Google plus is a great network for lawyers to build a network and maintain social interaction. There have been correlation studies on the connection with content on Google Plus and traffic to the websites of those who shared it. Lawyers should incorporate Google Plus into their online networking and marketing strategy to will enhance their presence in search and the following are 11 strategies for doing that.
1. Engage, Comment, +1
Lawyers should spend 15-20 minutes or more per day interacting with others’ posts on Google Plus. Engage with content that you want to be associated with (for example that is related to your practice area or that you would like to be an authority in). Leave comments on posts that are intriguing and share ones you think would be relevant to your following. If you don’t see anything, fake it till you make it. The idea here is that people will see you doing this and if they aren’t already following you, they may take a closer look at your profile and decide to add you to a circle.
Take the time to be authentic even if the interaction is forced at first. Try and search for posts where people are asking questions and answer them. Do this 3-4 time per day or at least once. Consistent engagement over a period of time will build your network and bolster your reputation.
For more details on engagement read “Google Plus Engagement for Lawyers“.
2. Shared Circles
(EDIT: As of 5/03/15 Google Plus has updated their platform and circle sharing is no longer available. Obtaining more followers will now require the same types of engagement activities you would use on other social platforms.)
One of the basic themes to Google Plus is that lawyers can segment those they are following into circles. People love it when they can get a whole batch of related people to follow all in one neat package (a shared circle). One way to leverage this to get followers of your own is to add yourself to the circle. Lawyers should ensure they’re relevant to the other members in some way. When a circle is shared, people can then share it with their own personal networks (who may not be following the original poster), which gets them more exposure. One particular user has taken the Google+ world by storm with shared circles (+Christine DeGraff). Definitely check out her profile to see how she is utilizing shared circles to expand her social following..
For more details on circle sharing read “Sharing Circles on Google Plus“.
3. Share Niche Specific Content
Lawyers who are targeting a specific audience should share content related to that audience. This makes it more likely that followers will engage with the content (as opposed to ignoring it). Not all of the connections in a lawyer’s circles will be a part of the same target audience. For instance some will be colleagues, some will be clients, some will be potential clients, etc. Lawyers can share whatever they want, they just have to be sure it’s aimed at the right people.
For more details on content sharing read “Lawyers Who Share Great Content”.
4. Add a G+ Sharing Button to Your Blog or Website
Take any opportunity you can to entice people who are already on your website to share content on Google Plus or publicly endorse it on the platform. If any of your website visitors happen to be active on Google Plus (and assuming the content is good enough), they’ll share it. The idea is to make it easy if and when it is relevant to use the button.
For more details on adding sharing icons for your website read “Google Sharing Btttons on Your Site”
Lawyers can start communities on Google Plus where users can come to share information and connect with one another around specific topics. For example a personal injury lawyer could start a community that focuses on helping lay-people who are involved in personal injury litigation. If it becomes popular enough, your firm will experience that elusive quality of being unique in providing a place where people actually want to go to get good information. For attorneys this could be a community where everyday people come to get tid bits of legal advice or perhaps be able to find an attorney. Being the founder of a successful community has its perks such as the firm being portrayed as an authority and a go-to resource for good legal information.
For more details on communities read “Attorney Communities on Google Plus”
6. Onsite Google+ Badge
Letting people know you have a presence on Google Plus can help increase your following. You can easily embed a badge on your site that imports your profile picture and your number of followers. You can build your own badge at developers.google.com/+/web/badge (you have to have a Google account first though).Letting people know you have a presence on Google Plus can help increase your following. You can easily embed a badge on your site that imports your profile picture and your number of followers. You can build your own badge at developers.google.com/+/web/badge (you have to have a Google account first though).
People often gravitate to content they know was written by a certain individual or brand. If you consistently produce good stuff, people will come back again and again. Another aspect of that is that Google has taken steps to deliver results to people from content creators that are of high caliber. You enable Google to do this by signing up for Google Authorship. Once enabled, you or your brand’s profile image will show up alongside URLs in search results making them look more attractive and alerting followers that it is content written by you.
Note that as of 2014, Google no longer supports the use of authorship in search results. Lawyers can still configure authorship to connect their content with their profile but profile images no longer appear in SERPs.
8. Encourage People to Share
In sales, there is no shame in sometimes asking for the business. Lawyers should occasionally just ask their networks to share content in a status update. Find or produce content that is helpful and then note that in your status update. Something like “Your network will find this very valuable, please share” or some other call-to-action asking people to share your post is all it takes. This works well as long as it isn’t over done.
9. More Videos & Images
In a study of the top ten brands on Facebook, it was revealed that videos were shared 12 times more than images and text (and images came in second to text status updates). Text and articles and blog posts are all great but you get the most bang out of images and videos. Now just because something is an image or a video doesn’t mean it will get shared more than text. Lawyers have to find quality videos and images that your market will find useful. Infographics are a good one. Entertaining, educational or otherwise useful videos are also great to share.
10. Add to Circles > then +1 Non-Reciprocated Circles
This only works if you are marketing as a personal profile because business pages can’t yet add people without first being added. If you are marketing as a personal profile, add people to your circles and much of the time they will add you back. Keep track of those that don’t reciprocate and continue to interact with their content.
This is another tactic lawyers can use to draw attention to their firm and can also establish them as an authority online. Set up a hangout and brand it as a web show where subscribers can join and learn about things. For example attorneys could invite a handful of people to attend a hangout for free personal injury legal advice or advice on whatever their practice area might be. This doesn’t have to be anything really long. It could be 45 minutes to an hour. Not only do others in networks not connected to you see this, but the hangout is also recorded to YouTube leading to future opportunities for sharing that content.
Circle These Attorneys
We like to point out when people are doing a great job. When you have a chance, circle the 7 attorneys below who are excelling at growing their circles on Google Plus and see how they are doing it.