In the last segment we talked a lot about influence and thought leadership. Now we’re going to be speaking a bit on law firm content, social media, and blogging for trust and rankings.
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 that they reveal almost no followers on Facebook, or Twitter?
Jonathan Fitzgarrald: Yes, yes, and yes.
How’s that for the short answer?
John: That’s perfect.
Jonathan: I think you have to take a look at the market, and segment it. Generations X and Y grew up with social media, so to its second nature. If they’re considering someone who doesn’t have any kind of a following on social media, or doesn’t have any kind of a profile, it’s going to send up a red flag.
Whereas if you have a baby boomer, or a silent generation individual who didn’t grow up with that, it’s not their knee jerk reaction to immediately find out how many Twitter followers someone has.
Do I think it’s critical today? Absolutely. Do I think it’s getting more critical as some of these gen X, and gen Y shift into leadership positions and end up being the ones to make the purchasing decisions? There’s no question whatsoever.
John: I agree. I think that is a very important point about breaking it out a little bit by age group. A lot of people that we talk to want to do better with the younger clientele, and get in with young tech companies for example.
Some of these WhatsApp, and some of the companies that are worth billions and billions of dollars started by young people. Are they searching Google, and are they checking you out on Facebook, and Twitter, and Google+ as well even? Absolutely, so some good points.
People buy from those they know, like, and trust, and according to a 2013 Pew Research Center survey, being an attorney is among the least trusted occupations in America. Can attorneys gain some of that trust back, and initiate the influence principal of reciprocity by giving of their knowledge through website content?
Jonathan: At the end of the day business is about relationships. Those relationships you have with prospects, with current clients, with those that refer your business and like any other relationship, the more you give, the more you’ll get back.
I always consult with my attorneys, and I share with them be the first to give without any kind of an expectation of immediate reciprocity and wait and see the way that your network will respond.
There’s something innate about humans that when someone does us a favor. Subliminally we want to do nothing more than to return that favor as quickly as possible, either through thought leadership articles that are authored, blog entries that are authored, speaking engagements that once someone has spoken. That speech is then turned into some kind of content online. Perhaps it’s video.
There are a million different ways of capturing that knowledge, but whenever you can be the first to share it, you’ll also be the first when someone is looking to engage your services formally.
John: A lot of attorneys, or certainly the older generation, are having a hard time with blogging, eBooks and a lot of content like that. It makes so much sense to be able to share, give back and help change some of that perception that’s not really…
Lawyers do amazing things, and so many wonderful attorneys. It’s a great way to give back, so good points.
Jonathan: When we talk about giving back, it’s important to note too that the value you provide doesn’t necessarily need to be substantive relating to your expertise.
Once you’re someone’s trusted adviser, they’re going to hit you up for all kinds of things, especially outside your expertise. They may want a recommendation on where their kids should go to school. They may want a recommendation on a country they’re about ready to visit for vacation.
There’s a million things that people will ask of someone they consider a trusted adviser, and sometimes that’s the value they need from you right now. For those attorneys that are out there, or other business professionals, the optimum value is referring business to others, but if you’re not capable of doing it right now for whatever reason, look for other ways to add value to that individual’s life, and they will return the favor in kind.
John: That’s a really interesting point, so not being super focused on the heavy duty content, and etc. as a giveaway, just being a good human being, and sharing.
Jonathan: Yeah, absolutely.
John: Great. If a picture is worth 1,000 words, and researchers indicate that over 70 percent of what we communicate is through our tone, and body language, not through our words, doesn’t that make images, audio, and video an incredibly important part of influencing website visitors?
Jonathan: There’s no question about it. When there is video and when there are engaging graphics used on a website, people are much more inclined to stay on a site, and to read more, and to visit more pages within the domain.
As we discussed a little bit earlier in the interview, business professionals will do themselves a favor by looking for those opportunities to engage visitors through video, through interesting graphics. Maybe it’s a graphic that tells a story in and of itself, it’s statistical based, or it’s a bar chart, or a pie chart. Something that adds value over and above a regular schematic.
For law firms they love using images like pillars, and gavels, and the justice arms. Those images, I find to be quite cliché these days. They don’t communicate to me strength and authority and success.
If I were to find a website where someone has posted a short video to their profile, or have talked about what made them originally go into the law, something that was a little more human, a little more personal, that to me was going to not only be of more value, but it’s going to be memorable to me too.
Because so many of the other competitive websites out there don’t have those elements. Not only can these tools that we discuss add value to people visiting the site, but it can also differentiate you from your competitors and give you a competitive edge, at least for now.
John: Yeah, absolutely. A lot more people are adding text content and even blog posts, but video in particular is amazing because YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world, it’s bigger than Bing and any other search engine.
Of course it’s owned by Google, so not only can you get great emotional impact and content out there, but you have a great chance of ranking well in Google organic search, and search in general from having video or infographics even for that matter.
Jonathan: It’s more interesting. To a certain extent when we’re given the opportunity to be educated or entertained, most humans will take entertainment nine times out of ten. Why not communicate your capabilities in a way that is professional, but still engages the audience.
Maybe it’s through storytelling. Putting up brief case studies of those individuals that you’ve been successful for and letting those that visit your website read about the kind of transactions or cases that you’ve handled so that they can get a sense for how you run your business.
John: If you add visuals with that, people get sucked right in and engaged so much more. Sometimes I see even law firm websites, some of the ones that I like a little better, are like you said, not the ones with the gavels, and the scales, and all that. Something like even a picture of a lawn, something green grass growing, and then they say, “We’re helping you grow,” [laughing] or something like that.
Jonathan: It’s something unexpected.
John: Right, something unexpected, and you tie it in, but it’s not always cliché, it’s visual and it brings you in.
John: Does thought leadership and/or blogging matter more to B2B or business to consumer attorneys?
Jonathan: That’s a good question. I’ve had most of my experience with B2B companies. I know even in those circumstances those activities are still very important as you’re positioning yourself to be a thought leader and an expert in a specific industry or for a specific type of work. I would assume that it’s probably the same or very similar for B2C companies.
At the end of the day, all of us are looking to somehow reach out and engage a target market. Whether that market is other businesses or the end user, at the end of the day it’s based on a relationship.
Perhaps some of those channels are a little more focused than others, but that’s the objective.
How do you go about meeting that objective? You take a look at what you want to accomplish, who is the target market you’re looking to target, and what types of activities do you think will resonate best with them, and then you go to work doing it.
For some people it’s 100 percent in‑person activities. For others, it’s a mix of online and in person. I suppose for even a third set of folks, it’s all online. It’s finding that right mix for you and your business that are going to return the numbers that you want.
John: Do you think for B2B, because you have a lot of experience with that type of law firms, do you think that whether or not you get SEO benefit the blogging and thought leadership, or let’s say even blogging, just that, is that worth doing alone even if it didn’t drive a ton of organic traffic from Google? Which it could, but say it didn’t. Do you still like the idea of blogging regardless?
Jonathan: Sure, because it’s a credentialing tool. Particularly for those that are hiring Greenberg Glusker, they’re hiring us for a specific type of matter, or to handle a specific type of case. There’s usually a lot at stake, so they’re not taking that decision making lightly.
That means that whoever is going to be purchasing the legal services is going to do their due diligence. They’re going to put the name of the firm or the name of the attorney into Google to see what initially comes up as part of their due diligence.
Whether or not Google scrubs the blog and categorizes the websites or the blog or not, hopefully that content will still come up and that end user will still be able to find the content in some way.
They’ll read a blog post, they’ll read an article, they’ll see the summary of a speech, and something in there will speak to them and give them the peace of mind that this specific attorney, this specific business professional, will be able to help them satisfy their needs.
John: Even if it’s just coming up for your own name and company name, if you come up like you said earlier in the conversation, that’s golden if people are sort of kicking your tires and thinking if they really want to hire you.
If you don’t come up at all, that’s weird to anyone, no matter what age group, even stranger if you don’t for a younger person that is going to even look and see if you have Twitter followers, maybe, which is growing in importance. Even more so to a younger person. Almost anyone is going to Google you by your name and/or your brand name.
Jonathan: That’s been my experience.
John: Great talking to you today. What is your website address at Greenberg Glusker?
Jonathan: It’s GreenbergGlusker.com, that’s G‑R‑E‑E‑N‑B‑E‑R‑G‑G‑L‑U‑S‑K‑E‑R.com. From our home page you can visit attorney website profiles, you can visit any of our four blogs.
There’s tons of publications that attorneys have authored or various media interviews that attorneys have commented on or been quoted in, all available from GreenbergGlusker.com.
John: That sounds great. We’ll be sure to check it out and make sure our audience is aware of it. Look forward to talking to you again soon.
Jonathan: Thank you so much for your time, I appreciate it.
John: Thanks again, this has been John McDougall with John Fitzgarrald with Greenberg Glusker. Thank you very much.