Last Thursday, Gina and I hosted a free 30-minute webinar, “You Asked, We’ll Answer—Your Top PR and Social Media Questions” and regrettably did not have time to tackle a new slew of queries from attendees. Here’s a follow-up to the presentation, with your questions (hopefully!) answered.
Q: I am working with a client—a law firm—that has only blogged intermittently. They have no audience, so to speak. How do I get them noticed when they don’t have an already established social network?
Ever hear the phrase, “If you build it, they will come”? (If you’ve heard it in a cornfield, you may be Kevin Costner.) Or, “It’s a marathon, not a sprint”? I think these maxims generally apply to growing a blog audience and a social media presence. Here’s what I would do:
Help the law firm establish a blog and social media schedule. They don’t have to update every platform every day—they could try blogging once per week?—so long as the audience knows when to expect new content. Suggest the law firm tap internal expertise and get everyone to write a blog post from time to time. This is how you build thought leadership, and multi-author blogs sometimes help with more-than-intermittent accountability.
Figure out, who is the audience? That’s key to all communications. You might want to suggest that the blog cover both B2B and B2C angles until you know what’s most popular among readers. You may also want to consider using paid services to boost page views, to jump-start the brand. Get the firm involved in the blog community. Writing a blog post may seem daunting, but answering reader questions and commenting on legal blogs should be easy. (Lawyers love to debate, right?) Reach out to those in the same industry or city. Once the firm has built relationships with bloggers, see if there are opportunities to guest post.
Use your social media platforms not just to broadcast content, but to listen and have conversations. Twitter and Facebook should not be an advertising space to speak at your audience, but to find out who they are and what they need. Get involved with Twitter chats in the legal industry. I realize the law firm may be time-crunched, but there are always tactics to try and room to be more social.
Q: If you follow a company group on LinkedIn and have an interview with the company, should you use LinkedIn to connect with your interviewer or other employees?
Job etiquette can be tricky, so I asked Nicholas Wilcox, Cision’s senior recruiter, what he thinks. Should you connect with your interviewer on LinkedIn? “Absolutely,” says Wilcox. “If they’ve sent you an e-mail and you’ve been in touch, it’s a good way to connect. [But] trying to connect with other employees is weird—it shows that maybe you’re trying to get some insider information, which can be taken the wrong way.”
I also like what Forbes, The Undercover Recruiter and Glassdoor have to say about using LinkedIn to contact the recruiter after the interview. The consensus varies a bit, but some key takeaways: Don’t ambush the recruiter or interviewer—they should expect your request, or should have told you to keep in touch. This might not be the appropriate course of action for everyone—only if you nailed the interview or feel like you connected. Always, always, always personalize the LinkedIn invitation. And my two cents: Make sure you still send the traditional thank-you card. Classy!
Q: Where do you find analytics for shortened links?
The three URL shortening tools I mentioned in the webinar—Bitly, Ow.ly and Goo.gl—each offer free analytics and generally provide the same metrics, such as total clicks, referrers, browsers, countries and platforms. You can create an account at Bitly to track the long-term status of your links and organize your shortened links into bundles, or just go to the site not-logged-in to track recent traffic by clicking the “# clicks” hyperlink below your shortened URL. If you have a Google account, you can visit Goo.gl and you’ll be able to access “Details” for your clicks, ranging from the last two hours to “All Time.” As for Ow.ly, you can generate a Click Summary report if you are signed up for a free HootSuite account.
Q: I’ve heard that shortening links to your site is not good for SEO. Truth?
URL shorteners generally don’t hurt SEO. Take it from Google’s own SEO expert Matt Cutts, who just happens to be Cision’s Top Social Media, Internet Marketing and SEO Blogger of 2013. “Custom URL shorteners are essentially just like any other redirects,” says Cutts. “The PageRank will flow through, the anchor text will flow through.” Just make sure your link shortener is among the “well-behaved” ones that offer 301, or permanent redirection. The three URL shortening tools we recommended certainly do. So tweet on!