Online marketing opens up some fantastic opportunities for attorneys to increase exposure, generate new leads, and grow their practices. As is the case with adding any new facet to your business, however, there is a considerable time and energy investment required. Not only will it take a good deal of learning and setting up campaigns but maintenance itself can become quite a chore to keep up with as well.
Since lawyers are some of the busiest professionals out there, this can be cause for concern when venturing into the online marketing landscape. This report introduces some handy tools and tricks you can use to streamline your marketing work and get the same results with less effort.
Strategy #1: Manage All Your Social Media Accounts in One Place
The social media landscape is constantly changing, and there seems to always be a new “next big thing” hitting the streets, which means yet one more social media account to set up and manage.
Avoid the temptation to jump on every social media platform out there. Pick the ones that seem to work best for your particular area of law, and focus on those first. You can always add or get rid of marketing channels later on as you see fit.
For the social media accounts you do manage, Hootsuite is a great tool for handling all your accounts in one convenient place. You can even use it to schedule messages and tweets ahead of time.
To get started, go to http://hootsuite.com. Sign up with your Facebook account or create a completely new username and password.
You will be prompted to add your social media accounts after the initial login.
You can also add social networks later on by clicking the “+” symbol on your “streams” page and then selecting “+ Add Social Network.” Choose from Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Foursquare, and more.
Some networks provide various options – for instance, Facebook allows you to stream from a Facebook Page, Facebook Profile, or Facebook Group.
With the free account, you can manage up to five social profiles, which is enough for most attorneys. A paid plan gives access to 50 social profiles in one place for $8.99 a month.
After you set up an account and sign in, check out Hootsuite’s Quickstart Guide at any time to familiarize yourself with all the cool features of this site. Find it at https://help.hootsuite.com/entries/21626925-Quick-Start-Guide.
There is also a Hootsuite University with videos and courses on improving your social media campaigns.
Strategy #2: Set Up Automated Posting of Blog Articles to Social Media
Using Hootsuite’s free tools, you can also set up RSS feeds so that every time you upload a new post to your blog, an automated post goes out on Facebook, Twitter, or other designated social media accounts. This is a fantastic way to get more coverage without putting in extra work or remembering to visit your social media accounts later on.
Once the system is set up, articles can go viral without you lifting another finger.
Setting up automated social posting is much easier than you might imagine:
1. Go to your Hootsuite home page and hover over the horizontal strip of icons down the left side to open up the titles.
2. Select “settings” and then “RSS/Atom.”
3. Click the “+” symbol just below “RSS/Atom Feeds.”
4. In the box that says “Feed URL,” enter the URL for your blog’s RSS feed.
In most cases, the address is http://YOURWEBSITE.com/feed (replace “YOUR WEBSITE” with the URL for your site). You can double check by visiting the URL first. It should look something like this:
If this works, enter the URL where it reads “Feed URL.” If not, contact your webmaster.
5. Select the social profile you want articles automatically posted to. Note that you will need to set up a new RSS Feed for each social account.
6. Determine how often you want the feed checked for new posts, how many posts should go out at once, and any text you want included.
7. Save the feed.
Great, you are set! Check your social media accounts after your next blog post (wait the specified time frame first) and you should see something like this for your post:
Strategy #3: Create a “Research Feed”
Another big time-consumer when marketing online is staying current on all the various issues surrounding your field so that you can produce a steady stream of great articles and social posts. In this case, you might find the online solutions not only help you with your marketing campaigns but become a real asset in staying on top of your industry.
The two tools you will learn about today are:
1. Google Alerts
Using Google Alerts and Feedly, you can curate trending topics and relevant articles so that you can open up your computer and access organized, personalized research whenever needed, giving you plenty of interesting stuff to write or tweet about.
Set Up Google Alerts
1. Go to http://google.com/alerts.
2. Enter a search query for a topic you want to keep up on (consider not just the legalese but the problems and concerns of your readers).
3. Specify whether you want news, blogs, books, videos, or everything.
4. Enter the email address where you want alerts sent.
5. Click “Create Alert.”
Hot Tip: Consider creating a separate email just for these alerts to keep your primary inbox uncluttered. Then, when you are ready to write a blog post or want to share on social media, just log in to that account and see what the world is talking about.
Set Up a Feedly Stream
1. Go to http://Feedly.com.
2. Click “Get Started” to enter the site.
3. Search for the URL of a big blog you want to follow. You can also search by subject.
4. When you find a site you like, click “follow.”
5. You will be prompted to set up an account or sign in with Gmail.
6. Add more results by going to “Add Content” and searching for another URL, title, or topic.
7. Use categories to put all related sites in one convenient feed, and you can login to catch up with research whenever needed.
As always, spend some time clicking around to see exactly what Feedly can do.
Strategy #4: Repurpose Your Content
Creating great content takes time, and when running multiple online marketing campaigns, a lot is needed. But what if you could “recycle” your efforts?
You can. By learning to repurpose content, you can write an article once and then use that same piece for a wide range of marketing purposes.
As an example, a blog post for your attorney website can also be submitted to article directories online like http://ezinearticles.com. Include a resource box at the end of your article that links back to your website – webmasters with related sites will pick up your work and post it on their sites with your link intact.
Note: Don’t worry – as long as you post the article on your site first and wait for Google to index it, your site gets the SEO benefits.
Here is another example of the power of repurposing content. Take that same article material and rework it, possibly breaking it into chunks if you write long articles, and then load it into your email autoresponder, where it will be sent out in your automated email marketing sequence to your subscribers.
The fun doesn’t stop there. You could also save up these articles and eventually turn them into a book to publish on Amazon.
Or, you could turn articles into slide shows, PDF reports, or videos, which you could distribute across the web or use on your website to mix up your content.
Why not get as much coverage for your work as possible before moving on to the next topic? This is how smart, web-savvy lawyers reduce their time investment and turn one piece of content into an asset for their legal practice.
Strategy #5: Update Your Blog from Mobile Devices
The busiest lawyers spend quite a bit of time running around. If your website is built on WordPress (and it should be), updating your blog from mobile devices can easily allow you to post to or update your blog on the go.
This is extremely handy when you just want to make a quick, simple post or broadcast breaking news. It can help save face if you spot an embarrassing typo or factual error and want to jump in to set it straight. And access to your dashboard via mobile devices also allows you to monitor statistics from anywhere, so you know how your marketing campaigns are paying off.
Below are links to downloadable applications for iPad, iPhone, Android, Windows Phone, and other common mobile devices.
WordPress for iOS (iPhones and iPads):
Note: If your website is not build on WordPress software, check with your webmaster to learn your options.
Strategy #6: Outsource to Experts
Of course, you do not have to handle every aspect of online marketing on your own, and it may not be in your best interest to do so. One of the best ways to save a ton of time and energy is to hire professional help.
As an attorney, you make the bulk of your money billing clients. It may very well be best to put your focus there while paying an expert – someone who has made it their business to study strategies for using online tools to bring in a steady stream of high-quality leads.
By handing off SEO, social media, content marketing, and blog management to the experts, all you have to do is wait. Then get on the phone with these leads and land clients.
Putting in the Work Ahead of Time
Remember, it will take a bit of time to learn and set up each of the above tactics.
Try not to get frustrated with the learning process. Take the time to go through the Help documents and tutorials provided on the specific websites. Or watch some instructional videos to learn more about these strategies as time goes on.
This quick report is just meant to help familiarize you with what is possible. As you continue learning about the rich landscape of online marketing tools, aim to embrace the philosophy of constantly simplifying and streamlining your campaign management.