New Year, New Blogging Philosophy

Jerry Work here. Wow, I have done a lousy job of updating this blog. Work Media is doing well, but as a consequence I have dropped the ball on our own blogging and social media. How are you doing with it? Are you updating your blog three times per week? Are you logging into LinkedIn at least once per week to post on some group boards and do connection requests?

No?

Then maybe you need to adopt a new philosophy. Let’s do it together. Repeat after me:

I will find 30 minutes every day to devote to blogging or social media.

That’s it! Two or three days per week, spend that time typing out a blog post. It doesn’t have to be grand. It doesn’t have to teach a lesson. All you have to do is record your thoughts. If you have come upon some interesting links that you think your readers would appreciate, then post them. Just write something!

The other days, log into LinkedIn, do a couple of connection requests, then check out the groups you belong to and post a couple of comments.

If you want to ramp things up a bit without spending any more time on it, add in some automation. Set up a Twitter account and then use an RSS news feed to automatically post news links to it. Use Ping.fm to update multiple blogs at once.

Whatever you have to do, in 2010, find that thirty minutes EVERY day to do social media marketing for your law firm. Or find someone else who has thirty minutes free (and who you think is competent) and have him or her do it. Or do it yourself early in the morning before you go to work.

Just get it done!

Building the Ultimate Social Media Tool for Lawyers

We are working on development of a proprietary Twitter management application that will combine many of the best features of the applications we use now to manage our Twitter accounts. This program will also become the basis of another version created specifically for the legal industry. It seems many lawyers are having a hard time with this social media stuff, and they need a tool to guide them, tell them exactly what to do, and take much of the work off their shoulders. That is exactly what our program will do.

If you are in charge of marketing for a law firm, we would love to hear from you about what kind of tool you need to take advantage of social media. Do you want something to update Facebook? Do you just want something that makes it easy to find groups on social media sites? What would be your ultimate tool?

Email me at jwork@workmedia.net.

Sorry for the lack of updates lately. I’ve spent most of my blogging time (of which I have very little) maintaining our newest blog, www.theTwitterMarketingBlog.com, so every other blog we manage, including our main Internet marketing blog at WorkMedia.net, has gotten the shaft. Actually, most of my spare time (is there really such a thing?) has been soaked up on the Twitter development mentioned above, so even the Twitter blog has not gotten too much love.

Integrating Twitter into Your Law Firm Web Site

In a blog post I recently wrote, I talked about how important it is to integrate your legal marketing efforts; blog to web site, offline to online, etc. Everything should fit together. I think one important strategy is using RSS to stream your blog content into the static pages of your web site. Sometimes it can be tricky to work out the code to make it happen, but it’s a beautiful effect when your entire web site gets updated every time you make a new blog post. This can be especially helpful for law firms, since the business lends itself to content creation and blogging.

While Twitter is a fairly new concept to me personally, I am warming up to it and am exploring the idea of using streaming Twitter content to update web pages as you would blog content. While the code for streaming blog content can be tricky, Twitter makes it fairly simple. The first step is to log onto Twitter and then look at the bottom menu, where you will click the Apps link. Then click the Widgets link and select the type appropriate for your site. From here you can create an HTML widget or a Flash-based widget. Since the goal of this experiment is to have the text streamed to your web site, I feel like the HTML widget makes more sense. When using the Flash widget, you also have a greater chance of excluding some users from seeing the content if they do not have the correct version of Flash.

Next, you can just copy and past the supplied code into the pages of your web site. If your site uses include files, then you can easily stream your Twitter data throughout your site by including the widget code in an include file. On www.law-firm-internet-marketing.net, for example, the following include file wraps up the side menu:

#include virtual=”leftside.asp”

By doing this, it enables you to change one file to update your entire site, instead of having to manually update every single page.

You may need to do some in-line CSS styling if the widget does not look quite right. As an example, I was not happy with the look of the bulleted lists of posts after I installed the widget, so I used the following style to depress the bullet point: style=”list-style-type:none;”.

There are other Twitter apps that I will talk about in later blog posts, but I advise you to take a look at the Twitter widget for the purpose of integrating Twitter content into your mainstream law firm Web content.

Need some help with integrating your social networking with your other online marketing? Contact Work Media at 888-299-4837 or email Info@WorkMedia.net.

What to Do with that Business Card You Just Got at a Networking Event

Here is a networking strategy that I like because it combines your real world networking with your online networking. When you receive a business card from another person in a networking or other type of event, as soon as you are at your computer, search for him or her on Facebook and LinkedIn. If that is the case, send a friend or contact request (depending on the site). It won’t take your new networking connection long to forget you. Someone you meet today may not remember who you are two weeks from now. But if you get them on your friends or contacts list, then you can make sure the person never forgets you.

Once you have found your real world prospect’s social networking profiles and added him to your list, a good next step is to join groups that the person belongs to. Post responses to group messages, and post your own information when relevant. You want your name to appear often in summaries of group activity. This will keep your name not only in front of you new prospect but also other members of the groups.

Make sure you are active enough on the particular social networking site for your name to appear on updates. In LinkedIn, for example, if you just make a minor change to your profile, your name will appear in the updates that are emailed to members who are part of your network.

Just think of your online connections as a pool of people to whom you can expose your brand and your message. The bigger that pool, the more opportunities will arise from your online marketing. One good way to do this is to make sure that you add people you meet in the offline world to your online pool.

Here are a couple more sites to check out for legal marketing advice:
www.law-firm-internet-marketing.net
lawfirminternetmarketing.ning.com
workmedia.net

Twitter: Keep it Interesting!

After many months, I have updated my Twitter profile and uploaded an image of myself. I am no longer a brown squiggly. I will now post a minimum of one Twitter post a day (hopefully more if I can find the discipline). I feel good about this new initiative, although I’m going to have to give myself some visual reminders to post.

Are you on the Twitter yet? You may feel like sitting around typing little snippets about your life is a waste of time. And justifiably so. But here’s the lowdown. Twitter really can help you build up an online network of people who are interested in what you have to say; who can influence events in your life. It has a real world business purpose.

So start today. Sign up for an account. Add a custom background. Modify your profile. Replace the bland brown icon with a picture of yourself. Give people something to look at.

Your Twitter posts should: contain relevant keywords; be industry specific; and be interesting to read. Being funny sometimes ain’t a bad idea either. People need to enjoy reading your posts.

I’m a professional search engine marketer, but I’m a newbie at using Twitter. As I learn things, I will share them with you here. But I guess one thing I do know at this point is that you’ve got to make things interesting!

If you would like to check out my Twitter profile, my URL is: http://twitter.com/jwork

Also check out The Law Firm Internet Marketing Book, available on Amazon.com, to learn how to build and execute an aggressive online marketing campaign for your law firm’s web site.

Law Firm Marketing with Ning

We’ve started playing around with Ning, which is a very interesting concept. It’s basically a social networking site that allows users to set up their own social networking sites. So we set up one specifically for law firm Internet marketing:

http://lawfirminternetmarketing.ning.com/

I also joined another group on Ning:

http://lawmarketing.ning.com

Ning is the type of site that Google loves, so it would behoove you to set one up for yourself. For instance, let’s say you practice divorce law in St. Louis. Why not set up a St. Louis divorce Ning site? It would be another way for people to communicate with you and learn some things about divorce law. And of course, as the creator of the site, you could pepper it with links back to your site and place your marketing message prominently on the site. You may even find that your Ning site ranks higher than your own main web site, but that’s just fine.

The site has lots of interesting features that you can add to your own site: forums, blogs, videos, images, etc., all of which get added to the main menu. It really does let you create some powerful, interactive sites.

I invite everyone reading this to come join us on our law firm Internet marketing Ning site. You just might learn something…and you don’t even have to pay us!