A Simple Social Media Plan for Lawyers

A Think social media is too difficult or time consuming? Here’s a basic social media plan that only requires about 1 1/2 hours a month – although you can expand and contract it as necessary:

Two Time-Saving Apps for Lawyers

HourglassI hate wasting time, and I’m always on the lookout for ways to accomplish more in less time, to eliminate unnecessary steps, and generally to make my life easier so that I can concentrate on what’s most important. In this article, I cover two more of my favorite time-saving apps that help me to do just that. Those apps are LastPass, a secure password manager that lets me create strong passwords and gives me peace of mind, and SlideShark, the app that lets me easily view and present PowerPoint presentations seamlessly from my iPad.

 LastPass

Passwords. They’re necessary, ubiquitous and frustrating. The more we do online or through mobile devices, the more we need them. Some sites require a change in your password every few months.

Security experts advise that we should create unique passwords for each site, and that they should all be ‘strong’ passwords, containing numbers, letters (both upper and lowercase) and symbols. They’re not supposed to contain common words, significant dates (like your birthday, anniversary, your children’s birthdays, etc), or names of your children or pets, since (especially with social media), those are easy to figure out. And I don’t know about you, but a quick check of my various accounts, apps, etc. reveals that I would have over 200 unique passwords I would have to remember.

Yeah, right.

So what do most of us do? Use the same password over and over for several different sites, leaving ourselves vulnerable – if one site gets hacked and our password is compromised, it may compromise a lot of personal information – or use easy to remember passwords that would also be easy to crack if anyone tried.

I finally had enough of all of these passwords and getting concerned every time there was a news story reporting that some online service or platform where I had an account was hacked (like LinkedIn was last year), and I decided to do something about it.

What I did was get myself an account with LastPass. LastPass is a free service that you can download and set up in a matter of minutes, and it will free you from remembering passwords forever – with the exception of ONE password that you’ll need to access your LastPass vault which will contain all of the information about sites you log in to and the passwords associated with each.

When you log into a site, LastPass will ask you if you want to save the site’s information into your vault. You’ll also have the option of generating a new, strong password for the site (or for any new site you log in to). After the site is saved to your vault, you never have to remember the password. You can even set LastPass up to log you in automatically when you arrive at that site. Alternatively, you can simply log in to your LastPass vault to obtain login information for each site individually.

LastPass also alerts you to weak and duplicate passwords as you’re logging in to your accounts, so you can generate new ones immediately and update your online security for sites you’ve been using for a while (and that have those old, weak passwords that are easy to remember but leave you open to potential problems).

In your LastPass vault, you can organize your site and login information by putting sites into different categories that you create. For example, you might want to categorize some sites as personal and others as business, or some sites as shopping and others as social media. You can even make online shopping and ordering easier by creating Profiles within LastPass for your credit cards, or for different billing and shipping addresses.

When you register for an account, or are ready to check out and make a purchase, choose the Profile you want, and LastPass will complete the form in a single click. And LastPass uses the latest encryption technology, so your data is secure.

In addition to the free service which you would install on your main computer or laptop and that sits in your browser, LastPass has a premium option that costs only $12/year. The Premium service allows you to use LastPass across all of your devices by giving you access to all of their mobile apps for smartphones and tablets, whether you use iOS, Android, Windows Phone, or a combination, so you’ll always have the passwords and other information you need, wherever you are. And LastPass includes multi-factor authentication, providing you with even more security.

Of course, LastPass isn’t the only password manager out there – a recent New York Times article discusses LastPass and other password apps here.

SlideShark

Many lawyers don’t operate solely in the Windows or Mac worlds; instead, they use a combination of devices. Perhaps they have a Windows desktop, an Android phone and an iPad (like I do). Although I have a laptop, it isn’t always convenient to travel with the laptop, and sometimes I prefer to just carry my iPad. In the past, I felt that if I was doing a presentation, I had to bring my laptop because my presentations were all prepared in PowerPoint on my desktop computer. Although I could transfer those programs to Keynote to try to present them on my iPad, they didn’t always transfer properly – and my images would always have to be loaded onto my iPad separately in order for them to appear properly, making extra work for me — something I try to avoid whenever possible.

Then I heard about SlideShark, a free mobile app that lets me show my PowerPoint presentations from my iPad with no change in formatting and with all of the images intact. Even hyperlinks, video, graphics and animations work seamlessly when presenting with SlideShark. Now when I’m creating a presentation I don’t have to worry about whether I’ll be presenting from a laptop or from my iPad. I can simply create the presentation in PowerPoint and know that it will look the way I want it to look regardless of the device I’m presenting on.

Getting started with SlideShark was easy; I just installed the app on my iPad, and when I want to present to a client or at a conference, I upload the presentation into SlideShark and present. I can even annotate slides in SlideShark on the fly as I’m presenting. And if you’ve got remote attendees, you can even broadcast your slides on the web through the app.

Although I can’t edit a presentation in SlidesShark, that’s OK – if I find that I really need to make a change before a presentation and I don’t have my laptop, I simply log in to my computer in my office (I use the LogMeIn app for that purpose), edit the slideshow, and then re-upload it to Slideshark.

Although I use the free version, Slideshark also has upgraded options for individuals as well as businesses. A comparison chart of their products can be found here. The paid versions of SlideShark include options such as larger file uploads, secure data backup and ability to track views of shared slides. But since I’m not concerned about confidentiality of my presentations or sharing online (if necessary, I have other outlets available to me for sharing), the free version works just fine for me.

No more getting locked out of a site because I forgot my password, no more frustration trying to remember multiple passwords or fear that my passwords will be guessed by ne’er do wells, and no more needing to lug around my laptop to do a presentation (or manipulating a presentation so that I can show it on my iPad)…these two apps have increased my peace of mind and made my life a little easier — and all for free (or very low cost). What more could I ask for in an app?

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Facebook in One Hour for Lawyers Infographic

Here’s an infographic that gives an overview of the Lessons contained in Facebook in One Hour for Lawyers:
Facebook In One Hour Table of Contents Infographic

Using Visuals in Lawyer Marketing: Lawyer Meltdown Newsletter October 2012

Using Visuals in Lawyer Marketing

Visuals - eye

Whether you believe the theories about the differences in learning styles (some people learn better visually, some by listening, etc.) or not, it is hard to deny that the world has become more and more visual. This may be due in part to the massive increase in online activity; people read and consume information differently online than they do offline, skimming and scanning more than reading. This is further bolstered by the explosion in the use of mobile devices, which were not built for reading lots of text.

Visuals Capture Attention

If a picture really is worth a thousand words and you only have a small amount of time to capture attention and get your message across, pictures may be able to do it faster. John Medina, author of the bestseller Brain Rulessays, “vision trumps all other senses.” In terms of learning and memory, there is no comparison.

Experts writing for Psychology Today say that visual cues help us to better retrieve and remember information, which “make complete sense when you consider that …. the part of the brain used to process words is quite small in comparison to the part that processes visual images.”

The lesson? If you want clients and potential clients to remember you, visuals are key.

When exhorting marketers to invest in visual content creation, Hubspot cites a Shareaholic study that revealed that Pinterest (a highly visual, photo-dominated platform, with very limited text) generates more referral traffic than Google+, YouTube and LinkedIn combined; only Facebook and StumbleUpon generate more. Studies have also shown that visuals attract more attention in Facebook posts. And even LinkedIn is changing its look and feel to a more visual layout for Company Pages.

According to an article from the editors of CRM magazine, Generation Y is more likely to read news online, and 2/3 watch TV online. Most have a smartphone or other device with them at all times. That makes it more and more likely that your website and other marketing information will be viewed or accessed from a mobile device, where text is difficult to read and visuals rule. The article quotes Kit Yarrow, a psychology and marketing professor at Golden Gate University and author of the book Gen BuY, who says, “With this generation, everything has to be visual and contextual.”

As a result, it may be time for lawyers to learn how to use visuals, graphics and images to support their marketing and their overall message.

Make Visuals Match Your Purpose

As with all marketing initiatives, any analysis of what you are doing currently or what you are considering doing in the future needs to begin with your purpose. It is only once you have a clear idea of the goals you would like to achieve with your marketing that you can determine whether to embrace something new and how to implement it.

Let’s take your law firm’s website as an example. Most law firm websites are text-heavy, with few, if any graphics, images or visuals. If you want to add visual elements, the purpose of your site (and the individual pages on that site) can help you determine which content or message is most important for your visitors to receive at that time. Then you can determine how to incorporate visual elements t support and highlight that message.

You site may serve several functions, including:

 

  • Educating potential clients about the issues they may face when making  a particular business decision
  • Describing your solution to those problems
  • Establishing your expertise in the area
  • Educating potential clients about the issues they need to be aware of when looking for a lawyer

 

Each individual page of your website cannot possibly try to meet all of those functions at the same time, and if you simply add visuals to your existing text, you may be creating more of a distraction for your web visitors, with consequences like causing them to leave your site, or distracting them from the most important information that you want them to learn and/or retain on the page.

For example, although social media can be a helpful tool for spreading your content and engaging with potential clients and referral sources, too many social media sharing buttons do more harm than good. They can slow load time, actually prevent sharing by presenting too many options, leading to confusion, or they may generate traffic but decrease actual engagement.

Graphic and visual elements are important, but only once you have determined the purpose for your site (and each page) and the most important content on the site. Then you can use visuals to enhance and draw attention to the important elements and content on the page.

If you need help incorporating visual elements into your marketing, contact me atAllison@LegalEaseConsulting.com or call 631-642-0221 to see how I can help.