Google + vs. Facebook
As the popularity of Google+ continues to increase, law firms are being forced to rethink their strategy. Attorneys are already growing a decent following on Facebook and Twitter, sharing the latest in legal news (as well as showing themselves as likeable people). Small communities are popping up around such topics as accident injury, food poisoning, and toy recalls. Google+ is clearly not going anywhere any time soon, giving the legal industry something new to think about.
Although Facebook is a valuable tool for building community and presence, your average user doesn’t generally log in to Facebook with the intention of looking for services. Generally they will use a search engine with questions about where to go, who is the best attorney around, etc. According to a survey found on Get Noticed Get Found, 21.9% of people looking for a specialty lawyer used a search engine versus only 10.5% looking elsewhere on the Internet, and a minimal 2.1% asked on a social network. That’s where Google+ gets its edge. You can achieve SEO rankings in searches for your firm, while also allowing for discretion with potential clients that is not often afforded by a social network such as Facebook or Twitter.
Google + Benefits
Google+ has a lot of the same networking and community building benefits as other social networks (such as the ability to build a profile with links to your website and other pages), but can be more easily controlled and monitored:
- The first step toward obtaining these benefits is to create a company page. This should make an impression, yet still be professional. Visuals are key to social marketing, so assess what design scheme can work for your firm.
- Create community pages for your company. This will allow you to invite people from your personal Google+ account’s circles of contact (you should organize your circles beforehand allowing you to maintain different categories of relationships – clients, potential clients, leads, etc.). Once you have organized your contact circles, you can then tailor your communities and updates to each circle, allowing for a more personalized and engaging experience. You can start different conversations with each community, and use features such as Google Hangout or Google Communities to do so (San Diego Esquire).
- Control your privacy settings to determine what you want shared and searchable. You can share posts publicly on your profile, which will appear in Google searches (so keep in mind SEO value when posting), but if you want something to be visible for an elite few (perhaps a specific client), you can make certain posts private.
- It’s got the stats supporting it! According to an Infographic found on The Social Ballot, in 2012 625,000 new people joined Google+ daily, 40% of marketers used Google+, 70% wanted to learn more about it, and 67% planned on increasing Google+ activities. This number is only increasing in 2013 as the popularity of Google+ grows. If marketers are so intent on taking advantage of all Google+ has to offer, why shouldn’t you be doing the same as a legal professional? You want to market yourself and your services in the best way possible, and the data shows that Google+ is the place for success. People are constantly sharing using Google+ and its +1 feature, and you’ll want to be a part of that conversation!
- Content marketing! This is a term you have probably heard over and over again, but it’s an extremely valuable tool for improving your firm’s reputation, and Google+ has the perfect platform for doing so. You can share industry related articles and post some of your own to become a clear expert voice in the community.
- Use Google+ Business!
The Bottom Line
Google+ is a social networking platform, a publishing platform, and an essential tool for increasing SEO. It will grow your reputation, visibility, and give you an opportunity to see what’s out there and how your competition is using Google+ to their advantage as well. Make sure you’re not left in the dust, and get in gear for Google+!
To learn more about the benefits and opportunities for law firms to succeed through the implementation of a social media strategy, the Business Development Institute is hosting the Social Media Marketing Summit for Law Firms May 9, 2013.