In today’s ever-changing technological age, it can be overwhelming trying to keep up with current trends. Only a few short years ago, almost nobody knew what Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter were, and even fewer could have predicted the astronomical rise of these social networking sites. People have varying opinions on the phenomenon, but there is no arguing with the fact that it appears social media is here to stay and modern businesses must jump on board or they will be left behind.
There are literally hundreds of established and emerging social media sites out there, and it is easy to get caught up in the hurricane of popular trends. Many sites will be enormously trendy for a few months and then vanish as quickly as they appeared. Besides that, a majority of these social networking sites are geared towards individuals and a very young demographic. Therefore, there are only 4 major platforms that your business needs to be familiar with: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and/or Google+.
Although traditionally considered a social networking site, there’s been a tremendous surge in utilizing Facebook for business over the past few years. In fact, the majority of corporations and small businesses are now present on Facebook. The approach to branding your law firm will be radically different than traditional marketing practices, as it is a sensitive arena where people don’t appreciate cold sales and aggressive tactics. On the contrary, FB is more of an avenue to introduce your firm and interact with clients on a personal level.
Nowadays, it is becoming imperative that you employ Facebook to further your business. Besides reinforcing your firm's web presence, you can add subscribers to your newsletter, gather helpful reviews and commentary on your firm, post fresh "blog" type content and much more. A very helpful list of ways you can use Facebook can be found at How to Use Facebook for Business Marketing.
Setting Up Your Facebook Business Page:
Once your law firm decides to dive into the world of Facebook, there are a few basics you need to be aware of. There are three main types of profiles:
Individual – for people looking for friends and personal connections.
Groups – for people who enjoy shared interests, activities and more.
Business Pages – for people who want to create dedicated pages for businesses, products, brands, etc.
Your firm will want to set up a Business Page. It is a simple process. You will first need to create a personal Facebook account. Then select www.facebook.com/pages to set up your business page. There, you will receive a prompt to "Create Page" and there are easy instructions to upload your logo, fill out a Profile description, add your website URL, photos and more.
Generally, Facebook will randomly assign you a number for your Facebook page URL. However, it also offers the option of choosing a customized username instead, which is another excellent opportunity to market your law firm and get your business name out there with a personalized, shorter, more memorable page link URL.
To create a Facebook Vanity URL, you must meet the following requirements:
Your FB page must have at least 25 fans.
Usernames may only contain alphanumeric characters (A-Z, 0-9) or periods (.) and must include at least one letter.
You may not transfer or edit your username.
Certain generic words are not permitted in your username.
You may only have one username per page.
If you have a trademarked name and discover that someone else is using it, you may inform Facebook.
Arguably the fastest-growing and trendiest platform in the history of the Web is Twitter. Catering to the young and fast generation, a "tweet" is a status update that must fall under 144 characters. The result is terabytes of information on any topic imaginable every minute worldwide. Although overwhelming and intimidating at first, Twitter can be a very useful tool for a lawyer. By following the targeted keywords for your practice, such as "family law", "personal injury news", "torts", etc., you can keep up with developments in the legal world in real-time. Different software is being developed almost daily to corral the Twitter world into a controlled environment, with programs such as Tweet Deck. By compiling search results with exact phrases and hashtags (#), your firm can eliminate irrelevant information and focus on related topics.
Setting Up Your Twitter Account:
Twitter is extremely simple to setup; just head to Twitter and click on SignUp. The only catch is your username must be 15 characters or less, so you may have to get a little creative. Once you set up your Twitter account, you can search your email accounts to add friends or browse related fields to choose who to "follow". From there, it’s very simple to tweet; you just type in your brief update or random thought at the prompt.
The most professional and business-oriented social networking site is LinkedIn. Respected among CEOs, recruiters, executives, and other professionals, LinkedIn’s sole use is as a workplace tool. Here, you won’t find online games, photos of people at parties, or other occurrences you would see on the other social sites.
If you were to choose only one of the big 3 business networking sites, it should be LinkedIn. Most major companies and businesses can be found here, and it is an extremely helpful networking system. You can write recommendations of co-workers and colleagues, join groups in related fields or industries, post your resume for review and more. Deals are brokered and connections are made every day on LinkedIn and it is quickly becoming an invaluable resource for the professional.
Setting Up Your Linkedin Account:
It is also very simple to sign up for your LinkedIn account. Simply click on SignUp, and fill in your personal info and upload a photo and/or logo of your firm. Then, you will simply need to find colleagues through email, and they will even suggest possible connections to expand your network.