Mike Allton Explains How HootSuite Can Be Used By Law Offices
The Circle of Legal Trust is a group of experienced lawyers who set out to eduate and mentor other attorneys in online reach, including search engine marketing and social media. To that end, they regularly interview experts in the field and Mike Allton was honored to be invited to speak about HootSuite. On 8/30/13, Mike offered an online presentation on the benefits and uses of HootSuite, and spoke specifically to how HootSuite can help law offices.
Learn, for instance, how you can use HootSuite to prospect for new clients searching for terms or phrases that a potential client or victim might use if they were talking about their problem, like, "hit by drunk driver." And more.
Watch the full Hangout here:
Here's a transcript of the presentation (not including questions and discussion):
HootSuite for Attorneys and Law Offices
We're going to be talking about a lot of the ways in which a small business can use HootSuite to promote themselves, find prospects and engage on various topics and platforms. I'll begin by discussing at a high level the various uses, and then we can dive into specific technical questions or whatever else you'd like to get into.
First, the most common way in which businesses use HootSuite is to post to one or more social networks using a single tool and interface. With HootSuite's Compose box, you can insert and shorten links, craft your text, and preview how it will look. You can then select multiple networks to post to, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+. You can even post to Facebook and LinkedIn Groups, as well as Pages.
When creating a post, you can choose to send it immediately, you can schedule it for a specific time, or you can use HootSuite's AutoSchedule feature, which I love. When you create your post and click on AutoSchedule, HootSuite will automatically determine the best times to share your post, depending on the network, time of day and your follower's patterns. It also staggers the posts so that you're not spamming all of your networks with the same message at the same time.
I use this feature every day. For my own business, I tend to focus on my personal social media accounts, like my Google+ profile, for development of a Personal Brand. I also have Brand Pages on every network that are mostly for broadcasting content. HootSuite is perfect for this. When I have a new blog post or content to share, I manually share it to my personal accounts so that I can craft and adjust each post to suit that specific network, and then use HootSuite to AutoSchedule and stagger shares of the post to my branded accounts on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+. I also use AutoScheduling for curated content, which I will return to in a moment.
One of the reasons HootSuite can be a bit overwhelming at first is that the Dashboard is designed to be a series of tabs and streams, and it can appear quite dense. Each time you connect a new social network, HootSuite prompts you to create a new tab for that network. While complex, this is what makes HootSuite so incredibly powerful. I do have Tabs for each of my major networks, and within those tabs I have streams set up for specific things, like Mentions on Twitter. But you're not limited to that at all. You can create up to 50 tabs, and each tab can have up to 10 streams. This leads us to the second major use for HootSuite: Social Listening.
Social Listening is when brands take the time to monitor and respond to instances where they're talked about on social networks. Sometimes people will do you the courtesy of mentioning your company and account, so you'll get a notification of their post and can read it and respond. But many times, that doesn't happen. Many times, people will talk about a business or brand on social media and the brand may have no idea that a conversation is happening. You can search each individual network for occurrences of your business name, or you can set up HootSuite to help you with that. The most straightforward way is to set up a new tab within HootSuite for your business name and then create saved streams within the tab for searches within each network. The streams will automatically update, so all you have to do is regularly check your tab. This is ideally suited for Twitter and Google+ where you will be able to search all Public posts.
Using this same technique, you can get into the third key way to use HootSuite: Prospecting. Prospecting on Social Media is a little bit different than in real life, so if you've never done it before, we have some ground to cover. My father is an attorney in Ohio. He's in a relatively small town of just 16,000, so their mainstay for attracting new clients has always been referrals and Yellow Pages. He has a website that I built him years ago, and a Facebook Page, but those are mainly for other attorneys out of state who end up calling him when they need someone local. When your service area is a larger metropolitan city, or if your clientele doesn't have to be local, social media can become a powerful tool.
Create a new Tab within HootSuite and set up search streams within that tab to regularly monitor social networks for conversations regarding your key service areas. What you would search on would be terms or phrases that a potential client or victim might use if they were talking about their problem, like, "hit by drunk driver." When you set up the search, you can actually limit the search results to your geographic region.
Any time you find a post from someone that might be interested in your services, you can reply to that post right within HootSuite, assign it to another team member if you have multiple HootSuite users, or email it. This is particularly useful in law offices where you might have staff members set up to monitor activity and searches, but limit responses to yourself or another attorney in the office who is better suited to speak to a potential client.
Now, we obviously don't want to intrude into other people's conversations with sales pitches, particularly if they're in a traumatic situation. Instead, I recommend having a growing library of resources within your website that you can refer people to. If you see someone complaining about, say, issues dealing with their insurance company after an accident, you might send them a link to a page or article on your site that would give them valuable information on that topic, and of course demonstrate at the same time your expertise and willingness to help.
Another hidden but powerful tool within HootSuite is the Template system. With templates, you can have multiple messages crafted and ready to be sent that you can call up as needed. Most businesses will use these to regularly share promotional messages, but what if you had 10 - 12 canned responses ready to go for the most common issues that you help people with? Each response can have helpful, professional language and a shortened link to the appropriate page within your site. When you see someone complaining about a problem, all you have to do is start a reply, call up the template response, edit if needed and send. Do keep in mind that if you're replying on Twitter, your reply will be Public and displayed in your stream, so you may want to avoid sending the same reply to multiple people in a row, or your Twitter followers will see that same message over and over.
Aside from your own content, it's important to share other people's posts and content from other sources. Make sure that your posts aren't all about you. This is often referred to as the 80/20 rule. This next way to use HootSuite is referred to as Curating Content. And there are a couple of methods you can use.
First, make sure that within each of your social networks, you're only following and circling interesting and informative people and accounts. If you follow lots of random people simply in the hopes of getting them to follow you back, you'll dilute the value you can gain from that network. For instance, if you follow key thought leaders in your industry on Twitter, your Home stream will be filled with valuable links and insights from these leaders - posts and tweets that you can easily share. This is also an incredibly easy way to find and engage with the influencers in your industry - the people who already have large followings and from whom a single retweet might be invaluable. You can follow new people on Twitter right within HootSuite.
Second, use the HootSuite Syndicator tool to bring fresh content into your HootSuite dashboard. Start by identifying specific news sites, blogs and other sources of great content, and find the RSS feed for each one. Then, create a new Tab within your dashboard and set up one or more streams where, using the Syndicator, the latest articles from these RSS feeds will be imported. Now, each morning, you can glance at your RSS tab and see the latest stories from your favorite writers and news outlets, and immediately have all kinds of great content to share with your networks. You can read the entire article within HootSuite, and then click a single button to instantly populate your Compose field with the article title and shortened link. Just select the networks you want to share with and AutoSchedule to publish it at the most opportune times.
Sharing great posts, and publishing links to great articles, will not only ensure consisted activity on your networks, but will also continue to establish you as an expert and resource in your industry. Intersperse that with links to your own articles, along with your own comments and promotional posts, and you will have an active and thriving social media presence.
Finally, HootSuite can help you measure and analyze the results of your promotional activity. For instance, you can easily see when your tweets are retweeted, how many times, and by whom. And you can set up a series of custom reports which can include high level information about how your social accounts are growing, and low level information about your individual posts and activity. The end result should be that you receive a weekly report that gives you an excellent picture of your social media success. But a report on new Twitter followers and retweets doesn't tell the whole story. For that, you also should have Google Analytics connected to your website, landing pages created for your key services, and goals set up within Google Analytics for your various calls to action. HootSuite can include Google Analytics information within your reports so you will be able to see how much traffic social media is sending to your site, how new content is affecting search traffic, and how often potential visitors are following your action calls and generating leads.
I would encourage you to dive into my series on HootSuite: How to Make the Most of Your HootSuite Account, where we cover the basics like setting up your dashboard and scheduling content, to more advanced topics like Teams and more. You can also grab a free trial of HootSuite, or contact me directly for help getting started.