Facebook reported Wednesday that they’re seeing a sizeable shift to visual content, especially video.

In just one year, the number of video posts per person has increased 75% globally and 94% in the US. And with people creating, posting and interacting with more videos on Facebook, the composition of News Feed is changing. Globally, the amount of video from people and brands in News Feed has increased 3.6x year-over-year.

Since June 2014, Facebook has averaged more than 1 billion video views every day. On average, more than 50% of people who come back to Facebook every day in the US watch at least one video daily and 76% of people in the US who use Facebook say they tend to discover the videos they watch on Facebook.

Today re/code reports that Twitter’s anticipated video service is only weeks away.

The feature, which will allow users to shoot, edit and post video directly through the app, is Twitter’s attempt to get more clips on the service — and more engagement. Right now, the only way for regular Twitter users (that is, not advertisers, or certain publishers and celebrities) to share video is to do so through Vine, Twitter’s standalone, six-second video app.

Twitter’s goal is to have an easy to use video service that will drive more engagement and get more people using its social network.

Facebook or Twitter video for lawyers? Probably Facebook, as strange as that may sound to many of you who do not use Facebook or use it only sparingly for sharing of personal items.

Sources have it that Twitter’s video may capped at twenty or thirty seconds. If that is the case, the videos would presumably then be on continuous play. Entertaining and engaging, but closer to Vine and Instagram video. Not something I envisioned when I blogged about Twitter video just days ago.

Facebook’s video service has a ten minute limit for unverified users.

Videos can be easily uploaded from a smartphone or computer the same as you would add a photo to Facebook. You then describe, caption and tag. Simple video from a smartphone or edited after a professional video shoot, either way Facebook works.

I could easily see lawyers and law firms doing videos, for Facebook, of business associates, lawyers, referral sources and fellow businesses in their community. The key will be reporting and value to viewers, not talking about the law firm and its lawyers.

YouTube is no doubt the king of online video, but there’s not a built in social network that we’re all using already as is the case of Facebook. Facebook moves the news.

Probably why some are predicting Facebook will challenge YouTube – in time.

Rather than lawyers and law firms producing video coverage of themselves, YouTube represents an opportunity for lawyers to be included in independent video coverage conducted and produced by third parties.

YouTube’s growth is staggering.

  • More than 1 billion unique users visit YouTube each month
  • Over 6 billion hours of video are watched each month —that’s almost an hour for every person on Earth
  • 100 hours of video are uploaded every minute
  • YouTube is localized in 61 countries and across 61 languages
  • YouTube reaches more US adults ages 18-34 than any cable network
  • The number of people subscribing daily is up more than 3x since last year
  • Mobile makes up almost 40% of YouTube’s global watch time, up from 6% only 2 years ago
  • YouTube is available on hundreds of millions of devices

YouTube videos also do extraordinarily well on Google searches. In addition to standard searches I’m seeing more and more YouTube videos in my RSS feeds from Google News.

Most law firms are passing on video. Those using video do so sparingly and usually have a lawyer addressing an evergreen legal issue. Time, cost, and not knowing how to produce professional video appear to be impediments.

Rather than producing videos of your own lawyers, why not seek out opportunities for independent video coverage? For those who really want to go for it maybe even create your own independent video coverage.

An example of independent video coverage? LXBN TV. Three or four minute interviews are done with legal professionals on prominent legal trends, major litigation, significant legislation and other industry topics.

Interviews are conducted by a LXBN reporter daily via Skype as well as live at legal conferences. Edited and bylined for the lawyer and firm by a producer, the videos then go up on YouTube for use on LXBN and law firm blogs and websites. Videos are also distributed by Twitter.

Some of the largest firms in the country have issued press releases that one of their lawyers was interviewed on TV (LXBN TV), something they have done with traditional TV.

Here’s an LXBN TV interview on crowdsourcing with Melissa Steinman of Venaable as an example.

LXBN TV is not the only opportunity for independent video. Mimesis Web TV with Lee Pachia, Bloomberg TV, Legal Current Video from ThomsomReutersLegal all conduct interviews with lawyers. The frequency varies and some prompting may be required.

There may also be local and topical video opportunities where your lawyers can serve as a guest. Look around — and look to see if the videos are available on YouTube.

Independent video provides lawyers a level of credibility and thought leadership they may not receive otherwise. Such videos may still run a law firm’s blog or web site. Quality will prevail over quality.

Just as established law blogs provide an opportunity for independent commentary separate from marketing, a video channel sponsored by a law firm could do the same. Perhaps the video channel is associated with an existing blog.

Imagine bi-weekly video interviews of your lawyers and third parties on timely news subjects. I could easily see a blog such as Cruise Law News or the Food Safety News having such video coverage.

No question there are any number of cases of video being used well by law firms. But with the advancement of YouTube, the growth in watching video on mobile, and the integration of YouTube with home television, lawyers and law firms are sitting on a tremendous opportunity.

An opportunity that may be best served by independent “news like,” coverage as opposed to self-reported and self-produced video.

Image courtesy of Flickr by Rego Korosi

YouTube isn’t just for posting amusing and embarrassing videos. Businesses, including law firms, have found YouTube to be an effective way to demonstrate their expertise, knowledge, and care.

But how does a law firm grow its YouTube audience?

Samantha Murphy (@MurphySamanthaJ), Tech Reporter for Mashable, shares a report from FanBridge on how 100 YouTube channel owners  are growing, retaining, and engaging their audiences.

Like many other marketing tools, YouTube is about quality over quantity.

About 86% of survey respondents said they upload three or fewer videos each week, which places more emphasis on engagement rather than quantity.

Although YouTube channel owners only upload three or fewer videos per week, they are also spending time promoting and sharing their videos across social channels.

  • 46% of channel owners are spending less than 1 hour per week promoting their channels.
  • 39% of channel owners spend between 1 and 8 hours promoting their channels per week.
  • And 15% spend over 8 hours per week promoting their channels.

You can’t assume that viewers are going to come to you. You need to promote your YouTube, especially via social media (blog, Twitter, Facebook) which allows video to spread virally.

  • Channel owners are promoting their videos on other social networking platforms such as Facebook (85%), Twitter (70%), and Google+ (45%)
  • 53% of channel owners are sharing their videos on their own website.
  • Only 26% of channel owners are communicating with their audience via email.

You’ll also grow your YouTube audience through effective engagement. As appropriate, make one of your clients, business associates, community leaders, or association leaders the subject of a video. Answer common questions that you receive from clients and prospective clients, maintaining confidence of course. Reference blog posts from leading bloggers and stories from trade and mainstream media.

The list goes on and on as far as engagement. The key is to show you are listening to your audience first, not just broadcasting. Only then can you truly engage.

Finally ask other businesses how they are growing their YouTube audience. There is a deep and rich YouTube community to tap into. A community that extends across the country – and the world, if you want to go that far.

YouTube for Lawyers Law Firms Janko Roettgers, Co-Editor at NewTeeVee.com at GigaOM, shares this morning that close to a quarter of all global mobile bandwidth is consumed by people watching YouTube videos. Add to this that mobile is the fasting growing segment of the Internet, and you have to wonder if law firms are missing a golden opportunity in not leveraging the power of YouTube. Look at the findings of an Allot Communications study cited by Roettgers.

  • Almost 25% of all global mobile bandwidth is consumed by people watching YouTube videos.
  • YouTube accounts for 52 percent of all global mobile video streaming.
  • Video streaming accounts for 39 percent of all mobile traffic. Compare this to web browsing, which accounts for only 25 percent of all mobile traffic.
  • Video streaming grew 93 percent in the first six months of 2011.

Lawyers and law firms have a history of using Internet video in all advised fashion. A large part of the reason is legal web development companies looking to make money by selling law firms on the concept of placing video on their websites. Most often that video is information about the firm, its lawyers, and the firm’s capabilities. Such video serves as little more than an advertisement, which advertisements are only trusted by 14% of people. If video is being used to get people to stay on your website, I question the value as well. Websites, certainly needed by most law firms, serve as an advertisement of the law firm and its lawyers. Advertisements do not build relationships, enhance your word of mouth reputation, nor establish trust. It’s these three things that generate work for good lawyers. YouTube video could be better used by law firms in the same vein as blogs are used. To build relationships. To enhance your reputation. To build trust. How do you do that?

  • Respond to common questions you receive from clients and prospective clients. For every one question you get, there are a hundred other folks with the same question. Keep your answers brief (2 to 3 minutes) and of course keep them general so as not to breach confidence nor give specific legal advice.
  • Report on what you are reading and seeing in your RSS feeds in your Google Reader providing your quick insight and commentary. It’ll demonstrate you stay up to speed, you’ll establish yourself as an intelligence agent on a niche, and you’ll be engaging the influencers and amplifiers.
  • Always focus on value to your audience, not on information about yourself or your firm. People can figure out who is doing the video with some simple branding without a 20 second blurb about what you do. Once you talk about yourself, you’re dead. People will not cite nor share such material. Not on the Internet via social media nor in emails being sent around a business. An excellent 3 minute informational video by lawyer is the type of thing that would be played in business meetings in prospective client’s offices — unless there’s an ad about you at the end.
  • Build a nice YouTube Channel focused on your niche area of the law or locale, not one focused on you or your law firm. Some simple branding explaining who is presenting the YouTube page is enough.
  • Strategically leverage the video in social media. Think your own blog, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google Plus. Don’t spam these places by always putting the same video everywhere. You’ll get known for that. Be smart and use a little net etiquette. By building social media equity, you’ll get others to share your video for you via social media. It’s this social media which is driving YouTube on mobile.

I am sure that there are 8 other ways to leverage YouTube video that I missed. I’d be interested in hearing your ideas. Bottom line, we’re all sitting on a golden opportunity with YouTube at our easy disposal.

YouTube video law blogsVideo has piqued my interest as the video quality expected by users has dropped.

Law firms historically believed they needed to hire a professional video crew and run only the highest quality video. However, you can now turn on CNN and find that they’ve picked up amateur video from a viewer highlighting a breaking news story. Some of the Fox News shows even have their anchors filming stories using amateur video equipment. The reason being to be more like citizen journalists. As a result, your law blog’s readers are receptive to reasonable quality video, though it may not be as good as if you used a professional video person.

This opens up some great video opportunities for your law blog. You can record short vignettes about a particular item that relates to the topic of your blog. Store it at YouTube and then take the YouTube HTML and put that in your blog. That will display a “YouTube TV set” in your blog so that your readers can push the play button and view it on your blog.

Using YouTube allows you to syndicate your video so others may play your video on their blog or news web site. Let’s say you put up a video on timely immigration legal issue and it’s 2

Texas Bar Association YouTubeThe State Bar of Texas has launched a contest ‘Lone Star Stories: Texans on Justice,’ inviting all Texans of all ages, lawyers and lay people alike, to submit three-minute-or-less original videos to YouTube that illustrate their vision of the promise of justice for all.

Per an article in Texas Lawyer, entrants under 18 can win a $2,500 scholarship, while those over 18 are competing for a $2,500 cash prize. The Bar will be informing teachers around the state about the contest to encourage more video entries from students.

I agree with State Bar President Gib Walton, who launched the Bar’s YouTube contest at the suggestion of Crane MetaMarketing, who sees ‘this as a new venue for the citizens of Texas to express their opinions on the justice system in Texas and to do it in a fun environment.’

YouTube, used as a community of user generated videos, is using YouTube the smart way. Contrast Texas’ approach with the Pennsylvania Bar Association whose advertising company used YouTube to run a Bar television advertisement to emphasize the good that lawyers accomplish.

No one at YouTube gives a darn what a Bar Association has to say about the wonderful things the Bar’s members do. (I am not discounting lawyers’ contributions to society) YouTube viewers want to see what other people say and Bar Associations should promote themselves and the law through what non lawyers think about the law. As Walton says ‘We know Texans have opinions, I’m looking forward to what Texans have to say.’

Update From Carolyn Elefant: I’m impressed by the Texas Bar’s initiative — and excited by the prospect of bar associations using video for another reason as well. Now that the bars realize that they can harness the power of YouTube, perhaps they can combat what they perceive as tasteless TV ads not through heavy-handed regulation but simply through a counter video campaign.

Wired GC’s John Wallbillich, a former general counsel in the Midwest and founder of Lexvista Partners picked up on this morning’s NY Times story on the use video by law firms. The goal of the firms – to recruit the YouTube generation.

The firms hope to persuade students that their lawyers, and by extension the firms, are young-thinking and hip.

The need to attract top-notch summer associates is crucial; they are the pool from which most new hires are made. More than 19,000 graduates join law firms each year.

So far, the firms’ efforts have run the gamut from simple conversations with summer associates to videos promoting the firm’s expertise or its diversity.

Law firms may have to cover a couple conflicting bases here. That’s making their videos appear professional so as to ‘maintain the firm’s image’ while at the same time appealing to a YouTube audience which sees videos being done in a more spontaneous fashion.

Law students can tell the difference between video’s that cost $75,000 or are produced by PBS documentary veterans and the type of video young people themselves havee shot and seen all over the Internet. Assuming the goal of the firms is to be more like the recruits and less like other law firms, law firms are going to need to let their hair down a bit.

Plus having the law firm video stored on YouTube, as opposed to merely saying we’re doing YouTube like stuff, has advantages. One young people trust the YouTube brand. Two, YouTube video’s can be easily taken and played at other blogs and web sites. Law firms should want to have their videos displayed by potential recruits at the recruit’s own blogs – extends the reach of the video’s and gets them in more trusted environments.

Wallbillich summarizes law firms’ challenge.

…[V]ideo is going to be much more common on law firm web sites in the future. But if the process is directed solely by marketers, law firms will miss some of the real impact that this personalization of their practice could make.

Great to see law firms using video, but to hit the mark they’ll need to get closer to Scoble walking around Microsoft shooting impromptu video, including videos with CEO, Steve Balmer, and Chief Engineer, Bill Gates. Those videos of 4 or 5 years ago did an incredibly effective job in reducing the ‘evil empire’ view of Microsoft.

Update: Searchviews on NY Times article:

While the attempt by these firms to embrace the social media movement is admirable, I question their use of YouTube to portray their firms as the ‘hip place to work.’ Social media is founded on a philosophy of transparency and full disclosure. It’s a two-way conversation wherein users are able to question and challenge the marketer – or, in this case, the potential employer’s self-representation. After all, having recently spent a year with a the District Attorney’s Office, I can assure you that young associates and lawyers do not spend their days bouncing around on ‘hop balls’ as one firm’s video depicts.

A more effective use of these firms’ time and money would be to embrace social media in a different fashion. Rather than trying to paint a rosy picture of a work environment that may or may not exist, law firms would be wise to create an honest dialogue between potential candidates and current summer associate (or new hires). For example, what if a firm sponsored a Q&A forum moderated by current summer associates? Could they create a Facebook/Myspace group created for the sole purpose of bringing together new and potential hires? Or, how about a ‘Day in the Life Of’ blog written by a recent hire?

law firm online videoFollowing our appearance on Lawyer2Lawyer’s podcast on law firm’s use of YouTube and online video, Technolawyer’s Neil Squillante posted his top 5 tips for law firm online video.

Here’s Neil’s paraphrased list with a few of my comments.

  1. Hire a professional. Hire a professional filmmaker, and it could be any film school graduate to create a storyboard, direct, and edit.
  2. Optimize for search engines. When you upload your video to YouTube, carefully write your description with Google searches in mind and link back to your site. I’ve found Google indexing YouTube video’s right along with other web content. But unless you create a title that describes the nature of the video, ideally including keywords relating to your niche area of the law, the video will never be found.
  3. Promote your video. You must then execute a promotional plan to drive traffic to your video. At the very least, let your clients know about the video and encourage them to send the link to others.
  4. Go local. YouTube’s embedding code allows you to place the video you have uploaded at YouTube on your own blog or web site. It’s free. If you’re concerned about the YouTube brand there are other services that allow you to do the same. With the trust factor with Google’s YouTube brand running high and most folks knowing you can click on the YouTube video on your site to get the code so it can be run on their blog, I’d use YouTube.
  5. Make sequels simultaneously. Leverage your investment by producing several videos at the same time for release at different times.

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Had the pleasure to appear on Bob Ambrogi’s and Craig William’s weekly Lawyer2Lawyer podcast to discuss YouTube for legal marketing.

Appeared with Neil Squillante, the publisher of TechnoLawyer, and Los Angeles Divorce Attorney Kelly Chang.

Kelly’s done a nice job with her own YouTube video advertising her family law practice. Kelly’s upfront and personal approach in the two minute video breaks through people’s stereotypical views of lawyers. It’s worth a look.

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