. The information contained on your page must be factual and backed up by references and footnotes. An additional bit of information to note is that because Wikipedia functions on this “openly-editable model”, any information you put forth can be altered by another user. It is an encyclopedia for the people by the people.
As an example, go to Wikipedia.org and search Dan Couvrette, our CEO. There you will see an example of a Wikipedia page and the types of information contained within them.
Moving along to Facebook. In our last teleseminar, we offered an introduction to Facebook. This time, I’d like to speak to the application of Facebook to a legal practice. In the interest of doing so, I’ll start with some background information.
Facebook has several ways in which to be connected. The first is one you maybe familiar with if you are on Facebook personally and that is the Profile. A profile requires mutual agreement in order for a connection to be established. For example, if we know one another and you search me, Martha Chan, on Facebook, you will see a list of results and one of the options available to you will be to send a “Friend Request”. Once you have done that, it is up to me to either accept or deny that request. If I do accept, you and I are now “Friends” and our connection is established.
The next type of connection to discuss is that of being a “Fan”. If I have a business, I can start a “Fan Page”. This is a way for me to speak to people who have asked for the information I provide. So, how do they ask? Well, from my personal profile, I have created a Fan Page. Now, I can suggest this “Page” to my “Friends” and anyone of them can accept or “Become a Fan”. What happens now is that Facebook broadcasts to my Fan A’s “friends” that he or she has become a Fan of my page. If that page is relevant to Fan A’s friends, they may also wish to become a “Fan”. I do not need to confirm or approve of the request to connect. Facebook has made it so that these connections require only the initiation and anyone who is a fan of that page sees all the updates the page sends out.
As stated earlier, because all of Fan A’s “friends” see that they are a “Fan” of my page, I am getting essentially free advertising to Fan A’s entire network (and the networks of all those people who are also my “Fans”). This goes a long way to establishing me as a thought leader, assuming that the information being provided to my network is relevant. And, it keeps me top-of-mind with my network for when the time arrives that they require my services.
Next, I’d like to take some time to talk about blogs. Yet another way of establishing yourself as a thought leader, blogs allow you to speak with more detail to your network. Blog is a contraction of the words “web log”. Blogs are normally updated regularly with commentary and media files. Typically, they are open for comment. They are a place for every person, group of people or companies to act as journalists.
Once you have started a blog, you must think about content. What does your network want to know about? Ask yourself this question and begin to populate your blog with articles and information that cater to your target audience. If you are a family lawyer, ask yourself, do you want to communicate with other lawyers, or prospective clients? Answering this question will help you determine what to write about and how to write it. If you are targeting other lawyers, you can use legalese and focus on issues that effect lawyers. If you decide to target divorcing people, you must adjust your language and subject matter to reach the “lay-person”.
Once you have established a blog, you will want to build your following. Send links to your other social media communities, or email those in your contact list with a link to your blog. You may also wish to exchange links with other blogs or websites. This does wonders for search engines as they like to see incoming links and in linking with someone else’s blog, you are developing a relationship with the blog’s owner and you can become a part of one another’s referral networks going forward. Be sure that you are comfortable with the content on your new contact’s blog. Remember, by exchanging links, you are essentially recommending that person as an expert in their field, so ensure that you can stand behind the messages they are sending.
Blogs can be hosted by any hosting provider, or you can establish your blog on one of the blog providers, 2 of the most popular being WordPress and Blogger. The advantage of signing up with these is that they come with a built-in community that you can leverage to gain followers, and the services push notifications to other blog owners about which blog posts are new and popular, and which blogs have growing communities. These services also provide searches within their communities, so someone can search WordPress for example to find topics of interest and decide based on the content whether or not to follow that blog.
We have recently set up a blog to compliment divorcemag.com. www.blogsondivorce.com is a place that we want to use to speak to divorcing people about the issues that concern them. And, we are looking for guest bloggers. If you are an expert in your area of practice and want to be a guest blogger, please email me at email@example.com.
One thing to keep in mind throughout your use of social media is the concept of branding. All of your social media, and marketing for that matter, should have the same look and feel. Make sure that your website, brochures, blog, Facebook Page, Wikipedia page and the others all reflect your firm’s brand. Use your logo if you have one, similar images and ensure that your content provides a consistent message about you and your firm. From a look standpoint, if you don’t know how to do this yourself, have a friend who is familiar with social networks establish these pages for you, or if you don’t know anyone who can do this, consider hiring a social media specialist to put them together for you. Ensuring that everything you put out to the world has the same look and feel establishes you as professional and trust-worthy.
That concludes what I wanted to share with you today. I want to summarize what we’ve covered. First of all, if you believe that you cannot “do” social media, I want to assure you that you can and that it makes sense. Social media is here to stay. If you don’t do it now, you’ll have a lot of catching up to do. Another point is that if you feel uncomfortable with social media, hire someone to do it, who can write a proper profile or a proper page. And if you think that it would take up too much of your time, make sure that you work with someone within your company to post your updates. The other thing to remember as you get started is that you just keep learning as you go! There’s no other way to be good at this. A lot of people are learning, so you might as well join them at the early part of the learning curve.
This concludes our session. I hope that you get value out of this call with us. Our next call will be 2010, Feb. 17, 2:00 p.m. eastern standard time and it will be part three of Introduction to Social Media, where we will be talking about how to apply/create branding for your practice when designing all these social media pages, how to promote these pages as well as a Q & A session on social media where we will answer the questions you have sent to us.
Here’s the information and instructions on how to join our next seminar: http://divorcemarketinggroup.com/free-monthly-teleseminars-marketing-family-law-practice/. If you have any you’d like to send now, feel free to send them to firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to talking to you then. Have a great rest of your day!