5) Maria Harrison: Video is changing online advertising. In November of 2008, there were 12.7 million views of videos on YouTube, up a third from the same period in the previous year. The current use of video is mainly for entertainment, but this focus is changing as Generation X catches up. The reason this has taken so long is broadband access, but now that this is becoming less of an issue, video is becoming more important and useful. Maria noted that successful video advertisers will look to engage their audience, instead of interrupting their experience, so users will see things like in-page ads and self-service ad platforms, such as Google Video. She cautioned that return on investment is still key.
** Legal industry takeaway: With such strict advertising rules, I don't think there will be too many law firms using online video for advertising purposes. However, there may be opportunities for educational videos produced by law firms. Firms should also think about innovative ways to introduce the use of online video, similar to Holland & Hart's use of video on in their five-minute television shows featuring innovative clients, which aired on Frontier Airline's Wild Blue Yonder network and online in 2007.
6) Joe Laratro: The focus of Joe's portion of the panel was a discussion of hiring "reputation managers" and responding to social media. "Reputation managers," who can also go by other names, is a hot new position that essentially tasks someone with engaging messaging in social media. Things such as monitoring blogs, reviewing websites, looking at Twitter and Facebook would all fall under this person's purview. He mentioned that some of the tools for this job would be Google alerts, Trackur.com, and Tweetdeck, among others. Why might a company need a reputation manager? Joe mentioned four key reasons:
- In a down economy, people are making more informed purchase decisions
- Negative search results in a brand search mean lower sales
- Poor customer service results in lower sales
- Poor reputation results in sales going to competitors
He mentioned a few companies that are on the cutting edge of reputation management in terms of social media including Pizza Hut, who is hiring "twinterns" for the summer to monitor their brand on Twitter, Comcast, PRWeb, and GoogleGuy. Jay Berkowitz pointed out that companies still should have someone more senior than an intern involved in reputation management in times of crisis.
** Legal industry takeaway: Whether firms are in the social media sphere or not, conversations about them and their attorneys are taking place. So it's important to have someone, whether it's a dedicated reputation manager or not, monitoring the conversations that are taking place and engaging in them to manage the firms brand when appropriate. The recent online smear campaign of Holland & Knight provides a perfect example of why it's important to monitor your brand online.
7) Rohit Bhargava: Rohit's portion of the program addressed the idea of "curiosity marketing," the role of mystery in content. The idea is to engage people through curiosity. He used the recent South by Southwest conference as an example, where companies had used social media to tell their networks about "secret" offers at the conference, like a "Las Vegas" meal at a restaurant, which doesn't appear on their menu. The idea is to make participants feel as though they know a secret, which makes them want to learn more about the company and therefore remember it better. Rohit's three requirements for curiosity marketing are that it:
- Creates curiosity
- Makes someone want to learn more
- Offers something
You can find a free excerpt from his curiosity marketing guide on his website.
** Legal industry takeaway: While the idea of curiosity marketing is very appealing, it seems to be useful for law firms mostly in terms of conference sponsorships and events. If a firm is sponsoring a booth at a conference, or hosting an event themselves, they can create a feeling of secrecy by offering something to their social networks that no other attendee knows about. For example, a firm hosting a breakfast seminar might announce to any Twitter followers attending that if they mention a secret word to one of the hosts, they receive a free coffee mug or a discount on the event.
8) David McInnis: David talked about content as the next big thing in internet marketing. He suggested that companies shouldn't focus on Google and search engine rankings, but should instead be offering valuable content and looking for content opportunities that no one else is taking advantage of. He said that when companies do what's better for the online community, the Google rankings follow. He gave the example of having people register on a site when they download a white paper, and said that the paper is likely to be much more popular if readers aren't required to register.
David also observed that people are content too, so it's in a company's best interest to help their employees to sell their personal brands, which enhances the company's brand. He suggested that people look at KnowEm.com to see where their personal brand is already registered. Some people then register their brand on all of the social media sites that they can, but David recommended focusing on the social media outlets where you can add value instead.
** Legal industry takeaway: As David suggests, law firms should focus on providing valuable content to those who visit their website, in the form of webinars, articles, white papers, etc. Additionally, this content can be distributed using social media outlets like Twitter, LinkedIn, and even Facebook to reach the widest possible audience. I also strongly agree with David's assessment that it's in a company's interest to help their employees to sell their personal brands, and this is especially true for law firms, where clients work with lawyers, not just the firm. As with any marketing tool, social media should be used by those attorneys for whom it's best suited and in a focused way, to avoid it becoming a time sink.