This past fall, we ran a wealth of information in Arizona Attorney Magazine on the topic of law office management—software, hardware and more.

One tool I considered (but left aside) for our content-review was a social media tool that has gotten a fair amount of ink lately: Google+.

I am curious how many lawyers have made the shift into Google+, and whether that meant giving up on another channel? For myself, I opted in, but I have done little with my presence in the past six months (sorry, My Circles).

Today, I’m pleased to offer a guest post that explores the upsides to Google+ for lawyers. It comes from Denver-based Colleen Harding (her complete bio follows her post below). You can reach Colleen at colleenaharding@gmail.com.

After reading her post, please let me (and her) know about your own experience with Google+. And now, Colleen:

How Attorneys Can Benefit the Most from Using Google+

6 helpful tips for optimizing your online, professional connections

Since the inception of Google+ in 2011, the fastest social networking platform community in history consists of approximately 25 million users—and continues to grow by about one million users per day. Similar to Facebook, the Google+ platform lets users share information to optimize each individual’s personalized search results.

What does Google+ mean for well-known U.S. law firms? This platform offers direct interaction with a target community of individuals who actually have interest in the products, services, and information provided by legal firms—as noted via Google places as well as their specific Google search results.

Google+ offers attorneys the following six benefits:

1. Real customer profiles

Like Facebook, the focus of Google+ is individual user profiles—in other words your online brand or presence. Well the great thing about Google+ is that it’s mandatory to register for your user profile using your real name—which means you know you are interacting with a true-to-life human being and not some made up pseudonym.

2. Managing Google+ Circles

Another great aspect of Google+ is that you can build your customized social network community via Circles or common relationship restrictions that allow you to add a contact, like on Facebook, without their acceptance of any requests. You can add a new contact to the following circles—Family, Friends, Acquaintances, and Work—and then manage those relationships more precisely via preferences (i.e., so work colleagues can’t see everything you post). This means Google+ is more versatile than other social networking communities so you simply drag contacts into one Circle or multiple Circles and you don’t have to worry about them seeing your personal interactions if you don’t want them to.

3. Information targeting

Again, similar to Facebook, with Google+ you can share status updates, photos, videos are more. However, you can set preferences so only certain circles can see certain content. For legal firms, you can share an article, for example, and precisely select the distribution Circle for your information, which means you specifically target only relevant users so your posts appears in their Google+ Stream for them to read, comment on, and share.

4. Custom news feeds

Google+ offers users the ability to bookmark custom news feeds on a particular individual, business, geographical location, or keyword topic—similar to preferences in Google News. The custom feeds, known as Sparks allows users to find interesting and relevant stories on their interest areas, for example, law, and the potential for viral sharing is a plus too.

5. Profile recommendations

Attorneys can recommend their own lawyer profiles, websites, or blogs by simply installing the Google+1 Button extension for the Google Chrome browser to help them grow their professional network

6. It’s easy to grow your professional Circles

Finding other lawyers and legal professionals to grow your Circles is extremely easy with Google+. The platform uses the powerful search capabilities of the larger search engine to help you connect with like-minded folks in your industry, collaborate, and share resources and professional recommendations.

About The Author

Colleen Harding is a staff writer for Bachus and Schanker in Denver on topics relating to employment, labor and state law. Her passion for the legal realm started with a job as a Legal Aid and continued when she accepted a role as a Human Resources Coordinator for a mid-sized U.S. manufacturing company. She is also a member of Amnesty International as well as an active volunteer in her community.

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