Halloween Podcast Series Episode 6 – The “Social Media Serpent” and the “Rip Van Winkle”

Halloween Podcast Series <span>Episode 6 &#8211; The &#8220;Social Media Serpent&#8221; and the &#8220;Rip Van Winkle&#8221;</span>

Hello, this is Richard Jacobs with Speakeasy Authority Marketing and Jacobs & Whitehall. Today is day six of the Halloween broadcast of 13 podcasts. Thirteen is an unlucky number, because unfortunately, you have to hear about two of the 26 monsters that affect attorney’s law firms and attorneys themselves. There are client monsters, there are marketing monsters, there are family, friend, and staff monsters. Now, we are into the marketing monsters. We‘ve covered the client monsters.

Just to refresh, we have the ghost, the backseat driver, the nervous nelly, the vampire, the wimpy, the backstabber, the bungler, the narcissist, and the canary. Now, we are into the marketing monsters. We covered the branding barbarian yesterday.

Today we are going to talk about the social media serpent and the Rip Van Winkle of referrals. These two marketing monsters are pernicious, and they are out there. First, I’m going to talk to you about the social media serpent. The social media serpent is like the serpent in the Garden of Eden promising you that apple, saying, “Come on. Take a bite.” What they tell you to take a bite out of is social media, which I’ve seen is poison. You can see what social media does to you, your family members, people you know…how it makes them depressed and irritable.

They are like drug addicts having to check it all the time, and unfortunately, there are these social media serpents that are hissing about all the new metrics and all the new media and saying that the old ways don’t work so forget about them. Everyone’s on social media, you’ve got to be on social media, you’ve got to post on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Snapchat, and endless other channels.

This is an endless amount of work, and posting on social media is like trying to have a conversation with someone in the middle of a rock concert. There is so much noise around you, there are so many people screaming and hooting and hollering and signaling and posturing that having a conversation with someone on social media is impossible. You’ve got to get them off social media and onto your website, on their phone with you through text message, or on email; a quiet, private back room where you can have a chance at trying to get them as a customer. Social media can work, but the people who talk only about it and nothing else don’t know what they are doing. I’m sorry. Likes and followers, you can’t put them in the bank. Likes don’t become clients and they don’t pay retainers, nor do followers.

A lot of these stars have a million followers, 50,000 likes, eight million YouTube views, etc. It’s meaningless, and it doesn’t turn into business. It doesn’t turn into clients. I would rather have no Facebook presence, no social media presence, and save time, monies, and aggravation by using real methods that work to get clients, than look at the fake vanity metrics of followers and listeners and downloads. Again, you’ve got to realize these are vanity metrics. The social media serpent makes a lot of money on these things because they say, “Ooh, social media is really difficult and you’ve got to have the right branding and the right message, and you’ve got to Tweet and post and do videos constantly.”

You will end up on a treadmill of content creation, and guess what? If the social media platform doesn’t like you, they will flag you or de-platform you. This has happened to many attorneys, and it comes in waves. They had YouTube accounts for four, five, six, or seven years, when all of a sudden YouTube said their videos violate community guidelines.

What? They take them all down. We asked YouTube what happened and what was violated, and they responded with, “Oh, you violated our community guidelines.” We looked at the community guidelines and couldn’t find out why, and we asked them again, “What have we violated?” They said, “Please read the community guidelines.” It’s like a broken record. They couldn’t care less.

Meanwhile, all your videos are down. If they were embedded on your site, they all go to broken URLs and you are out of luck. If you haven’t kept your information, you are gone, de-platformed, finished, goodbye. As you probably know, just this past week, the social media platforms blocked the Washington Post. Social media have blocked Trump’s tweets. You may like him, or you may not like him; that’s not the point.

The point is that these platforms are very powerful and can use that power against people they don’t like or who go against their narrative or whatever it may be. Again, it’s not liberal, it’s not conservative. To you and I, it doesn’t matter what side we are on. They have de-platformed people, and if they de-platform you, you are finished. Using social media only is building on shifting sands.

All your platforms and everything can be taken away from you at a moment’s notice. It’s a horrible idea to stake your claim on social media because you could wake up and it could all be gone—dozens of videos, hundreds of posts, thousands of followers gone.

If you are going to use social media, make sure you back up everything so if they de-platform you, you have a copy. Get all the emails you can, all the phone numbers you can, and all the names you can. If you don’t have any of that stuff, you better find a way to get people out of the crowded social media room and onto platforms that you control, like your website, text message, email, phone, or your office.

If you don’t get your client’s information or your potential client’s info, you may never see them again. Then, you’ve got to go back to the well and pay social media to promote your post yet again. Be very careful with the social media serpents. It’s a Faustian bargain, I would tell you. Be careful.

Now we are going to talk about the Rip Van Winkle of referrals. Rip Van Winkle, as you know, is a fairy tale where he fell asleep for something like 100 years and woke up and didn’t know what was going on. It’s probably the opposite of social media serpents, the Rip Van Winkles. Referrals only; they are the best kind of client and I just deal with word-of-mouth only.

This may work in certain spots but it may not, especially in today’s climate where everyone is hyper-connected. People don’t have the same respect that they did for lawyers back in the day. I’m sorry, they just don’t. It doesn’t matter how good you are, people forget, they are busy, they are overstimulated.

Look at your own life; how much stuff comes at you? I’m lucky you listen to my stuff and I’ve been talking to you for years and years. I’ve been talking to attorneys for over 11 years. Every week, I get emails and calls from attorneys who say, “Hey Rich, I’ve been on your list for a year and now I’m ready to do [XYZ]” or, “Hey Rich, I’ve been listening to your stuff for three years and here is what is going on.” If I hadn’t been around and present in these people’s lives for months and years at a time, I would never get this business.

Back to Rip Van winkle. Referrals are wonderful, and they are usually good clients. Guess what? No one even has a system for cultivating them. Just sitting there and saying you’re going to depend only on word of mouth or referrals is nice but you are probably going to starve to death in the short-term because unfortunately, the world has changed. You can’t just depend on the belief that someone is going to remember you. You are going to need a newsletter that’s going to go out at least monthly through email, and probably physical mail.

You are going to need to call past clients and find a reason to do so. Maybe you need to update their will, maybe you have an expungement coming, maybe their marital status is going to change and it lets you help them with a family law case, or there’s new custody issues or changes. Maybe you did a real estate lease with them and now that lease is ending and coming for re-up. Maybe you’ve done business formation, and now they need more business-attorney type stuff.

You’ve got to keep up with people to get referrals; they are not just going to come to you. You have to have a system for this. How do you get people to refer without just reminding them and saying, “Hey, I’m alive, come back and see me.” There is a whole science to this. You can’t just be like Rip Van Winkle and say it’s like the 1950s and you’re going to do things that way because it just doesn’t work.

Anyone who holds onto that belief can’t be doing really well without multiple systems and multiple marketing methods, not just referrals. Don’t listen to the Rip Van Winkles that tell you of the good old days, because the good old days have gone. Things have changed.
Beware of these two marketing monsters.

Tomorrow we are going to go into more of them and I hope this helps you. I want you to be on the lookout for all these monsters. You can’t defend against all of them all of the time, but if you are aware of them, at least you have a fighting chance. Thank you for listening.

Richard Jacobs

About Richard Jacobs

My name is Richard Jacobs, and I've discovered quite a bit about the plight of solo practitioners and small, 2-5 attorney firms like yours these past 12 years.

I've come to understand the unique challenges in marketing ethically and effectively that attorneys face because I have:

  • Helped over 180 attorneys author their own practice area book and become the 'implied expert' in their practice area
  • Helped hundreds of attorneys successfully navigate Google's search algorithm changes, growing their websites from 2 potential clients calling a month to 4+ calls per DAY for some clients.
  • Interviewed and promoted over 507 attorneys nationwide, in practice areas such as:
  • DUI / DWI
  • Family Law
  • Criminal Defense
  • Bankruptcy
  • Auto Accidents
  • Social Security Disability
  • Slip & Falls (Premises Liability)
  • Real Estate
  • Estate Planning / Probate
  • Wage and Hour Claims
  • Expungements / Post Conviction Relief

Before you decide to invest in your marketing, it makes sense to first request your complimentary, custom, no obligation video website review.

Richard is the author of 6 books published on Amazon, Kindle and Audible.com

Richard is available for speaking engagements on direct marketing for attorneys and has recently spoken at the following legal conferences:

  • PILMMA (Personal Injury Lawyers Marketing & Management Association)
  • Las Vegas DUI Summit – Private event for DUI attorneys
  • New York Boutique Lawyers Association
  • Perry Marshall & Associates Marketing Academy (Marina Del Rey, CA)
  • National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL)