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Building Your Brand Online For Free

ECONOMIC AND FINANCIAL CRIMES COMMISSION V CHIEF PATRICK T. CHIDOLUE
February 4, 2019
CHARLES IGWE V THE STATE
February 11, 2019
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Building Your Brand Online For Free

 

Your personal brand as a lawyer can set you apart from other lawyers. Recently I saw an Instagram post where a lady asked, “Water is odourless, colourles and tasteless, so why do you prefer water from one company and not the other?” It is a very thought provoking question on branding.Why do you choose what you choose if the services are similar with no particular advantage?

Two things will distinguish you or your service. Your Unique Selling Proposition blended with your brand.

Today, I’ll focus on the second. Your brand. There are easy ways to build your brand online with little or no cost at all.

So, lets dive in…

FACEBOOK (personal page)        

Key Statistics:

1.9 billion monthly users.

Users are 83% of men and 75% women

58% rural users are on FB

Millennials + Generation X use Facebook an average of 7 hrs/week

Facebook is the most popular social networking site for personal use for a range of social activity such as sharing items of interest, reconnecting with or keeping up to date with family and friends, engaging in discussion and debate and sharing photos. On Facebook you create profiles, connect with friends, like posts, keep in touch with family, share photos and updates.

You can easily engage in or start discussions on topics of interest that can show case your brand and position you as an authority or a solutions provider at no cost to you. All these can be done on your personal page. Content you generate can go viral and draw attention to you or your services and skills.

You can

  • Share occasional articles or blog posts, news of professional accomplishments and law firm events.
  • Post content that your friends may be inclined to share: interesting statistics about your niche area, articles about others prominent in your niche and unusual and uplifting stories with some commentary to tie them to your niche.
  • Make friends with (find) business colleagues you work with on a regular basis or former clients to learn more about them personally.
  • Donate to fundraisers sponsored by business colleagues or former clients to show support for causes that matter to them.
  • Photograph events and conferences in your niche and share and tag your colleagues.

FACEBOOK (business)                                                      

Key Statistics

1.9 billion monthly users.                                                                         

Though universally used by many for personal engagement, Facebook also offers robust features for small businesses.

Features for Business:

Create a Business Page and Facebook Strategic Campaigns using tools that enable you to target your precise audience and set a budget and monitor results. The goal here is not to “advertise” your services but rather draw attention to your content strategy positioning you as an authority in your field of expertise.

Another feature, Facebook Groups – though not solely for business allows you to create affinity groups for clients or other professionals in your niche.

WHY:                                                                                      

Facebook for Business and niche practice go together , it lets you highlight your niche by sharing personal interest stories and news of firm events and successes. With Facebook you drill down to target a specific group with precision. FB groups offer ways to network with others in your niche, or to create an affinity or support group to foster relationships with other clients.

WHO to Target:                                                                    

Target other professionals or potential clients interested in your specific niche.

WHO to Manage Your FB business page:

This can be readily outsourced subject to supervision and approval of ad content.

To DO:

  • Experiment with FB Ad Campaigns.
  • Watch Videos (On Youtube) about FB Advertising for details
  • Create a FB Business Page and encourage colleagues and others to like your Business Page.
  • Monitor Business Page to respond to comments promptly.
  • Use FB Business Page to highlight successes of other clients (with their consent) or to post webinars and how-tos.
  • Experiment with FB Group that you create or join FB Groups with focus on your niche.

DON’T: Use spammy business practices or outsource control of your site to social media marketers lacking credentials or expertise especially as it concerns the legal community with regards to the no advertising rule.

 

LINKEDIN    

Key Statistics:

106 Million users.

Users are 31 % of men and 27% women

WHAT is LinkedIn:                                                                                   

LinkedIn is a social media site focused on professional networking, employment and business services.

Features:

Create profiles, create connections with other professionals, post links, write articles, join groups, seek or post jobs and endorse or recommend other users.

WHY LinkedIn:

Lawyers with unique business-oriented niches can be found via LinkedIn profiles and one can easily target and make contact with other professionals in a niche area and disseminate relevant valuable content. Because many on LinkedIn are professionals, they may not use other social media websites so LinkedIn may be the best and only opportunity to connect.

Who to Target:     

Individuals and companies in your niche and lawyers with complementary practices who lack your niche expertise and may refer cases. You can also start or join LinkedIn groups focused on your niche.

Managing Your LinkedIn Account:

You can outsource or automate profile updates and link posts but not contact requests and communications which should be direct.

To DO’s:

  • Create a professional and robust profile with photo (statistics show profiles with photos receive 21% more views and are 36% more likely to receive messages);
  • Use niche terms in summary description section of profile;
  • Search for and connect with others in niche via personalized requests;
  • Post links to articles or events of interest specific to your industry;
  • Circulate links to your own writings, newsletters or news of your firm;
  • Comment on your contacts’ links and congratulate them personally on achievements that they post about via comments.
  • Recommend or endorse colleagues.

DON’Ts:

Do not use congratulations and endorsement features or send thousands of connection requests. Focusing on 50 solid connections will yield more results than having 5000 contacts.

 

INSTAGRAM 

Key Statistics:

600 million unique users.

used by: 90% of Instagram users are under 35

53% of Instagram users follow brands

38% women, 26% men

What is Instagram:       

Instagram is a social networking app made for sharing photos and videos from a smartphone.

Features:

Ability to post photos and inspirational quotes, short videos, follow other feeds, create topic hashtags.

WHY Instagram:                                                                                      

Many members of the public don’t really have a sense of what lawyers do on a day to day basis and Instagram provides an easy way to share that information.

Who to Target:                                                                    

Others with an interest in your niche.

Who to Manage Your Instagram Account:             

It Can be managed on your own or delegated/outsourced, particularly if special support is needed for more artistic posts.

To Do’s

  • Create photos of subjects relevant to your niche.
  • Include photos of yourself or write out tips/advice, including short videos.
  • Research and use hashtags generously to build a following.
  • Selectively cross post Instagram posts on other social media sites.
  • Post links to blog posts or to your other content on Instagram.
  • Engage with viewers who comment on your post.
  • Batch creation of content- most Instagram posts are not date specific so you can generate a month’s worth of content at a time.

DON’Ts:

Don’t Post unprofessional photos despite Instagram’s informality or feed entire Instagram feed automatically to other social media sites.

TWITTER 

Statistics: 317 million monthly users.

22% men, 15% women

Users spend 2.7 minutes/day on Twitter

What is twitter: 

Twitter is an online news and social networking site where people communicate in short messages called tweets.

Features:

280 characters is allowed on a tweet. You  can also create a short profile, follow others, retweet, like and comment on other tweets, join lists and privately message other users.

WHY should you use twitter:    

Twitter is an ideal way to track.

Who to Target:

Other professionals in your niche, news media and other colleagues.

Who to Manage:

Because of Twitter’s immediacy, its best not to outsource or delegate participation. Plus, it’s not that difficult or time consuming to share or comment on a link.

To Do’s:

  • Create a profile that highlights your niche.
  • Engage with others by asking questions or complimenting their view
  • Read posted links before commenting or retweeting.
  • Follow reporters in your niche or like their stories.
  • Create or join a lists specific to your niche.
  • Use this formula: At least 3 times a week, share content that you’ve authored (30% of time), share articles or content by others (30% of time), self-promote (10% of time), and engage in discussion or interaction (30% of time).

DON’Ts:

Do not auto-circulate outdated information or copy people you don’t know in tweets.

YOUTUBE

Statistics: 1.5 billion active monthly users

  • 90% of 18-29 yr. Olds use YouTube

What is youtube: 

YouTube is a video sharing platform and second most popular social media site after Facebook.

Features: Upload and share videos and comment on other content.

WHY should you use YouTube:  

Many consumers and business people now use YouTube as a resource for how-to instructions and quick explanations through video. YouTube is also educational and for new niche areas, clients may need to be schooled on potential legal problems that may not have occurred to them. Though video for lawyers is still gaining traction, if targeted at niche segments already using YouTube, video can prove a successful marketing tool. Plus, video offers a way for lawyers to show their personality to prospective clients.

Who to Target:

Clients within your niche segment.

Who to Manage:    

Video quality has improved so greatly that lawyers can self-produce high quality video with any smartphone combined with  good lighting. You can outsource video production, but it can be costly.

To DO’s

  • Create a Youtube channel
  • Post informational and instructional videos
  • Keep videos short- 3 minutes is optimal, 5 minutes maximum.
  • Share videos through social media and embed on website.

DON’Ts:

Do not post poor quality videos produced while driving or lying in bed. Videos for your firm should be professional.

 

WEBSITE  

Statistics:  75% of clients look at an average of three websites before deciding to hire a lawyer

What is a website: 

A website or webpage is an online page, collection of pages or document that has a discrete address (known as a URL or “uniform resource locator”) or domain name ( a personalized URL like legalpediaonline.com) that is accessible through the Internet .

WHY do you need a website:  

A website is important because it unifies all of your properties online. Also in a digital era, a law firm without a website can come across as fly by night law firm.

Who to Target:

Your website should be aimed at your target clients.

Who to Manage:  

Let  a developer do this for you  (You can also let me know, if you need help with this, that’s if you don’t have a developer to work with.

To Dos:

  • Do an architectural design of what you want your website to look like on paper and hand to your developer
  • Offer a newsletter, assessment, downloadable guide or some other content that clients must register to access.
  • Allow clients to self-schedule appointments.
  • Obtain a security certificate so that your site is secure for users.
  • Include links to your other social media sites and blog.

 

BLOGS

What is a Blog:  Short for weblog, a blog is a regularly updated website, typically with contemporaneous content.

Features:

Most blog platforms allow users to post stories, link to outside sources, and invite comments and feedback.

Options: WordPress, Blogger,

WHY do you need a blog:  

There are several reasons for lawyers with a niche practice to blog. First, a blog helps show what you know and cements your status as an expert- which can lead to direct requests for service and referrals from other lawyers. In addition, a blog can boost a site’s SEO scores.

Who to Target:

A blog should target anyone with an interest in your niche.

Who to Manage:   

A blog is a personal voice, so if you attached your name to the post, you should author it. Moreover, a niche blog requires some level of expertise- it’s not the kind of task that can be outsourced to contractor. But you can use associates or contract lawyers to write posts so long as you include an attribution to their work.

To dos:

  • Post regularly starting out. If you can’t commit to posting 2-3 times per week, make your publication schedule clear (e.g. once a week ).
  • Link to other bloggers and underlying sources
  • Repurpose blog posts- circulate them on social media or re-publish posts
  • Allow readers the option of subscribing to the blog to receive posts by email (it’s a default option on most blog platforms)
  • Try to update blog posts annually to avoid outdated content or cases that have been overruled.

DON’Ts:  Do not post generic content.

Note that you do not have to manage all these social media platforms yourself, you can get someone to do it for you.

However, in using these social media platforms, consistency is key. You have to be consistent, and that’s what will keep your brand up.

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