Person in a suit holding an iPadThis is the next post in my discussion on how attorneys can go about building backlinks the right way. My last post on the topic covered how attorneys can gain links by blogging about relevant current events. This article is going to talk about how links can be gained through another medium which baffles many lawyers – social media.

I’ve talked before about how attorneys can build relationships through social media. That discussion focused on how lawyers and law firms can connect online with potential clients and “brand” themselves through channels such as Facebook, Google+, etc. It’s important to remember, however, that there are people you can connect with online besides potential clients. This second type of connection I’m referring to is the group of people out there who are generally interested in your subject matter for reasons other than their own personal situation. Those are the people, whom you’ll connect with online, who are likely to link to you. Let’s figure out who these people are.

Attorneys can use social media to connect with other bloggers and website owners interested in a given practice area

There are a few types of website owners/bloggers who will link to you. Here are a few examples of these fine folks:

  • Other lawyers who share your area of practice. They may link to your site/blog as an example of how things are handled in other jurisdictions as part of a comparative law discussion. These people may also link to you as a citation on a given topic.
  • Non-attorney bloggers who regularly write about issues relevant to your niche. Consider the example of one who runs a blog on personal relationships. This person may link to a family lawyer’s site/blog as part of a discussion on what happens during divorce.
  • Other website owners, who service your niche, who are not attorneys. An example of this might be one who runs a “financial advice” site who links to bankruptcy information to benefit his or her readers.

Building online relationships with such people will go a long way towards helping you establish backlinks. This is done as social media is a great avenue to establish yourself as an “authority” in your field. It’s important, however, that you actually engage in meaningful discussion and that you’re not that pain in the ass, spammer, annoying dumb ass person who shows up to social media sites and simply spams them with content. You know who I’m talking about. Just make sure you don’t look like this guy:

Person being spammed

 

The key to building these meaningful relationships is to engage in honest and genuine discussion. This is how you establish yourself in the online community. I’ve spent a lot of time in past posts discussing how to properly handle social media so I won’t re-hash those issues here. I will, however, re-suggest that you watch Darren Rowse’s video on properly managing social media:

Now that you’re going to manage your social media presence the right way, and engage in actual discussion, it’s important to consider in which forums you will spend your time.

Lawyers wishing to build backlinks need to understand that not all social media forums are the same

A lot of attorneys tend to pick a social media avenue first and figure out who’s on it later. This is a big mistake. The key to connecting online, with the right people, is to understand where the “right” people are spending their time and then devote your efforts to those networks. 

A good way to find out where your target connections can be found is to “follow the influencers.” Look at the more influential sites/blogs in your niche and then figure out where those sites focus on social media. A lot of those sites will have followers who fit into your “target connection” category. Interacting with these influencers will lead to interaction with the influencer’s other followers which, in turn, leads to a meaningful relationship that can result in backlinks. 

Does doing the above require some work on your part? Yep. Is it worth it in the end? Yep. Are most of your competitors going to be willing to do this work? Nope. Will this give you a big edge over the competition? Yep. Why won’t your competitors do these things? The answer is the same as most things in life – it’s not that people can’t do these things, they simply don’t. 

Want to get the meaningful backlinks that will stand the test of time, and not get you dinged by an algorithm update? Then it’s time to give social media a try.