Legal Search Marketing – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn for Attorneys? You Better Believe It!

The past few years have seen a dramatic increase in new web sites, directories, and social networks for attorneys. From LinkedIn to Avvo to Facebook to Twitter, it seems like there’s always a new opportunity to promote your business. Faced with finite budgets and resources, many wonder whether or not to implement these new tools at the expense of more time-tested tactics.

Happily it’s not an either/or situation – online marketing techniques can reinforce the effectiveness of relationship building, traditional networking, and lead generation. And as more consumers turn to the Internet, having a strong, complete online presence is more important than ever.

Consider these statistics:

•    Most people (97%) search online before making a purchase — anyone seeking an attorney will head to Google first (BIA/Kelsey).
•    66% of American use online local search, like Google local search, to locate local businesses (TMP/comScore/proprietary average).
•    54% of Americans prefer the Internet and local search to phone books (comScore networks).
•    When researching products or services in their local area, 90 percent of consumers use search engines, 48 percent use Internet Yellow Pages, and 42 percent use comparison shopping sites.
•    63% of social networkers are more likely to use a local business if the business has information available on a social networking site (Localeze/15miles). [Read more…]

Question – What is Google+ and do I need it?

Google+ (pronounced and sometimes written as Google Plus, sometimes abbreviated as G+) is one of the newest social networking sites. Launched as a test in June 2011, the site became available to all in September. The New York Times declared it Google’s attempt to rival Facebook, which has over 800 million users.

In January 2012, Google+ had surpassed 90 million users. However, these users are reportedly only spending 3.3 minutes a month on Google+ compared to Facebook users who spend 7.5 hours a month using Facebook.

Google+ integrates previous social services such as Google Profiles and Google Buzz and introduces new services such as the Stream, Circles, Hangouts and Games. Circles enable users to organize people into groups (Friends, Family, Acquaintances, Following) for sharing across various Google products like Gmail. Hangouts are used for group video chat. In the Stream, users see updates from those in their Circles.

I have trialed Google+ on a few attorney websites with mixed results. Although it offers more flexibility in terms of grouping contacts, both the attorney and his or her contacts need to be Google users to engage with the service. It’s a cool feature, but the verdict is still out whether it will have practical use for business development.