In the previous lessons, it hasn’t mattered too much what user name you select for your services, since you were only building individual web site pages and pieces of content. But as we get into social media and you start thinking about a domain name for your own web site, it becomes crucial to come up with a user name that you can use widely. One easy way to pick a name that has the widest availability is through the service at http://knowem.com. There you simply input a user name that you have in mind, and the service tells you if the user name is taken by searching over 500 different social networks and domain name databases. If the user name you choose is available at Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, and the dot-com version of your user name is available, it’s a safe pick.
There are a multitude of legal marketing resources, a few of which I list in one of the last lessons. Most sites about online law marketing have plenty of articles offering tips and tricks on social marketing, so as usual we’re going to focus on a few tools instead. Even Facebook and Twitter offer their own manuals for business owners at https://www.facebook.com/business/overview and https://g.twimg.com/business/pdfs/Twitter_Smallbiz_Guide.pdf if you want to read some text before diving into the following tools. While you’re looking at Twitter’s in-house material, consider their own app at https://about.twitter.com/products/tweetdeck. Tweetdeck will let you easily manage your timelines, or lists of tweets from various people and groups.
A popular tool for keeping a steady flow of content across several social networks is https://bufferapp.com. This tool is for those that want to compose a bunch of messages and posts for their twitter and facebook feeds at once, and then slowly send them out on a schedule. The only issue with this is that if you are sending the same content out to different social networks, viewers may see duplicate posts if they visit you on several social networks, and may stop visiting some of your feeds as a result. And different social networks have their own culture, in that a joke you post on facebook might not go over as well on the more professional culture of Linkedin. Sidenote: Buffer’s blog at http://blog.bufferapp.com covers a lot more about personal and business growth other then just their app.
A related app with additional tracking features is https://hootsuite.com. Hootsuite allows you to stagger your posts at defined intervals like Buffer does, but also supplies you with statistics on the viewership of those posts. This allows you to find which of your content is most popular so you know what’s working with your audience. The Hootsuite dashboard also has an internal messaging component so others in your office can discuss the effectiveness of your campaign.
Finding lawyer business pages on Facebook isn’t hard. I simply did a search for the category “law practices” in the main Facebook search box and found many law firm pages. If you want to create your own business page, the features at http://fanpagetoolkit.com offer the social media equivalent of what the automated web page creators did in making sites easy to create. Fanpage Toolkit walks you through wizards that will create a business Facebook page for you. You customize your choice of page templates, and then through a promotions module you can create polls or offers for your users. If you have written an e-book on your area of law, you can offer that through a digital downloads feature of the toolkit package. You can also store and edit images through this service that you can then easily use on your Facebook page.
In addition to working with your own content, it will be useful to have collected information about what others are tweeting. Because Twitter makes its user feeds available for developers to work with, there are many apps that let you search and organize Twitter data for your own purposes. Looking through the descriptions at http://textfreeapp.org/home.php will show you a few examples of this. As it describes, it’s possible using their tools to take a user name of a particular legal organization, download a file of their followers, and then find out all the links those users have been tweeting. This will be a bit of an advanced project but it seems more efficient than trying to follow all the tweets of those users to discover the web sites they are tweeting about.
In the next lesson you can dive into what many recommend as the basis for your main web presence, that being a WordPress site. If you wish to stick with the web sites you have, you can certainly use one of those as your main web site that you promote everywhere, and just skip the information on WordPress. But because it’s very customizable and extendable, you will soon see why it’s used by many organizations for so much beyond basic blogging.