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Importance of law firms getting their content shared socially

Social media startegist, Sally Falkow, reminds companies this morning just how important it is to get their content shared.

Falkow’s piece is on the importance of evoking emotion in your content to get the content shared, but the take away for law firms is the research she shares on how critical it is to get your content shared.

In their 2011 State of the Media report Pew Research predicted that the sharing of news content would be the one factor that has the most impact on the news industry in the next decade.

Most of the content gets shared on Facebook – 2011 saw this figure increase from 44% to 52% of all content shared online.

Facebook reported 1 billion items shared a week in July 2011. That number had doubled by September, and then came a big jump to 3.5 billion in December, and another to 5 billion a month later. Later in 2011 Facebook reported that the number had grown to 7.5 billion a week. That’s a lot of sharing.

I’ve read that approaching 50% of people get their news and information from people they trust via social networking and social media.

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, you name it. Your clients and prospective clients as well as their influencers (bloggers, reporters, association leaders etc) are as apt to receive your content from some they trust on a social network as from your law firm directly.

And this is good news for your law firm as those sources of content may be more trusted than your law firm and its lawyers. I am not saying you are flat out distrusted, but when a third party shares something with you (word of mouth), it’s often more trusted than when coming directly from the source.

What makes people share content, per Falkow?

Emotion.

The press release that starts out “ABC company today announced that…” won’t get shared, unless what is announced is truly new and exciting and evokes some kind of emotion.

Now that the online media world is so visual, it’s imperative to tell your story visually and use the images and video to evoke that emotion. Journalists and bloggers know that content that will evoke emotion in their readers will get shared – and that grows their audience and their following online.

Facebook’s study on the most shared news items in 2011 shows that the content shared ranges from “cute to thought provoking.” Number one on the list was images of the aftermath of the tsunami in Japan. And of course those were loaded with the full gamut of emotions. Next was an article in CNN titled “What teachers really want to tell parents,” an emotional appeal from a teacher to parents.

For law firms using press releases, they’re going to have to tell a story to get the attention of bloggers and reporters. Sure there are going to be reporters and editors who have not adjusted to the world of social media, but those folks are declining in number.

I get plenty of old world press releases praising lawyers, law firms, and companies serving the legal industry. The only way to describe 99% of them is stodgy, self-promoting, and lame.

The only people those type of press releases are apt to impress are the employees of the firms and companies putting them out – and those employees would have to be lacking knowledge on how media today is a shared experience based on trust.

There are services which distribute your content on social media, making your content more apt to be shared. Some of these services work quite well.

But the most effective way to get your content shared socially is for your law firm employees, marketing/communication/business development professionals and lawyers alike, to build meaningful relationships with bloggers and reporters themselves via blogging and social networks.

Bottom line though, you need to get your content shared.