Understand social media basics for it is a powerful communication tool. Several sites let you network in a variety of formats for different purposes.
By Dan Couvrette, Marketing Expert for Family Lawyers and Divorce Professionals
The world and how we interact with one another continues to change. One of the ways that we are communicating these days is through social media. There are a number of different sites out there that allow us to “speak” to our networks in a variety of formats and for different purposes. In this article, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter will be discussed specifically.
Social Media Basics: Facebook—The Largest Platform
Facebook is the fastest growing and largest social media platform that exists. With hundreds of millions of users, of which over half log on at least once a day, Facebook’s original intended purpose was to connect with people you know and share with them your life details through status updates, photos, videos and links you find interesting.
For the purpose of business, Facebook has developed “Pages”. Unlike Facebook’s personal profile pages that require agreement from both parties to be connected (or to become “Friends” using Facebook terms), Facebook Pages work in such a way that a person (or a person with a profile) can become a “Fan” without the page’s consent, and the lines of communication are open. The Fan will receive updates on their home page from the Page.
Consider for a moment the power that exists here. These are all people that have “asked” to receive the updates that you want to give. Make the information you share as relevant to your target user as possible. For example, you may wish to share news about changes to divorce laws and how they may affect your audience. Immediately, you have established yourself as an expert and if you are the only one communicating with them in this manner, you’ll be top-of-mind when it comes time for them to hire a family lawyer.
There are a number of different ways to promote your Facebook Page, some free and some paid. All of this information can be found in your Page’s administrative sections.
LinkedIn—The Site for Professionals
LinkedIn is THE social media site for professional networking. It has over 100 million members around the world and is focused on business networking. What does this mean? It means that this is where professionals go to interact with other professionals. LinkedIn is the platform for nurturing your referral sources.
It is not likely that a person who seeks the services of a divorce professional would search LinkedIn to find that service provider. Where LinkedIn becomes a valuable resource is in its ability to keep you in touch, and top of mind with other professionals.
LinkedIn can be leveraged for business in a number of ways: mainly through group interaction and/or creation and through status updates that go out to your “Connections” (LinkedIn’s term for becoming “friends”). Consider this example: you are a Family Lawyer in Los Angeles, and you join the group “Los Angeles Attorneys”. In that group, you comment on a discussion previously started in an intelligent, informed and open way. Other professionals that are members of the group will see your comments and if they agree with your argument, or simply like your approach, they may become a source for referrals. And if the communication between the two of you is mutually satisfactory, you may consider referring them.
You can also post status updates similar to those on Facebook. Just be careful to keep your updates relevant to professionals in your network.
Social Media Basics: Twitter—The Micro-Blogging Platform
Twitter is defined as a “micro-blogging” site that asks that you express yourself in 140 characters or less. Boasting an user base of over 100 people, Twitter hit the mainstream user in 2009 when several influential celebrities began using the service.
Relationships on Twitter can be one-sided. To be connected to someone, you either follow them or they you. While accounts can be made private, where permission from the account holder is necessary in order for their Tweets to be seen, the norm on Twitter is that accounts are open. If you see someone whose Tweets you like, you can follow them and view their Tweets on your home page. They may or may not follow you back. If they do follow you, your Tweets will be visible on their home page.
How can this work to increase business for your divorce service? Twitter is another place where you can establish yourself as a thought leader. The people who follow you have asked that you speak to them. You can offer them links that may be of relevance, quick snip-its of advice. And when they begin looking for a professional that offers your services, you are top-of-mind already.
One thing to keep in mind while you are negotiating through the social media world is that your messaging and tone should remain the same across all platforms (and your website and marketing material). Implementing your firm’s branding message through all your communication tools is key to a successful marketing mix. Social media should be a part of this mix and reflect your brand’s look and feel. Create a custom Twitter background, have your logo as your page’s image on Facebook. Make sure your LinkedIn status talks about topics relevant to your firm, and your network.
Social media is one of the fastest growing online tools for consumers and marketers alike. Spending some time and learning how these communities function and the methods in which people communicate on them is key to your social media success. So, take the time to become an educated user and speak to an audience that is asking to be spoken to.
Dan Couvrette is a marketing expert for family lawyers and divorce professionals. He is the CEO of Divorce Marketing Group, a marketing agency dedicated to promoting family lawyers and divorce professionals. He is also the co-host of a monthly marketing teleseminar for family lawyers and co-author of The Essential Marketing Guide for Family Lawyers. He is the founder and publisher of Family Lawyer Magazine, and Divorce Magazine. He can be reached at 866-803-6667 x 124, r email@example.com.