The weary travelers are back! After collecting your most pressing marketing questions at the latest legal conferences, Gyi and Conrad are ready to answer you right here on the podcast. And later—you better learn how NOT to annoy your audience, because no one likes a spammer.
We at the Lunch Hour pod took down your marketing questions at Clio Cloud 2023 and MTMP, and the guys are ready to answer the first three of many! If you’ve been wondering about effective client meetings, social media positioning, and targeted referrals, listen in for Gyi and Conrad’s expertise.
Later, when is your marketing too much? There is a line, folks, and you definitely don’t want to cross it. The guys talk about marketing and social media etiquette and the stuff you need to think about when you engage with your target audience.
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Conrad Saam: Before we get started we’d like to give a huge thank you to our sponsors, Lawmatics and CallRail.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Conrad, it looks like you are back home from your epic adventure. Where in the world have you been?
Conrad Saam: I was in Atlanta where we got to record with Michael Mogill and I got to see you, which was amazing. And then I went to DC, to the DC Bar, and then to Virginia and then to Nashville where I got to see you again and the whole Lunch Hour Legal Marketing crew from Legal Talk Network. And then I went down to Mass Torts Made Perfect. And now I’m back home and it’s lovely. And I’m leaving tomorrow to go to Maine.
Gyi Tsakalakis: And are you taking hats with you?
Conrad Saam: I’m taking — that’s a nice hat that you have there, Gyi. Lunch Hour Legal Marketing has swag everybody. I don’t know if it’s schwag or swag.
Gyi Tsakalakis: I’ve always said swag.
Conrad Saam: Yeah, I think that’s appropriate.
Gyi Tsakalakis: We have swag and we’re giving it away.
Conrad Saam: Those of you not watching on YouTube, if you want to look as good as Gyi and myself, we will be giving away swag if you would like to ask us a question. So find us, send us a question, who you are, what you do and a marketing or technology question. And if we like your question we’ll send you a hat. If we hate it, we won’t. We’re not going to be giving away hats to bad questions. But bring us a good question and we’ll send you a hat.
Also, Gyi, I see you’ve got a lovely Lunch Hour Legal Marketing branded coffee cup. That’s beautiful. Did you send one to Adam?
Gyi Tsakalakis: Yes.
Conrad Saam: You did send one to Adam?
Gyi Tsakalakis: No, I only got one. I only got one of these.
Conrad Saam: All right.
Gyi Tsakalakis: And I will also acknowledge that you did a fine job of harassing people at ClioCon to get them to ask questions. And I think you just turned everybody off because now you said all their questions are stupid.
Conrad Saam: Well, what I’m doing is I’m kissing up to the people who do make it through the gatekeeper of good questions.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Ah, great. Good marketing. Well, besides hats and coffee mugs, what have we got on the show today?
Conrad Saam: As usual, we will start with the news and we always include AI in the news right now. Segment one, we’re going to answer some user submitted questions from some happy listeners who now are wearing a Lunch Hour Legal Marketing hat. And finally, I’m really looking forward to this segment. We’re going to do a segment on SPAM. We’ve called it A line in the SPAM when your marketing goes too far for your mom.
Gyi Tsakalakis: And to add to our long list of running dad jokes I’m throwing to music.
Intro: Welcome to Lunch Hour Legal Marketing teaching you how to promote, market and make fat stacks for your legal practice here on Legal Talk Network.
Conrad Saam: Welcome to Lunch Hour Legal Marketing. As usual, we’re going to talk about the news going on in the technology and marketing world for lawyers.
Conrad Saam: Gyi, there’s some cool news coming out of TikTok. Tell me what’s going on with TikTok ads and why you might see more of them.
Gyi Tsakalakis: TikTok is reaching out beyond the mobile screen. I love this because as we were doing the pre-show you were like, TikTok is just not for me. And I’m like TikTok disagrees because they are going to be showing TikTok campaigns on out of house advertising, including billboards, airports, gas stations, bus stops, side of the bus. TikTok is starting the Blade Runner revolution.
Conrad Saam: All right.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Do you think lawyers are going to do this? Do you think lawyers are going to try this, Conrad?
Conrad Saam: Absolutely. Absolutely. And you should, right?
Gyi Tsakalakis: No doubt. No doubt about it.
Conrad Saam: You absolutely should, making it easier to get out there. Now, I think the key here; sorry, we’re going from news to tactics right now, the thing to note here is that outdoor branded advertising only works in saturation. This is not something worthy of dipping your toe into. So either get in it with a big spend or stay out of it, because if you just dip your toe in, it is going to be like letting your kid’s college fund on fire.
Gyi Tsakalakis: You don’t think that you’re going to be able to do direct response free consultation on your TikTok billboard.
Conrad Saam: You mean that one-to-one. So what Gyi’s talking about is you walk past the billboard and it knows that you’re walking past the billboard and that you were on that website yesterday and you get the ad, right? Not impossible. Not impossible at all. At least the technology is there, so we’ll see.
Next up in the news, I had a great conversation with the people at CaptureNow; that’s Gary Falkowitz and Chris O’Brien. Chris O’Brien of Captorra founding fame. They launched CaptureNow just under a year ago and have now hit 100,000 inbound inquiries answered automatically with AI through their system.
And they’ve got about 125 law firms on the platform. If you are struggling with poor intake, and by the way, this is not a pitch, it’s starting to sound like an ad, if you are struggling with poor intake, you should look at… Anyway, I would recommend thinking about and thinking through automating that entire intake process. I did ask them like is this supposed to be an overflow solution or a replacement? And they really said most of the time it’s a full replacement for intake. And they do it with AI automation and they call it the voice bot. So check it out, 100,000 phone calls answered through CaptureNow to law firms.
Speaking of launches, Gyi, we were at the Clio Cloud Conference and they launched Clio Duo, which I feel like I’ve heard Clio Duo before a little bit, maybe the cousin. What is Clio Duo and why did it sound so familiar?
Gyi Tsakalakis: Well, Clio Duo is brand-new so I don’t know if anybody knows all of the things that it can do. But I think to me one of the most exciting things and I think we’re going to see this proliferate throughout practice management and a bunch of other legal tech tools is AI delivering insights and analysis on your firm data. So to me the most exciting thing is you’ve got practice management. You can say something like, hey Duo, show me what my conversion rate is from Google Ads in the last month. And again, the Clio Duo product people are like, well, it doesn’t do that quite yet, Gyi, so thanks very much. But I think that’s where it can go and be very interesting.
And as we talked about on our segment while we were at Clio, people are all over the map on trusting AI, the impact of lawyers using AI, what clients’ perceptions are of lawyers who use AI. But I think it’s undoubtable, undoubtable?
Conrad Saam: Indubitable.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Indubitable?
Conrad Saam: Certain.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Very likely that we’re going to see more of these AI tools and lawyers are going to find them to be really, really powerful beyond what we think of in terms of just publishing. I think that the inside stuff is going to be where the real magic happens.
Conrad Saam: And we’ve talked about this regularly. It’s not the data; it’s the insight to the data, right, and that’s where there’s — I think there’s a paucity of talent in actually finding the insight to the data as opposed to just here’s the data with a report.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Everybody can report on the weather, but very few people can predict the weather accurately, I don’t know, does that analogy work?
Conrad Saam: I thought you were going to say change the weather, which would —
Gyi Tsakalakis: Change the weather. There you go.
Conrad Saam: We want to change the future.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Change the weather.
Conrad Saam: Gyi, it was great to see you in Atlanta talking with Michael Mogill. Tell me about the experience because I’ve done that once before and, boy, boy, did they roll out the red carpet in a really good way for you and I.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Yes, really, really impressive, impressive team. Emily was fantastic. The facility, if you have an opportunity to go down there, it’s worth checking out. Michael was a great host and obviously extremely biased, but I think there were a lot of valuable nuggets in that conversation. We’ll make sure to put a link to the episode in our show notes, but check out the Game Changing Attorney Podcast, in particular the episode that Conrad and I were on.
Conrad Saam: Okay, this is not news but it is so quiet, we brought it up once before and I promise that every time this happens to one of my clients, I will bring this up as news so it hopefully moves into the news cycle and we don’t really like bashing. Actually, that’s a lie. I don’t mind bashing vendors who take advantage.
Gyi Tsakalakis: You love it. You love bashing vendors.
Conrad Saam: Lawyers of Distinction, I’m looking at you. No, Engage, Engage Chat. So a brief overview, Engage Chat, if they can determine that a chat is not fit for your law firm, they will refer it out through their lead buying program to other Engage clients, which would be — it sounds really great. And they market it as a finding more help for people that you can’t help and removing the costly time of intake. The problem is two-fold.
Number one, they don’t do a very good job of accurately defining that this is a client or a prospect that would not or will fit for your law firm. So occasionally they make the error of sending a referral out that is actually a client that you wanted, which is kind of bad.
Number two, that referral gets sent out to multiple law firms. So that client who has just chatted with your law firm is now going to get bombarded by inbound calls from lawyers wanting to sign them up. Not a really great experience.
And finally, they’ve opted all of their clients into this program with a very, very quietly opted those people in. So if you’re working with Engage Chat, I just had a client who lost a client because of this. It is not worth it. There’s lots of options out there. So there is news and a what’s the opposite of an endorsement, a non-endorsement?
And now that we have assured that internet brands will never sponsor Lunch Hour Legal Marketing again, we’re going to take a break. And when we come back, we are going to answer some marketing questions. Some people wearing hats from Lunch Hour Legal Marketing. We’re going to answer three of those questions when we come back.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Smart firms use CallRail to track where every lead comes from; TPC, LSA, organic search or even offline ads. CallRail tells you which channels drive your best leads.
Conrad Saam: CallRail even integrates with your favorite CRM or practice management tools to help manage your leads and see the ROI on your marketing investments.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Know exactly which marketing tools work. Plan start at $45 a month.
Conrad Saam: We recommend CallRail to every single one of our clients. Go to callrail.com/lunchhour now and try it for free.
Gyi Tsakalakis: If you’re like a lot of lawyers that we talk to, you’re trying to grow your firm but you’re having trouble doing more in a day than just managing your systems.
Conrad Saam: So what you really need is a simple system that can easily identify where your profitable leads are coming from, analyze practice performance and easily sync up matters.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Now I’ve got to admit, I’m both an investor and advisor to Lawmatics and the reason is I’m super excited what Matt’s building over there.
Conrad Saam: So you don’t have to change your entire system, Lawmatics easily integrates with MyCase, Clio, Smokeball, Rocket Matter and lots of others.
Gyi Tsakalakis: So take a test drive today with Lawmatics to make client intake easier, lawmatics.com.
Conrad Saam: Alright everyone, those of you who ran into Ali and myself at Clio or MTMP and are now proud owners of a Lunch Hour Legal Marketing hat, we’re going to answer three of those questions that you asked.
Michael Allen: Hey, it’s Michael Allen. I’m a lawyer in Charleston, South Carolina. I do commercial real estate and business law. Question, which is the more effective in client marketing meeting, a coffee or a lunch?
Conrad Saam: Coffee or lunch, Gyi, I’m calling from Seattle, the land of coffee, but we are Lunch Hour Legal Marketing, so I’m split here.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Well, the first thing I hear is the practice area. And so I think that that makes a big difference, maybe not specifically between lunch and coffee, but how you take those meetings. It’s all about the client, what does the client want to do. That’s the right answer.
I will say this though, if you’re able to find ways to do dinners with multiple clients, it’s not for everybody or referral sources, right, other professional services providers, you get an opportunity to cross-pollinate professional relationships in a networking dinner, so it’s kind of more that one to many kind of networking thing. But for a straight up client meeting, my answer is what the client wants to do. Coffee is convenient. People on the move, they’re willing to do coffee. So I don’t know, lead with the coffee and then maybe take it to lunch or dinner.
Conrad Saam: Totally agree on coffee, I mean because he specifically said client. I think when you’re talking about referrals and relationships, you’re doing lunch, ball games, that kind of stuff, but this is a client. Lunch kind of feels — it’s a little too intimate, and frankly, it’s too long, right? I’m thinking about the brand-new client coming in. We’re going to sit down for lunch. Am I paying hourly for this? It just feels like too much. I think coffee —
Gyi Tsakalakis: But not everybody drinks coffee.
Conrad Saam: Well, the good thing is I didn’t drink coffee until I moved to Seattle and you can’t do a meeting in Seattle without drinking coffee.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Decaf?
Conrad Saam: I don’t do decaf. I’m now all in. You know when we start these and Adam is like, let’s get some energy, I always preload. So I’m team coffee on this one.
Okay, next question, Mr. Lockwood.
Matt Donaldson: So my name is Matt Donaldson and I work for Silverleaf Legal Group as the operations coordinator and the question that I have is, is it better to position your socials around a person inside of your company or the company itself?
Conrad Saam: Great question.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Conrad liked that one.
Conrad Saam: I did like that one.
Gyi Tsakalakis: What do you think, Conrad?
Conrad Saam: Well, there’s a 101 answer to this and then there’s an advanced answer to this. The 101 answer is, it is always easier to be social as a person than a brand. People have stronger personalities by definition of the term and that’s easier to be social with than a brand.
However, this is the nuance. That is the 201 answer. There are some platforms, Facebook, for example, where the advertising opportunities really on those personal accounts are not as robust as what you can do with that branded account. And so I think you need to think through what you can advertise and how you can advertise and how you push that content out and what the limitations of the different platforms are for person over a brand. How’s that?
Gyi Tsakalakis: That sounds good to me. I mean at the end of the day if you’re doing social, you’re doing person in some form, you might do it under a firm account or a logo, but the people dancing on TikTok — law firms aren’t dancing on TikTok like the actual buildings, it’s the people that work at the law firms.
Conrad Saam: Alright. No buildings dancing on TikTok.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Yet, yet.
Conrad Saam: Yet, not yet. You just wait for the AI on that one, baby?
Okay, question number three, Mr. Lockwood.
Erin Gerstenzang: My name is Erin Gerstenzang. I’m a criminal defense attorney in Atlanta, and my question regarding SEO and in particular social media, if I don’t want the entire internet calling my law office, how do I target my leads for other attorneys? If what I’m looking for is referrals from other attorneys, I want to focus my targeting on that community as opposed to just the internet’s help desk.
Conrad Saam: Gyi, the internet’s help desk. I love this question and how she phrased it.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Great question Erin.
Conrad Saam: She’s tired of doing intake for people who are never going to hire her. That’s what I’m reading behind her question.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Yes. Well, the shortest answer is custom audiences, right? It comes down to targeting. But if you’ve got people who have opted in to receive messaging from you, if you’ve got people that are already in your CRM, places like LinkedIn, you can advertise directly to them there. If you’ve got a big enough list, you can do custom audiences on Google. Obviously email marketing in general, nurturing referral relationships with other lawyers is a great way to do that.
The flip side of this is this though, because the second half was focusing on who am I targeting in terms of the referrals, but if you want to filter better on the front end, right, if you’re the help desk for the internet, filter, right? Set higher initial consultations. Set filtering through forms. Set filtering through your virtual receptionist so that you’re qualifying the leads better before they get to you and take up more of your time to figure out whether they’re going to be a client for you or not.
Conrad Saam: Yeah, this is all about targeting, right? And this is one of the reasons that this can be so effective and why social can be so effective. I also think about just individually your personalized outreach. Like if you’re really trying to build referrals, the brand awareness is going to be insufficient if you are trying to get referrals from other attorneys. I think it’s a help, it’s an assist, but I don’t think it’s enough. And so I think you’re spending time and thinking through who in the — so LinkedIn is the obvious, obvious example. You can find attorneys who do these type of practice areas in LinkedIn. You can look at Avvo. You can look at all these directories and find what that list should look like and then how to reach out to them.
The thing that hits me, you said you are criminal defense, the thing that hits me immediately is immigration lawyers and criminal defense sadly often have an overlap of clientele. That’s a conversation that we don’t want to have nor solve on the pod, but that is a truism. And so I think you can be even more specific, especially if you’re spending time on that individual outreach by identifying those practice areas, and again, immigration, criminal defense, high overlap unfortunately, to build those relationships one-on-one because those referrals are going to take time. It is a long slog. It’s a small number of referrals that you need to put a lot of time into developing.
Gyi Tsakalakis: The other thing too that I feel like we got to mention here is that there is a whole — and you alluded to it, but there’s a whole messaging component to this, because you’ve got to “build” your referral personas. Some people are going to refer to you because they view you as the person who does this thing and they trust you. They know you’re going to handle this referral properly. Other people are going to refer to you because they like you, because they’re your friend. You went to law school together. Maybe you’re in the same youth sports thing with your kids, and so your messaging needs to reflect that, right? It’s going to be a much different message that you’re going to put out into the world.
If you’re trying to communicate like I am the expert on this thing and this one thing versus — I mean they’re not mutually exclusive. Some of your referral sources are because they think you’re the expert, some of them are because they’re friendly, but you really want to think about the different reasons why people refer to you. This is a big thing in the PI space, but gosh, it’s a lot more fickle than lawyers want to lead on. One day someone refers to you, the next day they go to dinner with somebody else, they refer to somebody else. The next day they refer to somebody else.
Anyway, keep that in mind. I think understanding the why’s and the how’s that people make those referral decisions is really important in terms of crafting your message.
Conrad Saam: And at the risk of beating this answer to death, I think we’ve given you four answers to your one question, so you might have to give back three-fourths of your hat, but thank the referrers. It’s so obvious and yet people don’t do it and it makes such an impression. The handwritten thank you note, the flowers, the gift certificate to the local restaurant, right, those things, it makes a difference.
And I would also argue that you should not only send that thank you when the referral turns into a client, right? You’re thanking them for referring someone, not referring a client, right? And that’s a point that I really, really strongly believe in. But do the thank yous, like your parents taught you better, but no one is sending those thank yous out, so do that.
Gyi Tsakalakis: I’ve got to say one more thing.
Conrad Saam: Go. Here’s five. You need to send your hat back and Gyi will send you his coffee mug.
Gyi Tsakalakis: This is a huge one. Keep your referrals informed about the status of the case. It’s a great way to say top of mind to show that the referral, the matter of the case, whatever you want to call it, is being handled properly, the clients are being handled properly, and it gives them a sense of encouragement that they made the right decision, right? Because they want to know, like hey, did I refer this person to somebody who actually is handling, is delivering a great experience, is keeping this client informed, and the more you’re keeping the person who referred you informed, it’s implicit that you’re keeping the client informed and keeping the case moving along and up-to-date. So that’s a really powerful one in terms of keeping that relationship nurtured.
Conrad Saam: Absolutely love it. When we come back we’re going to do a quick review of us and then we’re going to get into A Line in the SPAM when your marketing is too much.
Gyi Tsakalakis: And we’re back with another review of the show, fun and info coexisting in harmony. You’re fun, I must be info I guess, from iPad Hooligan five stars. Thank you iPad Hooligan.
These guys are smart, no doubt about that, but what makes the show great to listen to is the dynamic between them and the fun they seem to be having. We’re really putting on a great mask there.
You’ll want to come back for every episode to listen and learn. Thank you iPad Hooligan and thank you Conrad for making this show so much fun. If you like what you’re listening to, please do leave us a review, contribute at #lhlm. We’ve got hats, we want to give them to you, record a question, the question video gets you a hat.
Conrad Saam: Todd Verwer and Josh Hodges, hats coming to you in the mail as we speak. Thank you for being loyal listeners and questioners. Josh hit us up on TikTok, ask us a question on TikTok, we’ll answer here and throw it up on TikTok as well.
Gyi Tsakalakis: And now A Line in the SPAM. So we started talking about spam, I don’t even know why spam came up. Oh, it came up because of Conrad’s favorite thing on Meta, which is the @everyone notification. Conrad, why don’t you tell us for those that aren’t familiar with what that is?
Conrad Saam: So if you want to annoy everyone you know on social media, you can create a group and then every time you post something you can add everyone them and they will be notified. And they will very quickly learn to tune you out because nothing you say is interesting and you’re just trying to drive fake engagement. I hate the add everyone. I can’t imagine any case in which you have a sizable group of people where you have to notify every single person that something has happened. I just can’t.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Emergency alert system.
Conrad Saam: Emergency alert system would be great. Alright, fair enough, I take it back. So the government should use @everyone. Other than that, I mean — here’s the thing. The reality is the algorithms on social, they are designed to encourage and reward engagement, which is great. And @everyone seems like an easy way to drive more engagement, but it’s not, because people start ignoring it and blocking you. And so I find and this is thematically what we want to talk through here right now, the more scalable your marketing system is on social or anything for that matter, the more annoying it is and the less effective from a quality perspective it can actually be.
Now, it might be really effective in notifying a bunch of people at scale. So email spam for example from a scale perspective is fantastic, from a cost and scale perspective you can reach tons of people, but is the effectiveness really there and I will call that into question. Hear me Gyi, tell me where I’m wrong?
Gyi Tsakalakis: Well, no, I’m not saying you’re wrong, this conversation then developed into some other examples that we see. And one that comes to mind that’s similar is the tagging a bunch of people, right? So you write a LinkedIn post and then you tag a bunch of people and the idea is, is that those people get notifications and then they want to come and engage on your post. What do you think about that?
Conrad Saam: Well, again, this comes back to whether or not it’s actually relevant. And by the way, you and I do this all the time, right? You’re going to see this on Lunch Hour Legal Marketing when you hear this episode, you may first see it on LinkedIn or Facebook and invariably Gyi and I will tag each other because it’s relevant to me and Gyi. For example, if we answer a question from someone and we can find where they are on social we’ll probably tag them on that because it’s relevant to that person, which is great. But if you just tag 27 people in an attempt to get more distribution, more engagement eventually people stop listening to you, right? It is the Henny-Penny: The Sky Is Falling, no one listens to you because it’s not all that interesting and eventually you start to get ignored.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Well, so Nikki Black from MyCase; I’ve been friends with Nikki for over a decade, and she does these awesome legal tech roundups on LinkedIn and she tags me and a bunch of other people on the roundup and then she poses follow-up questions, doesn’t bother me at all. In fact, I’m grateful that she does it because it gives me a heads up that it’s going on. To me the nuance there is like I’m friends with Nikki. I don’t mind if Nikki tags me. It’s when somebody I don’t know is tagging me or even worse they’re tagging me with like some kind of offer or something, right, that’s just like rank spam.
Anyway, so tactical advice here is like look, you’ve got people you know that are in your professional network and you’re tagging them, I think there’s nothing wrong with it. But I think the other thing too is this goes back to a lot of the basics and like the social media etiquette stuff is like you’ve got to know your audience, like you’ve got to know who you’re tagging. Like, if they’re people that you’re friends with that you know aren’t going to mind, great. Even if it’s a friend who is like hey, can you stop tagging me? Don’t tag them again, right? Maybe with some relationships you want to ask in advance, I don’t know.
The other one that comes up in this context similar is this idea of the engagement pod or the follower network we talked about before. Conrad, you want to talk a little bit and explain to the good people what this is?
Conrad Saam: This is a hot button for Gyi.
Gyi Tsakalakis: It is.
Conrad Saam: And for a whole bunch of what I will call it, if you want to ever get Gyi pissed off, he got me going with ROI last episode, we can get him going with the follower network. The follower network is basically a paid opt-in where a circle of people, we used to have the link wheels, this is the link — well, most of you don’t remember link wheels because you haven’t been doing SEO forever, but we used to have link wheels, now we have these follower networks, and it’s automated, where there’s a circle of people that will rotate commenting on everyone’s other posts. They’re very easy to sniff out because those comments which do drive the algorithm are super, super generic and they will frequently be nonsensical to what is actually being said.
And if you actually spend the time to analyze them, you will see the same verbatim comment from one person to the next within that wheel over time, right? And so this is just outsource comment spam. And Gyi, I’m surprised, maybe I shouldn’t be surprised, but this feels pretty easy to algorithmically detect and yet we still see it.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Yeah, it works, and I think this is kind of the point of our segment here is like spam works.
Conrad Saam: It does.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Spam works until it doesn’t. Spam works until it becomes a professional liability in the engagement pod thing. And I’m going to put aside all the legal ethics stuff, right? If you’re a lawyer like is it false and misleading advertising to pay people to like your stuff or comment on your stuff without disclosing that? It’s arguably that it is, but I’m going to put that aside.
Conrad Saam: What if you’re a marketer Gyi, what if you’re a marketer?
Gyi Tsakalakis: Well, you’re not — so if you’re a marketer doing it on behalf of yourself, then you’re not subject to the rules of professional conduct, but if you’re a marketer —
Conrad Saam: Because you have no ethics, marketers.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Well, I made a push for a marketing code of ethics long time ago and all the marketers piled on me and were like you can’t do that. Anyway.
Conrad Saam: You want to call anyone out Gyi? You want to name anyone?
Gyi Tsakalakis: No, I won’t. But my point is, is that you see this stuff. I mean I get these emails, same as you do, same as all listeners do; in fact, there was one recently, it was like 50,000 followers and comments and it’s all real and all this stuff, or it looks real. It doesn’t look real. And so you think, you’re like look, I’m going to give this thing a try or like a marketing agency gives this a try, and your impressions go up, all these vanity, social media metrics start going up, but you’ve got to remember, no one is calling you and being like hey, I was looking at your comments and gosh, these look like you’re paying for them and like they’re coming in from all over the world and it’s on some video about your local, whatever, it doesn’t look authentic, no one is calling you to tell you that. Guess what they’re doing, as Conrad said, they’re just going to start to ignore you, and if they get annoyed enough about the whole situation, they’re going to block you.
And so the whole point of this thing, this Line in the SPAM is, is that, we get it. It’s competitive out there. You want to take a shortcut, but the harm to your reputation can be much greater than the increase in reach or the perception that you’re like this super-influencer. We talk about the same thing in the context of some of this generic social media content or it’s like — you see like, 10 different law firms who are using the same social media company posting the same social media because you feel like you need to be there.
Conrad Saam: Right.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Anyway, again, so what’s the takeaway here? It’s like.
Conrad Saam: Well, let me counterpoint this.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Yeah.
Conrad Saam: It does work, right? And this is so — you mentioned the followers, the paid followers. There are two ways to look at this, and they’re both relevant. Number one is the perception that you are an influencer. The sheer volume of followers.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Start your coaching service.
Conrad Saam: Ooh, ooh. Do you want to name anyone?
Gyi Tsakalakis: No.
Conrad Saam: I keep trying. I keep trying, Gyi. Okay, so at our next podcast, Gyi and I will be doing shots until Gyi gives up some names. I’m joking, maybe, but take the purchased followers. There is the perception that you are an influencer. There is the perception that you are good at what you do because of the sheer volume, right? And I cannot discount that. On the flip side, what actually happens, by the way, if anyone would like another 20,000 followers, please send me $100 and I will make that happen for you in 24 hours. Okay? And you’re overpaying, but when you —
Gyi Tsakalakis: I was going to say 50% off.
Conrad Saam: Gyi will give you the discount, a 100,000 or do it for 20,000,anyway.
Gyi Tsakalakis: I’ll do it for $1 less than Conrad offers on the show.
Conrad Saam: Excellent, excellent. When you do that, what happens to the algorithms and what actually shows up in those systems is they start to recognize that no one, from a percentage perspective, actually cares about what you’re talking about, right? And this is where you see those accounts that have tons and tons of followers and yet really, really limited engagement because the people who care about what they’re talking about aren’t by and large in Uzbekistan, right? And that’s where these things do not turn into clients. Now, so there’s a flip side. There is an upside in the perception that you are an influencer somehow have been saying lots of very, very witty, interesting things over the past, so someone may choose to follow you. On the downside, I think this actually hurts you algorithmically in performance on the social networks. And I keep looking at a small number of my — well, they’re not just my clients, but law firms out there that have a small, albeit amazingly successful, social presence because it has been really organically driven by local engagement. You’re never going to do crazy numbers of followers locally when you have targeted effort but when you do it, you get the clients from it. When you do it correctly, when you have that small group of super-engaged people who have affinity for your brand, you actually turn them into clients and that’s the game anyway, right? No one has retired on their number of followers.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Yeah, again, there’s a bunch of other SPAM tactics we could talk about. I do think it’s interesting too that there’s a certain amount of legislating for taste in some of this because some people, they just don’t care, right? They’re not looking into it. They expect that there’s a certain amount of fakeness, the fake reviews, fake engagement, lead gen in Google business profiles, cold email outreach, but some people don’t. And so again, for me, on balance, the cost benefit of the reputational harm from it just isn’t worth it, I mean, I say that and some people will say, “You know, look, it’s working for me. I’m actually generating business, I’m selling my coaching program, I’m getting guests on my podcast, or I’m becoming a guest on other people’s podcasts because I got this cold outreach going on.” But I think in long-term that’s where it comes back to potentially bite you because people do, they see it and they say, “Hey, you know, look, if you’re willing to do this, like it’s at least some indicator of your willingness to mislead people in some way.” And so I would say be your authentic self and like Conrad said, it just tends to work better anyway in the long run.
Conrad Saam: And I think the key here is Gyi said, “cold outreach”, scalable cold outreach. The beauty of this is like it’s actually cheap to do, right? So from a cost-effectiveness perspective, that may actually turn into something great. Having said that, we get hit up, Gyi, once/twice a week from cold outreach to have a guest show on the podcast, which means A) they don’t listen to the podcast because otherwise they would know we really don’t have guests on here and B) like, we don’t know these people, and the people who are being pitched would do much better job of spending three-six months building a relationship with one of us, at the risk of trying to create the roadmap to be a guest on Lunch Hour Legal Marketing, which we’re probably not going to do because it’s been a Conrad and Gyi show as opposed to the guests pitching themselves show.
The way to do it is not through cold outreach. I think someone who spent time, and again, I don’t want them to make this about us, but spend the time and if you want high quality building those relationships over time is how to do it as opposed to cold outreach. All right, we’ve gone on too long.
Gyi Tsakalakis: And as Conrad mentioned, we are unfortunately out of time for today’s episode. Thank you to our longtime subscribers. Thank you to those who have submitted questions and have now received a beautiful Lunch Hour Legal Marketing hat. If you haven’t subscribed, please do check us out on YouTube and Apple and Spotify and a bunch of other podcasty type places. We do appreciate you listening, and we’d love to hear from you. Until next time for Lunch Hour Legal Marketing, Gyi and Conrad, farewell.
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