March 4, 2016
by Lori Shecter

Create successful social media… even if you are a one man band

Social Food Ox VerteYou’re the lonely person at your company or firm:  the one person marketing department. You’re going grey, gaining weight and starting to drink…a lot. But wait!  There’s help before you decide to pull the plug and move to Alaska permanently. These tips will help you pull off a successful social media miracle and pave the way to buy-in at your law firm, dental practice, or where ever you may be working as the lone ranger trying to execute your social strategy.  But first, there is no doubt:  all social media ends with your website—the only platform you control.  If your website does not help you to bring new clients, it might be time for a new one.  Now, back to social… keep in mind that Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither can results be seen without at least 6 -12 months of diligent, but manageable work that can prove successful.   Remember, you only get out, what you put in and that  means 1 -5 times a week of activity.

Sure fired ways to get sign on and success (whatever that is)

Define success:

  1. Growth: The obvious—new clients, patients, sales, etc.
  2. The Long Tail- PR: Your post, blog, tweet, etc. gets picked up by the press and gets out to various news outlets.  Next month or next year, someone calls you based on the article.
  3. Search Engine Optimization: More traffic to your website and that’s great! More traffic, more potential leads. Make sure your website is easy to navigate and has easy to find contact information or forms. Also ensure your website is set up with Google Analytics in order to monitor where your traffic comes from

NOTE: Analytics can be beneficial when using any social media especially to see if you increased traffic to your website, followers, or engagement. There are free tools like Google Analytics, Facebook insights, etc. as well as paid tools like Sprout Social. 

Google Analytics Panel:  Where traffic comes from

Google Panel:  What pages they view

Create Content:

  1. Original content: the best for giving your company a voice and search engine optimization (the most time consuming, but the most impactful)
  2. Curate: Share other content (and add a line or two with your own voice and or opinion

Original Content Types:

  1. Easy topics: new partners and new clients. Sharing successes helps build street creed.
  2. Opinions – Longer original content with the most social and SEO impact
  3. Videos – I know many people are camera shy, but Google is an amazing tool for SEO – mainly because Google owns YOUTUBE. A book can be written about video, but it’s starting to happen big, and really deserves another article.
  4. Power Points: Add to slide share – helps with SEO. You can also embed the slide share to your website.

NOTE: How to get it all done?  No staff and no budget?  Consider hiring a passionate student in your field of practice to write 2 articles per month.  Give them the topic and make sure a partner approves the article.

Laser Focus:

Pick one area of practice or topic and spend 2 months in that area.  Narrow casting focus can help you achieve results more quickly than having a strategy spread too thin.  You will notice the increase in those pages on your website.  Are people landing on them and not calling or emailing?  This is a great opportunity to evaluate the page structure and/or your website content to make that area generate phone calls and leads.

Be authentic and be passionate:

Don’t write about something just to write about it.  Have a view point that is uniquely yours, generate and encourage conversation.

Pick one or two outlets… don’t go crazy:

The top platforms:

  1. Linked In
  2. Twitter
  3. Instagram
  4. Facebook
  5. You Tube
  6. Feeling adventurous? Periscope for live video – it disappears in a day, but then you can save it on Katch.me

Get ONE partner sign on and build a micro plan for her/him:

Success with one partner/practice will help get some (not all) on board and pave the road to an increased engagement track record.

Remember to eat:

In case you are wondering what food has to do with this, it was the best-catered food I have had in recent history, thanks to awesome, healthy delights from Ox Verte. I also wanted to thank the Legal Marketing Association NY for another powerful Special Interest meeting on March 3. Much of the content for this article comes from their 4 speakers:

Marc Handelman: Frankfurt, Kurnit, Klein + Selz
Guy Alvarez: Good2bsocial
Josh Brinen, Esq.
and of course, Bruce Segall, Chair, NYLMA Small Firm SIG

Lori Shecter is the CEO of We Are Immediate, a New York-based digital research, design and development agency.

March 9, 2015
by Leslie Meng

The Art of Social Media Conversation

Social Media allows businesses to interact with people in real-time on a more personal level. However, this means that all your posts and messages are available for public scrutiny, unlike the more traditional press release. In addition, your response time can be critical for keeping or improving public relations.

Let’s discuss some best practices!

  1. Be Genuine. The first part of being genuine is to know yourself. Know your business. What type of business are you? What type of voice do you want to have? Some companies value professionalism first, with a pinch of the human touch. Others are known for a more fun attitude, so they cultivate it by having wittier posts and tweets. If you’re not yet sure what your company is, you can play around with it a little until you have some data to see what your audience reacts best to, but don’t waffle too much or too extremely or they’ll just view your business as wildly inconsistent.
    The next part of being genuine falls into your social media strategy. We call this one:
  2. Be Wise about Replies. You will not have time or energy to reply to every comment or re-tweet you see. Even if you do have that kind of “downtime,” this is not where you should spend it. Make sure you read everything, but you don’t have to respond to EVERYTHING. Be proactive about potential crises, offer feedback to both positive and negative comments, and follow up where you need to with private messages. Two things you should avoid? Do not use auto-messaging functions, and don’t be inconsistent.
    TIP: On Twitter, if you want to tag someone, either write (@handlenamehere) or move the tags to the middle or end of your tweet. Otherwise, you are simply replying and only users who follow BOTH of you will see your tweet.
  3. Be Smart, Don’t Start. I think there is a rule in dating about this- do not bring up religion or politics. Whether or not you want to invite discussion, your page is a place of business. Stay professional by being courteous to everyone. It will do your business a lot more good and you won’t have to worry about dealing with firefights!
  4. Be Proactive. This one is also about crisis management. Studies have shown that communities respond much better toward companies who take action and resolve their issues BEFORE they are outed to the public. For example, if you need to have a recall, isn’t it better to do it voluntarily than be at the center of damages litigation? Social media is the place to do this. In this day and age, and with the underlying message of social media, you cannot just wait and see. It doesn’t have to be on a global scale either. Let’s imagine that a customer posts on your latest Facebook photo that his previous experience in your store was negative. Everyone can now see this post. What should you do? You should respond directly and say something like, “I’m sorry about your experience… please message us at (insert your contact info here) so we can discuss it.” Other customers will see this message and know that not only were you paying attention but also that they can contact you if they have issues.

These are some general practices you can apply when using social media to ensure you have professional interaction with your audience. Be mindful and vigilant, and you will succeed!

February 18, 2015
by Leslie Meng

Twitter: Short on Characters, not on Style

For those of you who don’t yet use Twitter, it is a “micro-blogging” service that allows its users to “tweet” short, 140-character posts. Other users can then reply to these posts, re-tweet them to their own followers, or favorite them. Nowadays, Twitter even allows users to post pictures (or picture collages) and tag people, making it a very exciting method to quickly share a thought, an opinion, a question, or an experience with your audience at any time.

What did we mean when we said “style”?

Because of the nature of Twitter, your profile inextricably creates an image of “you.” The tweets you compose make up part of that image, but so do your re-tweets, favorites, and interactions with your followers. For example, what kind of image do you get about a person who posts often and about random things? You don’t really feel a connection to that person, right?

We keep reiterating this point, but your social media profiles are an extension of your business. How do you want to be perceived? If you want to reflect your professionalism, make sure you compose relevant tweets and re-tweet tweets that have some tie to your business or outlook. If you want to reflect your brand image, tweet inspirational words or quotes that promote your way of life. You can even make an image of it to give it more visual interest!

Style is also reflected in your interactions with others. Some articles advocate getting as many followers as possible just so your profile seems popular. Some even advocate unscrupulous tactics such as purchasing fans or following a user and then unfollowing them after they follow you back. Some Twitter users set up automatic direct messaging that send personality-less responses when people follow or message them. These are not good practices.

What you should do is cultivate a relationship with your followers. You want to have an engaged audience, not just a large one. No one expects you to respond to every tweet, but make sure that the ones you do respond to get a personalized message. If you re-tweet another user’s tweet, don’t forget to add in your own message/response. It looks a little lazy to just re-tweet without adding any feedback.

One last tip to give your Twitter profile some class? Don’t abuse hashtags or trending threads. Only use relevant, distinct, and interesting hashtags. More than that just makes you look outdated and like you’re trying too hard. As for trending stories, you don’t need to share your opinion on every hot topic. Try to stick to topics pertaining to you or your brand image!

January 25, 2015
by Leslie Meng

What does your Facebook Page Say about You?

Time to break down the Facebook Page-

Profile Picture and Cover Photo:

How do your profile picture and cover photo look? You should always try to keep these two elements relevant, crisp (no bad quality images, please!) and up to date. This is your branding, so make sure it follows all best practices and then get it out there! Having regularly rotated cover photos  is an easy way to take advantage of changes in season and show your customers that you are on top of your game.

About section:

Fill out all the necessary information about your business. This is very important. We’ve seen too many pages that forget to include their website or contact information. Since your Facebook page exists to help convert your audience, how can you forget to provide an outlet for them to reach you?

Likes:

This is your Facebook Page’s most visible metric. However, don’t use it as your only (or even your main) metric. It has been shown that likes do not directly correlate to actionable conversions. People who like your page or your posts may not really be too deeply involved with your company. Focus on improving your content and the overall interest of your page to really make the most out of Facebook.

Your Posts:

What kind of content are you displaying, and how often do you do it? Please avoid clickbait posts that have little to do with your business such as “Like if you like pizza. Share if you want it today. “ Even if your business is all about pizza, there are better ways to have engagement (In that pizza example, if you add something like “comment to unlock a coupon. X number of comments will unlock a discount,” you could technically turn a useless post into one that increases your sales during the promotion. It’s all about framing.)
Don’t post too often because you will bury your posts in a sea of information. It’s always better to be concise and up to date.

Your Posts to Page:

Do you allow posts to your page? Seriously consider doing it, even if you are afraid of what content your audience could bring. You can always filter for spam or obscenities, and a few easily solved fears should keep you from fully utilizing what SOCIAL media has to offer. If you already allow users to post on your page, what is your response strategy? Do you reply directly to your audience? Do you tag them effectively and provide useful links and information? Do you have stock answers that you recycle in an attempt to look alive? All of these day to day interactions are within the public eye. If you are going to use social media, make sure that you act wisely when you choose to reply!

January 3, 2015
by Leslie Meng

Social Media Dos and Don’ts

This is just a short list of some social media pitfalls to avoid as well as practices you should consider.

DO:

  • Fill out your whole profile. You want your audience to know about your business.
  • Regularly update your page, including your profile and cover photos.
  • Listen to your audience. They can share some valuable insights.
  • Have relevant content.
  • Promote other articles/products that say something about you. E.g., are you a late night food place in a college town? Have something witty to say during exam time!
  • Be consistent across your social media profiles … in terms of message.
  • Post regularly.

DON’T:

  • Use the same posts and image across all your social media profiles. Your audience isn’t always the same, and the same formatting might not be optimal across the board.
  • Use automated replies. While it may be nice to receive a reply, the auto messaging system ultimately feels very impersonal.
  • Inundate your audience with updates. Being too chatty is as bad as not responding or going on hiatus. Make sure you’re keeping your interactions light and simple.
  • Use bawdy or political humor. It just isn’t professional.
  • Post at strange hours. It defeats the purpose if you post at hours purely for your own convenience. Schedule your messages to go out at times that your audience will be looking at their feeds.
  • Rely on followers or likes as a metric. While being visible is one thing, it is far more important to have an engaged audience than a large one.

What is the number one tip we can share with you? DON’T FORGET TO TEST! Testing is at the heart of improving your social media presence. Find what works for you, and then keep an eye on it to make sure it continues working as you progress.

December 20, 2014
by Leslie Meng

Strategies for Facebook Marketing

Step One: Have a game plan

What do you want your Facebook page to accomplish? What would you consider an actionable success? Some marketing articles encourage you to fish for “likes” but this doesn’t always reflect whether or not your audience is really invested in your business.  If you have articles, then you may want clicks and shares; if you have a product, you want readers seeing your updates and going off to your site to purchase. So how do you get this to happen?

Step Two: Share relevant and interesting content

We’ve all seen brands that post pictures multiple times a day that have nothing to do with their services. The problem with this type of engagement is that it is very surface- your audience takes away nothing useful about your business. Instead, include updates about your products and services, your current projects, links to news you are in, or articles that reflect your branding. You should also put up pictures or videos when you can, because a visual element goes a long way on social media.

Step Three: It’s all about the timing

Now that you’ve cleaned up your content strategy, you need to think about what works best in regards to post time and frequency. A good rule of thumb is to post when your audience is actually online (Go ahead and look at your Facebook Insights here), but you can play around with the time to test what works best for you.  You can also work your brand image into this- for example, one business I follow has an active, go-getter Facebook identity, so it always posts inspirational or motivational stories in the early morning.

In regards to post frequency, make sure you don’t go to the extremes – no posting six times a day, but don’t just drop off of Facebook for months at a time either. If you can interact approximately once a day (or every few days), that is a workable medium.

Step Four: Do unto others…

You want to have engaged followers, so make sure you respond to your community. That is the point of social media after all. You should also consider allowing users to post to your page. It fosters interaction, and you can always set up your page to block offensive content.

If you have followers who share relevant posts with you, feel free to tag them back! The same goes for other businesses you have worked with or you want to give kudos to. Not only will they appreciate it, but Facebook might reward the interaction too.  You can also have a Facebook-only promotion to reward your audience.

Step Five: Reuse the oldies but goodies and boost your best content

While it is a good idea to consistently prepare new and relevant content, sometimes you can bring back old but engaging posts. Just make sure you’re not re-posting fairly current stories. Your audience will notice!

Facebook ads are also a good way to promote your business. Make sure you plan them wisely! Don’t go for too broad an audience, and choose interesting and appropriate imagery, not stock photos.

Step Six: Utilize your other social media

If you have other social media profiles, such as Twitter or Pinterest, don’t be afraid to pull that content into your Facebook page. However, do not forget that your Facebook audience may be different from your other audiences and therefore have different wants. The way to find out? Test, test, test… Some content (and even formatting!) may perform better in one place than another.

Step Seven: Test to find out what’s best

Keep track of your progress and what practices work best for your business. Don’t forget to incorporate analytics into your website to see how much traffic comes from your Facebook page as you put together your strategy.

Social media may be a time-consuming, constant learning process, but when used effectively, it can be a wonderful tool for your business. Use our steps to put together (or improve!) your Facebook strategy today!