Twitter is starting to become more mainstream in the legal industry as a legitimate way to share information and communicate with others with similar interests. Lawyers get nervous when it comes to tweeting, not knowing where to begin. I always advise individuals and firms to take baby steps when learning to tweet. Start out slowly by selecting who to follow, retweeting others and tweeting interesting links that appeal to the audience you want to attract. I often find that people are amenable to trying these steps, but still find themselves mystified by the elusive hashtag (#). What does it mean when words and phrases are preceded by hashtags (#)? Here is a little primer.
Hashtags were created by the Twitter community with the purpose of creating larger, ongoing conversations on a similar topic. They connect current events and popular topics so that people can more easily find related content. Clicking on a hastag brings up a list of all the tweets that have used it—including tweets from users you don’t follow.
So, how do you create hashtags? It is very simple because hashtags are simply text. They can be be used anywhere in a tweet– beginning, middle, or end. Select the keyword you want to focus on and place a pound sign (#) in front of it without any spaces. (i.e.: #marketing NOT # marketing).
One other thing to know, hashtags allow you to communicate a message to those not actively searching for the keywords. If the keyword you wish to highlight is commonly used in your industry, you should do a quick search on that hashtag and see what other conversations are happening around that hashtag. You may be able to connect more effectively by replying or retweeting your comment in connection with the information you want to share.
Twitter can be intimidating to the new user. However, you shouldn’t be afraid to try it out in small steps. Use the help section on Twitter and rely on experienced users to get you started. Twitter is definitely part of the marketing mix for lawyers and other professional service providers. Have an open mind and give it a try. You may find that you actually enjoy the community!
I often hear people say they don’t have time to market their practice. People feel overwhelmed by the pace of life and marketing feels like a huge undertaking that is difficult to do. Nonsense. We all have ten minutes everyday to chat at the water cooler, grab a Starbucks or wait for a meal to arrive, right? What if you took ten minutes every business day to do one marketing task? That adds up to 50 minutes a week of marketing time. Here are a few ten minute tasks you can schedule for yourself.
- Send an email. Followup on a conversation with a colleague, business acquaintance or client via email. Let them know you are thinking about the topic that is on their radar.
- Communicate via Linked In. This can include sending a direct message, posting status, highlighting a news story or linking to more people.
- Make a phone call. Call a client, colleague or referral source to check in. Let them know you are thinking of them in connection with a particular topic.
- Tweet. Share a thought, article or retweet something interesting.
- Write a blog post. OK, I know this takes more than 10 minutes, but if you work on one post for 10 minutes over three days you will have a completed post.
- Thank someone. Send a thank you note to someone who has done something nice for you or helped you to promote your services.
- Ask for work. Follow-up with your referral sources or clients and ask them if there is anything else you can assist them with.
- Make a lunch or coffee date. Choose a client, referral source or reporter to catch up with.
There are a multitude of activities you can undertake to forward your marketing goals. It doesn’t have to be complex or take lots of time. It just has to be part of your routine and sincere. Schedule your ten minutes each day now for the next month. You will see results over the long haul.
Long gone are the days when just having a website was enough to show you were in the game. Websites have become increasingly sophisticated tools for differentiation. So, how do you separate the best websites from the rest? Quality content. Website analytics prove that traffic spikes occur when meaningful content is added. The analytics tools allow you to uncover the types of information driving desirable visitor behavior. Once you understand what motivates your visitors to return, you may build more content into the site, making it a reliable resource to showcase your legal and business prowess. That being said, what should a lawyer think about when creating website content? Consider these points:
- People read web content 25% more slowly than they read print materials. Studies have proven that reading from a computer screen tires eyes more easily than printed materials, decreasing stamina on websites. Use shorter sentences within well-constructed paragraphs, covering only one idea. Write using real words for real people. Transforming a piece from print to the web? Consider streamlining your print content by 50% before posting it onto a website.
- Readers on the web scan text, they do not read it. According to a study completed by usability expert Jacob Nielson, 79% of readers on the Web tend to scan or skim text rather than read word for word. How to compensate? Use an inverted pyramid concept when creating your content. Place the most important information you want to get across at the beginning of your material. Use tricks such as pull-quotes, highlighted text and bulleted lists to help scanners get the most pertinent material quickly.
- Readers on the web want what they want, and quickly! Studies show that we must grab someone’s attention in as little as 10 seconds. If we succeed in grabbing a reader in those 10 seconds, then we earn up to 45 seconds more of their attention. Deliver information quickly, or they will move onto the multitude of alternative websites to find the information they desire. Where to get started? Use meaningful headlines and tell them what they want immediately.
- Use videos, images, tasteful animation and podcasts. All the same rules apply, though. Keep these components concise and attractive. If visitors are asked to sit through extraneous material before they get to the point, you have lost them to the competition.
- Use social media to move visitors onto your website. Post status updates on recent articles, events and external press coverage. Provide a link directly to your website from your posting.
Optimizing the way you create website content is the first step in enhancing visitor experience. Strong content increases your website’s visibility to search engines. Legitimate content drives better search results and increases the likelihood of people finding you. These are just some of the many considerations for making websites useful, helpful and successful, however, start with these tips and you will be well on the way to differentiating your site from an overly crowded cyberspace.