A Social Lawyer: Brian Fishman | Philadelphia Criminal Defense Attorney
San Diego Esquire is proud to announce the publication of articles containing information about how our clients are using social media marketing to promote their law practice. We will provide you with some of our clients opinions and experiences with marketing their practice on social media networks.
Read on to learn more about how Philadelphia attorney Brian Fishman promotes his law practice online and his insights regarding social media marketing for lawyers.
Marketing in the Cloud
Brian Fishman works in a boutique criminal defense and personal injury firm in Philadelphia. When I asked him why he created his website, he replied “all of my clients were coming in to my office with smartphones and looking things up online. It was clear to me that this was where they were now getting their information. So, I decided it was time to create an online foot print and begin to market myself online.”
Brain’s statement reflects the growth of consumers accessing more information online through their smartphone devices. As statistics show, more consumers are going online to find and connect with local attorneys for legal services.
The Social Media Evolution
Brian did not have a concrete plan in place we he created his online presence. Like most attorneys, the first thing he did was claim every profile of himself that he could find. His online presence slowly evolved :
I went online and did a search of myself. I found sites such as Avvo, Lawyers Legion, Lawyers.com, Yelp, manta.com, superlawyers.com, namyz.com and many others. I claimed all of my profiles and provided links to them. I also beefed up my LinkedIn profile and started to connect with other attorneys around the country rather than just friends and local contacts.
Although I knew basically nothing about either, I created a Twitter account and a Google+ account. I had used Facebook personally and decided that Google+ would be solely about business. I joined communities on Google+ that I thought would help me (1) learn more about social media and (2) meet attorneys in different practice areas, locally and nationally.
I did all of this at just the right time as I seemed to connect with a bunch of similarly situated attorneys from around the country. I felt like I was taken in by a family and taught how to market myself. I started to re-tweet their content and they returned the favor. I +1ed and shared their content and again they did the same on Google+.
I started to answer a ton of questions from prospective clients on Avvo and this became the beginning of my online content as I didn’t really have original content to market. I had clients write reviews for me on Avvo and Google+ and asked other attorneys to endorse me on Avvo.
I’m glad that I got started when I did. Even though there are some who started before me, I know that I am still way ahead of the crowd. And, this will only benefit me in the long run as my blog will have been around that much longer and I’ll have that much more content and connections than the attorneys who will follow.
There is no doubt in my mind that virtually all successful attorneys will be online using social media to market their practice in the next 2-3 years. I already see big firms joining what used to be a “small-firm-only” club. The big firms realize that this is the future of marketing and whether or not they like it, they better get on board and join in on the conversation or they’re going to be losing business very soon.
The Rise of Legal Blogging
Brian strongly promotes and recommends blogging:
I think any attorney who wants to have a respectable and strong presence online today must blog (or have someone blog for them). An attorney may not be able to point to a specific blog and say, “I got 3 leads from that post” or “I was hired on a case because of that article”. But, blogging, in my opinion, is about the big picture for online promotion.
First, it establishes your expertise to prospective clients and other lawyers seeking to refer cases. Second, it demonstrates to others that you are staying current on changes in the law. Third, it provides a continual stream of new content to share on all of your social media channels for others to share and comment on, which greatly assists your website gain relevance among search engines.
Key Benefits of Social Media Marketing
I would say that there are three things that I love about social media marketing: (1) I have “met” literally thousands of people through my engagements on Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. I’ve had the most interesting and engaging conversations on Google+. These engagements have led to online friendships with people all over the world and we have meaningful and intense conversations about issues of importance.
(2) I love to push the “publish” button on a new blog post and wait to see the reaction from fellow attorneys, social media marketers, prospective clients and random people.
When hundreds of others are sharing your original content on their feeds and adding their own commentary, it’s a great feeling. It gives you confidence in what you do and makes you feel accomplished. The internet is an absolutely huge place. So, when a comment is published on a blog post by a complete stranger, it is the ultimate compliment as they searched the internet and landed on your page because you wrote something relevant and they stayed to comment on how it assisted them or to ask a follow-up question.
(3) I have learned a ton about other areas of law and criminal and personal injury law (the areas I practice) simply by reading the blog posts of fellow attorneys. I have also learned so much about online marketing both from other lawyers and seeing how they market their practice and from the expert marketers that I follow and engage with.
At the conclusion of our interview, I asked Brian what piece of advice would he give to other aspiring lawyers utilizing social media to market their practice:
I would give an aspiring lawyer the same advice I try to give myself every day when it comes to social media: Find a balance. The practice of law is an intense, time-consuming and stressful profession. Social media marketing requires daily activity. You only become busy by bringing clients in the door and you must market yourself online to bring in clients.
The problem, and it can be viewed as a good problem to have, is that when you have a lot of clients and work but you also want to continue to market yourself online, you need to find a balance between your work and your social media marketing. I’ve heard other attorneys suggest carving out a certain time of day to tend to your social media channels. My problem with that philosophy is that I follow many of the same lawyers and others across multiple channels and I don’t think they want to suddenly see all of their social streams get filled with my tweets, retweets, Google+ posts, +1s, shares, LinkedIn and Facebook posts, etc. all at the same time when some of the information may be duplicitous. So, I think an attorney needs to find a few times a day when they want to get away from their work to post to their social media channels.
But, as we all know, social media can be addictive and engaging and a 15 minute break to post a few items, like others’ content, etc. can lead to two hours on Facebook or Google+ if you’re not careful. So, an attorney has to place limits on social media marketing so it doesn’t become all-consuming and they completely lose track of time.
I try to use the following times to engage: The morning and evening commute, while I’m in court from my smartphone if I’m waiting for my case to be called, during lunch if I’m sitting at my desk, during that afternoon lull when you feel you wouldn’t be productive if working anyway, the weekends. But, keep a balance between work, social medial marketing, family and your personal physical and mental health.
Don’t let social media marketing become so consuming that you can’t walk away from your computer (or smartphone) screen. Now, I just need to follow my own advice and find balance.
About Brian Fishman
Brian M. Fishman, Esquire is a criminal defense and personal injury attorney in Philadelphia and surrounding region. Mr. Fishman represents individuals charged with any criminal offense from possession of marijuana, underage drinking and DUI to possession with intent to deliver, gunpoint robbery and everything in between.
He has been in private practice for over 8 years where he has tried hundreds of cases. Prior to going into private practice, Mr. Fishman was an Assistant District Attorney in the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office where he prosecuted thousands of cases including over 20 jury trials on charges including rape, robbery, burglary, attempted murder, aggravated assault and firearm offenses.
He prides himself on strong communication skills inside and outside the courtroom. He has been twice (2010 and 2013) named a Pennsylvania Superlawyers Rising Star.