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Instagram Puts Stop to Fake Followers, Comments and Likes

In an attempt to put an end to automated apps that help users artificially grow their followers, Instagram is sending a warning to those users to change their password and cut ties with the inauthentic follows. Several techniques used to give the illusion that audiences are larger than they actually are include fake likes and comments, and following then unfollowing others in an attempt to get a “follow back.”

Utilizing a machine learning tool, Instagram will begin identifying accounts that use these third-party apps, which directly violates its Community Guidelines and Terms of Use.

21st Annual Garfield Thanksgiving Luncheon

Congratulations to Garfield High School on another successful Thanksgiving Luncheon at the Prado. Each year Garfield Culinary Arts students work alongside the Prado chefs and banquet staff to put on a grand Thanksgiving luncheon for the community, generously sponsored by the Garfield High School Foundation and Cohn Restaurant Group. Garfield High School works to prepare all their students to graduate with the skills, motivation, curiosity and resilience to succeed in their choice of college and career in order to lead and participate in the society of tomorrow.

5 Mistakes Law Firms Make When Advertising Online

When it comes to Google Advertising, the competition is big and the pressure for results is high. Law firms can spend anywhere from $10 to over $500 per click so the key is to focus your marketing dollars in the areas closely aligned with your expertise and with the highest profits. Let’s go over the major mistakes most law firms are making with Google Advertising:

Unfocused Campaign and Keyword Strategy.

Most law firms would say that their practice area covers a little bit of everything. However, trying to advertise that on Google when your marketing budget is limited won’t work. Clicks are too expensive, and you will end up spreading your budget too thin to excel in any specific area. The first step to avoid this mistake is answering the question: What types of cases produce the most revenue for your firm? Or, what area of practice would you like to expand this year? Stick to effective advertising in one or two areas of practice before trying to expand too quickly. Furthermore, it is important to target keywords that show “buying” intent. The more general the keyword, the less buying intent you can assume.

Not Writing Effective Content.

The biggest mistake law firms make when writing ads is not writing to be noticed. The worst ad is the one people skim right by while clicking on the competitor. Here are some tips to stand out:

  • Include parentheses, brackets and numbers in your headlines
  • Mention specific offers or discounts
  • Utilize testimonials or direct quotes
  • Create a call to action for your audience
  • Keep your ads local and individualized to target specific cities
  • Advertise how you can help

Not Having Consistent and Compelling Landing Pages.

A compelling ad is what gets your potential client in the door. Then, the first thing the user sees after clicking an ad is your landing page, and it will be the first real impression they will have of your practice. Many law firms link their ads to their website homepages, but did the user search for everything you have to offer? No! They searched for a specific service they are looking for and they don’t want to waste time looking at all the other services. Here are some techniques for making sure your landing pages are designed to convert visitors into clients:

  • Focus on the benefits you provide clients
  • Have a strong headline that demonstrates your values immediately
  • Differentiate yourself from competitors and explain clearly what sets you apart
  • Include positive client testimonials
  • Make contact information easy to find

Not Tracking Leads Through to Actual Cases.

Your law firm should know how many of your clients came from a Google ad click and how much revenue your Paid search accounted for. This information is absolutely critical to making optimizations that make a difference, but most law firms can’t answer those questions.

Not Testing for Viability and Optimizing for Profitability.

Law firms often want to start by bidding on a wide range of keywords with low bids, so they can learn which areas are profitable before committing more budget. However, this approach can actually ensure that no specific keywords get enough traffic to learn anything useful, so firms conclude that advertising doesn’t work for them and give up. The best way is testing for viability and then optimizing for profitability. Focus on a very small core of keywords to begin with and bid for the top spot on the search results page. It will allow you to quickly test whether or not a keyword can actually produce the types of leads you want for your practice.

If your law firm steers clear of these 5 “DON’Ts,” your campaigns will create a bigger impact on potential clients than your competition – for less money!

5 Reasons Why Your Law Firm Should Have a Blog

Reach Potential Clients

When creating your law firm’s website, a blog or “News” section is a useful tool that is easy to implement. Assuming it is maintained consistently, it will provide a space on your site that is always updated. Not only does it keep your site current, but adding content regularly is one of the top SEO techniques for bringing more web traffic to your site.

Highlight Client Communication

Studies show that clients value clear and concise communication from their attorneys more than anything else. It is a known fact that the ability to communicate effectively with clients has a large impact on a lawyer’s practice, and on the success of the law firm at large. Maintaining a blog on your law firm’s website is a great way to show current and prospective clients the breadth of your knowledge and a bit of your personality. Choose topics that your clients might find interesting and helpful as well as stories they might not have otherwise seen.

Develop Valuable Content

Adding a blog to your website is just the beginning. Not only is it necessary to populate that blog with content and current news stories, it is also paramount that the information you share has quality. If you don’t have the time to write a long two-page story, develop a few solid paragraphs with how this news story is relevant to your audience. Quality trumps quantity. If you struggle coming up with blog topics, a great place to start is with your FAQ’s. What do your current and prospective clients want to know? That’s who you’re writing for after all.

Showcase What Your Law Firm Has to Offer

While showcasing your attorneys and current hot topics in the media as they relate to your practice is a great way to feed your blog, success stories and big case wins are another great route to take. In today’s market, people trust word-of-mouth and customer reviews more than any other indicator. Sharing the triumphs of your firm not only conveys your efficiency and professional abilities, but it also shows that you care.

It Is Affordable and Sustainable

Setting up a blog in this day in age is easier and more cost-effective than ever. WordPress is by far one of the biggest blogging platforms in the world, with more than 82 million active users. Not only is it free, but it also comes with several templates to help establish the design of your blog, as well as countless plugins and add-ons free of charge. To learn more about WordPress and other blogging platforms, click here.

How to Build (and Maintain) Good Relationships with the Media

 

  1. Remember That Their Time Is Valuable

A journalist’s time is just as valuable as yours and you should act accordingly. Show that you respect their time by avoiding irrelevant phone calls that will only waste time. Journalists find nothing more annoying than someone calling for a chat, especially when they’re on deadline. A phone call is usually the best way to reach someone, but if the person sounds hurried, ask if they’re up for it, and if not, end the call and shoot over an email.

 

  1. Respect Their Deadlines

There’s nothing more useless than a reply to an email, weeks or months later accepting the invitation for an interview when the story has already passed. In the world of journalism, deadlines are a matter of days not weeks. As a result, you should treat a first contact as urgent, and you should be clear about deadlines as early in the discussion as possible.

 

  1. Effectively Follow-up

The average journalist gets hundreds of emails a day so don’t take it personally if you don’t get a response right away. Chances are, you fell to the bottom of their list and they’re too busy to respond right away. So, what’s the next step? They key is following up, while being mindful and respectful of the fact they must balance an array of competing priorities and other stories. Always follow-up the next day in hopes of a response. If you do not hear back (and if time allows), wait a week for your next attempt. Another option is to try sending your follow-up at a different time and day of the week than your initial email. If the problem is that the email is simply not reaching the person at the right time, try sending it in the afternoon, rather than morning. Lastly, trying a follow-up phone call can at times be more convenient for the journalist you are trying to reach. Instead of being under piles of emails, they can offer immediate feedback to your inquiry and no one is wasting the others time.

 

  1. Use Your Website

Journalists use the internet to do their research. It is important to have a professional website for anyone who visits, so information about what your company does can be visible and accessed easily. A user-friendly and informational website should be organized for visitors to browse through your site and find the information they’re looking for. Eliminate dead links, showcase your credibility by listing out your awards and accomplishments and utilize professional photography to give your site a more polished look.

 

  1. Be a Media-Friendly Company

Whether it is a receptionist, front-of-house staff or anyone else who answers the phone, make sure every member of your team can effectively communicate with journalists, so answers can be given swiftly and no one has to play “phone tag.”

5 Steps to a LinkedIn Page for your Law Firm

Since its launch in 2003 LinkedIn has altered the way the world does business. One of the first steps to networking in today’s competitive and tech-savvy world is creating a LinkedIn profile. While the idea of learning a new social platform can feel daunting, the reality is that social platforms are made to be used by everyone. Like anything, the more you practice the better you will get at using them as a tool for networking.

 

Step One: Create a Personal Profile

To create a company page for your law firm, you must first have a personal profile. It’s important to include a professional photo of yourself as well as succinct descriptions of work experience, much like a resume. Once you have your own profile, connect with current and past co-workers, classmates, or peers you consider a positive professional connection.

Step Two: A Visually Appealing Company Page

Your company page should present your law firm similarly to the way an office itself does. The page cover photo is the first thing visitors will see, like the front door of an office building. Make sure it is an image that exemplifies your firm’s goals and client base. Along with the page cover photo, a profile photo is essential and can be as simple as using your firm’s logo.

Step Three: About your Law Firm

Develop an “about” section that sends a message that is applicable to both potential clients and potential employees. A LinkedIn page presents opportunities to expand your connections on all fronts. Including your firm’s mission statement is a great start and opening line to introduce your firm. The description should be a paragraph or two, since your profile is meant to be a quick way for visitors to gain an understanding of what your firm does.

Step Four: Building Connections

Encourage all of your employees to connect with your law firm page in order to increase its visibility and create an accurate representation of your firm. With each new employee connection your law firm has, you are also gaining exposure to their connections.

Step Five: Actively Sharing

Once your law firm page is finalized, share relevant content to keep your firm in the news feeds of all your connections. LinkedIn is a great place to share blog posts that showcase your firm’s expertise. If your firm doesn’t have a blog, sharing relevant news articles can be extremely effective in letting potential clients and business connections know that you are informed and updated on current events within your industry.

Be sure to keep your LinkedIn and other social profiles up-to-date at all times in order to ensure a consistent professional appearance.

Market Your Law Firm Effectively and Efficiently

Don’t Underestimate Word-of-Mouth

Word-of-Mouth advertising is the process of actively influencing and encouraging organic word-of-mouth discussion about a brand, organization, resource or event. Research shows that 92% of consumers will believe a recommendation from friends and family over any other type of advertising.  Many lawyers and attorneys make the claim that past clients are the best way to gain new clients. This is why you not only want to be effective in the services you provide, but you also want to create a positive and impactful experience.

Build Relationships with Clients That Are Meaningful

Building meaningful relationships with your clients goes beyond good customer service. By being authentically you in your interactions with clients, not only will you be received as more trustworthy, but clients will appreciate that you see them as more than just a paycheck. Create an experience for your clients rather than just providing a service. They will appreciate it and your practice will benefit.

Shine a Spotlight on Your Online Reviews

One way to spread word-of-mouth is by integrating a “Client Testimonials” component on your website. Not only does it act as free advertising, but the constant content and multiple mentions of your firm will increase your firm’s search engine results. Utilizing client reviews increasing readers’ awareness of who you are and what you do.

Build a Quality Website

Having a professional and user-friendly website is the single most beneficial way to advertise your business and reach prospective clients. Not only will your website increase brand awareness to potential clients as well as your competition, but it will also give you one more opportunity to provide exceptional customer service by opening two-way communication with the community.

Utilize Social Media

Being present on social media is quickly becoming one of the most important aspects of digital marketing. This provides remarkable benefits that help reach millions of customers worldwide. Social media allows brands to connect with their customers in a quick and engaging way, it is cost-effective because majority of the world already own smartphones and are present on social media and helps build a positive image in the customers eyes because the brand is actively engaging on social media.

How to Increase the Visibility of Your Blog Post

Building (and maintaining) a successful blog can sometimes be uninspiring and hard to keep up. Each business will have a different goal for what they want their blog to achieve, however regardless of your goal, we all want people to read and enjoy it. While there are several ways to boost your blog, below are six key tips to help increase your views.

  1. Audience

To ensure your blog post will be read by the masses of the worldwide web, it is of upmost importance that there is a well-defined audience. Creative ideas get easier for each post when you have a defined audience to target. Ideas can be mixed and matched from a wide variety of subjects and applied to the problems that your target audience cares about. To get started, act as if you are writing to just one person and they are consuming the entirety of the post each week. This will make writing much more enjoyable for both the writer and the reader.

  1. Be Strategic in Your Timing

Research shows that the best days to post blogs are Wednesdays closely followed by Tuesdays. By this point, the new-week buzz of Mondays has worn off and the excitement for the weekend is yet to come. People are typically bored by midweek and looking for something to do while sitting at their desks. As for time of day, think about your intended audience and what a typical day looks like for them. Aim to post your blog during what might be “down time.”

  1. Use Social Media

When it comes to social media, there’s no shortage of platforms to choose from. That being said, don’t spread yourself too thin by trying to incorporate multiple different platforms. By focusing on one or two, the quality, time and effort will shine through. Depending on which social media platform to use, you must first identify your target reader and assess which social media platform they would likely use. Research has shown that Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Google+ and Pinterest generate the most blog reading traction. Once your blog starts getting traffic from social networks, you’ll be able to analyze the traffic to determine if your target reader is visiting your blog.

  1. Update and Republish Old Blog Posts

When reading a blog post, readers typically do not scroll through your archives to see what was posted months ago. When republishing an old blog post, the new post should be read carefully through again to see if there were any typos or grammar mistakes. Next, it should be updated to fit with what’s happening today. All links should also be checked to ensure they link to the correct spots. Finally, spend some time to make the post appear a slight bit more attractive to the eyes of the readers by updating any images or headlines.

  1. Create a Content Calendar

Research has shown that 42% of people achieve their goals when they write them down first. Creating a calendar is a powerful thing because it urges you to act. You can see your accomplishments happen as the posts are completed. It also helps with your content marketing plan because instead of searching for hours on end what your new post will be about, the topic will already be laid out. There is no more searching for ideas.

  1. Add Images

Using images not only gives color and variety to each post, but it also offers a visual aid that helps in developing the point. The quality of the image is also of importance. The higher quality of the images that are used, the more professional the blog post will appear.

5 Tips to Give Your Content a Boost

Below is a list of tips that will help you craft content your readers will care about and want to read more of. Make these tips a checklist that you can reference when creating your own content in the future.

  1. Readers come first

Take yourself out of the equation. Be 100 percent impartial and put the interests of your readers first. Put out content that will not solely promote your brand, but also what it stands for. Think of your audience and assess other topics relating to your business they may have an interest in. The content should focus on the consumer, not solely the brand.

  1. Make it interesting

Develop evergreen content- stories that are always of interest to your readers. Do your research and stay up to date with current events. Put a twist on a current controversy or apply your take on a hot topic. At the end of the day, no one wants to read the same story twice.

  1. Be authentic

Avoid all the stiff language that builds a barrier between your readers and you. You should want your readers to feel welcomed in your space. Developing a unique voice and tone is the starting place for content creation. Stay true to your brand and speak in a tone that will resonate with the audience you are trying to reach.

  1. Create attention-getting headlines

Brilliant headlines bring in the clicks, are memorable and shareworthy. Your headline, more often than not, acts as the first impression and is what gets your reader to click. Research shows that 55% of visitors read your articles for 15 seconds or less so the overall goal is to grab your readers’ attention and keep it.

  1. Use visuals

Your content should look and feel aesthetically pleasing. Whether or not we will all admit it, picture books and guilty-pleasure magazines are still the most fun to read. 65 percent of people identify as visual learners. Not only are pictures more fun, but when used properly, they can help your readers understand your content more clearly. The same applies to web content. A story is more likely to be read and comprehended by readers when an image is associated with the text because users love images, whether they be photos, infographics or videos.

 

Which Social Media Platforms are the Best Fit for Your Law Firm

With so many social media platforms out there, it’s hard to decide which your law firm should be on. Don’t spread yourself or your law firm too thin, focus on platforms that fit your industry. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram are four social platforms to consider for your law firm. Each serves a purpose that is ideal for some audiences and but fails to reach others.

Facebook

Facebook is a versatile platform that allows for specific page formatting for business versus personal profile pages. It is a site that has shown consistency in its growth since its creation nearly 16 years ago. Creating a Facebook page for almost any law firm will prove to be effective because of the vast demographic of users on the site.  Once your firm has a Facebook page, boost your likes by posting consistent content and interacting with your community.

LinkedIn

The Pew Research Center found in 2018 that 90 percent of LinkedIn users are also on Facebook, this means that these two platforms go hand-in-hand in terms of audiences. While Facebook serves as a more casual platform for photo and news sharing, LinkedIn serves as it’s professional and business-minded counterpart. Whether it is a blog post or a job post, LinkedIn is a great place for your law firm to be present in the online business community. Encourage employees to connect with your firm’s page to create a profile that is an accurate representation of your law firm.

Twitter

Twitter is a platform that provides a space for conversation with your client base. With a 160-character limitation, the goal is to be succinct and to the point, while remaining conscious of hashtags and key words. If your law firm is actively publishing blog posts and you frequently find news relating to your industry, Twitter could be key in expanding a positive conversation around your law firm.

Instagram

Instagram is all about images, promoting your brand through photos and graphics. In order to cultivate an active presence on Instagram, you need content, and that means intriguing images with text to match. An Instagram is likely only a good fit for your firm if you have plenty of content, otherwise you risk posting repetitive images or becoming inactive.

Social media can help you to increase your law firm’s visibility in the community, but only if it is active. Keep your profiles on a post schedule through social media management applications like Buffer and HootSuite. Tools like these allow you to schedule posts ahead of time so your social media is flowing, even on your busiest days.