Archive | April, 2010

Law firms & social media – hand in hand or claw to throat?

15 Apr

The agency I work for does quite a lot of marketing for law firms in NSW and Victoria. In the six months I’ve been here I’ve learned a lot about what you can and can’t do when marketing or advertising for a law firm – and let me tell you, it is very complicated!

This is why I read with a certain amount of interest Laurel Papworth’s blog on a law firm called CG Lawyers, who are running a ‘social media campaign’. Since my passion is in social media, I’ve been looking for a way to utilize this medium with some of our law firm clients – and struggling because of the complexities of the law combined with the inherently uncontrollable nature of the medium.

But this competition by CG Lawyers is an outright and blatant example of a law firm trying boost their profile and SEO (your website will rank higher in Google if there are more places that link back to you) through social media.

Here is an excerpt from their newsletter where they announce the competition:

I really like the way online social networking is gaining strength in the business world. We’ve all realised that something as simple as regular blogging on relevant topics can attract more traffic to our websites – and also build exposure for our brands.

So, we’re looking for a great online social networking effort from you. Something that links our two businesses using social networking as the medium.

It should be part of your own attempt at using social networking for business purposes.

Do you write regular blogs and articles online? Are Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn working for you as a business tool? Do you know of a website where people in your profession discuss issues and problems? Have you been exposed to creative online methods that provide information flow and initiate conversation?

Find creative ways to include CG Lawyers in your regular online networking, then enter your efforts in our competition. You will be in the running for a 2 night escape at Bundle Hill Cottages at Bawley Point. (www.bundlehill.com.au)

Fundamentally I disagree with this campaign – in my eyes (and I know there will be many who disagree with this) it goes back to the issue of paying for coverage in blogs, where ignorant PR and marketing agencies offer to pay an influential blogger to write positive things about their product/company. While in a competition format I suppose it isn’t so bad, but something in me just doesn’t like it.

But as Laurel said on her blog, it is also very smart on the part of CG Lawyers. The essential idea behind a lot of work that happens in digital and social areas on the internet, is to create a web of interlinked and connected sites (but not so many that you can’t maintain) and drive all the people who are your fans on Facebook to also read your blog posts and follow you on Twitter. It’s something I advised Taronga Zoo to do while I interned there last year, and it was extremely successful in driving up their overall views of Flickr photos, driving up followers on Twitter and building a solid community on Facebook for their Chimpanzee family.

Now that I’ve seen another law firm be brave enough to enter into social media I think it is an area something I can now realistically and practically explore for our clients. And this is really exciting.

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Goodbye Agency, Hello Agency

6 Apr

A recent video that did the rounds of the blogs and Twitter got me thinking. Firstly, watch the video:

The Last Advertising Agency On Earth from FITC on Vimeo.

The Last Advertising Agency On Earth from FITC on Vimeo.

Titled The Last Advertising Agency on Earth, it takes a satirical look at what might happen to the industry if we don’t get to grip with a much more active consumer (ironically, according to industry blog mUmbrella, the video was actually created by advertising agency Saatchi & Saatchi). Though well made and rather funny if you know anything about the media industry, it has also come under fire for being condescending and all too quick to throw the advertising agency out on its head.

The advertising industry isn’t dead, not by a long shot. Yes the consumer is now a lot more active (as explored in the first post on inqbase’s blog), but that’s definitely not to say that the old mediums will be going anywhere any time soon. What few companies seem to realise is that it is in the integration of new and old mediums that the industry will find its feet.

To start off, lets discuss the TVC (TV Commercial for those not in the ad industry). The above video suggests that in a few years it will be obsolete, but take a second to really consider this. There are exciting new steps being made to deliver the traditional TVC to nontraditional mediums, and in a way that ensures that the audience is engaging with the ad. Apple recently submitted a patent application for technology that would make viewers directly engage with an ad – the action would then unlock more of the show. As The Unofficial Apple Blog said, this would be “…something of a Holy Grail for advertisers who fear that their messaging is getting lost in the TiVo/DVR ‘just skip it’ timeshifting era.”

And then there is YouTube. This social phenomenon just hit over 24 hours of footage being uploaded every minute (via Mashable). While including ‘viral video’ in your strategy would be a mistake (you don’t create viral, it happens), it does help to consider what kind of ads would be popular in this medium because then you are really considering the audience. Social media then gives them a way to respond and share their experience with your brand, and suddenly you have what was mentioned earlier – integration of the new and the old.

It is hugely important to carefully evaluate before stepping into social media. It’s not just a matter of telling everyone that they need to be on Twitter (as suggested in the video) or Facebook – it’s looking at whether these mediums are appropriate for you or your client.

This video has been great for kicking off a conversation, but don’t throw the industry in the trash just yet.


(This was originally posted to the inqbase blog, where I currently work. You can view the original post here)