June 18, 2019

Tom Matte: A Twitter Chat Can Bring New Exposure to Your Law Firm

By scheduling regular tweet chats on topics of interest to your followers, your firm will be viewed as a go-to resource for the latest information

So, you’ve been on Twitter for a while now. You are building a nice number of followers and are conversing with them on a regular basis. Your posts are informative and interesting, and you are even retweeted on a fairly regular basis.

So what’s next? Why not hold a Twitter Chat? For the uninitiated, a Twitter Chat is when a group of people participates in a real time, online conversation around a particular topic, identified by a hashtag. Think about it as a conference call with people all over the world, where each participant can share their thoughts by typing 140-character tweets rather than talking over each other. It’s an easy way to get people who are interested in your topic to discuss concerns and share new ideas.

Sounds fun, right? While it is easy, there are some things to consider first. When setting one up, make sure you:

  • Choose a topic, time and a hashtag that makes sense
  • Choose a format and share that with your followers. It may be on a single topic (typically best), a forum for followers to ask you questions, or any number of other formats, but define it up front and stick to it.
  • Promote it in advance. Otherwise, you’ll be chatting by yourself.

So those are the basics. Scheduling and conducting a Twitter Chat is one thing, but doing it in such a way that followers will participate and want to come back for future ones is another. Here are some suggestions for doing it well.

  • Choose a topic people are interested in. What are your clients consistently asking you about? What do you see trending on Twitter lately? Put a bit of thought into your topic to ensure it’s one that will draw participants.
  • Be real. One of the beauties of social media is that it tends to break down barriers between people and allows them to show a bit of personality along with their expertise. So be authentic in your approach and don’t be afraid to show a bit of your fun side too.
  • Be consistent. If you plan to hold regular Twitter Chats, find a time that works for most of your followers and stick to it. That way people will add it to their schedule and be more likely to attend future ones.
  • Invite others to host. Just like in-person events, it’s good to mix it up a bit. Bring in other thought leaders and have them “guest host” by leading the conversation or answering questions. It will keep it more interesting and bring in entirely new participants since the guest host will promote it for you as well.

For example, Colorado Supreme Court initiated the new Civil Access Pilot Project this year, which makes significant changes to the Colorado Rules of Civil Procedure for certain types of business cases in specified judicial districts. The new procedures dramatically affect the way certain civil cases are litigated, and attorneys are beginning to wade through the new restrictions right now. Here’s a great opportunity for a Colorado firm to hold a Twitter Chat to hear what others are thinking, share their own views, and even discuss what their experiences have been with the rule changes so far. Who’s first?

Hosting a Tweet Chat can be a great way for you to add followers and increase exposure for your firm and practice area. Attend a few first to see how it’s done and take notes on what works well and what doesn’t. You can find them directly in Twitter, or TweetChat is designed to help with the process.

To read more, check out Mashable articles, 7 Tips for Better Twitter Chats and How to Start and Run a Successful Twitter Chat.

Tom Matte is CEO of Max Advertising, and focuses his endless enthusiasm on crafting creative and lasting marketing and advertising for law firms, helping them to ultimately grow their practices. Whether a 10-person firm or one of the Am Law 100, he works with firms of all sizes. Tom blogs at the The Matte Pad, where this post originally appeared on June 30, 2011.

Tom Matte: Distinguish Your Law Firm on Your ‘About Us’ Page

Take control of your valuable online turf with a great ‘About Us’ page or you’ll waste a prime opportunity to define your firm’s strengths and unique niche.

What’s the most important part of your law firm’s web site? Your home page of course, but it may surprise you to learn that for smaller firms the runner-up is your ‘About Us’ page, according to Kevin Levi. He lays out some great ideas to boost the utility of this critical space in his article on Marketing Profs.

You don’t want to throw everything into one overstuffed jumble of a page, but you do need to include clear and well-crafted distinguishing messages on that precious high-profile web space. Marketing legal services to small business relies heavily on Internet searches. Once a search has brought potential customers to your site, if they’re interested in what your law firm offers they are likely to head for your ‘About Us’ page to learn more. Give them the information they need to understand what makes your firm and attorneys special. Here are four key elements on which to focus:

Positioning statement.  This is the elevator pitch that you carry around in your head. It lets readers know in a very few words (under 35 is the general rule) exactly what you do, for whom and why they want it. Being concise helps ensure that your message comes through clearly and sticks with readers.

Primary Differentiator. Here’s your chance to explain what it is that makes your firm perfectly suited to handle a potential client’s business. Do you focus on a particular industry or practice area that no one else does or is it the way you deliver your services? Do you serve a very specific client base? Whatever you do, don’t resort to generic claims of excellence or quality. Instead, focus on the most important element of your unique profile, whether that’s based on exceptional experience, unmatched skill, unusual services for a highly specialized legal market or something else. Let people know the real reason your law firm is the best choice out of the many options they find.

Secondary Differentiator. This is a chance to share more about your company’s defining characteristics. Again, limit it to aspects of your services and attorneys that aren’t likely to be shared by the competition.

Company Description.  Include objective information about your company such as location, longevity, history, goals and formative experiences.

A page with this level of description should add to and expand on the first impression readers received from your home page. Make sure what you say here agrees but also further educates instead of simply repeating what you’ve already shared. It’s the ideal place to market your law firm because almost anyone who lands here is already interested in legal services in general or your firm in particular.

To make this space even more valuable in terms of legal marketing, take the time to compare your ‘About Us’ page to those of your competitors. Pay attention to what they have to say in the four areas you’ve articulated (and if that isn’t clear, smile to yourself). You’ll know you’ve got a successful page when readers can easily determine what sets you apart from all the rest just by reading this and your home page.

Tom Matte is CEO of Max Advertising, and focuses his endless enthusiasm on crafting creative and lasting marketing and advertising for law firms, helping them to ultimately grow their practices. Whether a 10-person firm or one of the Am Law 100, he works with firms of all sizes. Tom blogs at the The Matte Pad, where this post originally appeared on November 28, 2011.

Tom Matte: 7 More Social Media Tips to Bring Leads to Your Law Firm

The main reason most law firms start using social media is to generate leads. Make sure you are getting the most from your efforts and creating the awareness that will pay off.

I recently read an article on Social Media Today entitled, “7 Reasons You’re Not Generating Leads From Social Media.” Now here’s a topic that looks interesting, since I get asked about the connection between social media and leads quite frequently. As it turns out, lead generation is the top reason most B2B marketers say they are using social media in the first place, so if leads aren’t coming in, it’s probably difficult to justify the time and cost of social media, right?

So using this article as a base, I thought I would talk about 7 ways you can start generating leads from your social media activities.

Go where your prospects are. This may seem obvious, and it is. While I think it’s a good idea to be on all the major platforms, spend most of your time where your next client is hanging out most of the time. This may mean more focus on LinkedIn than Twitter. Or vice versa. Or if your law firm is targeting a specific industry, look for industry-specific social media platforms and start building awareness there.

Provide valuable content. I’ve written quite a few blog posts on the importance of providing good content, so I won’t rehash that here. But if all you are putting out on  your social media pages is information about you, your practice or your law firm, people will quickly grow bored and you will sound completely self-centered. Mix it up with some interesting articles about a topic of interest to your prospects, comment on other people’s posts and retweet valuable information too. Remember, it’s social, so one-way push messages can’t be all you do.

Create strong calls to action and consider creating targeted landing pages. If someone really likes what you have to say, make it easy for them to reach out to you by creating a call to action. It can be something as easy as making your phone number and email address easily accessible. Or better yet, send readers to a landing page where they can find further details, a white paper or some other item of value. In return, ask for their contact information. Targeted landing pages are a great way to expand your database and find out who is really interested in hearing more of what you have to say.

Get the most from your social media real estate. I’m amazed at how many times I go to a law firm’s Twitter page and see no information in the bio space or a Facebook page with nothing on the info page. Whatever you do, provide readers the information they need about your firm, a way to get to your Website easily and other ways to reach out to you as well. Make sure your messaging is consistent throughout all platforms too, so no matter how someone finds you, they see and hear the same thing and walk away with a good idea of what your law firm does.

Integrate email and social media. How many emails do you send a day? I’d be willing to bet it’s at least scores and probably more than 100 on many days. So why not include links to your social media pages in your email signature? If you have an offer on a landing page, include that information there as well. It will generate awareness for your social media work, and it’s easy for someone to forward to a colleague or friend to broaden your reach even more.

Display highly visible social share and follow buttons. While you are adding your social media buttons to your email, make sure they are on your Website too. Not just your home page, but your blog pages, your bio page and possibly your practice area and industry pages. Make it easy for people to share and follow you and your firm, and they will.

Measure the effectiveness of your social media efforts. All this is well and good, but in the end, you need to measure how well you are doing and make adjustments as needed. Set up a time to regularly review your social media traffic, activity and audience. Has any business come to your firm that can be directly tied to social media activities? Are you in the right place or should you branch out and try some new platforms?

What do you suggest? Are your social media efforts paying off in leads?

Tom Matte is CEO of Max Advertising, and focuses his endless enthusiasm on crafting creative and lasting marketing and advertising for law firms, helping them to ultimately grow their practices. Whether a 10-person firm or one of the Am Law 100, he works with firms of all sizes. Tom blogs at the The Matte Pad, where this post originally appeared on December 7, 2011.

Tom Matte: The Importance of a Company Facebook Page for Small Firms

A great, easy and free way to get your small firm engaged with your client or potential client is to create a Facebook company page.

A Facebook page connects your firm to the outside world without too much effort. This is a great way to market your firm in just a few short minutes. I know you are busy, but I promise it won’t take much time and the benefits definitely outweigh the effort of putting it together. Think about what you want to post and do your research up front before getting started though. Remember: Content is king!

Take these tips and get started on your Facebook page today.

  • Choose who will administer your Facebook page. This person will post regular Facebook updates and control what is put on the page. You can have as many administrators as you like, but a word of advice, choose a select group to make sure updates are relevant to your practice area and audience.
  • Post legal news and industry-related content on your Facebook page. This could include an article on a newly passed law or a pertinent court case. Always keep your audience in mind, and post things that would be interesting to them.
  • Post pictures of your firm at conferences, meetings and gatherings. It’s important to show your audience what you are participating in and how you are involved in the legal community. It’s also nice to post photos of any volunteer events or firm celebrations. People like to see that you have fun too.
  • Get professional head-shots taken of employees at your firm and post them to the page. Create an album for these pictures on Facebook titled, “(Your Firm Name) employees.” This allows your audience to feel like they know your firm without actually meeting all of the individuals.
  • Ask for feedback and engage your audience. Post questions on your Facebook page and encourage responses. People love to be engaged on Facebook. Create content that attracts your audience and keeps them coming back for more!
  • Don’t post any private information, obviously, such as court cases. Many people that have gotten fired, or worse, because of the personal information they posted, and for good reason. Remember, anything you put on Facebook is in the public domain – forever. Be smart about what you post.
  • Add tabs to your page that allow followers to see information about your firm in other places, like Twitter and YouTube. With a YouTube tab, for example,  you can post your firm’s webinars, commercials and any other videos so visitors can find them easily. Look into all the tabs that could benefit your Facebook page.

Facebook is a great way to reach more clients. This easy, free tool will engage your audience and eventually convert some of them into clients. Being actively involved with a Facebook page (along with a Twitter page, blogging and a LinkedIn page), can set your firm apart as a thought-leader in the legal industry.

Tom Matte is CEO of Max Advertising, and focuses his endless enthusiasm on crafting creative and lasting marketing and advertising for law firms, helping them to ultimately grow their practices. Whether a 10-person firm or one of the Am Law 100, he works with firms of all sizes. Tom blogs at the The Matte Pad, where this post originally appeared on May 9, 2011.

Tom Matte: Manage the Reputation of Your Law Firm

With tons of information all over the Internet, it’s easy for a competing company or an unhappy person to ruin your firm’s pristine image, so do everything you can to protect and manage your reputation.

Putting your firm on social media isn’t something you can just do then ignore. It’s an interactive process that requires time and effort to manage. Monitoring and responding to comments, especially negative ones, is vitally important. According to an article by Bob Tripathi, called “4 Powerful Strategies for Managing your Online Reputation,” the four most important pieces to reputation management are to monitor, listen, respond and amplify.

Monitor. The first piece, of course, is to monitor your firm’s brand. Find out what your competitors and clients are saying about you. Use tools such as Google Alerts and Analytics, SocialMention and SEOMoz to track conversations and keywords relating to your firm. If you don’t monitor you won’t know what’s being said and how to improve and respond.

Listen. Listen to what is being said about your firm across all mediums. Categorize and prioritize conversations about your firm so you can manage them appropriately. Most companies break down conversations into two sections, those that need “immediate attention” and those that require “active listening.” Immediate attention is just that, something that needs to be addressed now. These are the past clients and competition that are talking poorly of your firm. You must decide how to address the situation or conversation before it blows up into something worse. The active listening bracket is full of clients and others that are casually talking about your firm. You want track these too, and respond as needed, to be actively involved in the conversation.

Respond. Respond and act on most negative conversations about your firm – The reason I say “most” is that trolls should be ignored. Normally all these people want is a fight, but you don’t have to be the person or firm that gives them one. This is a perfect example of good public relations. I recommend you create a policy and system for how to respond to nay-sayers. Few have one, so this will put your firm ahead of the competition and allow you to respond much quicker. Analyze what went wrong in these negative situations and make adjustments so it doesn’t happen again. Don’t give in to the temptation to respond harshly to these people, but offer a sympathetic response and offer to correct anything that you possibly can. In most cases, these carefully worded answers will show others following you that you are responsive and care about your customers. That’s a strong message.

Amplify. Once you have responded to the unhappy client, make sure you tell the world. Make sure you turn the negative situation into a positive, rewarding one. People like to see how you treat your clients and customers, and often decide on which firms to use through reviews and referrals. Do all you can to keep everyone happy, and they will reward you with good reviews in the end.

Interesting side note: In a recent study I read, customers who had encountered a negative experience with a company, but had a positive recovery experience were more loyal – by far – than those that had always had positive experiences within the same company. This doesn’t mean you should go out and start failing clients, but it does demonstrate the power of responding to a negative experience in a positive way. It’s well worth the effort from a reputation point of view, as well as a client loyalty perspective.

Tom Matte is CEO of Max Advertising, and focuses his endless enthusiasm on crafting creative and lasting marketing and advertising for law firms, helping them to ultimately grow their practices. Whether a 10-person firm or one of the Am Law 100, he works with firms of all sizes. Tom blogs at the The Matte Pad, where this post originally appeared on May 17, 2011.

Tom Matte: How to Launch a Blog for Your Law Firm – Fast!

Law firm’s don’t have a lot of time to use social media, so it’s important to get your blog up fast, otherwise you’ll never find the time.

A law firm’s blog serves as the central component for your firm’s social media strategy.  I’ve compiled my suggested best practices to help you to get your firm’s blog up, focused and running quickly to rapidly start building your firm’s credibility within this space.

A law firm’s blog is like fishing. You want to fish for a particular fish, with a particular bait, and you want to get the bait away from the boat so you don’t scare off the fish.

To get your legal blog up and running quickly, you’ll need to do the following:

  1. Have a clear objective. Create content important to your clients and readers.
  2. Identify your target audience.
  3. Compose a descriptor statement, or subtitle, that states emphatically what your blog is about (i.e. A Guide for all of your Legal Needs, A Source of Legal News, etc.).
  4. Create a unique title for the blog. It’s helpful if you can also tie in the title with the blog’s URL.
  5. Be sure that you own your URL instead of having a WordPress.com, Typepad.com or Blogspot.com site. That way you can change blogging platforms without losing your online traffic. If possible, use your law firm’s name or a partner’s name in the URL.
  6. Know the key words that you want to dominate in Google search. For example: legal, law news, attorneys, etc. Be consistent to include your key words into your post titles.
  7. Come up with 10 to 12 categories that you will write to. These will help guide your writing and will facilitate navigation of your blog’s content for your readers.
  8. Start with a simple blogging platform that you can easily switch from in the future. My suggestion would be WordPress.com.
  9. Keep IT and creativity out of the picture in the beginning stages. Keep the process as simple as possible and focus on the blog’s content. Don’t spend your time worrying about how it looks.
  10. Set a goal for writing 50 posts within 30 days, I know this is a lot, so if you can’t do this just make sure you are consistently writing posts. This will help you to develop your research, resourcing, writing and publishing processes. You will quickly know what obstacles will inhibit you and allow you to figure out workarounds to keep the process moving.
  11. Navigation is critical. Make your blog easy to navigate with top posts, categories, etc. Install a search widget that is included in your blog’s sidebar and located above the fold.
  12. Create a “welcome for your blog” and include your photo to make it more personable. The “welcome” copy should be an expansion of your blog’s descriptor statement.
  13. Add these pages: About, Services, Legal Events, Contact.
  14. Add social media buttons for your Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn accounts.
  15. Be sure to add an RSS subscription button and create a Feedburner account through Google to get your link.
  16. Add a subscription button for an email newsletter that is directly linked to your email provider account, such as Vertical Response, Emma, Constant Contact, etc.
  17. Jump start traffic by sending out an email newsletter at least monthly, preferably every other week. Use content from your blog in the email newsletter. Don’t assume that just because you’ve written it, everyone has read it.
  18. Generate initial traffic through Twitter, using tools like SocialOomph and TweetAdder.

Create a format that you can use for every post:

  • Incorporate your key words into every blog post title.
  • Create a benefit/takeaway statement that begins each post. It should answer the question, “What is my benefit if I commit to read this post?”. This is the inverted pyramid style of writing, like a newspaper report would use. It leads with the conclusion.
  • Write easy-to-read copy, breaking up long paragraphs and editing to make the post concise – on average 350 to 450 words.
  • For the best return on your time investment, write posts that are “evergreen.” Try not to “date” your content. This is also a hard thing to do when writing about certain legal topics or current law changes – so keep most posts basic when you can.
  • Consistently create valued content that is “reader-centric.”
  • Hyperlink to resources and attribution to primary sources, such as the American Bar Association.
  • Select one or more categories that are reflective of the blog’s content.
  • Add tags for people, places and entities that are referenced in your post.
  • Include “additional articles that may be of interest” at the bottom of the post with titles and links to four to five other posts that you’ve written.
  • Include a photo or graphic in every post to make it visually pleasing.

Follow these steps, and you’ll have your blog up and running in no time.

Editor’s Note: Law firms aren’t the only legal entities that should consider using blogs to reach clients and colleagues and share legal expertise: solo and small firm practitioners would benefit greatly from the kind of online exposure that a blog can provide. Solo/small firm blogging is the subject of a CLE program on Monday, October 10, entitled Blogging: What It Can Do for Your Solo/Small Firm Practice. The event is being presented by Barbara Cashman Hahn, Esq., a solo practitioner in estate planning and elder law. Click here to register for the program or the live webcast.

Tom Matte is CEO of Max Advertising, and focuses his endless enthusiasm on crafting creative and lasting marketing and advertising for law firms, helping them to ultimately grow their practices. Whether a 10-person firm or one of the Am Law 100, he works with firms of all sizes. Tom blogs at the The Matte Pad, where this post originally appeared on August 20, 2010.