Technological advances seem to go faster every day. It can be tempting to plant your feet and wave as it goes by, rather than running to keep up. But if you don’t adopt some of today’s tech trends, you could be letting potential customers pass your business by.

This week’s blog continues a review of the book, Reinventing Professional Services; Building Your Business in the Digital Marketplace, by Ari Kaplan. In Chapter 2, “Innovators Adapt, and You Should Too” Kaplan looks at how real estate and medical providers have adapted to changes in how their customers and patients interact. As websites like Zillow and WebMD have changed the ways these industries work, realtors and doctors have had to adapt their marketing, and their business strategy, to keep up with the changes. In both cases, the changes came in the form of online social media interaction.

Social Media Marketing for Lawyers

Lawyers face similar challenges. Document production websites like LegalZoom and lawyer rating sites like Avvo are forcing law firms into the digital world, often kicking and screaming. All three industries used to rely heavily on word-of-mouth marketing. And while that continues to be true, to an extent, attorneys no longer have to rely on chance meetings to expand their network. Kaplan says:

“Use social media to increase the reach of your networking capabilities.”

Kaplan recommends budgeting time for social media and cultivating relationships – both online and offline – through online connections and conversations. You could invite new clients to like your Facebook page, or add them to your monthly newsletter. Maybe they would be better served by connecting with you (and your network of referring professionals) on LinkedIn. By choosing one or two social media platforms that reach your target audiences, you can increase your sphere of influence, reach more potential clients, and strengthen connections with the clients and leads you already have.

Using Your Blog as a Referral Source

Engaging with clients and potential leads on social media often provides opportunities for you to show up as a visible enthusiastic expert. When your audience asks you questions about the legal field, you can be ready with a quick answer. But you don’t have to start from scratch every time. Blogging allows you to develop a repository of ready-made answers to your most frequently asked questions. When the topic comes up, you can easily direct your social media contact to your blog for a more thorough response.

Blogging content can also be a tool to improve your credibility on rating and directory websites. Many allow you to link directly to your blog, so that potential clients can read your work before they pick up the phone. You can also use your blog to combat negative reviews on rating sites. Speaking in the realm of medical services, Kaplan says:

“Medical experiences are not always positive and Vartabedian has a solution: Fight criticism with content. The rise of services like Yelp and Avvo has given patients a forum to express their opinion about medial experiences. Just as lawyers have had to address these issues, medical professionals are now facing similar concerns. Some doctors even require patients to sign a form certifying they will not publicly criticize their physician. ‘Rather than stop people from saying things, doctors should be creating content that will take higher priority.’”

Using well-targeted, thoroughly researched, and reader-focused content, can overcome a few bad reviews. Most readers know that one star ratings are often the exception, not the rule. So when they are presented with evidence of your knowledge and expertise, in the form of a blog or downloadable white-paper, it can overcome reservations caused by a single bad experience.

Social media will continue to grow in importance as time progresses. Potential clients will turn to neighborhood forums for referrals and national rating sites for reviews. Don’t let technology pass you by. Engage in meaningful social media marketing to take control of your online reputation and develop your networking reach.

Lisa Schmidt is a writer for Legal Linguist in Ferndale, Michigan. She writes blogs and websites for lawyers and small businesses. If you need help creating content to support your social media campaigns, contact Legal Linguist today to schedule a meeting.