Modern Solo http://www.modernsolo.com Helping you start and grow your law firm Mon, 01 May 2017 18:27:39 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7.5 http://www.modernsolo.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/cropped-Diem-32x32.jpg Modern Solo http://www.modernsolo.com 32 32 How Lawyers Can Make Extra Money In 2017 http://www.modernsolo.com/make-extra-money/ Mon, 01 May 2017 18:27:39 +0000 http://www.modernsolo.com/?p=509   As a solo attorney, you have to get used to living on a financial roller coaster. Some months can be really good and some months you worry about meeting basic expenses.   One great way to keep things on a more even keel is to find a way to supplement your income. Here are […]

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As a solo attorney, you have to get used to living on a financial roller coaster. Some months can be really good and some months you worry about meeting basic expenses.

 

One great way to keep things on a more even keel is to find a way to supplement your income. Here are some ways lawyers can make extra money this year.

Raise your fees

A really quick way you can earn more this year is to increase your fees. Most solos undervalue themselves and keep the same rates for years. Increase your rates for new clients and see how much more you earn. For help, check out Clio’s answer to  How Much Should Lawyers Charge and these 3 Ways Lawyers Can Raise Rates Without Losing Clients, from Findlaw.

 

Become of counsel for another firm.  

A firm may need an of counsel attorney to handle overflow cases or to consult on cases that are not in their regular practice area. Basically, you have an ongoing relationship with a particular firm.

 

Cover Cases Per Diem

Law firms often need someone to cover simple court appearances or adjournments when emergencies come up. Offering per diem services is a quick way to make a few extra bucks, especially when you are going to be in that court anyway.

I can easily make an extra $500 a month for spending a few minutes covering other attorneys cases when I’m in court for my own matters.

 

Legal Research & Writing

Some lawyers are willing to pay others to write legal briefs and motions. If this is something you are good at, it can be a great way to make extra cash.

 

Sell a Legal Course

Another super simple way to earn extra money is to create a course. After putting in the initial work to set it up, it’ll be passive income. For example, a small business attorney can make a course called “How To Start A Corporation In New York,” which teaches the process of starting a corporation. Teachable and Udemy are both easy to use platforms for this purpose.

Develop a Helpful App

Apps are another easy way to make passive income. For example, a divorce attorney could make a calendar app for shared parenting. You could pay a developer to create it and then sell it on Itunes and Google Play.

Publish An E-Books Online

Publish helpful e-books on a platform like Amazon Kindle or sell it on your site.

Conduct Test Prep Courses

Become a test prep teacher for a bar prep course. Contact bar prep companies directly to learn how to apply.

Teach as an Adjunct Professor

While this takes more time, energy and effort than some of the other suggestions, it can be a decent source of income and be emotionally rewarding. If you have any connection with a college, that would be a good first step. Or else you can use a job search site like Monster to see what is available and learn qualifications.

Create a Podcast

If your podcast becomes popular enough, you’ll be able to monetize it with ads and sponsorships. Like blogging, it won’t necessarily bring in cash right away, but if it’s something you enjoy doing anyway it’s possible to bring in a little extra income. BuzzSprout has a very detailed guide on how to get started.

Become A Speaker

This is another one that takes a lot of work, but once you build a reputation it can be very profitable. This will only work if you like speaking already, are good at it, and are willing to put in the work to find paid gigs. This post from The Speaker Lab is a great guide to getting started.

Write Freelance Articles

If you’re a good writer you can write freelance articles for blogs and websites for a fee. Many lawyers want to have a blog but don’t have the time or inclination to keep up with it, so there is great demand for article writers. Upwork is a great place to connect with people looking for this service.

Create CLE Courses

If you are willing to put in the time, you can make money teaching CLE courses. In NY you simply need to create a program then apply for accreditation.

Monetize Your Hobby

There are many ways to make money with things you spend time doing anyway. For example, if you like photography, you can sell your photos or shoot portraits on the weekends. Love dogs? Start a dog sitting service.

These are just a few ideas you can use to make more profit in 2017. How have you earned extra cash as a solo?

 

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How to elevate your legal marketing by spying on your competitors http://www.modernsolo.com/spying-competitors/ Mon, 10 Apr 2017 11:00:55 +0000 http://www.modernsolo.com/?p=498 One of the keys to legal marketing and even business, in general, is knowing who and what you are up against. And the only way to do that is to know who your competitors are and what they are doing.   This is not to say you should copy your competitors- being different is what […]

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One of the keys to legal marketing and even business, in general, is knowing who and what you are up against. And the only way to do that is to know who your competitors are and what they are doing.

 

This is not to say you should copy your competitors- being different is what will make you stand out.  But you can certainly learn from the success and failures of the other law firms your potential clients may consider hiring.

 

If you are into blogging you may have heard of the skyscraper technique. Basically, you find a topic or content that your audience is interested in, and you make it better than anything else available. You can do the same with by spying on your competitors: figure out what your potential clients care about and do it better than all of your competitors.

 

Who are your competitors?

First,  you have to determine who your competitors are. You can start by searching local attorneys in your practice area. Include lawyers and law firms that have been your opposing counsel. Search keywords on Google and social media to see who keeps showing up.

 

Your real competitors are those who have the same target audience as you.

 

Why you should spy on your competitors

There are many good reasons for spying on your competitors and doing so will help you strengthen your quality of service and marketing strategy.

  • Identify service gaps in the market that you can exploit
  • Identify service gaps that your competition is exploiting that you should get in on
  • Identify tried and true marketing strategies that are effective for reaching your target audience
  • Identifying new audiences you may not have even been aware of
  • Knowing where your business stands in relation to competitors.

 

How to spy on your competitors

Website/Blog

Go to their website and/or blog and check out the following:

  • Is their site visually appealing?
  • Does it load quickly?
  • If you were a prospective client, would you easily be able to find the information you need?
  • Can you make an appointment online?
  • Can you connect with them on social media?
  • Are they sharing interesting and useful content?
  • Are they sharing content more or less often than you?
  • Do they have social sharing buttons? Is their content being shared?
  • Check out where they rank compared to you for certain industry keywords. Are they using keywords you’re not using or haven’t thought of?

 

What types of content are they sharing?

  • Blog posts

  • eBooks

  • Webinars

  • Podcasts

  • Videos

  • Slides/Powerpoints

  • Visual content

  • FAQs

  • Case studies

Now compare this to your content. What are they doing better and where should you put more effort?

 

Social Media

The first step is to figure out what social media site your competitors are on that they are excelling at. Look at:

  • Number of followers and

  • How engaged their followers are (do they get lots of likes, comments, and shares?)

  • Type of Content they share (photos? Video? What percentage is theirs vs. Curated?)

  • How often they post

  • What calls to action they use

Number of Followers & Engagement

I put these two together because they go hand in hand. Engagement matters more than number of followers. Having 100 followers who like, comment, and share your content is much better than having 1,000 followers with little to no engagement.

Analyzing number of followers vs. engagement is also a good way to see if someone has purchased followers. If you have 10k followers and only 50 likes, it’s likely they are mostly bot followers who we purchased. Buying followers not only make you look bad, it also does nothing to help raise awareness or grow your business.

 

Email Content

Another great way to spy on your competitors is to sign up for their newsletter. Are they just sending updates about their practice or are they sending useful information? Use it as an opportunity to capitalize on their weaknesses and be inspired by their strengths.

 

Customer Service

Read all reviews of your competitor. Do negative reviews have a recurring theme? Use their faults as a selling point for your firm.  Is there a certain quality their clients rave about? How can you do that better?

 

Other Marketing Strategies

Check out the other ways your competitors and marketing.

  • Do they have speaking engagements?
  • Are they doing webinars or live videos?  
  • Have then written any books?

 

If your shared audience is responding to these things you should consider how to add something similar to your marketing strategy and make it your own.

 

How to analyze the information

Make a chart of all of this information about your top three competitors. Look for things they are missing or not doing well and figure out how you can do it better.

 

Don’t limit yourself to your competitors. Check out businesses that are doing well in other practice areas or even other industries for ideas and inspiration.

 

When you’re ready to get started, Kissmetrics has a great post on tools and gadgets to help you spy on your competitors.

 

Do you spy on your competitors? Join the discussion on our Facebook page!

 

Spy on competitors pin

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MONTHLY SOLO LAW FIRM ACCOUNTING (Infographic) http://www.modernsolo.com/monthly-solo-law-firm-accounting-infographic/ Mon, 06 Mar 2017 12:00:47 +0000 http://www.modernsolo.com/?p=489 I used to dread bookkeeping every month until I came up with a system to get it done. Using this checklist, I know exactly what I need to do every month to stay on top of my law firm finances. I can complete this tasks in about 20 minutes a week, or a 90-minute block […]

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I used to dread bookkeeping every month until I came up with a system to get it done. Using this checklist, I know exactly what I need to do every month to stay on top of my law firm finances.

I can complete this tasks in about 20 minutes a week, or a 90-minute block once a month. I personally prefer to do it monthly.

MONTHLY SOLO LAW FIRM ACCOUNTING TASKS MONTHLY SOLO LAW FIRM ACCOUNTING TASKS

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How To Convert Leads Into Legal Clients http://www.modernsolo.com/convert-leads/ Mon, 20 Feb 2017 14:09:20 +0000 http://www.modernsolo.com/?p=483 Using a sales funnel as part of a marketing strategy is an effective way to convert leads into legal clients. I like to think of sales funnels as a way to organize my marketing strategy. Prospects need different things at each stage of the buying process and having a funnel in place helps direct prospective […]

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Using a sales funnel as part of a marketing strategy is an effective way to convert leads into legal clients.

I like to think of sales funnels as a way to organize my marketing strategy. Prospects need different things at each stage of the buying process and having a funnel in place helps direct prospective legal clients from one stage to the next in a streamlined manner.

Convert Leads

There are many different ways to organize your funnel, but I like to think of mind in three stages:

  1. Awareness
  2. Consideration
  3. Decision

Awareness Stage

In this stage, the prospect has become aware of their legal problem and will start cursory research into how to solve it. They will most likely google the issue or ask friends and family for referrals.

How To Convert Leads In The Awareness Stage

Content

Content is a key tool to create awareness of your law firm and convert leads into legal clients. One of the first ways a potential client may reach you is when searching for information about a specific subject.  

Content in the awareness stage of the sales funnel can include:

  • Blog posts
  • Video
  • Infographics
  • Podcasts
  • Webinars
  • And more.

The takeaway here is to educate. At this stage they want information about their problem, and if you are the go-to source for free quality information, you build trust and brand awareness.

Advertising

Your ads may also be the way someone is introduced to your law practice. You want to provide value. Don’t just link to your website, give them something useful. I usually link PPC ads to a free webinar, checklist, blog post, or other lead magnet.

The key here is repetition. A potential client may have to see your ad multiple times before they call or click.

Social Media

Social media is a huge part of my awareness strategy. I regularly get referrals from Instagram from people who follow my account and tell friends and family about me. They feel like they know me, so when asked about a divorce attorney they refer me.

Social media is also a great way to spread the word. Post interesting content and it will be shared- resulting in an ever growing pool of prospects.

The keys to reaching prospective clients with social media are:

  • Consistency- Staying top of mind.
  • Providing information/ entertainment/ motivation.
  • Showing that you are a real person.
  • Using the platform your target audience uses.

How to Convert Leads

Networking/Referrals

Where you network and who you network with are reflections of your brand. You have to have a strategy and you have to know who your ideal client is to network effectively.

If you want to reach prospective clients you have to network with people who can connect you with your ideal client. And you have to teach your referral sources who your ideal client is and how you can help them.

Though I take all types of divorces, my ideal clients are entrepreneurs who want to protect their business from divorce. Knowing this makes it easier to narrow down the type of people to network with (people who work with entrepreneurs), and allows me to clearly articulate the type of client I can help.

Consideration Stage

During this stage, the prospect is interested in your services but needs to learn more before they decide to hire you. The ultimate goal of this stage is to get them to schedule a consultation.

This is the stage where you start talking about you, your brand, and how you can solve their problem better than anyone else.

Value proposition

The primary thing you want to to get across at this stage is that you are an expert and you can solve their problem.  Some of the concerns my clients have are protecting their business, protecting their assets, and the ability to continue a meaningful relationship with their children. They also like to keep legal costs under control.

Use content, such as brand videos,  to show how your service can solve your client’s problems. Tell stories about what makes your law practice stand apart from the rest.

Online Presence

If a prospect was given your name by someone, they very first thing they will do is google you. What they see will determine if they make the call to set up the consultation.

Go through all the ways a potential client may reach you online and ask yourself:

  • Does my logo reflect my brand?
  • Is my headshot/image consistent throughout platforms?
  • Does my website design reflect my brand? Is it easy to use? Can I easily find out how to schedule a consultation?
  • Are my forms clear and easy to use?
  • Is my email signature professional?

Lead Magnets

Lead magnets are a great way to demonstrate your expertise while moving a prospect from the awareness to the consideration stage.

A lead magnet is something of value or interest that you offer a prospective client in exchange for their email address.

I’ve used checklists, guides, and webinars, and webinars have been the most successful by far. My client base is more likely to watch a webinar than they are to attend an in-person event, so this has worked well for me.

Giving useful information away for free, (while following ethical guidelines),  is a great way to build trust, authority,  and credibility.

And now you have their email address that you can use in a targeted email marketing campaign that could result in a consultation.

Reviews/Case Studies

Use these to show proof that clients actually achieved what the prospective client wants to achieve by working with you.

I find it very effective to link to reviews and share case studies as part of my email marketing strategy. I usually add these at the end of an email drip campaign with a link to schedule a consultation.  So far, this email converts at about 35%, which I consider successful.

Nurturing process

At this point, many prospective clients may not be ready to make a decision right now. This happens very often in the family law field.

But instead of just giving up on them and letting go, have a system in place to continue to stay top of mind until they are ready.

Continue to show value by sharing useful content and materials that will help them make a decision. This is why building your email list is so important. It gives you the ability to continue to reach people who are on the fence about your services.

Decision Stage

The decision stage is the conversion from lead to legal client. The goal of this stage is to get them to sign your retainer agreement.

If a prospect has made it this far in the funnel, you don’t want to lose them due to a minor mistake. The little things matter.

Sales process

Consistency is imperative to a great customer experience. Have a process in place for intake from the time the prospect calls or enters their information into a form, until the time the sign the retainer.

Some things you may do to make the sales process easier:

  • Make it easy to make an appointment with you.
  • Send a follow-up email confirming the date, time and location.
  • Have them complete a basic intake form in advance and include a list of documents to bring to the consultation.
  • Send your basic retainer/ fee agreement terms in advance. Even if you can’t give a fee until you speak to them, at least they will know your payment terms in advance.

A smooth process from the start gives the client a glimpse of what working with you will be like. Exceeding expectations from the start turns prospective clients into ambassadors for your brand.

Physical Space

When a prospect comes into a consultation, what does your office say about your brand? Is it clean? Can they see sensitive information? First impressions matter.

Don’t Forget To Cross-Sell

Every potential client you meet should know every service you offer.

First, they should be made aware of any service that may relate to their problem. For example, my divorce clients often need to update their wills. But most of the time they don’t even think about it until I bring it up.

Next, you should share all other services you offer. The more they know about what you do, the more they can refer.

It’s not always easy to convert leads into legal clients. But a funnel can make the process more organized and effective.

Leads into legal clients

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Effective Tactics For Increasing Law Firm Profitability http://www.modernsolo.com/tactics-increasing-law-firm-profitability/ Mon, 09 Jan 2017 22:19:30 +0000 http://www.modernsolo.com/?p=476 One of the most common New Year’s resolutions I hear from solo lawyers is increasing profits, but in many cases, the lawyer has no idea how to achieve that goal. Since starting my practice I’ve steadily increased profits each year. It hasn’t been an easy path, but with hours of research, talking to successful attorneys, […]

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profitable law firm

One of the most common New Year’s resolutions I hear from solo lawyers is increasing profits, but in many cases, the lawyer has no idea how to achieve that goal.

Since starting my practice I’ve steadily increased profits each year. It hasn’t been an easy path, but with hours of research, talking to successful attorneys, and plain old trial and error, I’ve come up with a few tactics that have helped my practice’s profits grow year after year.

Tactics To Improve Your Law Firm’s Profitability

How To Use Marketing To Improve Profitability

Establish a marketing budget. Even if it’s a small budget, having one is the first step to creating a successful marketing strategy. There are many ways to market for free but if you want to take your practice to the next level you have to spend some money. The budget could include paid advertising, organizations you want to join, or any other ideas you have.

 

Have a marketing plan. If you want a profitable law practice you can’t just hope it will happen. You have to have a plan. You need to create and maintain a sales pipeline or sales funnel that targets your ideal clients. Once you have a plan in place it will better enable you to predict potential profits.

 

Get new business from current clients. Think about other services you could offer current or past clients. Since they already know and trust you it will be easier than acquiring brand new clients.

 

Improving Profitability With Practice Management  

 

Improve your systems. A system is basically a documented routine that is done exactly the same way no matter who is doing it. As solo’s we can only handle so many cases at a time, and that limits the profits we can make. But having the right systems in place will not only allow you to get more done, it will also make it easier to delegate work to an employee when you are ready.

 

Avoid bad clients. I can’t emphasize this enough. The biggest drain on your energy, productivity, and time is a bad client. We know they are not a good fit when they retain us, but we accept them anyway because we need the money. It’s not worth it.

 

Consider a virtual office. While I sometimes miss my office dearly, switching to a virtual office was the best thing I’ve done for my business financially. I spend so much time in court and meetings that paying for office space was not the best use of my resources. But having a virtual office and the ability to still meet with clients in a professional space has helped make my practice more profitable.

 

Systematically gather client feedback. Your best source of leads will be from happy clients. But you won’t know if they are happy or not if you don’t ask. Having a system in place where you can regularly collect feedback that you actually take action on will help you provide the best service possible. Reputation matters and a reputation for excellent service provides a value that will not only get you more referrals but is a basis for higher fees.

Improving Law Firm Profitability Using Financial  Management

Raise your rates. The easiest and most obvious way to increase profitability is to simply raise your rates. Many lawyers go years without increases their fees and their business remains stagnant. Even a small increase can make a difference in the quality of clients and your profits for the year.

 

Have a process for managing receivables. You won’t get paid if you don’t send an invoice. The lawyers I know who have the hardest time getting paid are also the ones who are always behind on invoices. Send them out monthly and be sure to include the terms of your fee agreement on the invoice. Both you and the client should know what’s going to happen if you are not paid on time.

 

Get better at capturing billable time. If you wait until the end of the week or the end of the month to capture your billables I guarantee you are leaving thousands of dollars on the table at by the end of the year. You should be tracking daily, ideally as soon as you complete a task. I keep a note on my phone where I take 30 seconds to write down time spent on a task. Even if I don’t put it in my case management software until the end of the week, at least I have an accurate record of what was done.

I also find it helpful to track time that is not billable. That way I can see if I’m spending too much time on certain things.

effective-tactics-for-increasing-law-firm-profitability

Review your expenses. Review your spending over the last few months and ruthlessly make cuts. Are there things you are paying for that you never use or could live without?

 

Get paid in advance. As often as possible get your entire fee in advance. Consider flat fees paid up front. About half of my clients choose to pay flat fees and it’s one of the reasons I rarely have issues getting paid. It’s also much easier to save and plan for slower months when I get lump sums in advance.

 

Don’t extend credit. You are a law firm, not a bank. Other than emergencies, all fees outside of my legal fee are either paid in advance or paid directly by the client. For example, if my client wants me to file a motion they give me the filing fee before the motion is filed instead of me billing for it later. This way my operating cash is not tied up when I need it. I lay this out in my retainer agreement and so far I have not had any complaints.

 

You don’t have to apply all of these tactics to see your law firm’s profits grow, you just need to test a few out to see what works best for you.

 

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7 Resolutions You Should Make for Your solo Law firm in 2017 http://www.modernsolo.com/7-resolutions-law-firm-2017/ Mon, 19 Dec 2016 12:00:05 +0000 http://www.modernsolo.com/?p=472 The new year is right around the corner and now is the time to start thinking about your goals for 2017. Some people are put off by resolutions, but the start of a fresh new year is the perfect opportunity to review your business and plan how you want to move forward. So whether you […]

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generate more clients

The new year is right around the corner and now is the time to start thinking about your goals for 2017.

Some people are put off by resolutions, but the start of a fresh new year is the perfect opportunity to review your business and plan how you want to move forward. So whether you have goals or resolutions, here are 7 things you consider for your solo firm in 2017.

Increase sales in 2017 by X percent

Many solos resolve to increase profits but most fail to set a concrete goal. Do you want to make $5 more than last year or $50,000?  Set an achievable number and then write out how you plan to get there.

Ask for feedback

Asking for feedback can be scary since it can open you up to criticism that you may not be prepared to handle. But of you don’t know how you are doing, you can’t improve.

Many people ask for feedback at the end of representation but that can often be too late. Determine how to ask for feedback during the relationship with a client. You may not even realize they are unhappy and you can fix it before it becomes a bigger issue.

I also found that my clients really appreciate me checking in to see how I’m doing. It shows them I care and helps me provide the best service possible. It also helps me determine which processes are working and which are not.

Refresh your social media and marketing strategy

Social media changes very quickly so to be effective you have to stay on top of what’s still working and what is not.

The same goes for your overall marketing strategy. Review what worked over the past year and what did not. Determine what to spend more resources on and what to eliminate.

Be more productive

Review your tools and systems to see if they are meeting your needs and helping you be as productive as possible. That fancy case management software means nothing if you don’t use it. Would it be more effective for you to switch to something simpler?

Take a look at your processes. Do they work well for you and your clients? Are you meeting deadlines and getting things done effectively? Do you have your processes written down?

Something writing down a process, like client intake, can help you spot and eliminate inefficiencies.

7-resolutions-you-should-make-for-your-solo-law-firm-in-2017

Reach out to a new prospect or referral source every day

Building and maintaining a network can seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. Just take a few minutes every day start a new relationship or foster an old one. That can mean making a phone call, sending an email, or meeting some for coffee.

Make it a goal to have this become a part of your daily routine and you will have a steady stream of new clients in no time.

Refresh your website

Most of your marketing efforts lead back to your website and all that work is wasted if your website is terrible. At least once a year you should review your site and update it so that it stays fresh and relevant. Update your bio, change outdated photos, and update firm information.

Do the same for your blog. If there are any posts that are no longer on brand, update or delete them. Check for ways to improve your SEO.

These simple changes can make a huge difference in website traffic and conversion.

Take Care of yourself

Solo’s are prone to burnout so it’s essential to have a plan in place to take care of your physical and mental needs.

This can mean taking control of your schedule so you have time to relax with your family o making time to work out. It could also mean planning a few vacations and getaways in advance.

What are your goals for 2017? Share them on our Facebook Page.

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Best Social Media Marketing Tips for Lawyers In 2016 http://www.modernsolo.com/best-social-media-marketing-tips/ Mon, 12 Dec 2016 12:00:57 +0000 http://www.modernsolo.com/?p=468 Social media can be a very effective and affordable way to market your law practice. Here are some of my best social media tips for 2016. VISUALS Focus on visuals. Visual content is more than 40X more likely to get shared on social media than other types of content. Optimize images for each social media […]

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hands-coffee-smartphone-technology

Social media can be a very effective and affordable way to market your law practice. Here are some of my best social media tips for 2016.

VISUALS

Focus on visuals. Visual content is more than 40X more likely to get shared on social media than other types of content.

Optimize images for each social media platform. Each platform has different optimal image size requirements. Instead of learning the optimal image dimensions for each platform and sizing them individually you can use the Magic Resize button from Canva, a tool that allows you to create optimally sized images for all the major platforms with just one click.

Twitter

Tweet daily. If you’re not consistently posting content your followers will lose interest. Use tools like Buffer or Hootsuite to schedule posts so you don’t have to think about it.

Republish old content. The half life for the average tweet is only about 24 minutes. So even if you’ve tweeted content before, it’s likely that the majority of your followers have not seen it. Get more views by keeping old content in the rotation.

Use hashtags to get your posts noticed. The optimal amount of hashtags for Twitter is 1-3.

Don’t forget to schedule tweets for evenings and weekends. Followers will often have more time to read longer content on the weekends.  

Follow other people in the legal industry. Share and engage with other people’s content relevant and interesting content. It’s a great way to make connections and lay the foundation for offline relationships.  

Schedule multiple tweets for each blog post. Again, Twitter moves so quickly that one post isn’t going to cut it. But it can be time-consuming to think of and schedule multiple tweets for each blog post.

Now I use a tool called missinglettr to do this for me. You connect your RSS feed and whenever missinglettr detects a new blog post, it will create a year worth of tweets by pulling quotes and images from your content.

Always use images – It’s a fact: tweets with images get more engagement. Buffer gets an 150% increase in retweets when they use images.

Mention people in your tweets. People feel special when you mention them in Tweets. It’s a great way to get on someone’s radar because they get notified of the mention.

Facebook

Post photos and videos. Research suggests these are the most shared types of content. Facebook posts with images see 2.3X more engagement than those without images.

Timing is everything. Test different times of day to find out when your fans are most active. Engagement early on increases the likelihood of the post being seen by more of your followers.

Respond to comments. It will keep the conversation flowing and increase the likelihood of comments in the future.

Post directly to Facebook. Facebook’s algorithms favour content published directly to the platform. And you can now schedule posts directly in Facebook so there is no real need to use external accounts.

Don’t use hashtags. It’s not necessary on Facebook and makes your post look spammy. However, you should make sure your captions have relevant keywords to make them easy to search.  

Join or create Facebook groups. Facebook groups are an easy way to connect with people who share your interests. There are groups where you can connect to other lawyers or potential clients.

The key to success is to contribute meaningfully to the conversation and not to try to sell your services. Simply being helpful and sharing your expertise (without giving legal advice) will be enough to get people who need your services to come to you. If you can’t find your audience, create your own group.

Facebook Live is a quick way to get engagement. If you have a lot of followers but have difficulty getting engagement, start doing Facebook Live videos. All of your followers will be notified when you are live and the algorithm will put your video at the top of followers feed even after you’re done recording.

Use Your Cover Photo. Get people to sign up for your email list by using your cover photo to point toward your sign up tab.

Instagram

Post a few selfies. On Instagram, photos showing faces get 38% more Likes than photos not showing faces. I can attest to this statistics as I  get a third more likes when I post selfies on my Joleena Louis Law Instagram account.

Hashtags are life. The key to getting new Instagram followers and likes is using the right hashtags. Unlike other social media platforms, the more hashtags you use the better. The limit is 30 per post and I suggest using as many as possible. You can keep your caption looking clean by adding the hashtags in a comment.

Use trending hashtags. Take note of any trending hashtags so you can take advantage. This works really well on the social media holidays like “national dog day.”

Add a little humor. Instagrammers like to be entertained so funny memes and quotes get the most likes and shares. Keep it tasteful and relevant.

Don’t forget to add your location. When appropriate, don’t forget to tag your location. I’ve had restaurants, hotels, and other business repost photos that I’ve taken at their location. This usually leads to a boost on likes and followers that day.

Get personal. Instagram (and Facebook) are great places to show behind the scenes or personal photos. With Instagram stories it’s easier than ever to post day in the life photos and videos that won’t live on our profile forever.  Let your followers get to know you!

Linkedin

Complete your LinkedIn profile. You’d be surprised how many people don’t have complete profiles or even a photo. It makes you look inactive and could affect your ability to make important connections.  

Personalize your connection requests. Your Linkedin connections can be a valuable asset as long you only connect with quality people. That means not accepting every request. The best way to connect with LinkedIn power users is to  let them know why you want to connect and how it can benefit them.

Engage. Build relationships and share your expertise by leaving thoughtful comments on articles shared by others. So few people actually comment on LinkedIn that a thoughtful response would stand out.

 

Pinterest

Create boards on specific topics. This will entice people to follow the board because the topic is specific and relevant to their search.

Promote your blog posts. Use eye catching images and an informative caption with relevant keywords to get more traffic to your blog.

Use Long Visuals. The most successful image size for Pinterest images are 600 by 1102 px.

Join Group Boards. Pinterest works best when you can get more eyes on your pins. By joining a group board, your pins will be shared with all collaborators who may be likely to share with their followers.

Group boards that allow collaborators to join will usually have instructions on how to be added.

Use Keywords instead of hashtags. The Pinterest algorithm penalizes hashtags so it’s best to focus on a descriptive caption that includes the words and terms that would be used to search for the topic.

Make sure your pins link back to (valid) URLS. Remember when uploading a photo to pinterest to link it back to your website or blog.

best-social-media-marketing-tips-for-lawyers-in-2016

General Tips

Have a plan. Know what you want to achieve with each platform. Do you want more email subscribers?  Consultations? Or simply more followers?

Post regularly.  You should be sharing daily. Use tools like Buffer, Hootsuite, or Co schedule to automate.

Deliver relevant content.  Ensure that what you share fits in with your brand message and voice.

Make sure you have share buttons on your blog. Make it as easy as possible to share your content.

Analyze past posts to determine what works consistently and what doesn’t.

Ensure your profile picture is professional, recent, and consistent across platforms. My profile photos are slight variations of the same pose. Even if people can’t remember your name, consistant photos will help them remember your face.

Educate prospective clients on your services. How do you know you need an estate planning attorney? What exactly will a personal injury attorney do? This will help you reach people who may not even know they need you.

Have an interested prospect? Move them offline to a phone call or consultation.

Be careful NOT to give legal advice or inadvertently create an attorney client relationship.

NEVER buy fake followers. It’s obvious when your engagement does not match your followers (ever see someone on IG with 10k followers and less than 100 likes?) and you could be banned from the platform if caught.

End with a strong call to action – Ask them to like, share, click or comment.

Comment your best social media tips below!

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The Best Gift Ideas For The Solo Lawyer In Your Life http://www.modernsolo.com/the-best-gift-ideas/ Sun, 27 Nov 2016 21:04:37 +0000 http://www.modernsolo.com/?p=464 When it comes to holiday gifts, lawyers can be hard to please.  The best gifts are often practical and you can’t go wrong with these picks from Amazon.com.    Full disclosure: These are all affiliate links and I may be compensated if your purchase any items in this article. These are all items that I […]

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Lawyer Gifts

When it comes to holiday gifts, lawyers can be hard to please.  The best gifts are often practical and you can’t go wrong with these picks from Amazon.com. 

 

Full disclosure: These are all affiliate links and I may be compensated if your purchase any items in this article. These are all items that I own or have personally tested. I never recommend products without firsthand experience. 

 

Modern Solo Lawyer Gift Picks 2016

Amazon Echo – Black

The echo is a handsfree speaker that you can control with your voice. I have several friends who own it and it’s  pretty cool. It’s one of those things you don’t know you need until you try it.

Leaf by Bella Beat

I think of the Leaf as a “cute” Fitbit. You can wear it more discretely and I find that it looks better with professional attire.

 

Mr. Coffee Mug Warmer

Simple yet useful. If you love coffee or tea, but find that it gets cold before you finish, this product is perfect for you. It comes in handy when working in coffee shops that use real mugs. You just plug into your USB and you are good to go.

Poweradd Slim2 Most Compact 5000mAh Portable Charger

If you know a lawyer on the go, this portable charger will be a lifesaver. I own two and use them daily. I can charge my phone, iPod, and iPad  no matter where I am.  Very useful for long days in court where outlets can be hard to find.

1TB Portable External Hard Drive

If you’ve ever had a computer crash, you’ll understand the importance of an external hard drive. This one is slim, portable, and has plenty of space to store all of your files.

Moleskine Classic Notebook

This is another simple, yet useful gift. Throughout the day if I need to jot down a thought or idea I just pull out my moleskin notebook. Classic, professional and practical.

 

What are your picks for the best gifts for lawyers in 2016?

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5 Powerful Routines That Will Take Your Solo Practice To The Next Level http://www.modernsolo.com/powerful-routines/ Mon, 14 Nov 2016 12:00:06 +0000 http://www.modernsolo.com/?p=455 In these last few weeks of the year, I’m in full strategy mode. One of the things I like to do this time of year is to review my routines. I analyze what is working and what is not, so I can make improvements for the new year. A routine is a sequence of actions […]

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In these last few weeks of the year, I’m in full strategy mode. One of the things I like to do this time of year is to review my routines. I analyze what is working and what is not, so I can make improvements for the new year.

A routine is a sequence of actions regularly followed. And the objective of a powerful routine is to make major headway in your goals by simply sticking to the routine.

With routines, you work towards your goals on auto-pilot.

For example, if you wanted to write a book you could create a routine of writing for an hour a day. As long as you follow the routine you will accomplish this goal. If you make daily writing a routine, you don’t have to think about if you should write today or how long to write- you just do it.

The right routines will help you make your visions a reality.

5 Powerful Routines That Will Take Your Solo Practice To The Next Level

Routine 1: Perfect  Your Morning

One change that made the biggest difference for me in 2016 was establishing an actual morning routine.  

I am not a morning person. Before establishing a routine I would hit the snooze button multiple times, wake up late, skip breakfast and rush to get ready for the day. Starting the day this way often left me feeling stressed which carried over into the rest of the day.

Once I put a routine in place, my mornings are a lot smoother. I wake up at the same time every day, meditate, workout, have breakfast then review my to-do list. By the time I’m ready to work I feel calm and focused.

Since perfecting my morning routine I also get more done every day. I start work much earlier and I’m more energized.

Routine 2:  (Re)Connect

Connecting with new people or reconnecting with people already in your network is the best way to stay top of mind. There are many simple ways to do this:

  • Email an article they may be interested in.
  • Leave a thoughtful comment on a social media post they’ve shared or an article they’ve written.
  • Ask them to meet for coffee.
  • Introduce them to someone you think would be an asset to their network.

These things only take a few minutes every day but will result in a more powerful network, meaning more referrals for to you.

Routine 3: Plan Your Day

This one takes a little willpower but will keep you organized and productive. I spend the last 20 minutes of my workday planning the next day. I know the top task I want to achieve and use time blocking to actually put my tasks on my calendar.

When it’s time to get to work I can hit the ground running because I know exactly what I need to get done, when I plan to do it, and how long I think it will take.

Some people choose to do this in the morning, but I feel like it slows me down. It takes me much longer to get started when I have to think about what I need to do. Knowing what I need to do before I even start my days helps me stay focused and motivated.

Routine 4: Read

Contrary to what most lawyers believe, we don’t know everything. Reading is the best way to learn new ideas, techniques, and points of view. Some of the best strategies I’ve used to grow my practice have come from reading.

It’s easier than you think to make reading a part of your routine. You can read before bed, on your commute, on your lunch break, while waiting between meetings or at court.  There are also a surprising number of books you can listen to on YouTube, or you can download an audio book using  Audible

I usually read books on my kindle app during the weekend and catch up on blogs during the week using a combination of Pocket and Feedly.

routines

Routine 5: Declutter & Organize  

A cluttered environment decreases efficiency, productivity, and profitability. As a busy solo, it’s imperative that you are able to stay on top of everything and that’s impossible to do when your workspace is a mess.

Before shutting down for the day, take a few minutes to clean off your desk, put files away and empty your briefcase. I even take a few minutes to set up anything I need for my first task of the next day.

This seems simple enough, but I’ve been in many solo attorneys offices and they clearly are not on top of their organization and clutter routine. And it shows when they are frazzled and unprepared because they can’t find an important document.

It’s so much easier to spend 10 minutes a day staying on top of things than spending hours later trying to get back on track.

How to implement routines and stay accountable

Implementing any routine will only work if you actually follow through with it.

First, you need to know why you are doing it. If you don’t have a good reason for starting a routine it will be easy to make excuses not to do it.

You also need to schedule a specific time or trigger for the routine. The end of my workday varies based on what I need to do that day, but finishing the last task on my to-do list for the day is my trigger to make my list for the next day. I do it automatically without really thinking about it.

I find it easier to stick with something new when I have an “out” in sight. So when starting a new habit or routine I’ll give it a trial period of 30 days. It’s easier for me to give it a chance for that limited period of time since I know I can quit without guilt after the 30 days are over. In most cases, by that times it’s already a part of my daily routine so I stick with it.

The last thing you need to do is review and improve. Some routines won’t always be a good fit for your life so you need to review them and determine if you can improve it or if you need to let it go.

As a busy professional, you don’t have time to waste on tasks that are not beneficial to your life so don’t keep doing something simply because it’s what you’ve always done.

Implementing the right routines can take your business to the next level. What routines have made a difference in your law practice?

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How Lawyers Can Grow Their Practice With Instagram http://www.modernsolo.com/grow-practice-instagram/ Mon, 24 Oct 2016 21:54:32 +0000 http://www.modernsolo.com/?p=450 I’ve mentioned many times how Instagram is one of my favorite social media platforms and one of my best legal marketing channels. There is so much untapped potential for lawyers on Instagram if they are willing to learn how to use it effectively. Why Solo Lawyers Should Use Instagram Solo Lawyer Should Use Instagram To […]

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How Lawyers Can Grow Their Practice With Instagram

I’ve mentioned many times how Instagram is one of my favorite social media platforms and one of my best legal marketing channels.

There is so much untapped potential for lawyers on Instagram if they are willing to learn how to use it effectively.

Why Solo Lawyers Should Use Instagram

Solo Lawyer Should Use Instagram To Build Credibility, Trust, And Brand Awareness

As solo’s we are our brand and a platform like Instagram allows followers to see the person behind the business. People are more likely to hire services providers that they know and trust and using Instagram effectively will lead followers to feel like they know you.

It’s also another way to put your brand out there. Being active on any social media platform puts your brand in front of new people who may otherwise have never heard of you.

Solo Lawyers Should Use Instagram To Attract Leads.

Social media is a great way to attract new clients, and Instagram is no exception. These days when people need to hire a professional they ask their friends and family or search online. Sites like Instagram are search engines within themselves.

Law Firm Instagram Marketing Tips

Don’t Be Overly Promotional

The key to lawyer success on Instagram is to be interesting. The most popular posts either educate or entertain and screaming “hire me” is neither educational or entertaining. And when you do share a promotional post make sure it is interesting and visually appealing.

I use Canva to design most of my Instagram posts but you can also use InDesign, Pic Monkey or whatever other tool you feel comfortable with.

Many people post stock photos on Instagram. While using a stock photo as a background to a quote may work well, using a stock photo alone may cause followers to skip over the post since they have seen that photo many times. Try your best to keep it original.

Get Personal

Occasionally include a post about your daily life. Post pictures of your day at the office, any charitable activities your firm is involved in, and even how you like to relax after a long day. People connect with people and showing who you are as a person will make you more appealing.

Post regularly

This is one of the most important tips. I post 2-3 times a day, but if you want to stay relevant and build a following you should post at least once a day. Since the new algorithm I’ve noticed a greater increase in daily new followers when I post at least twice a day.

Test out the best time of day to post. If you have a business account, your analytics will show you what times your followers engage the most. For my accounts, I’ve found that motivational posts work best in the morning, information or day in the life type posts work best mid-day, and relationship quotes and funny memes get the most engagement at night.

Instagram for lawyers

Engage your followers and those you want to become followers

Ask questions and your posts and try to respond to any comments.

Instagram is not a one-way street. You have to follow others and engage with their posts also. If you leave a meaningful comment, many people return the favor. I’ve made many great connections by simply engaging with a post.

Use hashtags to maximize your exposure

With the new algorithm, the easiest way to attract new followers is utilizing hashtags. You can add up to 30 hashtags to a post and you should use as many relevant hashtags as possible.

Use hashtags that are relevant to your practice area and words or phrases that people would use to search for your type of service. I get the most hits for #familylaw #familylawyer #divorce #coparenting #childcusody. I also get a lot of lawyer follower by using #lawyerlife #lawyerproblems.

You can also grab new followers by using trending hashtags. For example, for the month of October, I used #domesticviolenceawareness since it is domestic violence awareness month. I posted about domestic violence and got a bump in followers and two consultations from people searching Instagram for that specific term.

Share Exclusive Content

Share content that you have not shared on your other social media accounts. Give people a reason to follow you on multiple platforms by sharing different information on each. I occasionally share IG posts on Facebook, but not every post.

Don’t Give Legal Advice

While it’s perfectly ethical to share legal information, be careful to avoid sharing legal advice. People will ask legal questions in comments.  Gently tell them how they can contact you to set up a consultation for more information. I usually respond to these comments through direct message.

Monitor and Adjust

Continuously adjust and improve. If a certain hashtag sends you spam bot comments, stop using it. If you don’t get enough engagement with a certain type of post, try something new. If you engagements plateaus try new hashtags or posting at different times.

If you never adjust, you’ll never improve.

Are you on Instagram? Drop your profile on our Facebook page. Or follow Modern Solo and Joleena Louis Law on Instagram.

Lawyer on Instagram

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