Social Media LogosThis is the first post in what will be my “Social Networking for Attorneys” series. I’ve previously written on whether attorneys should use Twitter. I’m writing on the topic due to the extent to which social networking sites have become an important part of an attorney’s online marketing strategy. I’ll be taking a look at several broader issues and implications of using social media as well as individual networks.

Social networking was picking up steam when I started marketing my firm online in 2006. By 2008, which was the year I started blogging, Facebook was reaching the point of wide-scale adoption by the general public and not just college students. How attorneys should use social sites to market their practice is something that has evolved rapidly. This has impacted the approaches that need to be taken by law firms looking to grow their client base.

Why social media matters to an attorneys marketing plan

Social networking sites impact an attorney’s marketing strategy for various reasons. First, “social signals” from the various websites are taken into account by search engines when they are determining how highly a lawyer’s website should rank. Google started considering such signals in 2010, as described in this video:

While using social data for search rankings was “…used relatively lightly…” in 2010, Google has made clear they have since expanded, and will continue to expand, the use of social data in search rankings. Second, social sites go a long way towards establishing an attorneys brand and credibility with the public. Tackling each of these areas will help your firm grow its business exponentially.

Steps we’ll take to help attorneys with social media

We’ll be looking at a variety of topics in this series. Topics we’ll cover include:

  • The importance of social media
  • How to approach social media
  • Mistakes to avoid
  • The importance of Google+ to your marketing efforts
  • How to properly use LinkedIn
  • Where Facebook fits into your practice
  • Other considerations

Obviously some of these topics are broad and they will take place over several posts. Given that we’ve already discussed the use of Twitter extensively we won’t be discussing it in this series. How do you feel the use of social media has impacted your legal marketing? Feel free to chime in below.

November 26th, 2014 update – The above article was written at a time when Google was expanding its use of “social signals” in determining the ranking of websites. In August of 2014 the company stopped tracking “authorship,” which was the most important of these social signals. In regards to these changes, I wrote on whether Google+ is shutting down and explained why I don’t see the service going anywhere. I also wrote on how Google+ should be implemented into a law firm’s strategy going forward. The use of social media in marketing your law practice remains crucial as it impacts branding, your online reputation, and assists with important relationship building.