1) Jay Berkowitz: The internet is becoming a place of microcommunications, where we get our news in bits and bytes. Jay used Twitter as a great example of this, a place where people can get sound bites of what other people and companies are saying. He gave us his three "E's" for using Twitter:
- "Educate:" Use Twitter to teach people something, both by providing valuable content and re-tweeting (essentially re-broadcasting another Twitter user's tweet to your own Twitter followers) useful information.
- "Entertain:" Jay used @the_real_shaq as an example of someone who effectively entertains his audience through his tweets, which keeps them interested and increases his number of followers.
- "Engage:" Reply to tweets you find interesting or thought-provoking and listen to what other Twitter users are saying. Jay mentioned @ChrisBrogan as a great example of someone who engages on Twitter.
** Legal industry takeaway: Twitter can be used to educate current and potential clients about your law firm or legal service, with links to relevant articles, comments on changes to laws or high profile cases, and retweets of valuable information from your colleagues in the field. Letting your personality come through on Twitter and engaging others helps to build your network. For more of my thoughts on Twitter, take a look at my post, "To Tweet or Not to Tweet: Why Lawyers Should Pay Attention to Twitter."
2) Richard Stanton: In the future, the internet will be able to filter data to extract meaning and use for the end-user's benefit. He used the example of taking the following statements and extrapolating them all to mean "I love sushi:" "I love raw fish," "I love raw tuna," I had amazing Maguro last night." He noted that his company, Bintro, is currently filtering data to look at what matters about statements like that. As a result of this trend, keywords will matter less, associations will be stronger, and artificial intelligence will be human intelligence magnified.
** Legal industry takeaway: In the future, firms will be able to focus less on SEO to drive their search result rankings and more on providing valuable content, which the internet will do the work of delivering to the right people.
3) Jim Kukral: Jim talked about "going mobile," noting that a recent study shows that 50% of the world will use a cell phone by the end of 2009, and 35.1% of smartphone users have a household income of $100,000 or more. With statistics like these, he said that mobile is the way to go.
- One way that companies can take advantage of the increase in mobile usage is with coupons. Since everyone loves coupons because they make them feel as though they've gotten a bargain, companies are building the ability to deliver coupons right to your cell phone, so that as you drive by a store, the GPS will trigger your phone to download a coupon for that store.
- Jim also spoke about "the new eBook" - today, everyone can be an expert on the internet and new tools are allowing anyone to create an online university with virtual classrooms, where they can recruit teachers and profit from their expertise.
** Legal industry takeaway: Law firms and legal industry service providers should look for unique ways to use increased mobile use to their advantage. In terms of online universities, law firms and legal networks, such as the ILN, can create online courses for clients, partners, associates, and staff for a variety of topics, ranging from hot topics in the industry and recent changes in the law to law firm management and business development. Many firms are already doing this through webinar series, but I expect to see more formal virtual classrooms with curriculum dedicated to these topics.
4) Mari Smith: Fan pages are an underutilized area of Facebook and can be used to represent businesses. Although it's possible to have only one profile page on Facebook, companies can have multiple fan pages. The benefit of these pages is that they get Google indexing, so if you choose the title carefully, you can become #1 for a key term in your industry. Mari recommended installing the "Static FBML" application on fan pages, which allows you to add HTML or FBML (Facebook Markup Language) to further customize your page.
**Legal industry takeaway: With over 200 million users worldwide, Facebook represents a huge opportunity for law firms and service providers. Although a firm's use of Facebook will vary based on their strategic plan, it can be a valuable part of your social media efforts, as more and more people use it for professional purposes, as well as social purposes. Creating a Facebook fan page, like this one, is easy and fast, and gives you the ability to reach Facebook users to alert them to upcoming events and your latest news. The page also personalizes your firm to help you reach a new audience, or the same audience in a new way. Although I wouldn't suggest spending a great deal of time on creating and maintaining a Facebook page for your firm, it's a good way to monitor and engage in the conversation happening in the social media sphere about your firm and your lawyers.
Stay tuned for Part II of my thoughts on "What's next in internet marketing," with thoughts from Maria Harrison, Joe Laratro, David McInnis and Rohit Bhargava.