Social Media Marketing World 2016 – Lessons Learned for Expert Witnesses

SMMW16Held at the San Diego, California Convention Center on April 17, 18 and 19, 2016, the Social Media Marketing World 2016 (SMMW16) was well-received with over 3,000 participants from around the world. Networking was the name of the game, with recognized brands from Airbus, Allergan, and Amazon to Verizon, Walmart, and World Vision. Platform representatives from Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Twitter, and many others were front and center imparting valuable social media marketing tactics.

There were a couple of major takeaways from this year’s event. Several things you need to know in order to better promote your expert witness services:

  • You Need To Be On Social Media:

If you are not yet active on social media you are losing precious brand awareness, engagement, and community building opportunities. At a time when consumers and clients are more informed than ever before, you need to have a social presence so your customers can “know, like, and trust you.” Attorneys cannot get to know the real, authentic version of you if you are absent from these platforms.

It is not necessary to be present on every available social media platform. Having a strategy is important. If you are looking to target attorneys, it is important to know how to find them and how to get their attention. We have services to assist you in building your presence on the correct social platforms.The priority is building relationships within your community. If you are regularly creating content and posting it to social media platforms without a community, you may find your content is not being read, watched, shared, or cared about. If you build those relationships and others care about you individually, they will share your content. It was great to see several of those in our live-streaming community in attendance at the #SMMW16, including:

  • Build An Online Community

A community on social media is not terribly different than an offline community. There are leaders, managers, and community members. Usually there is an interconnecting of these individuals for some shared purpose (or shared interest). For example, Experts.com is active in the live video / live-streaming community. There are many active Members in this community and the one thing we all have in common is we participate in creating live video. Although our businesses may be different, we still support others in the live streaming community by sharing their content.

Mitch-and-Jeff

Mitch Jackson, Esq. and Jeff Weinstein, Esq.

The priority is building relationships within your community. If you are regularly creating content and posting it to social media platforms without a community, you may find your content is not being read, watched, shared, or cared about. If you build those relationships and others care about you individually, they will share your content.

Nick and Jeff Weinstein

Ivan Raiklin, Esq. and Nick Rishwain

It was great to see several of those in our live-streaming community in attendance at the #SMMW16. Just a few with whom we were able to spend significant time include:

  • Live Video is the Future of Marketing

Here are just a few facts that were shared by Mike Stelzner, CEO of the Social Media Examiner (host of the conference).

  • 73% of marketers use video in 2016
  • Only 14% of marketers are using Live Video
  • In May of 2015, there were 2 billion videos viewed daily
  • In February of 2016, there were 8 billion videos viewed daily

The following platforms have bet big on live video (a.k.a. live streaming, social video): Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Snapchat, Blab. Each of these companies has a major live-stream component or is entirely live video as a product/tool. Facebook now gives priority to video content in its news feed. Other content will fall below live video in your news feed.

Live video allows you to increase the” know, like, and trust” factor better than anything else, according to social selling strategist, Kim Garst.

Our friend, Mitch Jackson, Esq., has said he wants to “see and hear the expert” before hiring him or her as an expert witness. Seeing and hearing an expert witness provides endless value to attorneys as they get an idea of how you sound and perform. Live video allows you to do this authentically.

As live video is the future of marketing, we highly recommend getting comfortable with live streaming sooner rather than later. Join Us to become a pioneer in the live video community. Improve your visibility, professionalism, and authenticity with live video marketing. If you do not know how to begin, reach out to us at info@experts.com.

Nick Rishwain, JD.
Vice President of Client Relations, Experts.com.

Press Release – The Benefits of Distribution

Press Releases are an excellent way to promote Expert Witness and Consulting Services. Aside from publishing press releases to a variety of print, broadcast, and online media, they can also be sent to current and prospective clients. The benefits of issuing a press release are many:

  • Perception Is Key – The idea that an Expert’s services are deserving of media coverage plants the seed that he is successful. In other words, if the New York Times  is taking space to publish a press release announcing an Expert’s or Consultant’s new book , then he must be worthy of consideration for an engagement. A press release, in essence, is mass confirmation of your achievements.
  • Third Party Endorsements – A press release issued on an Expert’s or a Consultant’s behalf by a third party is much more effective than one issued on their own behalf. Most Experts and Consultants are uncomfortable touting their own successes. By letting a third party advocate on their behalf, it takes the negative effect of self-promotion out of the equation.
  • Opportunity to Inform – A Press Release is issued mainly for a specific reason, whether for the publication of a new book, a business milestone, or a litigation success. It does not, however, have to be limited to that success. If written properly, press releases can include a short biography on the Expert or Consultant, communicating their areas of expertise and offering website links for more information on their services.
  • Maintain a Presence –  “Out of sight, out of mind.” It is important for professionals to let their current and prospective clients know that they are consistently relevant in their field of expertise. By issuing a press release, they keep their clients informed of their achievements and remain fresh in their minds for future jobs.

For more information on how Experts.com can help market your services and promote your achievements through a Press Release, please contact us at press@experts.com.

Watermarking Your Curriculum Vitae

As disconcerting as it may be, unscrupulous activity does exist in the legal industry. As a leader in the Expert Witness and Consultant field, Experts.com believes in not only promoting our members’ services, but in protecting them as well. As such, we encourage our Experts and Consultants to Watermark their Curriculum Vitae.Watermark CV

Marking the CV with such statements as “UNOFFICIAL,”  “NOT YET RETAINED,”  “DO NOT SUBMIT,” or “UNAUTHORIZED,”  prevents unconscionable practitioners  from downloading  a CV and submitting it as their “Retained” expert witness, or implying such, without the knowledge and consent of the expert.  The watermark makes it clear to other parties what the status of the relationship is between the attorney and the expert.

The benefit of watermarking a CV is twofold. One, it allows an Expert to promote his services and qualifications and still feel secure that they will not be presented without his express consent and, two, it allows the Expert an opportunity to offer the most current version of his CV. Since the attorney must contact the Expert for an “Un-Watermarked” version, the Expert can then update the CV and bring to the attorney’s attention any new work experience or litigation successes.

For more information, or to become an Experts.com Expert Witness or Consultant, please contact us at support@experts.com.

THE BUSINESS OF LAW

Attorneys can be so overwhelmed with the practice of law that they lack time for the practice of business. Between consultations, research, writing, court time, hour-logging, etc., there is little or no time to number-crunch for the highest profit. Many large firms have in-house accountants to mind the books but, even then, the traditional practice of law can hinder a firm’s profitability. The perfect example exists in the Expert Witness arena. The legal industry has a tendency toward the old adage, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” This is all well and good if, indeed, “it ain’t broke,” but the Expert Witness industry has changed drastically over the last 15 years.

Prior to the computer age, when information was hard to come by, the best way to procure an Expert was through a Broker. Broker’s compiled lists of Expert Witnesses and Curriculum Vitae otherwise unknown to attorneys. The Brokers would then, and still do, charge attorneys a fee to retain those Experts. The cost is usually a 30%-60% mark-up over the Experts’ hourly rates. Though some Brokers offer a brief vetting of Experts, it is not worth the severe mark-up and attorneys are still required to do their own due diligence.

Expert Witnesses No BrokerToday, with information readily available on the internet, there is no need for a Broker’s services. Established and well-respected website Directories have made public and free what was once private and costly. The very same Expert Witnesses are marketing their services with these online Directories and negotiating their own terms with no middle-man. According to Expert Witnesses, the most common dissatisfaction with Broker referral services is their ineffective means of collecting from their law firm clients. With the Experts in control, getting paid is getting easier.

The Expert Witnesses have it figured out. Why attorneys would pay exorbitant amounts for what they could get free of charge is baffling. It’s time for law firms to focus on the bottom line, fix what’s broken, and save thousands of dollars annually. Nothing else makes good business sense.

Marketing Platforms for Expert Witnesses and Consultants

Professional services firms may have all of the pieces of the puzzle, but if they are not in the right place, they are ineffective at best. For Experts and Consultants, sometimes websites rich in content and social media connections are simply not enough to build reputations and establish a market presence. This post is dedicated to professionals with all of the pieces but no real results to finish the puzzle. expert witness handshake

The fact is that expert witnesses and consultants may have a wealth of knowledge to share, but it won’t do much good if it can’t be heard above all of the social media noise out there. Increasing visibility and driving growth depends, more than anything else, on having a platform to promote your expertise. This platform must be uniquely positioned to enable the higher knowledge that experts and consultants possess to reach those to whom it can benefit most.

Fortunately, there is a solution. Experts.com is an established marketing platform specifically designed to assist professionals in building their reputation and getting results. Experts.com specializes in increasing visibility and exposure, which are paramount to survival in today’s ultra-competitive marketplace. Expert witnesses and consultants are encouraged to become members at Experts.com and market their services and expertise to thousands of users worldwide. The potential viewers are considerable, including attorneys, judges, businesses, insurance companies, the media, etc. Through Biographical Profiles, Members are encouraged to promote publications (articles, case studies, books, and more), place unlimited links to specialized website pages, and incorporate social media, thereby providing exposure to Experts.com’s followers on sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

To better target a professional’s market, Experts.com allows its Members to highlight separate profiles under the Expert Consultant Directory and /or the Expert Witness Directory, as not all Consultants act as Expert Witnesses.  Furthermore, the performance statistics for each profile, which can be viewed in real time 24/7, are tracked separately so that Members can see which profile is getting more exposure. Again, Experts.com’s goal in introducing these features is not just to increase their Members’ visibility and exposure but to do so in an effective, efficient, and economical manner.

Expert Witness & Consultant: To Advertise or Not to Advertise?

At the risk of sounding self-serving, we do believe that the following information should be shared with Expert Witnesses and Consultants for their benefit as well.

The age-old argument of whether it is best to advertise in lean or lucrative times has definitely been put to the test these last few years.  Those who understand the marketing industry would tell you that there should always be money in the budget for advertising.

Some Expert Witnesses and Consultants claim that they have so much business that they don’t need to advertise.  To this, great caution is advised – unless, of course, they have the all-knowing crystal ball.  As we already know, business is never static.  The engagements that one may be working on now will come to an end and there is no guarantee that the same profitability or source of income will return.  Confucius was not a lobbyist for the advertising industry, but in his timeless wisdom, he did profess that it was necessary to, “Dig the well before you thirst.”

The same holds true for the lean years.  Yes, budgets will be tighter and reasonably so.  It has been said, however, that if you are not advertising your business, you’ll be advertising that you’re out of business.  The Experts who spend a little to get their names out there have a better chance of making more during hard times.

Internet Marketing:   In his book, The New Rules of Marketing and PR, David Meerman Scott says that, “…Web marketing is about delivering useful content at just the precise moment that a buyer needs it.”  He goes on to say that advertising content must be built specifically for niche audiences, in this case, attorneys, the media, businesses or anyone in need of higher knowledge.  Expert Witness Directories target this specific niche.

Which Expert Witness Directories to Choose:  There are many different Expert Witness Directories out there.  Where to spend marketing dollars is a tough decision. Here are a few things to consider:

  • The Directory Should Be “Free” To The User
  • The User Should Not Have To “Sign In'” To Use The Directory Services
  • The Directory Should Be User Friendly
  • The Expert And Consultant Profiles And Contact Information (and possibly CVs) Should Be Visible To The User
  • The Directory Should Advertise In Legal & Business Venues
  • The Directory Should Not Broker Your Engagement Or Take A Referral Fee*

As it is part of growing and sustaining your business, advertising should be taken seriously and done professionally.  If done properly, it can be an affordable and effective way to help protect against hard times and maintain profitability in good times.

*It is our opinion that Expert Witnesses and Consultants should have direct contact with the client and control over the negotiation of their fees and services.  Fee mark-ups cost law firms more for Expert Witness Services, and, in this troubled economy, they are less likely to pay unnecessary fees.  Experts and Consultants end up pricing themselves out of the market with the mark-ups that brokers impose upon them.  Experts.com DOES NOT broker or mark-up the fees of its Expert Witnesses and Consultants.

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