Google+ for Lawyers: Reduced to a “Just in Case” SEO Strategy? [INFOGRAPHIC]

I hate to say “I told you so, but…”

The rapturous welcome and flood of sign-ups for Google+ last summer can no longer disguise the platform’s fundamental problems. For example, tracking research by comScore shows that in January the average user spent a paltry 3 minutes on Google+ – which was lower than even perennial social media afterthought MySpace.

It seems the best argument Google+’s supporters can muster is that “No one has a firm grip on where Google+ is headed, but their[sic] is no question it’s here to stay and is going to influence search and discovery of information and people.”

Notwithstanding such confident but unsupported claims, unless Google+ becomes more attractive to subscribers and demonstrates clear ROI, it’s not worthwhile for solo and small firm lawyers to squander time and attention on experimentation with it.

Social Media for Law Firms: Free HubSpot Report Offers Trove of Valuable Marketing Data

The best things in social media research are (frequently) free.

That’s certainly the case with HubSpot’s new report “ The 2012 State of Inbound Marketing.” Highlights include:

  • Survey results of 970+ professionals reporting on their company’s marketing strategy and results
  • How to drive more leads at a lower cost for your business
  • Why social media and blogs are the most rapidly expanding marketing channels
  • What to expect from the future of inbound marketing
As an added bonus, on March 1 HubSpot CMO Mike Volpe will be headlining a live webinar to go over the report’s key findings — also FREE.

Or you can shell out $500 for the new report from ALM Legal Intelligence that quizzed 180 law firms, providing anecdotal support for what we already know about social media marketing at law firms.

Endeavor to Be Useful: Legal Marketing Tips 12.23.11

A digest of social media “how-to” advice and tips for legal marketing.

Social Media ROI for Law Firms, Part 2: 3 Tips for Measuring Return on Relationships

I recently read a blog post on social media ROI for law firms that concluded, “Measure the ROI of social media in a real and meaningful way. Base it on developing relationships and trust.”

That’s certainly an admirable sentiment, and it might be good enough if you’re engaged in social media for personal fulfillment and growth, but it’s not a useful business development metric. If you’re engaged in social media to build your practice in a systematic and rigorous way, you can’t be content with collecting potential referral sources and building your e-mail and “let’s have lunch” lists.

You cannot control what you do not measure. In other words, trust, but verify.

Unless you track how productive current and potential referral sources are and adjust your engagement strategy accordingly, you’re wasting time and money that could be spent on acquiring and cultivating active promoters for your practice.

Here’s how family law blogger Lee Rosen recently described his epiphany about long-term nurturing of potential referral relationships:

“I’ve been having lunch with this guy, on and off, for four years. We’ve probably been to lunch eight times, met for coffee twice, talked on the phone a dozen times, and e-mailed back and forth every few months. He is, theoretically at least, a referral source. He’s an accountant with a pretty good practice.

“I say he’s “theoretically” a referral source because, a few weeks ago, I realized he’s never referred a case to us. He’s a good guy, and I like him. He acts like he’s going to refer, but still—no referrals.

“Sadly, I’ve learned a hard lesson here. Unfortunately, not every referral source refers.”

3 Tips for Measuring Return on Relationships

Conversion rate – The total number of referrals from a source is not as significant as how many of them convert into billable matters. Divide the number of billable matters from a specific source by the total number of referrals from that source, and you get the conversion rate. A source that sends you a lot of leads that go nowhere is far less valuable than a source that sends very few, but most of them convert into business.

Net referrals – Referrals are a two-way street. You can’t expect a referral source to become/stay motivated if you don’t reciprocate. Ideally you’d be at parity — you’re referring as many opportunities to each contact has he/she is to you. Lunches, bar tabs and event tickets are nice pump primers and expressions of gratitude, but nothing nourishes your incoming referral ecosystem like your  outgoing referral stream. Conversely, if you’re giving more referrals than you get, don’t be bashful about dialing back significantly. They’ll get the message.

Opportunity aging - Create a timeline and assign milestones for converting potential referral sources into actual ones. Decrease the frequency of contacts and “rewards” as time goes on. If you’ve not received at least one inquiry directly attributable to the source within three of four months, your probability of future referrals is quite low. A clear litmus test of where you stand with a contact is how they handle a request from you for an introduction to someone in their network (online or offline).

What’s your process for nurturing your referral pipeline?

 

 

 

 

Social Media ROI Measurement for Law Firms, Part 1: A Starter Kit

The term “ROI”  is one of those acronyms marketers liberally use without reference to the source phrase — Return on Investment — because the underlying assumption is that anyone serious about business already knows what the abbreviation stands for. What it actually means, though, is like a Rorschach inkblot test — an ambiguous concept interpreted differently by different people based on their individual experiences, needs and mental framework.

The definition of ROI has been a trending topic in legal marketing blogs lately, with posts ranging from the insightful, to the sentimental, to the slapdash and gimmicky. What they all have in common is a recognition of the inchoate demand for more rigorous and productive tracking, measurement and analysis of law firm marketing programs, particularly social media participation.

To get this multi-post survey of ROI measurement for law firms rolling, it’s useful to start with a general framework for performance tracking and analytics.

Corey Eridon provides an excellent social media ROI measurement primer in a recent HubSpot post:

1.) Start to measure social media networks together and separately. Every social media network has its own set of strengths. For example, you may find that Twitter drives the most site traffic, Facebook generates the most leads, and LinkedIn generates less but more qualified leads. Yes, you should absolutely analyze your social media strategy as an aggregate of all social media networks so you can compare it to other campaigns, but then be prepared to break it down network by network. This will let you determine which networks are best helping you meet specific sales and marketing goals…and which aren’t making the cut.

2.) Track visit-to-lead conversion. Social media helps drive traffic to your site, but traffic doesn’t bring home the bacon. Track (network by network, and as an aggregate) how many of those visitors convert into leads. Knowing exactly how much of a role social media plays in lead generation will help you meet your monthly lead goal by giving you the historical data to set an educated goal based on how much social media brings in, and what that rate of growth looks like month over month.

3.) Track lead-to-customer conversion. The next logical step, right? Now that you know how many leads you get from each social media network and social media as a whole, make use of closed-loop analytics to see how many leads turned into customers. This insight will help you implement a mature lead scoring system so your sales team can focus time on the leads most likely to close. When you use closed-loop marketing on social media leads, you can also learn metrics like how much social media customers cost to acquire, and how much they spend with you compared to leads from other campaigns.

4.) Score leads and monitor the sales cycle. Score social media leads and monitor how much time it takes a social media lead to make it through the sales cycle. Not only does scoring leads help your sales team prioritize its time, but this insight will also help inform your lead nurturing program so you can shorten the sales cycle for social media leads. It also helps you understand how valuable a social media lead is, and where it ranks compared to leads from other campaigns.

5.) Watch site behaviors from your social media traffic. Understanding how to properly nurture social media leads will depend heavily on this step. By understanding where social media leads enter, leave, and spend their time on your site, you can see what type of content addresses their specific needs. So before entering them into a lead nurturing queue meant for, say, people in the middle of their buying cycle, you can provide content that addresses their specific problems.

Future posts in this series will cover topics including:

  • Matching the right metrics to you firm’s business objectives
  • Dead-end metrics
  • Measuring the unmeasurable
  • Tracking social media from tactic to revenue
How extensive are your social media ROI measurement processes? Have you had any “Aha!” moments along the way?