Stephen Hebert is a New Orleans criminal defense attorney, who practices as a solo lawyer. He’s worked for a respected mid-sized firm doing civil law, and also as a state prosecutor.
His online presence is well-thought out, and multi-channeled: website, blog, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and even Google+. Best of all, his method has helped him get new business from clients he enjoys working with. I asked him to help other lawyers understand how his approach works.
1. How has your law blog helped you in marketing your law practice?
There are so many benefits to maintaining a good online presence that I think that I could write a small novel on this question alone. Yet, it could never be objectively measured. Nonetheless, being a former prosecutor going to private practice as criminal defense attorney, blogging as well as my other online efforts unquestionably helped me launch and establish my overall marketing campaign/vision in an extremely expedited manner.
I feel that it also gave me a great deal of credibility within my area of practice, and, in turn, I have made numerous contacts with fellow attorneys across the country. This has led to steady stream of referral business. In addition, it has led me meeting a number of attorneys just like myself trying to figure all this out and learning a great deal about SEO.
2. Have you tried “traditional” forms of marketing such as yellow page ads etc.?
I have tried a few traditional forms of marketing, including the Yellow Pages. I will not go so far to proclaim those traditional avenues of marketing “dead” because they did produce “leads” or phone inquiries. But, when it came time to pay my fee and begin the representation, that prospective client never had the money.
The people found me through avenues like the Yellow Pages weren’t willing or able to hire me. In contrast, the folks who used the internet to find me are more willing, and able, to hire me. Consequently, I view my online marketing efforts as being much more successful.
3. How much time, on average, per week do you devote to your online marketing strategy?
Hard to say because it really depends on how much dead or down time I have in a day. I usually spend about 30 minutes every morning when I first get out of bed and drink my coffee. Then, if I have any dead or down time for the rest of the day (e.g.- sitting in court) I feel like I need to be doing SOMETHING; so, I tinker with it. With that being said, I would guess around 10 hours a week.
4. Which social media channels do you use, besides blogging? And is there one that you find is most helpful or relevant to your marketing efforts?
I use Google+, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter and find them all useful. Yet, I believe that Google+ probably has the greatest SEO impact. I also think that each has its own audience and you should be mindful of each when posting. I’m not sure if you would also consider it “social media” but I also stay active on Avvo.
5. Is there a risk that you will overwhelm people with too much online posting, and if so how do you deal with that?
Absolutely. But, here are few things I keep in mind when posting:
- Do not post just to post
- Wait until you have something truly interesting to post before posting even if that means not posting anything for a few days
- Remember that, even when you didn’t write the posted article, it still will be associated with your name and/or firm if you post it
- Except for Twitter and Google+, you probably should limit your posts to 1 or 2 a day
- When making multiple posts on Twitter and Google+, you really should spread them throughout the day [Ed. Note: the Buffer service is good for this]
6. Why use Google+, and what strategy did you use to build up your exceptionally high follower count?
I started using it because I thought that it had to have to best SEO benefits. After all, it was Google’s social media platform. But, later I found it as a good avenue to meet new people and learn a great deal about practicing law and SEO marketing. I got lucky and picked a few really good communities where I met a bunch of really good lawyers and started learning a lot from them.
As for the 3,000+ followers, I’m really not sure how I got there. Maybe the activity in those communities? Maybe it’s cool to be a New Orleans criminal defense attorney? Or, maybe it’s all the crazy stories about the cases down at Tulane and Broad that I post? I’m not really sure. There really has never been any strategy to build up that many followers. But, since Google+ is so much less personal than Facebook, I will generally circle back just about anyone who circles me.