Tag Archives: Twitter

More Facebook tidbits around the country

Marty Dolan, principal at Dolan Law and his associate Karen Munoz represent victims of wrongful death and personal injury. His column “Law and Wellness,” appears in the Chicago Lawyer and her column appears regularly in the Law Bulletin. This week’s blog is written by Karen Munoz.

Apparently Louisiana enacted a law last year that denied convicted sex offenders access to social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter.  Not only were sex offenders banned but so were individuals convicted of indecent behavior with a juvenile, video voyeurism, computer-aided solicitation of minors and pornography involving juveniles. The law took effect last August and included an exception for use if allowed by court order. The ACLU on behalf of John Doe plaintiffs, immediately challenged the validity of the law. The argument was that the act barred sex offenders from browsing any website that allows users to create profiles about themselves or that has chat rooms, instant messaging and e-mail — sweeping in everything from news websites to job search sites.

A federal judge in the Middle District of Louisiana struck down the 6-month-old ban on First Amendment grounds.  The court stated the ban as enacted was an unreasonable restriction on constitutionally protected speech that could keep sex offenders, who were no longer under the jurisdiction of the department of corrections, off the Internet entirely. The court did leave open the possibility for passage of a ban more narrowly drafted stating” More focused restrictions that are narrowly tailored to address the specific conduct sought to be proscribed should be pursued.”

The state of Louisiana is planning to appeal, saying the court’s ruling sides with sexual predators.

This serves as a good example to other states that have begun or are intending to propose this same type of legislation. A challenge will likely be forthcoming on first amendment grounds and the act needs to be carefully drafted in order to pass constitutional muster.

I am certain we will be seeing a whole lot more legislation involving this in the coming months.


Leveraging Your Reputation: How to promote yourself

Tom Ciesielka is President of TC Public Relations (www.tcpr.net). Tom has over 25 years of marketing and public relations experience, working with individual lawyers and midsize law firms. He is also a former board member of the Legal Marketing Association in Chicago and has spoken at Chicago Bar Associations CLE programs. Reach him at tc@tcpr.net.

I think it’s safe to say that many people can’t stand attorneys who are obnoxious about self-promotion. How many attorneys have you met who were only interested in talking about themselves, and once they were done rattling off their accomplishments and shoving a business card in your face, they moved on to someone else who might help them?

Self-promotion is important, but you don’t want to be arrogant or sound like a sales pitch, so here are some ways to avoid being perceived negatively:

1) Make sure you have something worthwhile to say. Some people think that it’s important to stay in front of people at any cost, so they will provide information that doesn’t have much substance. It’s much more important to make sure that what you’re sharing with others, whether it’s through Twitter, LinkedIn, or your website, is substantive, even when you talk with people offline. Original content, such as information about an important case you’re working on, an article you’ve written, or a slideshow from a presentation you’ve given, is valuable and will help other attorneys improve professionally. But if you feel that talking only about what you’ve done is too self-serving, then share interesting information and useful links that you’ve found elsewhere.

2) Promote others. There are probably other attorneys you work with who’ve done interesting things lately that you can talk about. If you’ve read an interesting article that your colleagues have written, have found out about an important case that they have won, have attended a presentation they’ve done, or have even just seen them on TV, then share that with your audience. If you don’t have a blog, you can send out an email to some people who you think would be interested in what they’ve accomplished, or post it on Twitter or LinkedIn. People appreciate it when others celebrate their success, and it will mean that your promotional efforts aren’t just about you.

3) Know your audience. People hate spam, and if you keep blasting out information, whether it’s about you or others, to everyone on your list, some of those recipients will come to really resent you, and possibly even block you or automatically delete your messages. Take the time to consider your audience. If you know that some people aren’t interested in a project you’re doing, then omit them from the list. It’s much better to take the time to edit a list rather than risk making people angry and annoyed that you keep bothering them.

4) Ask questions. We don’t know everything, and instead of doing a lengthy online search to find answers, we can ask others. If you want to know about a good legal resource to use, a helpful conference to attend, some facts, or just a good place to have dinner with a client, then ask your network for advice. You might hear from people you haven’t interacted with in a while, so this will get your name in front of them again.

5) Pay attention to your environment. If you’re at a formal dinner of a legal association where an attorney is the guest speaker, then that’s not the time to run around the room, talk about yourself, and keep hitting up as many people as possible. Let opportunities unfold with the conversations you have. Someone might simply ask you what you do, and you can talk about yourself in such a way that is sophisticated enough for the occasion. Another type of event would require a different kind of behavior. It’s important to pay attention to where you are, and then act accordingly and present information about yourself that is appropriate.

6) Do what makes your comfortable. One of the reasons why people sound like they’re being boastful is because they’re doing things they think they should do, rather than what they feel comfortable with. Be who you are. Some attorneys can’t stand Facebook, and that’s OK. If you feel you should communicate with others through another outlet, then do it. Some attorneys prefer email because they don’t like to be exposed in social media. That’s fine, as long as you can work with it so you can promote yourself in a sincere way that reflects who you are.

7) Thank people. If someone has given you good information or insight about a case or development in the legal profession, then thank that person, and even do it publicly. For instance, the reason why I’m writing on this topic is because attorney Noel Sterett from Mauck & Baker suggested it…thanks!

Leveraging Your Reputation: Stay connected on vacation

Tom Ciesielka is President of TC Public Relations (www.tcpr.net). Tom has over 25 years of marketing and public relations experience, working with individual lawyers and midsize law firms. He is also a former board member of the Legal Marketing Association in Chicago and has spoken at Chicago Bar Associations CLE programs. Reach him at tc@tcpr.net.

You’re going on vacation: time to relax! And time to promote! You can still enjoy your vacation and do simple things to stay connected with other people while maintaining your personal publicity plan. It won’t feel like work and won’t take much effort either. Here are some easy ways to keep yourself in front of others when you’re off the clock:

Restaurant reviews. If you haven’t created an account at Yelp, then now is the time to do it, before you go on vacation. People all over the country and beyond, such as in Canada and some European countries, post their opinions about restaurants and rate them, and the site is easy to use. When you go to a restaurant that you like, write a review at Yelp, and let other people know about it through a link that you can email, send by phone, or post anywhere online.

Recommendations. In addition to restaurants, tell other people about a good hotel that you’re staying at, a must-see tourist attraction, or a unique store that you’ve encountered. Sometimes you don’t even need any words; you can simply post a picture of your location to recommend a place. For instance, if you’re staying at a tropical resort, you can just post a picture and say, “Here’s where I am now,” instead of trying to describe it with text.

Photos. An obvious way to talk about your vacation is through photos of your trip. You can post them many places online, including Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Posterous, Picplz, and Flickr, and some of those sites can be linked to each other, so you only have to post the pictures at one place, and they will be dispersed among the network that you choose. But remember to post pictures sparingly because people will feel overwhelmed with too many photos. Choose the best ones and add an entertaining caption to keep people interested.

Observations. When you are on your trip and see anything fascinating, or if you’ve had a memorable experience that you want to share, write something at your LinkedIn or Twitter account (or both, if you have linked them up). But write something compelling and personal, so that your personality comes through. For instance, instead of writing “I just had some great ice cream,” write “Handmade banana chocolate ice cream: worth the calories. Now time to burn it off in the clear blue sea.” It tells a story, shows your beautiful location, and reveals something about you.

Do whatever makes you feel comfortable and don’t put too much pressure on yourself to post as much as possible. After all, it’s time to relax and enjoy a break from work. But it doesn’t hurt to maintain your communication with others, at least once a day.

Leveraging Your Reputation: 3 things you can do to boost your publicity

Tom Ciesielka is President of TC Public Relations (www.tcpr.net). Tom has over 25 years of marketing and public relations experience, working with individual lawyers and midsize law firms. He is also a former board member of the Legal Marketing Association in Chicago and has spoken at Chicago Bar Associations CLE programs. Reach him at tc@tcpr.net.

How busy are you right now? Hopefully you’re not too busy to still think about your own publicity, and to actually do something about it. Here are a few things you can do right now, without even leaving your computer:

1 – Share a helpful article online. Every day we find interesting articles and websites that would be helpful to other people, but sometimes it doesn’t occur to us to share them, or we think that we don’t have the time. But it really doesn’t take much time, and by sharing with others, it helps keep your name at the top of people’s minds. Post a link to the story or website on your Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook account, or e-mail it to someone who might benefit from it. If the link is too long, you can shorten it at Ow.ly, (http://ow.ly), Bit.ly (http://bit.ly), or Tinyurl.com (http://tinyurl.com).

2 – Post photos. If you’ve spoken at an event, gone to an interesting place, or even if you’ve seen interesting things around town, choose a couple of photos that you think people would be interested in. Then post them on your Flickr, Facebook, blog, or other online account where you share photos. Even busy people will take the time to look at a photo. Just make sure it’s not too big so that the photo will easily load on people’s computers or phones. You can use Picnik.com (http://www.picnik.com) to edit your photo for free.

3 – Congratulate someone. A lot of people do incredible things, but not everyone bothers to recognize what they do. You can stand out from the crows by letting others know that you’ve noticed their accomplishments. If you’ve heard about a promotion, or have read someone’s article, write a congratulatory email. It’s a simple way to connect with other people in a positive way and to keep your name out there.

Try at least one of these tips—after all, they cost nothing and don’t take much time. The more you do to communicate with others in these ways, you’ll feel like your publicity plan is easier to manage.

Leveraging Your Reputation: Speak to boost your publicity

Tom Ciesielka is President of TC Public Relations (www.tcpr.net). Tom has over 25 years of marketing and public relations experience, working with individual lawyers and midsize law firms. He is also a former board member of the Legal Marketing Association in Chicago and has spoken at Chicago Bar Associations CLE programs. Reach him at tc@tcpr.net.

One of the best ways to help your reputation, exposure, and professional pursuits is through public speaking. You don’t have to speak to thousands of people at a time; you can start small, and maybe one day you will be requested for huge conferences. You never know who is in the audience and where it can lead.

Here are some tips to get you started:

Focus. Decide what area or topic you want to focus on and develop a niche. If you’re finding it hard to whittle down your expertise, then write down what you have proven success in and what extensive knowledge you have. See if you can organize that information into bullet points that you can share with others, and develop a plan to talk about it. You can also write it all out as an essay to see if you have enough to say that will help other people.

Look for opportunities. There are many places to speak, and you don’t have to travel far. If you’re part of an organization, ask them if you can speak at an upcoming meeting, or develop your own seminar and offer it for free to members. If you are attending a conference, approach the organizers and ask them if you can speak at the next one.

See what’s available in your community. Speak at your local Chamber of Commerce or other community organizations. If you have children, see if you can speak at their school on career day or as a part of a lesson plan that is connected to your area of expertise. Your local library often looks for programs to offer the community, so approach them to see if they would be interested.

Teach. If you’re rusty at speaking, or find it overwhelming to come up with a plan for a bunch of strangers, teach a course at a community college or other educational institution. This will help you understand what motivates and interests people, and how you should structure your delivery. If creating a class is too time consuming and labor intensive, you can be a guest speaker in someone else’s class.

Connect online. If you are on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, or even have an active e-mail group, find out about events at which you can speak. You may end up doing a short presentation, but it could lead to more extensive opportunities.

Whomever you approach, be sure to have your basic plan and idea pitch ready, in addition to explaining why you are an expert in that area. And be prepared for people’s questions, even after the presentation. Make yourself available to others by offering them your email address or other contact information at your website or social media outlet so that you can keep those connections going.

Leveraging your Reputation: Get involved

Tom Ciesielka is President of TC Public Relations (www.tcpr.net). Tom has over 25 years of marketing and public relations experience, working with individual lawyers and midsize law firms. He is also a former board member of the Legal Marketing Association in Chicago and has spoken at Chicago Bar Associations CLE programs. Reach him at tc@tcpr.net.

Some people tend to think of work as separate from their hobbies and interests, but you can actually help your reputation through the activities that you get involved in outside of work. If you know what you love to do and are active in organizations and groups, then you can benefit from participating in your community. It won’t seem like you’re working because you’re enjoying what you’re doing, but you could see some positive results in your own professional life.

Here are a few ways to follow your passion and help your reputation:

1 – Speak. If you’re part of an organization in your community, or are involved in your kids’ schools and extra-curricular activities, offer to give a speech or an informal talk that will help people improve their own lives. By offering to speak to a group, you’ll become a kind of community expert ready with helpful tips. And you never know who you’ll meet: a potential client or even someone from the media. There are a number of freelance writers who are looking for experts and sources for their stories, and they could be one of the parents at the next soccer game that you go to.

2 – Join. If you know what you’re interested in, whether it’s a sport, language, cultural topic, handicraft, music, or whatever, there’s a group or class out there that you can join. It gets you away from the stress of work and other responsibilities, but it’s also a great way to meet other people while you’re pursuing what you’re interested in. You never know who you’ll meet, and who they know.

3 – Tell others. When you get involved in a fundraising walk or a project that helps disadvantaged people, tell others about it in your blog, on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or wherever you communicate with people online. It’s not about boasting, but about letting people know that you’re excited about helping others. Such volunteer activities let your clients and colleagues know that you’re multi-dimensional, that you’re not just about work. So helping others is not just good for the community, but for your reputation as well.

What’s important to remember is to not be pushy or try to aggressively market yourself to others who you meet outside of work. Just enjoy yourself and be open to meeting others, and you’ll make new contacts naturally. And remember to have your business cards handy, just in case.

Leveraging Your Reputation: PR 2.011

Tom Ciesielka is President of TC Public Relations (www.tcpr.net). Tom has over 25 years of marketing and public relations experience, working with individual lawyers and mid-sized law firms. He is also a former board member of the Legal Marketing Association in Chicago and has spoken at Chicago Bar Associations CLE programs.  Reach him at tc@tcpr.net.

We started with Public Relations 1.0, the basics of PR and traditional, off-line methods for getting attention for your brand. Then we moved to Public Relations 2.0, when social media and an online-focus took over the scene. Now we come to Public Relations 2.011, a time of endless possibilities (and predictions) for PR in 2011 and beyond.

The legal public relations industry is definitely seeing its fair share of forecasts. Formal press releases have seemingly disappeared while social networks and real-time updates have become commonplace for law firms’ strategic-marketing plans. Consider these suggestions for your own legal marketing plan as we move into another decade.

Meeting the Man — or Woman — Behind the (Social) Media

Arranging meetings between attorneys and newspaper reporters or television news producers is not out-of-the-ordinary in this business. In fact, we very much encourage these meetings and try to make them happen as often as possible to establish relationships between reporters and informed and personable legal sources (you). But what about those reporters who only use social media platforms, such as legal bloggers? Because they are social media-centric, is face-time off the table? Not at all. There is a human attached to those typing fingers, and that blogger still needs quality sources, fresh content and new ideas. Think about the media in your social network. Identify the ones in the same city as you and reach out to suggest a face-to-face meeting.

Renewing the Focus on Crisis Communications and Reputation Management

YouTube videos can tally millions of views within hours of being uploaded, while one tweet from Rhode Island can be re-tweeted across all 50 states in less than 15 minutes. Now that the speed at which information is shared tops the speedometer, attorneys and law firms must be ever mindful of potential crises and their online and offline reputation. Especially with the emergence of Wikileaks this past year and a public demand for freedom of information, attorneys should be mindful of their legal documents and what to share with or guard from the public. A firm’s public relations professionals must be strategic counselors to determine what can go right and wrong in a matter of minutes, and become skilled at expecting the unexpected. Have a plan in place and you’ll be ahead in the race.

Taking the Daily or Weekly Temperature of Media Exposure

I’ve seen many firms who do not place much importance on the specific value of the exposure they receive. Rather, they only care that exposure WAS received. But no public relations effort can be valuable unless it can be measured. There’s a big difference between “warm” and “room temperature,” so make sure you measure your media to get hot – it can increase your firm’s website hits and even client count. Law firms and attorneys should expect their PR agencies to measure the value of all placements achieved and report the results each week. But first of all, it is important to determine the types of results that matter most to your firm—whether it is website visitors, Twitter followers, blog comments, LinkedIn connections, stories in print media or clients gained. Doing so early on makes it easier to assess the true value of your media exposure. And the forecast for 2011 – hot, hot, hot!