In all honesty, we have not suggested that attorneys and law firms dedicate time to Google+ in the past. To put it simply, Google’s social media platform didn’t offer many opportunities for lawyers that couldn’t be found on bigger and more popular websites like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. Even Google recognized that their own site wasn’t a success – and now they have done something about it.
This week, the technology giant is rolling out a new and improved Google+. This time around, they have new talent working on the product, not to mention that they have learned a lot of hard lessons about mistakes they’ve made in the past. Before launching the updated site, they conducted extensive user research, jettisoned parts of the site that weren’t working, and focused on popular features that offer benefits that other sites don’t have.
What do these changes mean to users? And specifically, what do these changes mean for the attorney marketing world? Let’s take a closer look at the rollout and possible next steps.
The New Google+ Features & Improvements
How is today’s Google+ different? Here is a rundown of the major new features and updates that Google hopes will bring users back to its ailing platform:
- Faster and Lighter. One of the most important changes that Google focused on was making the site load much, much faster. To accomplish this, they rebuilt everything from the ground up, simplifying every aspect of the site as much as possible to improve both the speed and the visual experience. According to Google, the average homepage load time dropped from a slogging 12 seconds to an impressive three seconds.
- More mobile friendly. This is not the first responsive design for Google+, but this is the first design that was more focused on the mobile user than the desktop user. Google’s team has seen the statistics and understand that more than half of all users are now on smartphones, not computers. They also know that this trend will only become more pronounced in the future. The new Google+ design is simple, looks great on small screens, and is easy to navigate on mobile devices.
- Bigger focus on collections. The collections feature launched just five months ago, but it already has an impressive following. The feature allows users to group their posts by topic, including anything from favorite hikes to beat poetry to pictures of your dog. You can keep collections private, share them with a group, or share them publicly. Not only do collections create communities, they also offer something that Facebook and Twitter do not.
- Bigger focus on communities. Google+ communities have been around longer than collections and have also found success where other Google+ features have failed. Communities range from groups of cat lovers to groups of computer programmers, and everything in between. Some communities have millions of members and tens of thousands of posts.
- Less focus on personal streams. At the same time that Google+ is promoting communities and collections, they are deemphasizing individual profile pages and individual feeds; basically, the feature that is so popular and so central on sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. This change seems to be Google admitting that people use this feature elsewhere and do not need another place to make similar posts.
What Does The New Google+ Mean For Attorney Marketing?
All of the above information is interesting, but what does it mean for your attorney marketing strategy? Do you need to worry about maintaining yet another social media website? Do your ideal clients even use Google+?
The answer to these questions is that while it is too early to know whether the new Google+ will catch on, a few of the new features certainly offer attorneys new ways of marketing their law offices. These features are different enough that they may attract users that won’t find you through other social media outlets and new enough that your competitors probably don’t know about them yet.
Here are the two actions we suggest:
- Start a community. Other attorneys are already doing it. Create a community of people who can help your law office move forward. This could be a community of other lawyers in your area, of personal injury survivors, or of women rebuilding their lives after a divorce. All you have to do is make sure that the community is relevant to your law office’s practice areas and that you are connecting with members regularly. Communities can be great ways to network, reach potential new clients, and establish yourself as an authority.
- Create collections. You can build collections of anything. The only limitation is your own imagination. A bankruptcy attorney could create a collection of smart financial advice. A business attorney could create a collection of small business tips. A personal injury attorney could create a collection of local worker accident news stories. These collections could attract a community of people who are either looking for an attorney like you or who meet people who are looking for an attorney like you.
Attorney Marketing With Black Fin
Marketing your legal services can be overwhelming, especially since the online landscape changes literally every day. Keep on top of new developments (like the Google+ reboot) and make certain you are making the smartest marketing decisions for your dollar by partnering with the team at Black Fin. To learn more about our services, or simply to ask us a question, we invite you to call 510-384-8687 today.