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.

Maximize your digital assets.
Having a social network means that any updates you make to your website will travel to all the other points in your network. A single post can be repurposed as a Facebook status update, a tweet, a LinkedIn message, and more. By reusing content and sharing it throughout your network, you’re making the most of your initial investment and creating more opportunities for prospects to find and reach you.

Retain loyal customers.
Prospects aren’t the only ones looking for attorneys online. The best source of business is your current clients, who may have legal needs you’re not aware of. Connecting with these clients online reinforces your expertise and makes them aware of your complete range of services. They’ll be more likely to return with future issues and refer you to family, friends and colleagues.

Generate leads.
A social network will position you in all the places that prospects are online, help your website appear higher in the search engine results, and outrank competing attorneys in your area. This consistently strong online presence will build awareness of your expertise, generate traffic to your website, and create a flow of inquiries that will grow your business.

While the barriers to entry are low, launching a successful social network requires strategy, tools and experience, not to mention integration with other elements of marketing. For assistance with building your social network, contact Ian Bardorf  at

Ian M. Bardorf is an Internet marketing and social media advisor to attorneys and law firms seeking to grow and advance their business via the web. This article is copyrighted as original content by Ian M. Bardorf and Bardorf Legal Marketing. This article may be reproduced or republished with appropriate attribution and credit.