Mark November 7th, 2011, on your calendar. Why? Because it’s the day Google released their new social media platform for businesses called Google+ Pages, and unilaterally declared war on Facebook. This new platform promises to “help you connect with the customers and fans who love you.” What that means isn’t obvious, but after using the new product extensively it’s clear Google has created a product that directly competes with the most popular websites in the world. The only question now is whether Google+ Pages is worthy of your time and efforts.
Google+ Pages Overview for Law Firms
It’s important to understand that Google+ Pages is an offshoot of Google+, the social media platform Google launched to individual users in June of 2011. Since that time roughly 40 million users have created a Google+ account. These accounts allow users the ability to customize a profile page to include photos, videos, and other basic information. If you already use a Google Account for Picasa Web Albums or YouTube, Google will recognize who you are and ask whether you want to link all your accounts, which allows for effortless cross-platform sharing. With Google+ Pages, businesses are now allowed to create profile-like pages that can both promote the business, and engage customers via messaging, live video chats, and more. These Pages are similar (if not identical) to Facebook Fan Pages of which you may already be familiar.
Should Your Law Firm Create a Google+ Page?
This isn’t a tough question at all – You must absolutely create a Google+ Page for your law firm immediately. This recommendation isn’t based on the idea you’re going to become a social media guru and attract a hundred clients through your efforts, it’s rather based on the fact that Google has failed to implement an effective way to verify brands, which leaves open the possibility someone else might claim to be you, and subsequently wreck your reputation or hold your Google+ Page hostage. Conversely, there isn’t a clear means for Google to distinguish like-named brands. If your firm has a common name, take action now and be the first to claim your name. LawInfo Legal Marketing’s recommendation: Get a Google+ Page today if for the only reason to claim your brand.
Since Google+ Pages is at its core a social media platform, the same social media rules apply for attorneys. Be smart, be careful about what you share, and properly implement strict privacy settings. LawInfo’s October 2011, newsletter “The Lead Counsel Edge” featured a series of articles on the topic of social media that might be of interest to you:
- A Social Media Platform Overview: LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, & YouTube
- Ethically Use Social Media with these 8 Easy Tips
- White Paper: How to Create a Facebook Page for your Firm
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