Social Media Marketing World, My Belligerent Impatience, & First Post On Medium

This is about deviating from processes and editorial schedules. This is about me fucking up our content teams’ ‘flow’ because I thought a timely story, as it pertains to my company, might be some good PR.

They really don’t like me for that.

They may publish it yet, or not. Who knows? This is written from a legal marketing bent (go ahead and Google me, I’m not trying to hide where I work and what I do), and I guess I’m just tired of waiting. My co-workers are great, really. Caring people who want to do the best they can. But I’m impatient. And if I learned anything from attending a social media marketing conference, it was that timeliness, responsiveness, and creating connections matter.

Also, I like to curse a lot. Can’t do that on the company blog.

Bear in mind, the opinions and words you’ll see down the road(note the above) are my own and don’t represent the company I work for. I’m much more civil and polite when needed. Also, my grammatical errors and incorrect punctuation are corrected by a team of highly skilled editors/experts. Not so much here.

So, here ya go- Parts one AND two. If you like what you see, (and are maybe interested in learning a little bit more about what my company does and how we could possibly help you) — feel free to reach out.

At my workplace, we recognize the value of individuals who strive to learn more and stay up to date with trends and issues in our industry. As such, we’re all about furthering our employees’ professional education.

With that in mind — as well as the fact that I’ve never been to the West Coast — I broached the subject of flying to San Diego to attend Social Media Marketing World (SMMW), one of the largest social media marketing conferences in the United States. As in past years, dozens of prominent figures in the industry were in attendance, delivering lectures or hosting workshops throughout the week-long event. I figured if I was going to attend a conference, I might as well start with a bang (and also go someplace warm because Michigan winters are the soul-sucking kind).

The team agreed, plane tickets were purchased, Airbnb was booked, and since merging work with pleasure is a specialty of mine, I brought my husband along to share in the fun. We haven’t been on a vacation together in more than a decade — literally — so we thought this would be the perfect opportunity to jettison the kids and get away from it all.

After some rather irritating travel rescheduling and rerouting, we arrived in San Diego late in the evening before the first day of the conference. Jet lag and two-time changes made Sunday morning a little difficult, but with a shower and a stiff cup of coffee, I was able to adequately recharge before the first sessions began.

Though all the sessions are fairly general in regards to social media marketing, there were some stellar points in each presentation. I’ll cover some of the key takeaways from my favorite ones, as well as specific applications for law firms and legal marketing teams.

Sunday was mostly devoted to workshops — longer sessions designed to provide hands-on, pertinent content you can walk away with and utilize for your business. I was able to attend two 90 minute workshops; here’s some info about my favorite one of the day.

How to Write Copy That Sells (Without Being Sleazy)

I’m a firm believer in presenting yourself and your clients in an honest way that is free of cheap sales tactics. Naturally, the primary goal of social media marketing is to generate interest, capture leads, and increase ROI, but that doesn’t mean strategy, tactics, and posts should be gimmicky. Users see right through that, and we are not in the business of patronizing our potential or current clients.

Too often, consumers see law firms and attorneys as “ambulance chasers” who only care about maximizing their payout. Frequently this is an unfair association, but I do see too many instances when the copy on attorney websites and blogs does little to dissuade that opinion.

I believe this is sometimes an honest mistake, that the content is often written by the lawyers themselves and they are used to writing legal briefs that simply state the facts — they offer their services but leave out the finesse that is needed to encourage conversion from a potential client. Nevertheless, creating copy that converts without sounding “sleazy” is something all law firms should keep in mind.

Key takeaways:

  • Headlines matter. Give yourself time to craft a good headline. There is a vast amount of content out there and the headline is the first thing your audience sees. It determines whether a potential client will continue reading your article or ignore it entirely.
     Writing a headline is easier than you think! There are a few headlines that consistently get a high volume of clicks: these headlines appeal to the curious nature in all of us and address our innate desire for answers.
  1. The “How-To” — We all want answers. Creating a headline that addresses your potential clients’ needs is a surefire way to get them to your website. For example:
     -How to Respond When the Insurance Adjuster Calls
     -How to Bike Safely on City Roads
     -How to Make Sure Your Estate Planning Is in Your Loved One’s Best Interest
     On the flip side of this headline is the ‘How to Eliminate’ phrase. People like to know how to get rid of things that are bothersome or cause worry. Take advantage of this when crafting your headlines.
  2. The “Top Ten” — Who can resist the appeal of a list? This could just as easily be top five or top twelve. This headline automatically sets a reader up for an article they can quickly skim and get the information they are seeking. Think about the information your potential clients would seek out from you: How can you help them? For example:
     -The Top Ten Things You Should Do If You Are in a Car Accident
     -The Top Five Reasons to Hire a Divorce Attorney
     -The Top Three Facts You MUST Know about California Tax Law
  3. The “Doctors’ Secret” — The surgeon, the artist — everyone wants to know how the authorities do it. Use this to your advantage. For example:
     -The Lawyers’ Secret to Preparing for a Deposition
     -Your Attorney’s Secret to Getting Ready for a Jury Trial
  • Know who you are writing for. Take time to think about your audience and your customers. What do they want? Give it to them freely before you ask them to buy what you are selling. Ultimately, you can’t give them all the answers they really need in a blog post, but if you provide enough to answer their search queries in a helpful fashion, then that individual will turn to you, a trusted source, when they are ready to hire an attorney.
  • Build a framework. Have a website that is organized in a way that is simple for a potential client to find the information they need. They shouldn’t have to click through three hundred links to find your “Contact Us” page. Request the information you need to build a relationship and potentially create a conversion (name/e-mail address), but don’t ask for extraneous information that you don’t really need to begin your relationship with that client. It’s frustrating and many people won’t complete a form that asks for too much personal information and takes too much time to complete.
  • Be engaging. Relate and tell a story. Ultimately, you are creating content for people. Make it interesting. Use current events and information and figure out how it relates to your area of practice. Address issues you are passionate about in a rapid response blog post. Share your voice as an attorney and your voice as a firm.
  • Work at it. There is always room for improvement. This is key advice for anyone — lawyer, marketer, human. Work at your success, commit to your goals, monitor your data and ROI, and actively work to make your successes even greater.

Sunday ended with networking and laughter, some good conversations, a bit of exploration of beautiful San Diego, and — thankfully — a good night’s sleep.

Monday: Monday signaled the beginning of the authentic conference experience, with sessions, workshops, lunch, and networking occupying my entire day. I sent the husband off to meet up with friends and explore the city while I headed to the convention center after a cup of coffee from Café Virtuoso (highly recommended if you are in the city).

 What the Newest Research Reveals:

Hosted by the founder of Social Media Examiner (the official host of the conference), this session was pretty much exactly what one would assume: a true social media expert dropping some knowledge bombs on our eager brains. The implications of the research discussed are wide-reaching, and everyone there was considering how to best utilize what the newest data affirm about the future of social media marketing.

Key takeaways:

  • IF YOU AREN’T USING LIVE VIDEO, NO ONE KNOWS YOU EXIST!
     
    Okay, I am definitely adding some dramatic flair here, but the importance of live video can’t be ignored. Periscope, Facebook Live Video, Blab — people want the opportunity to engage in real time. While there are certain considerations the legal industry must take into account (such as ethical regulations in your state) when providing a live feed on any platform, it’s a virtually unexplored forum for lawyers and law firms. Some potential ideas to capitalize:
     -Instead of posting a FAQ YouTube Video that’s edited, offer the opportunity for individuals to ask you questions related to your area of practice and respond, in real time, via Facebook Live or Periscope.
     -Plan to host a Blab on a topic of relevance and interest (for example, a Personal Injury Lawyers take on the CTE/Concussion connection with football and other high impact sports) and present yourself as a thought leader in your field.
     Your imagination (and ABA ethical considerations) are your only limits to using video.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor