Get ready because Facebook has rolled out yet another change. These guys keep me busy! Now when you like an article online, a full story complete with headline and picture will appear on your wall. And for those of you who like to comment don’t worry you’re also given the opportunity to do so. Prior to this change only a link appeared in your activity section and this usually went unnoticed.
Lawyers who use Facebook both professionally and personally should note their “like” preferences accordingly. What you like will be shared with your entire network and will be prominently displayed on your profile.  
This can definitely work in your favor as you can share articles you think your clients, potential clients, referral sources, etc. would benefit from reading, and add your own spin by commenting.
Lawyers who use the “Share” button on their websites or personal blogs should replace it with the Like button.  Facebook will continue to support the Share button but will not be developing it any further. 
So go ahead and “like” away. Just make sure you don’t mind sharing with your entire Facebook network!
The folks at Google announced yesterday through their blog (you should definitely follow it to keep up to date on all the latest Google news) that they changed their search algorithm yet again.  This change will affect nearly 12% of all search queries and will promote high quality websites. 
This is great news for law blogs because websites that create original content such as in depth reports, research reports, thoughtful analysis, etc. will have a higher ranking online.
Legal bloggers can benefit from this change by publishing original content often, as I’m sure most of you already do!  Websites that duplicate content or syndicate content from other websites will be pushed down in rankings.  
Another plus for Google!

An article I read today called “Reputation is all: Could the Internet kill your company?” from the BBC really got me thinking. Rebecca Posoli-Cilli, who sells multi-million dollar jets (sign me up please), was involved in litigation prior to starting her new company. Of course the case was online and it showed up on the first page of Google when searching her name.
The article quotes on to quote her “All you saw was this docket, that I’d been sued. But it didn’t tell the whole story, it comes up as a black mark, but it didn’t talk about the settlement.”
Prospective clients were not impressed. One client stopped doing business with her. This example is a prime example why law firms and lawyers must be involved in social media. I could write two blogs from the article: #1 how to monitor your online presence and #2 how to handle the situation above. I’m going to focus on #2 for now.
Rebecca employed a company to help bury the bad press online. She hired an outside firm called reputation.com to help her set up her social media profiles and flood the Internet with positive information. These search results showed up instead of the prior case. It’s that simple.  Legal professionals can do this themselves as well. It’s all dependent on how much time they want to spend and what resources are available to them.  
The take away from this article is it’s important to monitor your online presence and respond to negative information. “Negative” can mean a multitude of things. It’s important to respond to negative comments as long as they have some merit. Coming up with a content strategy to downplay negative press is also a good idea.

Facebook launched new upgrades for pages today promising these features will help you manage communication, express yourself and increase engagement. The look and feel of the new page style is very similar to personal profiles.

You can update your page today BUT please note you can’t revert back to the old style once doing so. All pages will upgrade to the new layout March 1, 2011. You should also alert any other page administrators of the change before upgrading. Here’s what changed:

Photos

Photos will be displayed in a banner across the top of your page similar to a personal profile. Pictures posted by your fans will not be displayed here. You can hide a photo by rolling over it and clicking X.

Navigation

Navigation links are on the left again like personal profiles.

Wall Filters

There are two wall filters available now: posts by your page and top posts from everyone. Facebook did this to the most “interesting” stories are displayed first. Page admins will have additional filters available to them.

Admin View

You can now interact with other areas of Facebook as your page and not just your personal profile. (I’m happy with this change). You’ll now get notifications when people interact with your page (+1), see activity from the pages you like in your news feed (-1), like other pages and feature them on your page (+1) and make comments on other pages as your page (+2).

You can check out the new look by viewing the Social Media for Law Firms Facebook Page here: www.facebook.com/socialmediaforlawfirms.

What do you think of these new features?  Do you think they’ll increase fan engagement?  I think displaying popular posts on top might help.

“I auto-unfollow those that auto-respond to me on Twitter”

One of my biggest pet peeves on Twitter is auto responded messages.  These messages usually include non specific information with links to Facebook pages, web pages, etc. Auto responses can come across as efficient but if I really want your web address I’ll grab it on your profile page when I follow you.

Please do not use this feature if you decide to create a Twitter account. Auto responding is annoying and may give off the wrong impression.  People have followed you to get to know you, not a robot.

Most legal twitter accounts don’t amass large followings right away either.  Take the time to write a personal message and include your follower’s name.  It’s also a good idea to ask if there’s anything you can do to help.

The inspiration for this article came from one of my favorite blogs, Social Media Today. The title of the post is “I’d Rather Hear Nothing Than Get Auto-Response“.  (They have great titles by the way)  I agree with their advice.

Facebook quietly rolled out “sponsored stories” this week. It’s somewhat similar to Beacon, Facebook’s advertisement system that was shut down in September of 2009 as a result of a class action lawsuit due to privacy concerns.
What You Need to Know
  • Users won’t be able to opt out of their posts, check-ins, and likes being displayed as “sponsored stories” along with other ads.
  • Facebook says these ads are a way to help advertisers monitor their word of mouth advertising.
  • Ads will include your name and profile photo
  • Facebook explains it like this “the ad will simply recycle your check-in or Like as an ad labeled “Sponsored Story.”
I think Facebook should allow users to opt out of Sponsored Stories if they wish. But because this isn’t the case be aware of where you “check in” and what you “like”.  It may just become an ad!

I recently asked this question in the Law &Social Networking Group on LinkedIn. I’m happy to report that everyone in the group had #1 – 5 in the bag. Most used apps as well but I wanted to share what’s available.

My LinkedIn Tips

1) Changed your personal url to include your name (Like this -http://ca.linkedin.com/in/samanthatcollier)
2) Included a recent photograph of yourself
3) Included your Twitter handle (if you tweet) in your profile
4) Give Recommendations
5) Connect people together you think would benefit from knowing each other
6) Include apps such as slideshare, tripit, legal updates, etc.

LinkedIn offers a variety of applications to optimize your profile. My profile currently includes:

• Sections
• Slideshare
• Legal Updates (JD Supra)
• My Travel
• Tweets
• Events

Here’s a complete list of LinkedIn applications available (current to January 27, 2011)

• Reading List by Amazon
• Polls
• Blog Link
• Huddle Workspace
• WordPress
• Tweets
• SAP Community Bio
• Portfolio Display
• Projects and Teamspaces
• FT Press Delivers
• Slideshare
• Box.net Files
• Company Buzz
• Google Presentation
• My Travel
• Legal Updates
• Events
• Real Estate Pro
• Lawyer Ratings (LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell)

If you have a blog I’d definitely recommend picking one blogging applications. I made the mistake of having a couple different ones and then realized my blog appeared twice on my profile, a little self centered on my part!

Which applications do you have on your LinkedIn profile and why? Are there any applications that are just a nuisance?

Put away your cell phones! Sign out of Skype and MSN! You might be able to voice chat over Facebook soon. A few lucky users are testing out the new voice chat feature according to Inside Facebook.
The Chat button would sit along side the Chat, Message, and Poke buttons on your friends profiles.
The article referenced this could be the result of Facebook’s collaboration with Skype but no Skype branding appeared in the test. It could also be an in-house project as Facebook was hiring for a Network Engineer – Voice recently.
It would be neat if the voice chat function could be utilized by Facebook pages and groups. 
I’m on the fence if this new feature could actually benefit legal marketing in any way.  There might be an increase in “cold calls” via the chat but I’m not sure what kind of leads these would be.  An employee would also have to be available to answer the calls.  If the chat was available in groups it could be beneficial to have FB Chats on various practice areas, etc.
What are your thoughts on this? Do you think this new feature can help out legal marketing in any way? Or will it just be another useless feature?
 I bet video chat will be next!