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Marketing

Optimizing for Potential Clients

By Gyi Tsakalakis

Why Do Lawyers Do These Things?

In the race to increase online exposure, many lawyers forget about the very people they’re trying to attract. Does your Twitter profile look something like the example below? Is this making the most effective use of the tool at hand? Whether it’s because of a lack of understanding or they’ve gotten bad advice, some lawyers are “optimizing” their web profiles in ways that are at best a waste of time and money, and at worst potentially harming their reputations.

You might wonder why folks are doing this. For many, the answer is they believe it will help them rank better in search results. Ignoring, for the moment, the futility of these techniques as “search engine optimization” strategies, as well as the potential ethical problems, think about how these “optimizations” might be perceived by potential clients and referral sources. Do you think they’re impressed? Do you think they’re motivated to meet “Best Attorney In LA”? Are you?

Truth Is, This Stuff Simply Doesn’t Work

It doesn’t provide some tactical advantage in search engines. It doesn’t impress, is far more likely to be ignored and may even repulse. And so, if you want to make the most effective use of the Internet to connect with people, use some common sense:

  • Be yourself.
  • Be authentic.
  • Use your real name.
  • Use a real picture of yourself.
  • Keep in touch with people you know.
  • Participate in conversations that interest you.
  • Be mindful of your ethical obligations—they apply online, too.

You don’t earn clients with link juice, followers and “likes.” You earn them by building, nurturing and solidifying relationships with the people behind the profiles. So, if you’re going to “optimize,” you should do it with those people in mind.

Gyi Tsakalakis helps lawyers put their best foot forward online because clients are looking for them there. He is a co-founder of AttorneySync, a digital marketing agency for law firms. You can find more of his writing at Lawyerist & Avvo’s Lawyernomics blog. You can ask him a question (or just say hi) at LinkedIn, TwitterGoogle+ and Facebook.

Image ©istockphoto.

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