As we are undertaking a final review of the data for the 2014 Social Law Firm Index (which will be published later this month) one salient fact jumps out at us about how law firms are currently using social media. Among the ranks of the 100 largest law firms covered by our survey, usage of Google + still appears to be negligible and trails significantly behind other major social media platforms.
This really surprises us. Google + represents an obvious business development opportunity, so much so that we are puzzled why so many savvy law firm marketers continue to completely overlook the platform. As we’ve written before, the advantages of Google + are literally baked into the most important online search algorithm, that being Google’s search ranking.
Furthermore, Google+, similarly to LinkedIn groups, has thousands of communities categorized by topic and interest. The members of these communities tend to be more sophisticated than those in other social networks. In addition, if the target audience of your practice are people that do not reside in the United States, Google+ communities are a great way to reach and connect with them.
So let’s briefly summarize for you the key reasons why we see Google + communities as a great tool for you to include in your next social media campaign:
- Over 1 billion people are already using the network, which makes it the second largest social media platform (after Facebook).
- 48% of the top Fortune 100 global companies are actively using the platform and by one recent estimate 39% of U.S. companies operating in the B2B sector are using the platform to source new business opportunities.
- Lawyers have tended to gravitate towards LinkedIn as a social media platform and have been much slower to adopt Google +. But that in itself presents a compelling reason to try Google + communities as a means to stand out and succeed more effectively in reaching a target audience of business decision makers. Google+ communities offer the same basic opportunity to participate in industry-wide discussion forums, full of prospects and potential followers, except that most of your competitors aren’t there yet.
- Google+ is also key to increasing your web footprint, especially because traffic on Google+ correlates to a higher ranking on Google’s search engine. Google Authorship (which also boosts search ranking) can only be set up by users with a Google + account.
These are the key reasons why Google + communities makes sense to consider including as part of your digital marketing strategy. Of course, you still want to be prudent in how you use Google + communities as a business development tool. The same basic rules should apply here, as we’ve discussed previously with respect to LinkedIn groups and other social media networks, regarding the importance of listening first, before you leap into the fray of online discussions. (Click here to read our prior advice regarding the best ways to use LinkedIn.) But that being said, we think Google + communities represents a meaningful opportunity for any lawyer or practice group that wants to immediately take steps to improve their social media presence and engage with their target audience.
Perhaps we can sum it up best in the words of Phil Robertson, the patriarch of the Duck Dynasty – If you’re going to hunt then go where the ducks are! For lawyers on the hunt for new business opportunities, you’ll find lots of ducks out there on Google + .