A New Year’s Social Media Resolution

2014The New Year is a time of looking forward to the year ahead and planning how this year can be better than the last. As you are planning your New Year’s resolutions, don’t forget about your marketing strategy. Resolve to make better use of social media for your business in 2014. Doing so will grow your online presence, improve your SEO, and bring you better returns on your blogging investment.

What does improving your social media presence look like? That depends on where you start.

Facebook, what?

If you are new to the world of social media, you might see Facebook, Twitter, and even LinkedIn as something your kids or associates use, but not for you. The problem is, more and more of your clients are using social media as a tool to find and vet business professionals. If you opt out you are missing out on a growing piece of the pie.

That’s What I Use at Home.

Personal social media accounts are great to connect with family and friends and keep up with current events, but they are not the best option for your new business social media platform. Instead, resolve to create a dedicated business page with your branding, hours, location, and contact information. Then invite your personal friends to like your business page.

But What Do I Do With It Now?

One great way to get started using your social media accounts is to link them to your blog. That way, every time you post a new article, your target audience will get a reminder of who you are and what you do. This will drive more traffic to your blog, which will in turn send more people to your door.

It’s Got to Be More Than That.

If you’ve already set up your business social media accounts and linked them to your blog, you are ready to take your social media presence to the next level. Using an application like Hootsuite, schedule regular posts to your social media accounts. These can be anything from your latest blog post to a picture of you at a networking event, or even a client testimonial. Mix it up and keep your social media presence fresh. Try to post at least once a day at different times to reach the biggest audience.

No matter what stage you are at in your social media experience, 2014 can be the year you take your web presence further. By resolving to improve your social media marketing you can increase your marketability and drive in new business. If you need help implementing a social media strategy, contact blogging coach Lisa Schmidt.

Blogging From The Headlines

Taking inspiration from the headlines will increase hits.Some of the most compelling blog posts stem from the hot topics of the day. While the nation’s attention was wrapped up in the Trayvon Martin case many criminal lawyers took advantage of the limelight to write about “stand your ground” laws in their own states. Even when the headlines aren’t quite so directly on target, you can still use them to guide your blog posts and take advantage of heightened web traffic on particular issues.

People look for different things on the Internet at different times. You can see evidence of this in Twitter’s “trends” and in the articles that circulate on Facebook. Once an idea has taken hold, searches for the topic spike on popular search engines and on social media. But you have to be ready to post relevant new content at the right time.

Take Christmas, for example. Very few people are searching the web for Christmas articles in May. But if you post an article in December about how the Christmas shopping rush affects business planning strategies or what to do to streamline holiday parenting time, your fresh content is far more likely to appear in web search results.

Interest in particular topics on the Internet ebbs and flows. By targeting the trends of the day, whether they be holidays, the change in seasons, or big news items, you can increase your visibility and drive traffic to your blog, and your door. If you need help planning how to write from the headlines and increase your visibility, contact blogging coach Lisa Schmidt.

Keep Writing, Even in the Busy Times

file8921303951830When I first started my law practice, Schmidt Law Services, PLLC, business was slow. I was building my business from zero, so I had plenty of time to focus on Internet marketing and blogging. I wrote articles regularly and posted frequently on my social media sites.

But then I got busy. Several months in I had a handful of cases and one of them was coming up for trial. I made the conscious decision to focus on the work that made me money today – the billable hours – instead of the projects that would build my business in the future. I thought I’ll get back to blogging once I get through this week, and then month, and then year.

When I finally got back to my website I discovered to my dismay that it had been over a quarter since I had posted a blog article. My pageviews had dropped, I hadn’t received a new Facebook like in over a month, and worst of all, my phone was quiet.

It was at that point that I realized I had cut off my nose to spite my face. By focusing so intensely on the next deadline I had forgotten to do the work that would fill in my supply of clients once these cases had concluded. It was shortsighted and not productive.

And so I made a decision. I picked one day a week and marked it “blog day” in a reoccurring event in my calendar. I committed to writing 2 blog articles a week (it has since expanded with the addition of Legal Linguist’s ghost blogging services), and scheduled time to do it.

15 months later, I still have blog day. I still post regularly and I still designate time to write on my calendar. This visual reminder keeps me from filling that day with appointments, consultations, and phone calls, and gives me a deadline to work with. It makes content marketing a weekly priority. Even though sometimes blog day has to shift to the weekend or fill in the gaps between court hearings, the articles still get done.

And I see the results. I have new followers on my blog almost every week, and many of my potential clients call referring to a particular blog article or my website. By making blog day a priority, I have been able to make a habit of writing, develop a following and grow my practice.

Yes, Proofreading Matters

ID-10065185In this Internet age, with memes and Facebook posts that ignore all sense of linguistic integrity, is there any need to check the spelling, grammar, and punctuation of your Internet marketing? Won’t your readers forgive you for using the wrong “to” in your blog?

No, they won’t. Your readers come to you for authority and expertise, not for a moment of comic relief or social connectedness. And nothing destroys credibility like a confusing grammatical error, especially if it relates back to your business.

For example, I recently received an offer for social media services from a professional virtual assistance company. In the title of its email it promised to provide services “you never new you needed.” I did not read the rest of the email.

Why? Because if I am going to hire a virtual assistant, one of the attributes I will be looking for is attention to detail. The same is true for lawyers. Even though many of us are not literary and social media gurus, the public expects us to be well educated and attuned to “every jot and tittle of the law.” Prospective clients think that if we can’t be bothered to fix the spelling in our marketing materials, we will certainly make bigger mistakes in handling their cases.

You wouldn’t send in a résumé without proofreading it, would you? Sending out marketing materials to prospective clients is just the same. You are asking the public to hire you to do a job and to pay you money. Shouldn’t you put your best foot forward?

That is not to say you should hold to all the legalistic formality you were taught in law school, but using an informal tone, even on the Internet, does not excuse obvious grammatical errors. Even if only a small percentage of your audience notices the error, it will hurt your reputation and likely lead those readers to hire somebody else.

If you need someone to provide editorial assistance on your next blog, contact ghost writer and blogging coach Lisa Schmidt for a consultation.

Top 10 Check-Ups for Your Website at Year End

Does your website check out this December?

“Checklist With Red Check” by David Castillo Dominici on freedigitalphotos.net

Like a lot of people, December for you might mean a chance to focus on your marketing and check in on your web presence. Here are 10 things to look for in your year end web check up:

  1. Is your website readable? Have you used enough white space and made clear choices for font and color?
  2. Is your website eye catching? Are there compelling images on every page?
  3. Is your website informative? Have you included pages for FAQs, practice area summaries or your blog where clients can find answers?
  4. Is your website targeted? Are you appealing to the right audience for what you do?
  5. Is your contact info easy to find? Can potential clients put their hands on your phone number or email when they’re ready to make the call?
  6. Is your blog integrated? Have you made it easy for potential clients to go from blog to website and back for more information?
  7. Is your website social? Have you linked your website to your Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn accounts so you are easy to find?
  8. Is your website fresh? Are you using a blog, question and answer section, or news feed to provide regular updates?
  9. Is your website connected? Do you have links to the websites of other related professionals that you trust, making your site more accessible?
  10. Is your website showing up? Do you make the 1st page of Google for your key search terms?

By asking yourself these questions at year end, you can take the temperature on your website and create a plan of action to get the most from your web marketing next year. If you need help planning your web strategy, contact ghost blogger and blogging coach Lisa Schmidt for more information.