8 Ways to Meet Your Professional Goals Using Social Media

Kevin Nichols  All Articles

Law Technology News

March 15, 2012

No question about it, social media isn’t just an obsession for teenagers and geeks. It’s become a multibillion dollar customer service industry, as companies shift resources to create social media sites to interact with their customers. For lawyers and other legal professionals, deciding which sites you should join or avoid can be overwhelming.

Here are eight ways to use social media to help you reach your professional goals:

1. Develop your personal brand. What are you trying to communicate with your profile? Carefully consider the keywords you want to project: such as integrity, innovative, detail-oriented, accessible, hard working. Keep your our target market/audience in mind. Create a consistent message with professional photographs as your profile avatars. For example, if you work at a mainstream megafirm, you probably want to project an image as a conservatively dressed, reserved individual; if you work at Google, your colleagues would start laughing if you dressed that way.

2. Treat Twitter like a mini-press release. Social media novices may not fully understand all of the ins and outs of LinkedIn and Facebook, but generally “get it” when it comes to their purpose and target market. However, many people do not understand Twitter‘s functions or purposes. Most people do not know that every tweet is archived at the Library of Congress and is a permanent record of our generation.

When you “tweet,” you share up to 140 charters of text that can include links to websites, blogs, pictures, or video, with the entire world … literally. This can be an enormous marketing tool because the reach of a “tweet” is limitless, yet, there can be serious consequences when not done appropriately. For example, CNN News analyst Roland Martin recently was suspended for tweeting comments about David Beckham in an H&M commercial during the Super Bowl. Be mindful not to dilute your brand.

3. Knowledge is power. At least once a month, search your name in all major search engines, to know how the world sees you. Visit Google, Yahoo, and Bing and type your name in quotation marks to see what is out there.

Some people have such major concerns with security and privacy online that they choose not to participate on social media sites. Yet, they are often dumbfounded when they Google themselves to see the preponderance of inaccurate data about themselves online.

It’s better to control (as much as possible) your own information — offer a post office box for your address. Use a Google Voice telephone number — you can block foreign numbers and control various settings, rather than having various sites try to piecemeal or fabricate your personal information for you without your consent. Protect your brand. Sometimes you may have to send cease-and-desist letters to websites that are unlawfully using your written materials or intellectual property.

4. Check your reach. Naymz.com and Klout.com both help you add your profiles from major sites to rate your social media reach and amplification. Translation: When you update your status or send a tweet, they will track how many people “like” it, comment on it, share it, or “retweet” it to their networks. The wider your message is amplified, the greater your score. Compare your score to other members to see where you rank. These sites offer tips on how to expand your reach, with the goal being that your message resonates well with your target audience.

5. SEO rewards fresh new content. Search engine optimization helps your target audience find your website, profiles, and blogs. Although companies can buy words for advertising so that their sites appear on the first page of search engine results, adding keywords multiple times on your sites can increase the likelihood that your site will appear as a top result as well. Moreover, various search engine algorithms reward newer content to appear higher in results than static or old sites. This helps your target audience get exposed to your professional brand while they are looking for your products and services.

6. Automate and/or make updating your status easy. One of the most powerful social media tools is the “status update.” This is the broadcast message reintroducing your brand to your target audience on a frequent basis. There are various websites that allow you to update all of your social media sites, simultaneously, such as Hellotxt.com, TweetDeck, PingFm, and HootSuite. Some provide tracking and useful analytics, however, there are web address shortening sites such as bitly, that shrink very long URLs to eight to 10 characters and provide robust analytics of who is talking about and reading your information. This helps individuals who are concerned about their return on investment track results. For example, lawyers can share relevant articles, or case decisions.

7. Show off your expertise. Carefully choose sites where you can demonstrate your knowledge. For example, both Quora and LinkedIn Answers are vehicles where attorneys can answer basic questions, yet lawyers must exercise caution and carefully follow their jurisdictions’ ethical rules to avoid the appearance of an attorney/client relationship when they comment.

JD Supra has massive distribution channels consisting of thousands of Facebook and Twitter “followers” of various legal practices — such as mergers and acquisitions, or labor and employment litigation. When you post an article or pleading, it is disseminated to the masses with a link to the document on your profile. Subscribers receive these updates and can share them with others — a good way to get your name in front of possible clients.

8. Communicate consistently with your target audience. Many lawyers and firms use “client alerts” or email newsletters to educate current and potential clients. Constant Contact and Mail Chimp are examples of tools that help you send communications to large distribution lists. (However, you must be mindful of the federal and state laws regarding how to add people to your distribution lists.) Incorporate video (from YouTube , Vimeo, Knoodle, or other venues).

Social media is constantly evolving; dedicate time to keep current so that you can fully exploit its opportunities and stay aware of its risks.

Kevin L. Nichols is the principal of KLN Consulting Group located in San Francisco. Email: kevin@klnconsultinggroup.com.

Knoodle’s Presentation Software Helps Law Firms Develop Business and Cut Costs

By: Kevin L. Nichols, Principal, KLN Consulting Group (June 15, 2011, pages 70-71,  KNOW Magazine for Paralegals)

The landscape of generating new business for law firms has drastically changed over the last 2-3 years.  Arguably, “the billable hour” is on life support and Alternative Fee Agreements (“AFA”) are revolutionizing the industry.  Lawyers need to find new ways to develop business while teetering on the line of violating the self promotion and direct marketing rules governed by the American Bar Association (“ABA”).  Thus, firms are turning to technology to solve this problem by allowing potential clients to find them via social media, search engine optimization (SEO), and other “tech” methods.  Knoodle has an inexpensive tool that can help as well.

 

Knoodle is a “cloud based” (hosted) tool that allows novice users the ability to synchronize audio and/or video files with PowerPoint presentations in a dual-panel display in a matter of minutes.  The presentation can be saved and viewed in a branded learning environment on the Knoodle platform simply by sharing a link to it or exported as a Portable Presentation (standard movie file) that can be viewed on mobile devices, emailed, embedded in a website or blog, or uploaded via social networking sites such as Facebook and YouTube.

 

Many of Knoodle’s clients use the tool to create an online classroom/training learning environment, where users can add downloadable PDFs, documents or hyperlinks and chat live with the presenter and other participants.  Moreover, it allows users to make comments and other annotations to the presentations.  Some universities use Knoodle to teach online classes; however, the legal industry could benefit by taking its power a step further.  Here’s how:

 

Utilizing MCLE Presentations for Business Development Purposes

 

Attorneys are regularly asked to give presentations on an array of topics for MCLE credits to non-profit organizations, professional organizations, clinics, corporate counsel, clients, and potential clients.  Rarely do they use these presentations after they have been completed and seldom are they used for business development purposes or future training.  What if law firms videotaped these presentations, synchronized the slides, and invited current and prospective clients to view them?  What if they made them available for other lawyers in need of MCLE credit and were willing to download the presentation for a fee?  If the presentations were embedded on the firm’s blog with appropriate SEO and potential clients looking for the best employment litigators specializing in the fur trade industry found the firm’s page because it was first on Google’s search results?  LinkedIn recently announced that it reached 100 million users so one can imagine how many people can see one of your firm’s presentations by sharing the link to it within groups or via the firm’s status update.  Capturing this information could be very useful in developing a brand for your firm without directly marketing it.  Moreover, Knoodle provides law firms and vendors the opportunity to “pre-record” webinars to insure the quality of the content and spend more time focusing on the real-time online chat features of WebEx and GoToMeetings.  Knoodle has an audio dubbing feature that you can record the presenter talking over each slide in a controlled environment and the presenter can avoid answering difficult questions that he/she may not otherwise be prepared to answer on the spot.

 

Firms can also use Knoodle for “sales pitches” when they are responding to a Request For Proposal (“RFP”) from a potential client.  Inexpensive high definition cameras, such as Flip cameras, are easy to use and can produce good quality video.  That, coupled with a charismatic presenter, can distinguish one firm from the rest.  This would most likely be in concert with an in-person meeting.

 

Using Knoodle for New Hire and/or Internal MCLE Trainings

Firms can also save time and money by requiring new hires to attend prerecorded presentations prepared by your employment counsel.  The classes can have an online exam at the end of the presentation and Knoodle can provide the test results and other analytics to confirm that the employee passed or failed.  Further, Knoodle can be used to create libraries of MCLEs that attorneys can share with multiple offices and have tests to insure that the participants digested the material appropriately.

 

Knoodle’s pricing model is very cost-effective and offers competitive plans for high volume users.  Most clients can expect to pay around $1 per viewing hour per month – for example, controlled learning environment of 10 viewers each watching an hour presentation would cost the firm $10 per month.  One can easily imagine how revenue can be generated over the minimal costs of utilizing such a tool.  Knoodle is a cost effective, user-friendly tool that anyone can use to create and maintain a brand, and the legal industry could benefit greatly by harnessing its power.  For more information and to sign up for a free trial, please visit http://www.knoodle.com.

 

 

Kevin L. Nichols is the Principal of KLN Consulting Group located in San Francisco.  For more information, please visit http://www.klnconsultinggroup.com.