Legal Search Marketing – Building an Online Social Network

By Ian M. Bardorf

Most attorneys are fantastic natural networkers, connecting with current clients and prospects through colleagues, peers in other professions, trade and bar associations, and networking events. They know it’s a necessary part of generating leads and growing their practice.

Only a few attorneys have chosen to use this ability to attract and retain clients via the Internet. These early adopters are using Facebook, Twitter, Google Places, Avvo, Justia and other social media to gain a competitive advantage online. And they are reaping the benefits. Taking advantage of social media to build a network can help you improve online visibility, outrank your competition, get the most out of your digital assets, retain loyal customers, and generate leads efficiently and cost-effectively.

Improve online visibility.
The goal of an online social network is to allow you to use your arsenal of digital assets – online profiles, videos, blog posts, podcasts, and legal documents — to get as much visibility online as possible. By completing a profile on mainstream and legal social networks like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Places, Avvo, and Justia and optimizing properly you can dominate the search engine results pages and make it easier for potential clients to find you.

Outrank the competition.
When someone needs legal representation, the first place most turn is Google. They typically search by geographic location and practice specialty. For example, “Massachusetts real estate attorney.” If that describes your firm, terrific! If you’ve optimized your site properly, you’ll appear in the search engine results. But what about all the other attorneys who match those terms? They’ll be right there beside you, unless you can claim more of that critical first page. One way to do it is by creating content that Google can serve up like videos, online profiles, blog posts, or podcasts. You’ll be listed more frequently and bump your competition lower in the results. [Read more…]

Question – I’m getting a lot of spam email. How can I tell which ones are real?

Our email inboxes fill up quickly these days, often with unwanted junk mail, solicitations, ads and special offers. Although most email providers are working diligently to filter out this spam, some get through and it’s not always easy to identify a legitimate inquiry. Attorneys are especially prone to receiving this type of email.

Many of these spam emails are intended to get you to give them your email address (by replying) so they can spam you with other solicitations or for more elaborate schemes. For example, one scheme involves sending you a fake check for an agreed upon amount. The check arrives $1,000 too much and they request you wire or send a check for the overpayment.

Here are some strong signals, usually in combination, that can help you identify and filter out spam quickly:

1. Country of origin.
Emails from another country can be a sign of spam. Look at the address extension to see if it ends in .org, .com, .edu or .net, the four standard American extensions. If it ends in .co.uk (United Kingdom) or another country it may be spam.

2. Lack of specifics.
Using general terms like “Dear Counsel” in the greeting and “your jurisdiction” etc. show that they don’t know you and are fishing for more specifics. [Read more…]