We're facing a new challenge with marketing our practices on the Internet.
Here's a Tweet we're not likely to see:
“My divorce lawyer @leerosen really kicked my spouse's ass. He's the best!”
You won't see my typical client putting that out on a social network.
Because most clients prefer to keep their divorce issues private. They've got friends in common with their spouse. They've got kids they've got to raise. The last thing most of them want to do is advertise for their divorce lawyers. They want to get this finished and behind them.
Who cares? You've survived this long without them tweeting about you. So what?
Here's the deal:
Ranking well in the search engines has become important in many of our practices. Google is the Yellow Pages of the modern age, and some lawyers are very dependent on marketing via the Web. No Google ranking sometimes equals no clients.
Google and Bing, the dominant search players, are increasingly emphasizing social signals in determining the rankings of their search results. In fact, Google made a huge change last week. Some lawyers game the system by putting out gobs of spammy, fake, anonymous tweets and other social endorsements of their work. That might work in the short-term, but it's got huge potential to bite you later. I'd avoid that approach.
The bottom line is that we need to increase positive word of mouth about our businesses if we're going to show up in front of people in need of our services. Today, word of mouth is communicated via social media. You need people saying nice things about you—online.
It's now more important than ever that people say positive things about you on the Internet. Ideally, they'll “Like” your page on Facebook, share your information via Twitter, and hit the +1 button on Google. That's all-important now and getting more important every single day.
How do you get them to do it? Why would they want to say something good about you? How can you give them something worth sharing?
I'd suggest that you start thinking about these questions. Bring together your best and brightest and come up with some answers. The lawyers who get the answer right first are going to win.