The Best of TECHSHOW – Lesser Known Social Media Sites

In this “best of” ABA TECHSHOW post I feature the best tips, tricks, and insights for lesser known social media sites.  To get off on the right foot take heed of the following:

Practical Advice for All Social Media Interaction

  • Always present the best public face that you can.
  • Keep all social media accounts updated and refreshed to boost SEO and search engine rankings.
  • Fill out profiles completely, use images, interact respectfully, observe ethical constraints, and be honest.
  • Claim your accounts!  Sites like AVVO create profiles based on publicly available information – better to log on, claim your account, and be certain the information presented is accurate.
  • If you blog, post headlines to Twitter, LinkedIn, and other appropriate sites noted below.  Start a discussion linking back to your post.

Pinterestimages

Pinterest is a visual social network.  Users upload, share, and comment on images pinned to a virtual bulletin board.  A Pinterest page for your firm might include infographics, videos, pictures, and slideshows.  Photos from your blog posts and PowerPoint CLE presentations are just two possible sources of content. Remember to follow other users and link to or repin their content.  When uploading, use keywords and organize your Pinterest boards around specific themes.

Google+images

Facebook remains the big dog in town, but creating a Google+ business page will help boost the SEO of your Web site or blog (in Google’s search engine at least).  Once your page is up, use Google+ communities to reach out and connect to others.  Sort your contacts into Circles (family, friends, clients, colleagues) and tailor your posts to each circle.  Google+ has unlimited linking to other social media profiles, so take advantage of the opportunity to publicize your presence elsewhere on the Web.

Location Based Social Media – Google Places, Waze, and Foursquareimages1

Required: create a Google Business Places account – the more you participate in the Google suite of products the better your visibility on the Web.  Make sure your business listing is easily found on Google.com and Google Maps.

Optional:  consider adding your business location to the GPS-based Waze so clients can find you or create a Foursquare badge to attract clients and offer a “special” for anyone who checks in at your venue.  What is Foursquare?  A free app to “help you and your friends make the most of where you are. When you’re out and about, use Foursquare to share and save the places you visit. And, when you’re looking for inspiration for what to do next, Foursquare will give you personalized recommendations and deals based on where you, your friends, and people with your tastes have been.” Foursquare boasts 30 million users worldwide and offers a merchant platform for businesses.  One option is to create an ad that will appear when a user “checks in” at a nearby location, perhaps a restaurant or coffee shop.

Business Review Sites

Like it or not, clients post reviews of law firms.  One of the most popular review sites is Yelp.  Be proactive and claim your Yelp page to track what clients and others are saying.  Post Yelp badges on your blog or Web site, make announcements on Yelp, and respond to ALL reviews.  Try the free version first.  If you upgrade to the paid version of Yelp it will boost your firm to the top of the list, allowing you to feature a review of your choice.

Slideshare and Flickr – The Forgotten SM Sitesimagesf

Slideshare is a document and presentation sharing site that is poorly utilized, but gets tons of traffic and sharing.  Accounts are free.  Repurpose posts and articles by uploading to Slideshare and linking back to your blog or Web site.

Use Flickr as another means to interact with your network or as a source of images for blog posts.  Check the use or permission level of the image, link back, and always include attribution to the source.

A Final Word about Ethics and SM as Part of YOUR Firm

Tailor social media to your specific practice and the ethical rules in your jurisdiction.  For example, it may not be the best idea to offer clients the opportunity to “check in” on Foursquare at your criminal defense firm.  Start conservatively, use your common sense, and contact your bar’s ethics hotline when in doubt.

Many thanks to Samantha Meinke and Allison Shields for all the great ideas!  These top notch professionals are two of the reasons why you should come to ABA TECHSHOW 2014.

All Rights Reserved – Beverly Michaelis – 2013

Saving to PDF/A Using an Action

In an earlier post, I described how to quickly save to PDF/A using keyboard shortcuts.  In that post, I posed a question:  Can’t I use a Macro To Do This?  The answer is yes!

Macros (known as Actions in Acrobat) can be used to automate any number of steps, including “Preflight Print Production,” which is the technical process for converting a PDF file to a PDF/A.  Because the steps involve a fair amount of screen shots, I have saved them as a PDF on Scribd,

Slideshare, and JD Supra.

If enough folks are interested, I am willing to master saving this Action as a file that can be imported into Acrobat.

My thanks to Jim Calloway of the Oklahoma Bar Association for the idea!

Copyright 2012 Beverly Michaelis

Organizing Paper Files

Why am I writing about how to organize your paper files when going “paperless” is all the rage?  Because 6,269 views of Setting Up an Effective Filing System tells me there is still a demand for information on this subject.

I uploaded Setting Up an Effective Filing System to Slideshare three years ago.  The article first appeared in the Oregon State Bar Bulletin in June 2000.  Learning how to organize paper files remains a popular topic because most firms continue to operate hybrid systems.  For some, the paperless part of the practice consists solely of word processing documents and e-mails saved in client folders on the network or computer.  For others, going paperless occurs at the end of the life cycle when the file is closed, contents are scanned, and the paper file shredded or given to the client.  In either case, the active, working file continues to be paper-based.  I am happy to share tips on paper file management because I strongly believe that well-organized paper files lead to well-organized computer files.

Setting Up an Effective Filing System addresses the following topics:

  • Alpha vs. Numeric Filing Systems
  • File Media – Folders vs. Binders
  • How to use Color Coding
  • The Connection Between Files and Client Relations

It also provides examples of how to organize file materials in three practice areas: Corporate, Personal Injury, and Domestic Relations.  The complete article can be downloaded here.

For those who were expecting a follow-up post on how to create Actions in Acrobat, my apologies.  I promise to get there, but was motivated to publish this first as I continue to receive requests for copies of my filing system article.

Copyright Beverly Michaelis 2012

5 Ways to Increase Your Visibility on the Web

What can you do to increase your visibility among search engines and drive traffic to your Web site? Search engine optimizationIncoming links?  Obviously both help, but the former requires special expertise. The latter involves persuading others, which isn’t always easy.

So how about a solution that is completely within your control and doesn’t require paying for links or hiring a consultant?

Complete Online Profiles

The first stop on your journey should be completing online profiles that point back to your Web site. The most popular free site is LinkedIn.  Others include Avvo, FindLaw, JD Supra, Justia, Lawyers.com, Lawyer Profiles from ConsultWebs, Legal Match, LLRX, Martindale, MyLegal, and Naymz.  A word of caution: know what you’re getting into when you sign up for these services.  Some are free.  Some are not.  Be mindful of advertising and solicitation rules – you may be required to use disclaimers or opt out of certain features entirely (such as lawyer rankings or client testimonials and endorsements). On the plus side, many of these services allow you to share more than just biographical information.  By posting articles, pleadings, forms, and presentations or displaying blog posts and tweets you can take full advantage of your profile. While you’re at it, don’t forget to complete your Google Profile and Google Business Listing.  If others request permission to reproduce or reprint your material, require proper attribution, included a link back to your Web site or blog.

Engage in Social Media

If you haven’t joined social media yet, I hope you do.  It’s fantastic IMHO.  If the King is Facebook, the Queen is Twitter.  I won’t try to reinvent the wheel here.  Instead, visit the Mass LOMAP blog (our law practice management counterparts in Massachusetts). Once there, click in the Search box in the upper left hand corner and enter “Facebook” to find all their great posts on setting up a Facebook business page.  You can also learn a ton from the ABA book, Social Media for LawyersSave some bucks and get it at a discount through the Professional Liability Fund.  From the PLF Web site, select ABA Products.  Once at the ABA Web store, enter the PLF discount code.  Mashable is also a wonderful source for how-tos and breaking news on all things social media.  

Try Social Publishing

Social publishing could easily fall under online profiles or social media, since the whole idea is to set up a profile, then share with others. No matter how you slice it, sites like YouTube, Flickr, Slideshare, Scribd, and Docstoc are great places to post photos, videos, PowerPoint presentations, articles, and related content. When your items are published, share them via Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.  LLRX also welcomes contributions.

Keep it Free and Local

Are profiles or online listings part of your state or local bar association memberships?  Specialty legal organizations?  Bar sections or committees?  If yes, take advantage! 

Blog!

Obviously you’re a blog reader, or you wouldn’t be here.  But are you blogger?  It takes time and effort, but the best way to raise your visibility is to give search engines what they crave: frequently updated content. That’s what this post is all about – giving you as many avenues as possible to get your material out there.  Tough to do using your Web site, which can be static by comparison.  But a blog fits the bill quite nicely.  You can read more about the process here and compare blogging services here.

Always Keep Ethics in Mind

If you’re not fully informed in the premises, read:

Monitor Your Online Reputation

Now that you’ve jumped in with both feet, you should keep tabs on yourself.  Sound a bit strange?  It won’t if you’ve Googled yourself before.  In addition to the occasional Google, Yahoo!, or Bing, search, sign up to receive alerts whenever your personal and/or business name is used.  Google and Yahoo! both offer Web monitoring services.  Don’t overlook Social Mention, which monitors over 100 social media properties including Twitter, Facebook, FriendFeed, and YouTube or BoardTracker which searches and tracks threads on forums and message boards.  

Good luck!

Copyright 2011 Beverly Michaelis