At the outset, I have seen recently on Facebook, and Google Plus, an apparent mad dash by lawyers in particular, to add as many other lawyers as friends, and create what appear to be “voting rings”. I have always been of the mind that search engine algos are smart enough to distinguish voting rings from true engagement, and have always advocated friending people who would be more like consumers, as opposed to just fellow legal advocates. So in the document, I wanted to get into some things I have recently learned that should help all of us become more well rounded in our search for online reach and methods to get some of those non attorney friends.
In any event, I recently read a book called “The Power of Habits: Why We Do What We Do In Life and Business”, by Charles Duhigg. The book analyzes the psychology of human habits and behavior based upon research by psychologists and sociologists including ones hired by major corporations to enhance their marketing efforts.
The “Target” Example
One of the interesting discussions was how Target Stores figured out that when their female customers of a certain demographic began to buy lots of lotion and vitamins, it tended to indicate that they may be expectant mothers. So target would then be inundating these customers with ads for diapers, baby formula, strollers, etc. There was a backlash because the ads they sent only contained these products and it seemed a bit “big brother” and “overload”. This is kind of what a lot of lawyers are doing, by just non stop posting of commercial blog posts of their own sites, and sites of other lawyers when you think about it. At least the “overload” part.
Mixing It Up
Target figured out that they had to “mix it up” a bit and put some ads for “non-baby” items (tools, lawn mowers, etc.) into their mailers and “sandwich” these in between the baby items to be more effective. This made me think more about the need to provide diverse content in my social media shares.
One Size Does Not Fit All Lawyers on All Platforms
There is not a “one size fits all” to social media sites or the types of shares I usually post. For example, I find that my “audience” for LinkedIn is mostly other attorneys and business professionals, Facebook (because it was originally designed for family and friends to share information and still holds that focus even with the fairly recent development of business “pages”) is more of a personal information social site, and Google+ and Twitter have become a more of a “mixed bag” (“business” vs. “personal” shares). But don’t just post lawyer stuff and you will see your non lawyer audience naturally grow.
Know Your Audience
The old axiom, “know your audience”, seems to apply, and I tend to share articles strictly related to legal topics related to my practice areas on LinkedIn, mostly personal information on my personal Facebook page, and a mix of “human interest” type stories and “business” stories on Google+ and Twitter. However, I can see there is also a large non attorney audience on LinkedIn, and am starting to diversify my shares to attract other non lawyer businesses. But the idea is, mix it up within the confines of the platform your on, with a mind towards strengthening your overall authorship signals.
What is the Social Share Sandwich?
Having said this, one of the main reasons why I use social media (like most other small business owners) is, obviously, to promote my practice. But taking it a step further, I am also promoting me as “Steve Sweat” the author whether I want to or not (see supra.) One technique I have employed on my personal Facebook page is what I call the “social share sandwich” (a term I think I invented but, would be happy to give credit where credit is due, if I didn’t).
Sandwiching Means Being Well Rounded In Your Shares
An example of sandwiching is, if I put out one or a set of AVVO answers or stories related to personal injury, employment or criminal defense issues I practice, I try to “sandwich” this in between a few stories about my kids, my dog, funny anecdotes, inspiring quotes, etc., or something a non attorney friend sent me that I shared.
This is analogous to the “old days” when I used to print out a paper, hard copy newsletter and mail it out to referring attorneys, business associates and prior clients. I included “legal tips” (e.g. “What to do after a car accident”) but, also recipes, movie reviews, horoscopes, quotes, etc. This makes my Facebook page less redundant but, also engages the audience better, in my opinion. Let’s face it, accidents, getting fired and getting arrested are not “upbeat” topics and too many social shares regarding these topics could be a “buzz kill” in addition to being redundant.
A related concept would be something that Mike Ehline pointed out to me earlier this week with regard to an article I sent to him to post, which is “mixing media” (i.e. including text, photos, videos, etc.). Not only does this keep things more interesting but, increases the SEO effect of your shares and posts. NOTE: This article doesn’t address the vast subject of the SEO effect of social shares as “links” which is better addressed by other members of the Circle of Legal Trust like David Slepkow and is a different topic for a different day. I hope this provides “food for thought” that we need to think about our audiences and mix things up to make are social share more effective to drum up referrals from other attorneys, other business professionals and former and prospective clients.
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