I spent the past few days complaining about social media and all things mobile. Despite my frustrations with and complaints about these new technologies, I do see their value, their potential, and compelling reasons to embrace them.
Before I wax too laudatory of social media, one more caveat: social media marketing is one valuable component of a comprehensive marketing and communications plan. It is not a silver bullet, a panacea, nor the greatest thing since sliced bread. However, used properly and strategically, social media marketing makes good sense for estate planning and elder law attorneys.
Here are my top 5 reasons for using social media marketing:
- Social Media is proven effective -- When we look at B2C companies (business-to-consumer, which includes professional services) 57% of companies that have a company blog report having acquired new customers directly from their blog; 51% from Twitter and 68% from Facebook. These are not staggering numbers, but they are good numbers. Used strategically, social media marketing can clearly boost your bottom line.
- SEO - Integrated Social Media dramatically improves website ranking on the major search engines, and directly impacts the number of leads generated from your website. Companies that blog have more than 400% more content pages indexed on Google than companies that don't ... and the more pages indexed on Google, the more leads your website will generate. In fact, sites with 176 to 310 indexed content pages generate, on average, 22 leads per month; sites with more than 300 indexed content pages generate, on average, 74 leads per month. How do you get that many indexed content pages? Blogging. I have been blogging with pretty fair consistency for the past several years, and we now have a few hundred indexed content pages ... our website ranks on page one for Google, Yahoo and Bing (for our targeted search strings). In fact, our website generates enough leads through organic search alone that we were able to drop our Google AdWords budget completely.
- Social Media Builds Relationships -- Marketing for the estate planning and elder law attorney is all about building relationships. Social media helps you build relationships -- you are able to get your "personality" and your "voice" out into the marketplace through your blog postings in ways that you simply cannot accomplish through any other media. When people read your less-formal writings, they begin to feel as though they know you, they can start to connect with you ... and thus the trust process begins.
- Social Media Builds Market Prominence -- Let's face it.The movers-and-shakers in the business world are following social media. They read blogs, they are on Twitter and Facebook. By "movers and shakers," I mean journalists for both professional and consumer media, and the thought-leaders of the business world. People who are in the forefront realize they cannot afford to ignore social media. You can get noticed if you are blogging, tweeting, and building a fan base on Facebook. We frequently are invited to speak to and write for legal groups and publications by people who read this blog. We are seeing the same trend with our clients.
- Social Media is Traditional and Personal -- only the technology has changed. Once upon a time, traditional, personal marketing meant attending Little League baseball games, serving on the local school board, volunteering for charitable events and staying active in your local bar association. These are all ways for you to connect with people, to become part of your community. Social media, used properly, does the same thing. Even though it is less personal, social media does expand your ability to connect with people. And that's what marketing is really all about. Connecting.
Those are the reasons why I like social media -- despite all of the reasons that I don't!
Stay tuned. Next up? How to use specific channels (blogging, Twitter, Facebook) to enhance your marketing and practice development efforts.