Legal Marketing: Optimize your law firm’s YouTube content in 7 easy steps

January 8, 2011

youtube

Optimizing your YouTube content will allow more for more people to find your videos. Follow the steps below to get the most out of your YouTube content.

According to the YouTube Blog, over 35 hours of content is uploaded to YouTube every minute. Start doing some math, and you’ll quickly see that this translates to millions of hours of video content.

So, as a follow up to my last video marketing post, here is a way to get past the clutter and make sure your firm’s videos get seen by the right people.

The first step, of course, is to upload your video. This video might be a training session, or maybe it’s just some relevant law information you want to get out to your intended audience. Believe it or not, when most people visit YouTube, they are not looking for a specific video, but something that covers a topic that interests them. Most visitors type a few key words into the search box and then scroll down the list of options available on that topic. So you have to make sure your video stands out.

Key words are the words people type into the search bar, and therefore very important in the search process. Choose them wisely. If you aren’t sure which to use, or you can’t decide which are best, YouTube provides a Keyword Tool. This tool gives you suggestions on what key words you should use, so it’s a good starting place if you are stumped.

Below are 7 easy steps to optimize your law firm’s video content:

  1. Title. Your title must be straightforward – nothing too funny, witty or clever – and in 66 characters or less. (Google will truncate your title if it’s any longer than this, so do your best to keep it at 66 characters or less.) Include key words in your title and make sure it accurately describes the video content. For example, if I were to upload a session on social media for legal marketers, I’d want to make sure my title correctly utilizes the key words social media and legal marketing. In this case, I’d call it something like “Social Media Tips for Legal Marketers and Attorneys.” I know, it’s rather boring, but this isn’t where you need to get creative.
  2. Description. Once your video is uploaded, there is a section below the video that allows room for a description. This is another perfect place to utilize those key words.  Describe what the video is, whom it is intended for and the benefits of watching it.
  3. Category. Select the category that is most relevant to your video.
  4. Tags. This is another place to use key words. You can type in your law firm’s name, what the video covers, who would likely want to watch it, and anything else you think would be helpful for visitors to find it. Separate each tag with a comma and make it as descriptive as possible without going over the 120-character limit.
  5. Create a YouTube Channel. Creating a YouTube channel is quick and easy. This allows you to index all of your videos in one place, and makes it for people to find your videos.
  6. Video Reply. This is an easy way to increase your video viewership. To do this, type the title of your video into the search bar on YouTube. Next, click “Video Reply” to the videos that come up in this search. This creates “link juice” which in turn brings people to your video. (See my post on Link Juice to learn more about this.)
  7. Blog. Write a blog about your uploaded video and post the YouTube URL into that blog. This creates even more link juice and brings people to your video.

To learn more about YouTube, check out their blog


Legal Marketing: Using Direct Marketing Strategies in Social Media Campaign

January 5, 2011

Direct Mail

Direct marketing isn’t always considered a very effective marketing tactic by law firms and their clients; but applying the same strategies used for direct marketing campaigns to your social media efforts will definitely help you see more value and ROI.

When devising a direct marketing campaign, what are three things you must consider before spending any money?

  1. your audience
  2. your offer
  3. the medium used to send this offer

You have to make sure these three things are identified before moving forward with any direct marketing campaign. If you don’t, you are wasting your time and money, and can be hurting your firm’s reputation in the process too.

While most legal marketers understand why these strategies are important to direct marketing campaigns, many haven’t yet realized how these same tactics can be – and should be – used for their social media campaigns too.

Your Audience: These are your Facebook fans, Twitter followers, blog subscribers, email list, etc. To determine their demographics and psychographics, send out the occasional survey and regularly review your site analytics. This way you will know who you are reaching and can provide appropriate content and valuable offers. 

Note: Even though these people are subscribing to your blog, friends with you on Facebook and following your tweets, it doesn’t mean they are going to your website and creating ROI. This is why the offer is important.

Your Offer: To start seeing some ROI on your social media efforts, it’s important to drive people to your site, where you can really showcase your practice and expertise. Offer them something of value. This could be an article on a hot topic, a white paper on the latest legal trends, or even an invitation to register for an upcoming seminar at your firm. Make it valuable enough that they are happy they took the step to come to your site. 

Note: Make sure you understand what your audience needs and wants. You can get a better understanding of these needs when you survey your followers. Include a question or two on what they would like to see, then tailor your offer so it’s in line with what they say.

Your Medium: Once you have your audience identified and your offer established, you need to figure out the best way to send your message. Are you going to use LinkedIn? Facebook? Twitter? Your blog? An email campaign? All five?

Your connections on LinkedIn may be very different from your blog readers, so match the offer with the audience that will value it most. (A great tool for keeping up with what your various audiences are saying about your firm is SocialMention. It aggregates all mentions of your firm, or individual partners, in one place. This can help you get an idea of who is following you in each place too.)

So even if you aren’t sending out many direct mail pieces any more, those same strategies are vital for  you to get the ROI you want from your social media efforts.


Legal Marketing: Are you ignoring your “Contact Settings” on LinkedIn?

December 20, 2010

Contact Us

Make sure your “Contact Settings” can be easily found on your LinkedIn account.

Expose yourself – it’s okay!

Poor old contact settings.  Relegated to the bottom of your profile.  Often ignored.  But did you know that with a few minor tweaks, contact settings could make your profile exponentially more accessible on LinkedIn?

The trick is adding your contact information (an email address or phone number) to this section – usually found at the bottom of your profile.  Once you do, your contact information becomes exposed to your entire network – not just your first level of connections. This way clients are more likely to find you. And not just find you, but contact you. If it’s too hard for a client to find your contact information, you might lose them to your competition.

I know this will make some people nervous.  I have many people in my network. I’ve had my contact info in this section for years, and I rarely get unsolicited spam as a result. Optimizing my contact information has only benefited me, not hurt me.

Caveat:  The more you expose yourself on social media, the more exposed you are to people who might abuse the system.

You can always create a “social media email account” that you use strictly for your social media communications:

  • Keep your legal social media email and “real” email separate
  • Build your lists
  • It gives you a “throw away” option if your account gets usurped or ‘phished’

That should keep you relatively safe.

Expose yourself!


Legal Marketing: Best Practices for Connecting on LinkedIn

December 19, 2010

Connecting people

Interested in learning ways to connect to more people in the legal marketing network on LinkedIn?

You can only make your LinkedIn network so big with people that you know. So if you want to grow your network, you will have to start adding connections in the legal marketing field that you may not know. When inviting people to connect on LinkedIn, there are limited options to show your relationship:

  • Colleague
  • Classmate
  • We’ve done business together
  • Groups
  • Other
  • And I don’t know…

Obviously if any of the first three options apply, use them.

  • You can use the “friend” option without knowing the other person’s email address if you haven’t been “dinged” (reported). Many people don’t realize that if you try to connect to someone you don’t know, and they say they don’t know you, LinkedIn will eventually require that you enter an email address for every connection request you send. You don’t want this to happen. So if you can use the “friend” option, (or any of the other options) make sure you create a personalized message. Let people know why you are connecting with them. How did you find them?  What about their profile intrigued you?  You have a much better chance of getting your invitation accepted, or at the least, not tagged as an “I don’t know” (IDK) or spam if you tell them why you want to connect.

An option I will often use, if it is available, is the “group” option.  As long as a LinkedIn member has joined a group that you also belong to, and has not turned off the ability to connect through a group, you can reach out to them this way.

Invitation using “groups” option

  • Once you join a group, you might have to wait to be “accepted” by the administrator. After you get “accepted,” you can then send the person you want to connect with (in that group) a message asking them if they will accept an invitation. This is a great way to grow your network. This is more time-consuming, but will not cost you an “InMail” or an “Introduction.”   If you ask them first to connect before you send the invitation, you will also be less likely to get spammed or IDK’d.

Your other option, of course, is to use one of your introductions.  Take the time to fully explain why you want to connect, not only to the end party, but also to the person connecting you.

Introduction on LinkedIn

If you have a paid account, you can use an InMail.

  • Some people will put their contact information in the “Contact Setting” at the bottom of the LinkedIn profile – and you can either use that information to contact them directly, or to get access to them as a “friend.”  (Once again, be aware that you have a higher chance of getting IDK’d or reported as a spammer if you do.)

Use common sense.  The Golden Rule applies to LinkedIn as well.  Do unto others, as you would have them do unto you.  I am a LION, and I will accept your invitation.  Others might not.  But usually, with the courtesy of a well-crafted introduction letter and a genuine desire to connect, most people will grasp your outstretched hand and connect.


Legal Marketing: Be Fearless on Social Media

December 17, 2010

control button

Some attorneys and legal marketers fear social media because they don’t know what to say or what to share with the world. But I’m here to tell you, don’t fear it – embrace it!

One of the benefits of social media is that it allows us to share our value (knowledge, service, expertise) with an expanded audience. The social proof of our success is in the acceptance, response and continued growth of people who will actually listen to us and share our knowledge with others.

Because the financial, academic and geographic boundaries are miniscule with social media, more people can play. And play well. More people can compete.

With social reputation, your law degree might not be as important as the visits to your website and number of comments on your blog.

Your social proof. But because there is no officiating body to designate our contribution as worthy, sometimes we feel – well – like maybe we have the world fooled.

But here’s the truth as I see it:  If you are using social media as a channel to share your good – your knowledge – your skill – your genius – your passion with the world, then the world will rise up to embrace you.  If you are a Go-Giver at heart, and are passionate about what you have to give (legal knowledge, skill), then the naysayers will be ignored, and your authority honored.

Social media levels the playing field. A new, small firm, if social media savvy, can actually compete with huge, national firms on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.  In traditional media, there is no way that a small local business could compete with the big box. But on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook – with your WordPress blog and your YouTube video, –  your small firm can really stack up against a large, corporate firm.

You decide. Are you an indomitable spirit?  Or terrified of the world’s judgment?   I suggest you take your passion – present it to the world – and let yourself shine.  What’s holding you back?


Legal Marketing: 10 Things NOT to do on LinkedIn

December 16, 2010

Notebook with Things not to do

When LinkedIn tells you that your profile is 100% complete, don’t believe them.

Here are the top 10 things to avoid to get your LinkedIn profile optimized and ready to go:

1. Don’t put anything in the name field other than your name

Thinking they will stand out from the crowd, some people add email addresses, phone numbers and group affiliations into the name field (when editing Basic Information on LinkedIn). They think that:  John A. Smith  (Johnasmith@gmail.com) LION will get them more hits than a simple: John Smith.

The problem is that LinkedIn will categorize you incorrectly, which means you’ll be harder to find when someone types your name in.  It also means you will be harder to find in the contacts list, especially if you have 500+ contacts. Harder to find means less business.

Keep your name clean: John Smith.  You’ll have plenty of other opportunities to put your contact information in your profile (headline, summary, or contact me sections to name a few).  And in those other sections you can always use CAPITALIZATION and special characters to make YOUR CONTACT INFORMATION jump out at the reader.

Ladies- LinkedIn finally has a field for your maiden name. They took far too long to resolve this issue, but now both your old colleagues and your new friends can find you!

2. Don’t create your LinkedIn profile in LinkedIn

Create your LinkedIn profile in a Word file, then cut and paste it into LinkedIn. This will help prevent spelling and grammatical errors, make it easier to get word counts, and later you can be easily copy it into other social media platforms to keep your branding consistent. It will also save you a boatload of time.

And if for some reason LinkedIn ever suspends or shuts down your profile, or you simply want to try out another legal networking site, having a fully formed profile already in a Word document is a huge time saver.

3. Don’t use boudoir shots or your business logo for your LinkedIn photo

This is a BUSINESS NETWORKING site. Keep your photo professional. Head shot only, so they can see your trustworthy eyes and kind smile.  And for those of you with new babies, yes your kids are adorable, but you can show them off on Facebook.

4. Don’t Ignore the Update function

Similar to Twitter and Facebook, the LinkedIn update can be a powerful tool to keep you top of mind.  You will show up on your connection’s homepage and even their email, especially if your connections don’t know they can turn this off.  And a few a week is just fine. I recommend people Tweet hourly, update Facebook daily, and update LinkedIn one or two times a week.

Like the other updates, you can post links to interesting articles, let people know about upcoming legal events or promote speaking engagements.

5. Don’t leave your public profile unedited

How useful or memorable is this public profile URL:  Linkedin.com/in/23h9il?  How about this one?  http://www.linkedin.com/in/legalmarketingexpert

Your public profile can be a powerful way to optimize your brand, raise your Google rankings, increase connections and position yourself as an expert.  Many people simply miss the fact that you can customize your public profile URL. You can use your name, your company name or your personal brand.  Just remember it has to be all lowercase, one word and no special characters.

6 . Don’t ignore your website link and make sure to customize it

First of all, if you have a website, blog site, or even another social media address, make sure you have it in your LinkedIn profile.  You can include THREE sites, so use them all! Every time someone jumps from a mega site to your website, your Google rating climbs just a bit higher.

Higher rating = more hits = more clients! And really, isn’t that the reason we are on LinkedIn in the first place?

7. Don’t populate the Experience section with a simple copy of your resume

Hey, you can now use box.net to upload your resume into LinkedIn.  So while you certainly want to use Experience to list your current and previous jobs, really take advantage of this section by filling it with all that stuff you wish you had room for in your resume.  Did you work for/with any Fortune 500 companies? Did your legal advice save the day?

You can always use this space to showcase wins, different companies you have helped, seminars or workshops you have presented or a mini-shot of your personal website.  And fill it with keywords to increase your changes of showing up in searches too!

8. Don’t limit the Education section to just your traditional education

Certainly you are going to want to list all the degrees you have managed to accumulate.  If you have a PhD from Harvard, by all means, let us know.  But you can also use this section (once again, using that magic tool called other ) to list certifications, licenses and other nifty specialties that make you stand out in a crowd. Once again, use your keywords!

9. Don’t ignore the Summary section

The Summary section is probably one of the most useful and overlooked tools on LinkedIn. You have 2000 characters – that’s 2/3 of a page – to tell people who you are, how to contact you and why they should hire your firm. This is also an EXCELLENT place to capitalize those things to which you want to you want to DRAW attention.

And for the search engine spiders, use your keywords. The more you say something about yourself, the more true it is on LinkedIn.

Remember to use white space (it only takes a character to break that clump into nice readable paragraphs,) CAPITALIZATION, special characters and key words. And as mentioned before – CREATE YOUR SUMMARY IN A WORD DOCUMENT FIRST.

10. Don’t forget to use the applications

LinkedIn finally has some pretty nifty internal and open source applications to make your LinkedIn profile even more effective.  Some of my favorites are:

  • Events
  • WordPress
  • Slideshare.com
  • Box.net
  • TripIt.

Check them out and utilize them!


Legal Marketing: Track Social Media for your Law Firm

December 15, 2010

Graph Tracking Social Media

Tracking activity and response rates is key for law firm social media ROI.

Want to know what law topic is being tweeted about? Want to know if your law firm’s tweets are creating any buzz? Curious what others are saying about your law firm and attorneys?

Here are 3 tips regarding tracking social media:

  1. Track your Twitter popularity by using it regularly. Tweet important topics about the legal field by referring to big law sites like National Law Review, American Bar Association, or Legal Marketing Reader. Check to see if people re-tweet it or comment on your posts. If you are not yet familiar with Twitter functionality, you can check to see if people are responding to your comments by checking the @replies on the right side bar.
  2. If you don’t have time to maintain and keep up with social media news, then use a program like SocialFlow. This Enterprise SaaS application listens to what your audience is interested in and talking about in real time. They pair your potential Tweets and posts with your audience’s interests in real time, and release the message that is most likely to earn the most attention and action from your audience. From what we understand, those using this application have seen huge increases in their click rate.
  3. See which articles are being clicked on most by using bit.ly links. This site shortens URLs so they take up less of your 140 allowed characters on Twitter. And once you have your bit.ly link, you can track how many clicks each article  is receiving, who is retweeting it, and if that reader is actually reading the whole article. If a reader is only reading one paragraph of your article, then maybe the headline didn’t correlate with the actual material in that article. This is an easy way to see what people are reading and relate to them by posting current and popular law articles.

Check out more of their tips by reading Advertising Age’s article, “Five Things you didn’t know about Social Media Tracking.”