John McDougall: Hi. I’m John McDougall. I’m here today with Liz Boehm. She’s the Senior Marketing and Business Development Manager at Benesch. Hi, Liz.
Liz Boehm: Hi. How are you?
Positives and Negatives of Social Media for Attorneys
John McDougall: Really good! So today, we’re going to talk a little bit in part 2 on “Law Firm Content Social Media and Blogging for Trust and Rankings.” And so, how important is social media for increasing trust for attorneys? At the very least, is it a negative when you click on social media icons and they reveal almost no followers on Facebook and Twitter, et cetera?
Liz Boehm: Yes. So, I’d be happy to talk a little bit about this. I personally think that having a strong presence on social media can do really great things for a law firm. I think that it can be used for a lot of different reasons.
But especially, it can be used to reinforce who your firm is, the things that you stand for. It can be used to leverage your thought leadership. It can be used to have an avenue to really talk about the things you’re doing in the community.
And so, for example, here at Benesch, some of the things that we’re doing is we usually stick to three main avenues for our social media, which are Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. We have worked over the past, probably two years, to really build up our presence on those three.
We use them all a little bit differently. We use Facebook for a lot of sharing fun things that we’re doing here at the firm. So for example, last week, we had internal events that we all wore rock and roll t-shirts for.
John McDougall: Nice [chuckles].
Liz Boehm: So, we took a picture of all those in our t-shirt and holding up signs that say, “Cleveland rocks.” Just fun stuff like that, that we have going on at the firm as well as we like to use it to talk about events that we have that are coming up and create a buzz on Facebook by tagging the organizations that were working with those events on.
We use it to talk about awards that our staff wins for client service, awards that our attorneys win in the community. We talk about various things that we’re sponsoring. We do a little bit of thought leadership on there. But it’s very limited because we’re using Facebook boards and avenue to make a face for who are firm is, rather than so much to put out like educational content.
And so, we use Twitter then for all of that educational content. And so, all of our client awards and bulletins, and things we’re sending out about maybe new laws that have been passed, things that our clients need to be aware of.
And again, we talk about events that we have coming up and things that we want to invite our clients and friends of the firm to come to. We use Twitter for all of those types of things. And so then, LinkedIn is kind of a combination of the two as well as we use it a lot for recruiting efforts.
So, whenever we have new jobs posted on our website, we post something on LinkedIn and link back to the website about those positions. So, using those three avenues, we’ve built up quite a good following on social media. I think between the three, we probably roughly doubled our presence in the past year or so.
John McDougall: Nice!
Liz Boehm: We’ve gone a lot of interaction, be it from organizations that we’re partnering with on a sponsorship, people as referral sources who maybe we’re speaking at an event with, what not.
They’re helping us share, and like, and commenting on our comments and that kind of thing. So, we’ve built as presence for ourselves. And that kind of goes to the second part of your question, which is “Is it bad if a prospective client clicks on your social media icon and they see that it hasn’t been updated in months, or there’s nothing there.
I personally think that it’s one of the worst things that you could do. I know that it’s hard to keep up with your content sometimes on social media, and maybe it’s not always your main responsibility for that day, or what not. And it’s sometimes hard to make the time to keep your post current, but I try to stick with the mindset of you’re trying to post at least one thing a day as long as it — is relevant and something that we want to share.
And if not every day, at least, I figure to a week. Just so we make sure that we don’t ever get to that point that our content is stale because I think the last thing that we would want is for — if a prospective client — if we came up in a Google search and it was something on our Facebook page maybe. And they go there. And they see that we haven’t posted anything in nine months. I just think that sends the wrong message. And so, maybe we’re not a very involved firm. Maybe, we’re not doing a lot of good things here, and our attorneys aren’t involved in the community here or what not. So, I think it’s really important to keep content fresh and up-to-date.
John McDougall: That sounds like a good strategy and a realistic one to keep it at least reasonably active. And then, you can dive in more when you have time. But, yes, I think for the people that aren’t going to keep it even minimally active. Like you said, maybe once or twice a week is enough, where people click on your social icons, and you look alive within reason. But, yes, if you’re not going to keep it up at all you might as well just leave them off until you’re ready.
Liz Boehm: Yes. And maybe even if it’s a matter of — Maybe it’s too much to have three or four different things going on. So maybe, you want to just focus on Facebook. Or maybe, you just want to have a Twitter feed. And that’s kind of a processes thing. Maybe, we’ll have a lot of educational content, like tons of alerts going out. So maybe, we should just use Twitter because people really want to hear the latest thing happening and news and that kind of thing.
And so, Twitter is perfect if you have a lot of that kind of content. And maybe if you don’t, maybe you have great things going on at your office that you’d be happy to share with the world. And so, maybe you want to do Facebook into that. So, I think it’s looking out what kind of content you have that will help you determine where the best avenue for you is. It could be different for every firm.
John McDougall: Yes. That makes sense. I saw a story by Copyblogger recently came in from my RSS feed, that Copyblogger is a website, that I follow, that focuses on helping people write better -better blogging, et cetera.
They said they recently killed their Facebook page. They’re a big site, a huge, one of the top writing websites on the internet about content marketing and blogging. They gave this whole explanation of why they were willing to kill a Facebook page with tens of thousands of followers.
But they said it’s just the reach was negligible at this point. It just didn’t match exactly, back to what your point was. The way that they saw their engagement happening in social was better on the other platform. So, they said, “We’re putting so much time into Facebook for minimal results.” At least for them and that’s not going to be the case for everyone. At least for that firm, they found that just recently killing Facebook gave them more time to do a better job on the other one.
So, yes, it’s case by case. It depends on the firm, on the type of company. But, yes, don’t be afraid to scale a pack and do a good job on one or two rather than feel like you have to just do it because everyone’s doing all of them.
Liz Boehm: Yes. I absolutely agree.
Website Content and Gaining Trust
John McDougall: Yes. And so, in terms of content marketing, do you feel that attorneys can gain trust by giving of their knowledge through website content?
Liz Boehm: I do. I don’t think necessarily that them creating content is going to be maybe the primary reason that they get new business. Maybe, in some cases, that could. But what I think that it does is exactly, as you said, it creates that trust for the client or prospective client that the person knows what they’re talking about, right?
So, if they say that they’re an expert in Labor and Employment Law, it’s their producing original writing that backs up what is on their bio that matches what it is that they are saying the say now. I think that it does build up trust within the people that they’re working with, that they really are a thought leader in this. They’re leading the pack, and paving the way, and how businesses should be handling these issues. So, I do think it’s very important, and it can help attorneys gain a lot of traction in their practices to produce that type of content.
John McDougall: What about video content? If a picture is worth a thousand words and researches indicate that 70% or over 70% of what we communicate is through our tone and body language, not just through our words. doesn’t that make images, audio, and video in an incredibly important part of influencing website visitors?
Liz Boehm: Yes. I think video can be very important and can be really influential in a whole different way. And because, like you said, it does. It gives an actual vision of who this person is, even more than just a head shot on a bio or what not, actually, it’s seeing how they speak, and how they interact, and how they deliver a message.
So we as a firm, we do have a YouTube channel and we produce — We call them “Benesch B-Cast.” They’re just short, like three- to five-minute video interview. It’s where one of our partners will interview another one of our attorneys on a hot-button issue.
And it will just be kind of a — “What are the key takeaways on this topic?” sort of interview. But I think that those types of things help to really add personality to an attorney and his or her practice. And it gives the person a feel for who you are and your personality. They can look at that and gauge whether or not, and hopefully it’s whether you are someone that they want to work with.
Content Marketing and Thought Leadership in Blogging
John McDougall: Yes, exactly. What about thought leadership in blogging? How much does that matter if you’re a B2B firm versus B2C consumer attorneys? Do you feel content marketing, in general, is better for one of the other?
Liz Boehm: I guess my instinct is that it’s probably equally important for both. It’s just a little bit different of an approach. Our content marketing and blogging is probably a little bit more focused on, I guess, the overall laws and the bigger picture going on. Whereas, I would think that law firms focusing on marketing to particular consumers as opposed to businesses may be a little bit more personal.
And talking more and like the first person on their blog. And then, their content marketing. But I think the ultimate purpose will be the same for both, which is just to demonstrate to people who are out, probably around on the web, that you have a strong background in these areas, and that the content that you’re putting out says to them that you are someone that knows what you’re doing when it comes to these matters.
John McDougall: Because of your job title where — Senior Marketing and also Business Development Manager, I’m curious – your thoughts in a business development way. So, do you instruct your attorneys? Do they do this where say, they write a blog post, or they do a YouTube video? Do they then share that when they’re reaching out to prospects as they’re sort of a one-to-one email way to share it, not just on the social, not just the search engines are picking upon it. How do you think you can extend that content in your sales processes? Any tips on that?
Liz Boehm: Yes, several things. So, we encourage our attorneys to do a lot of sharing through our firm’s platform. So, if we post say, a client alert on our LinkedIn company page, then we will let the attorneys, who are maybe in that practice area, who knew we were putting out these client alert will say, “The alert is up on the LinkedIn page. So, feel free to go in and share it with your contacts.”
So, we try to be thoughtful and encouraging the attorneys to use the content that’s already out there. And it’s really easy for them to just hit the button and share. We think that, that way, it gets that part of that content to — on our certain followers, there are may be 100 people that might find that interesting.
But there’s a good chance that ‘Joe Smith’ is an employment attorney that many of these followers will find that very interesting, and those are the people that we really want to see it. So, we’re always trying to get them to use the content we’re already producing to get in front of their own audience.
And then, also when we send out an email blast or what not, we will send that around to the whole firm, so they know that it’s went out to whatever mailing list. And then, we encourage them to send that along with a personal note to any of their individual contacts who might be interested.
And I think a lot of times. People will pay a little more attention if they get that personal note saying, “Hey! I thought of you when I saw this. I just want you to be aware of this. You can call me if you have any questions.” I think that’s more meaningful in many ways than just getting an email blast.
John McDougall: Yes. Yes. You’re leading with being helpful as opposed to leading with asking for business.
Liz Boehm: Sure.
John McDougall: There’s a book, Gary Vaynerchuk, a social media guru wrote it. I haven’t read it yet: “Jab, Jab, Jab Right Hook.” So the idea is give, give, give. And then, you can ask for a sale maybe. But most of the time, in marketing these days, you want to be giving away good, helpful information.
Liz Boehm: Absolutely.
Practice Areas and Online Results
John McDougall: What are some of the practice areas that you guys are focused on with internet, in general, or everything? Are there certain ones that seem to do better online?
Liz Boehm: I guess it’s just a little bit of everything. This year, we’ve done a lot around data privacy and security. It’s just as you are aware. It’s just such a hot issue and so often talked about. And so, we’ve done a lot this year with content marketing around that area within the firm. And so, we’ve been doing a lot of speaking and writing and various things. But a lot of our online efforts have then been focused on it too. And of course, led itself well to being talked about online.
And so, we’ve done well in that area this year. For instance, like on Twitter, if we share an alert on a data breach issue, it often gets picked up really well because that’s such a hot search term on Twitter anyway. So, that’s been a widely-talked about issue this year.
And then, we actually just did a labor video and alert on Ebola and concerns for employers, like how should you handle if you have an employee who’s exposed to Ebola and what are the things you can or cannot do in the workplace, that kind of thing. So we had some good traction with that too when we recently — just because it — But of course, it widely talks about matter like —
John McDougall: Oh, yes, big time.
Liz Boehm: So, I would say rather than maybe focusing so much on a specific practice area, like rather than focusing on health care in general, we’ll try to find the really hot issues at hand or the things that our clients really are most concerned about and talk about those more narrowly defined issues in a specific group.
John McDougall: Yes. It sounds you’re doing true authority marketing [chuckles] at a term that we’ve been using. And we bought the domain name “authoritymarketing.com.” Yes. And we have a seminar coming up in Massachusetts here in November, “The Authority Marketing Seminar.”
And it teaches people how to promote their thought leadership and do the things that you just mentioned, so not only with the internet but speaking engagements and writing an offline book as well. So, I commend you for doing a lot of that. It sounds like you’re doing great.
Liz Boehm: Thank you so much.
About Liz Boehm
John McDougall: Yes. And so, tell us a little bit about your background, before we wrap up with legal marketing association and anything you want to add.
Liz Boehm: Sure. I have been here at Benesch for, going on 10 years now. And for seven of these years, I’ve been involved with the board of the Ohio Chapter of the Legal Marketing Association. Within our Chapter, we’ve done a couple of initiatives that we’re really proud of over recent years.
We’ve started a partnership with the law schools in Ohio. Many of them, we have went and done presentations to their students to talk about marketing and business development after law school, and some of the things that they might want to hear about, or things that could help them as they make that transition from law school into more of a professional environment.
And then, secondly we’re also partnering with Crain’s Cleveland Business right now to produce a special section, which will be nailed out to their entire readership with their November 17th publication.
What we did is our Chapter sponsored the whole thing. We have nine of the law firms here in Northeast Ohio who wrote editorial pieces for that special section. And so, it’s really a thought leadership piece that our LMA Chapter helped to head up. And then, all of our local firms got the opportunity to have their attorneys be involved in it.
So, we’re really excited about that. We’re also just working on expanding our chapter membership throughout the state. We started as a Northeast Ohio Chapter initially. Now, we have membership throughout the entire state, and we’re continuing to grow down in Cincinnati as well as a lot of growth in the Akron area, so a lot of exciting things going on here in Ohio. Yes.
John McDougall: You won an award too, right? The International Rising Star?
Liz Boehm: I did. Yes. I was very honored and thankful to have been awarded the Rising Star award this year from LMA International, so —
John McDougall: Congratulations! Yes. That’s great.
Liz Boehm: Yes, thank you.
John McDougall: Nice. Now it sounds to me it’s well-deserved. You’re very knowledgeable on Web marketing and marketing in general, and definitely an honor to have you on today.
Liz Boehm: Thank you so much. I really appreciate it being on.
John McDougall: Yes, absolutely. And your website address again?
Liz Boehm: Our website address is www.benesch, B-E-N-E-S-C-H, law.com.
John McDougall: All right, great. We’ll let you know when these are up on legalmarketingreview.com. Talk to you soon.
Liz Boehm: All right, great. Thank you.
John McDougall: All right, see you later.