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Facebook’s “See First” feature sets higher bar for social media relationships

FacebookIf your law firm is active on Facebook, you already know that “Likes” are valuable to your marketing efforts. When someone Likes your firm’s page, each of your posts has a chance to appear on that person’s News Feed – their personalized Facebook front page, which aggregates stories from the individuals, businesses, and organizations that they follow. Moreover, their friends might see a notification that they have Liked your page, further increasing your exposure.

Now, Facebook has created a new, higher bar for businesses to strive for to achieve a closer relationship with their customers. It’s called “See First.” A user may activate the feature from the page of any entity that they follow. After they do so, every post from that entity since the user’s last visit to Facebook is guaranteed to appear at the top of his or her News Feed.

The difference between a regular Like and See First is (more…)

Google Places is now Google My Business: Why that matters to your law firm

AndroidAs you may have heard, Google Places is now Google My Business. Billed as a versatile tool for small businesses, My Business is a repository for a large number of other Google services.

In short, it simplifies the communications components of marketing your law firm. Your firm no longer needs to go back and forth from one website to another to manage its business.

With this change, Google is entering into direct competition with Facebook’s business services. With Google My Business, the search giant hopes to get more businesses using their products. Google My Business isn’t anything new, its more of a suite consisting of existing or upgraded Google services.

What’s included:

  • Hangouts – Video chat with customers.
  • Reviews – Rate businesses according to their reviews.
  • Google Analytics – See your law firm’s website statistics immediately.
  • Maps – Manage your law firm’s location and information, and respond as owner on Maps on mobile.
  • Insights – Determine market trends, (more…)

User behavior is changing – give people multiple ways to find your website

integrated search marketingA report released by Forrester Research showing more people than ever are using social media to find websites has been garnering a lot of attention among marketers. For lovers of social networks, the data confirms what they have been trying to convince businesses of for some time: social will overcome search as the primary method people use to find your site.

According to the report, 54% of Americans use search engines to find the websites and information they need. That number is down from 61% in 2010. While traditional search usage is declining, social search is on the rise, particularly among young people. Close to 33% of all Americans claim to use social media as their primary search method, while half of those aged 18-23 prefer social.

Social media is a useful part of any serious marketing plan and will likely continue to become more important as those who grew up (more…)

Five tips for getting the most engagement out of your Pinterest pictures

After a year of gathering data about how people interact with images on Pinterest, the team at Curalate believes they can predict whether or not your pictures will get noticed. Curate is a social media image analytics company that counsels businesses on how to optimize pictures for maximum engagement on Pinterest and Instagram. They have been steadily amassing a database of millions of images, which includes physical details about the picture – like colors, textures, aspect ratio and saturation – as wells as statistical information about how often the post received repins and comments.

From this substantial collection of data, analysts sampled approximately half a million images, looking for patterns among popular pins. They have released the results of their data-crunching in (how else) infographic form, along with a report detailing several common characteristics of the most successful images. Here is a sample of their findings.

Color: The most shared images (more…)

Keep your email marketing fresh: Study confirms it still produces results

email marketingResearch released in Monetate’s Ecommerce Quarterly (EQ) report for Q1 2013 reveals that email is still an important marketing tool for businesses. According to data collected during the first quarter of this year, email is actually a larger driver of conversion than search.

The study examined over 500 million shopping experiences and found that email marketing converted more than 3 percent of the time, while search came in at slightly over 2 percent and social less than 1 percent. Search traffic overall is down from the same time last year, as people increasingly use targeted apps to do their searching from a variety of devices.

Blair Lyon, Monetate’s vice president of marketing, believes that many businesses and service providers pay too little attention to their email marketing. The concept has been around for so long, it is easy to ignore or pass over for more shiny, newer things. But email is (more…)

Find balance with your search and social marketing efforts

Each new, highly publicized update Google releases causes some frustration among businesses that see their rankings fluctuate as the changes take effect. And Google will continue to hone its algorithm in an attempt to make search results as helpful as possible for those in need of information or services.

However, through all of Google’s updates, the basic rules have remained the same. And so has the underlying formula: a combination of authority and relevance. The search giant has simply (and consistently) been stepping up enforcement of things long considered to be unethical or bad practices and attempting to reward content that is genuinely useful.

Social media increasingly has a place within this equation. Businesses that produce content others find helpful are more likely to get liked, shared, tweeted about and followed. And marketers just cannot stop talking about social media. But it is not the magic bullet that some seem to (more…)

Five Things the Most Effective Websites Have in Common

Law firms may not want to think of themselves as small businesses, but competing for new clients increasingly requires the implementation of business strategies, from law firm practice management to holistic marketing plans. As traditional methods of attorney marketing continue to move toward obsolescence, online marketing efforts are taking a larger and larger share of marketing dollars. Because of this, your website must be effective.

MarketingProfs published a provocatively titled article this week, claiming that most small and medium business websites will fail. Small and medium businesses (SMBs), the article claims, are not as prepared to face the reality of competing online as they should be by this point in the life of the Internet. Their analysis is based largely on data drawn from vSplash’s SMB DigitalScape, which reveals some surprising facts about small and medium business websites, including:

  • 93.3% are not mobile-compatible
  • 80.5% contain no links to social media
  • 60% have no phone number (more…)

Good Social Network Protocol is Really a Matter of Common Sense

NPR’s Talk of the Nation produced a program this week about the social media habits of employees in an era when a person’s online activity may cost them their job. A recent decision by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) changes the rules slightly about what can be deemed a fireable offense, but employers continue to use a person’s social network habits as a grounds for terminating them or as a reason not to hire them in the first place. The NLRB’s policy update may protect some new activities, such as using social networks as a forum for discussions about discrimination or unfair workplace practices, but much of what gets employees in trouble will not be protected activity.

One thing an employer (or firm) can to do combat inappropriate online activity is to institute a social media use policy. Use policies are an especially good idea for larger firms at which multiple (more…)

Is your firm developing its own voice online?

Most law firms understand that regular online activity helps with marketing efforts. But the formula for success can seem elusive, and frequent changes to search algorithms frustrate some firm’s efforts. Your ranking may bounce about unpredictably, making it difficult to determine what is working and what is not. It is clear that blogging and social media can be a force for good, but they may also backfire, harming your reputation among clients and peers.

Google claims to be waging a war against unoriginal, robotic and repetitive content. Over the past several years, the search engine has targeted and taken out one technique after another that it considers to be cheating or in some way unethical. Some of these changes have succeeded while others have been less effective, and adapting is challenging enough. You must also factor in the additional weight that is now being given to social cues such as (more…)

Company pages on LinkedIn are still an underused resource

In December, LinkedIn released its list of the 12 best company pages of 2012. According to a post on the official LinkedIn blog, the pages were chosen because they used a range of features to both enhance the company’s brand and communicate with its audience in a meaningful way. Some winners include Adobe, HubsSpot and CNBC. You can see the complete slideshow on the LinkedIn blog.

LinkedIn has been actively promoting its company pages, releasing a new look and several upgrades toward the end of last year. The network, which is known predominantly as an arena for making b2b connections, is attempting to compete with other social media sites that have long been considered avenues for direct interaction between businesses and their target audiences. Company pages look to be a promising way of increasing LinkedIn’s value to its members, but they contain many features that are still underutilized. Try using these (more…)