Last week I wrote (another) anti-social media piece – Cute Kittens do NOT Generate Lawyer Business and received a disagreeing comment from Howard Iken. Howard’s comment included the following quip: “social media is icing on an already well-done cake. But just like icing, the social media marketing should be a small part of the meal.” Love it. Couldn’t agree more. So I invited Howard to post an intelligent longer counterpoint to my overriding antipathy towards social media marketing amongst the legal field….
Conrad – I love your blog and normally agree with your opinions. But I felt obligated to weigh in here because I firmly disagree. I think there is a place for social media in any healthy campaign. But first, here is where I agree with you – the vast majority of legal social media effort is a complete and total waste of time and money. If you do not do it with purpose and knowledge you might as well stop right now.
I think the problems we attorneys face are the following:
- Consultants are always taking advantage of us. That is a nice way of saying we are being constantly scammed! And consultants love touting social media.
- Social media sounds sexy, and cutting edge. Just saying that phrase is awfully hard to resist.
- Everyone successful is doing it! As least that is what you are told.
- 79% of online-Americans use Facebook. A huge untapped audience is waiting!
Here is where I disagree with you. My two cents: natural SEO is king but should always be accompanied by an appropriate amount of social media efforts. You should also include a certain amount of pay per click. If online marketing were reduced to a delicious slice of cake, the most satisfying slice would look something like this:
* Social media should be the icing on the cake. Never in huge amounts, and never the bulk of your effort. The overwhelming bulk of your effort should be in natural search.
Here is the part where I agree with you. If your efforts at social media completely and totally stink you should immediately hang it up and concentrate on more productive directions.
Signs your social media efforts stink:
- You write the usual legal drivel and expect the placement of FB like buttons to encourage people to share your drivel. Your drivel is boring to read and is even more boring to share.
- Your FB, Twitter, or LinkedIn posts consist of random article sharing from the internet. Why expect anything good from driving people to sites other than yours?
- Your posts consist of funny, cool, or snarky comments that will be forgotten about 9 seconds after someone reads them. Sure – all you need is a second of someone’s attention to get a Like. That like will get you another 8 seconds of continued attention before fading into oblivion.
- Your posts consist of quick headlines or reposts that lead your readers to pages and pages of legal drivel. Similar to my first point. I consider myself a decent writer but I rarely enjoy reading my own articles !
- The most-stinky social media posts of all – an endless series of posts and tweets announcing to your non-existent audience that you are an attorney and open for business.
Proper uses of social media (in my own humble opinion)
- Drive people to your website
- Drive people to your website (did I mention that twice?)
- Lure people in to the best-damned writing and subject matter you can conceive of. People do not seek out legal drivel but you can offer them compelling stories.
- Specifically target demographics that are more likely to click through and more likely to share your content with potential clients. Yes – this can be done effectively.
- Give your SEO cake a nice, elegant icing that looks interesting to potential clients. Looking cool is not the end goal but it is always great if you look cool to the clients you are already targeting.
- Notice I call social media the icing on the cake. It should never be too thick. It should never overwhelm the actual cake.
- Throw in PPC (pay per click) decorations on your cake. That is whole separate subject. But it is a subject that also applies to social media.
Conrad – I have watched you conspicuously call out a lot of people selling SEO snake oil. I love seeing someone like you call BS when you see it. You have great opinions and impressive SEO chops. But I have to call it like I see it. You are wrong on this one. Social media does have its place in the search marketing arsenal. Properly done social media is always a help to the overall online effort.
Howard Iken, Esq. Managing Partner, Ayo and Iken, Florida.