If I were forced to recommend only one social sharing platform to lawyers, it would be Google+. What? That’s crazy. Google Plus is a ghost town. It’s a virtual tumbleweed town bereft of people and meaningful interactions.
No one is using Google+!
So why would I still recommend that lawyers use Google+ and create Google+ pages?
Google+ & Search, Plus Your World isn’t just a new feature of search. It’s a fundamental change to the very fabric of search. Historically, search results ordered information on the web based on a collection of signals across the entire web (i.e. relative relevance and popularity across the entire index). With Search, Plus your world, at least in theory, and only in part, results are much more influenced by a smaller set of signals (i.e. people with whom you’re connected).
Perhaps Avvo’s +Mark Britton best explains why lawyers should care about Google+:
I think it’s as simple as this: If you think Google is important, then you should probably find G+ important.
Google is “all-in” when it comes to G+: In different conversations with the Google folks, it is clear that G+ is a top strategic priority for them. One Google person said to me, “When it comes to G+, we are all-in.” I’m pretty sure that means Google will spend whatever it takes to make G+ successful. With $49 billion of cash on hand and solid distribution alternatives through search (see below), mobile (Android, Google Talk, etc.) and social media (YouTube, Blogger.com, Picasa, etc.), Google’s “all-in” is worth any lawyer’s attention.
When Google+ was first introduced to us back in 2011, it was described as:
Among the most basic of human needs is the need to connect with others. With a smile, a laugh, a whisper or a cheer, we connect with others every single day.
Today, the connections between people increasingly happen online. Yet the subtlety and substance of real-world interactions are lost in the rigidness of our online tools.
In this basic, human way, online sharing is awkward. Even broken. And we aim to fix it.
We’d like to bring the nuance and richness of real-life sharing to software. We want to make Google better by including you, your relationships, and your interests. And so begins the Google+ project.
And likewise, when they introduced us to Google+ Pages, this message of making Google better by connecting us with the “stuff” that we love continued:
In life we connect with all kinds of people, places and things. There’s friends and family, of course, but there’s also the sports teams we root for, the coffee shops we’re loyal to, and the TV shows we can’t stop watching (to name a few).
So far Google+ has focused on connecting people with other people. But we want to make sure you can build relationships with all the things you care about—from local businesses to global brands—so today we’re rolling out Google+ Pages worldwide.
You see, with Google Plus, Google isn’t just trying to be another social network. They’re trying to fundamentally change the very nature of how we connect and share the things that interest us online. And they’re building this additional social layer right on top of the most widely used information retrieval tool in the world, search.
A Google Plus Page for your Law Firm
Before you create a Google Plus page for your law firm, I recommend downloading the Google Plus Your Business Starter Guide (.pdf).
Also, check out Mashable’s Google Plus Guide, RKG’s Guide to creating and optimizing Google+ Pages and watch why Rand Fishkin thinks every marketer needs a Google+ strategy. If you’re interested in learning more about how Google+ is impacting search, check out AJ Kohn’s Google+ SEO Guide.
Next, go create a Google Plus Page.
If you run into issues, spend some time in the Google+ Pages Help Center.
Then simply start:
- Sharing: Lawyers should brainstorm ways to use Google+ pages to build & nurture relationships with clients and colleagues by sharing insights, links and photos with people who are interested in the subject matter. Hangouts allow lawyers to set up one-click video conversations to efficiently keep in touch with professional networks.
- Spreading the word: Be sure to implement Google+ Direct Connect, the Google+ badge and the +1 button.
- Understanding your activity: The information from many social networking platforms often feels like a fire hose. Google+ has tools to help lawyers understand what people are saying about your firm how this sentiment affects your traffic.
Check out Adrian Lurssen’s Lawyers and Legal Professionals on Google+ to find other legal-types using Google+.
What Should I Share?
Answer: Anything that you think the people you’re connected with would find interesting.
Stem Legal’s +Steve Matthews shares some ideas for joining the Google+ party:
The early days of any web tool are best used to establish relationships and share interests, and are non-commercial in nature. During that period, expect Google to integrate business applications slowly. Watch for what vehicles Google provides to distribute content. Law firm business profiles are a given, but what about practice groups? How about online communities for practice commentary? Perhaps Google’s web video “hangouts” could serve as an interactive webinar platform? Only the future will answer these questions, but this much we know: You must participate to find out.
I think Hangouts On Air, could potentially be a great tool for lawyers.
Like other social networking platforms, Google+ is not yet another place to broadcast your message. It’s a place to connect with other people and share information. Start by finding people and topics that interest you. Engage them in conversation. Think of creative ways to interact.
Google+ Local & Law Firms
Another compelling reason for local law firms to pay attention to Google+ Pages is the merger of Google+ with local.
We’ve discussed the value of local search marketing for law firms before. With this merger, Google has made Google+ Pages the cornerstone for visibility in local search.
Google certainly appears to be “all-in” with Google+. It is fundamentally changing the way we interact with Google products, including search.
If being found in Google search matters to you, then participating with Google+, including creating a Google+ Page for your law firm, is probably a good idea.
Are you using Google+ and Google+ Pages at your firm? What’s been your experience? Have you found people you know there or is it a virtual ghost town?