Browse ways to make your online content better.
This article aligns with the focus of the July/August issue of Strategies magazine: technology.
It doesn’t matter if you’re at a small firm, a mid-size firm or a large firm, because today, everyone is looking for the same thing. We’re all looking to keep costs down and maximize the latest technologies on the market that will enhance our marketing efforts and streamline processes, all while effectively engaging with our clients.
The good news is that you don’t have to sacrifice quality to save time or a buck. What follows are some really cool new apps and online tools that will help you differentiate your firm and give you a competitive edge:
- Canva: Social media posts with images gain more views and engagement, period. But the images must be correctly sized for social media. For all you non-designers out there, you can easily create and post a custom image to all your social media channels using my favorite free online design tool, Canva. This terrific site, which has an accompanying app for iOS and Android users, enables you to create perfectly sized social media graphics with (or without) your logo, and offers hundreds of pre-designed templates (or you can create your own from scratch). You can include text, as well, and create invitations, ads, headers, letters, magazines, resumes, presentations and even eBooks.
- Crello: In the same vein as Canva, Crello is a newer graphic design tool for creating social media, web and print images. It has 30 different formats and 10,000 free, ready-to-use templates for creating graphics (there are some paid options available for a nominal cost). Similar to Canva, you can create a graphic from scratch or use one of the site’s existing templates. One of its great features is that you can upload your own fonts and images, and then apply filters. The templates are grouped by size, so you can get images that are designed specifically for social media platforms as well as for blogs, cards, posters, flyers, ads and more.
- Unsplash: Consider this website your gift from the photography community. Unsplash is an online database of high-resolution, watermark-free images that are free for use fueled by a community that has generously gifted hundreds of thousands of their own photos. You can search the site by category to find an image that fits your photography needs.
- Infogram: This tool is my new best friend. It creates engaging (and interactive) infographics and reports in just minutes. Dip your toes by trying a free subscription, which gives you the ability to create up to 10 projects without spending a dime. If you find yourself hooked, a monthly subscription costs just $19 to create up to 100 projects.
- Ripl: This app enables you to take simple images and turn them into quote animations ― or, in other words, you can create Canva-like social media images, but with animated features. There is a free version and a paid version that costs $9.99 per month. (The benefit to the paid version is that it’s the only way you can remove their watermark on each image, and you can replace it with your own logo.
- PicMonkey: A great, cheaper alternative to Photoshop is photo-editing tool PicMonkey, which offers Photoshop-type options and effects like photo filters at a fraction of the cost (about $3.99 per month). PicMonkey is very easy to use, it’s web based and makes creating a photo collage very simple. While it offers many photo-editing options, it also comes with fully customizable templates, including a broad range that are already sized for social media and can be posted directly from its mobile app.
- Word Swag: Visual content is incredibly powerful, and the online tools that enable you to create it are getting better every day. You no longer need Photoshop or a graphic designer to help you create visually arresting content for your social media channels. Word Swag is an app that enables both iOS and Android users to combine beautiful typography and images right from their mobile phones.
- Missinglettr: If you have a blog (or multiple blogs), Missinglettr is a really great tool to help you create unique social media marketing campaigns that are spread out over the course of a year based on your blog posts. Using your blog RSS feed, campaigns are created minutes after you publish a blog post. Missinglettr also extracts different images from your blog content that can be used to bring your content to life. You review and approve each piece of content and image before it’s posted. I don’t know about you, but automatically turning blog posts into bite-size social media campaigns would be a huge time saver for me and my small internal team. This is a great way to remarket evergreen content. Also, Missinglettr pricing is very reasonable (there are three price plans and one of them is free) in comparison to other social media automation tools, making it a very appealing option.
- Typito: This app has been described as “Canva for video.” It’s a web-based drag-and-drop tool to create video explainers with beautiful typography, images and brand layouts.
- Anchor Videos: Android and iOS users can quickly turn audio recordings into animated videos that are optimized for social media. The word-by-word transcription syncs with audio, and the best part? It’s free! Food for thought: This would be a great way to repurpose a lawyer transcript from a press interview or a CLE presentation.
- Story Slicer: Split your long videos into short clips so that you can post them as stories on Instagram, Facebook and more. It conveniently saves them into your camera roll. The cost? A mere $1.99 in the app store. I personally think I’ll get a lot of use out of this one!
- Adioma: While not free (pricing levels vary, but plans are either $39 or $69 per month), this nifty tool enables users to easily create an infographic without having to hire a graphic designer. Simply upload your text and using generative infographic templates (the timeline, tree, grid and cycle), and this brilliant site will build an infographic to adapt to your text (so you can add as much content as you like). You can customize fonts, colors and icons, and add your logo or an illustration. The resulting infographic is then easily downloadable for posting to social media.
- Hashtagify.me: Popular and relevant hashtags can extend the reach of your firm and its lawyers on key social media networks. If your content is great and you use hashtags correctly, your firm can attract more followers. Hashtagify.me is a great, free online tool to help you find trending hashtags. It’s essentially a hashtag search/discovery engine that gives you some basic analytics to boot. Try it and thank me later!
- Tweetroot: This free iPhone app will enable you to create a tag or word cloud from a specific Twitter account’s tweets. Tweetroot pulls in a stream of recent tweets and analyzes what words are being used most frequently across them. From this data, it then creates a colorful collage that highlights the top recurring words in the tweets. Tweetroot has more than 35 color palettes and more than 20 fonts you can mix and match to customize your word clouds. When you’re done, you can easily share your creations via social networks and apps, including Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. It is currently only available to iOS users.
- Google Alert: This may sound basic, but don’t forget to set up Google searches on your top clients and prospects. These are free and give you great insights into your clients. Arm yourself with as much information as you can, and you will have an advantage over your competitors and demonstrate to your clients how much you care about their business. This can provide valuable information and give you reasons to reach out to them to congratulate them on a success or milestone, or send an article that touches on a legal issue they might be facing. Such timely touchpoints enable you to stay top of mind with important connections. Don’t let your clients/prospects forget you!
- LinkedIn: You may be asking yourself, “She forgot about LinkedIn?” Of course not! It just seems like such a no brainer to me at this point in time, but I will dedicate this bullet to reminding everyone about its merits. LinkedIn continues to be most important social media channel for law firm business development and professional networking. It enables you to quickly build and grow relationships, build your brand and stay top of mind with key individuals in your professional network. So, use it smartly and use it often. Connect with former colleagues and classmates. Share content that your firm produces or, better yet, you wrote. I have never seen it directly lead to new business more than I have in the last year. (Hint: Use the notifications section to give you reasons to be in touch with VIP contacts in your network ― information is power here!)
At the end of the day, every single social media marketing effort should be designed to support your firm’s business development efforts. I encourage you to try some of these tools out, and let me know what you think. Better yet, post to social about what you think!
Stefanie Marrone helps law firms effectively tell their stories and find their unique voices. Over the last 16 years, she has been working with some of the most prominent law firms in the world, developing and executing global revenue generating, business development, internal and external communications strategies, including media relations, branding, content marketing and corporate journalism, and multi-channel content marketing and thought leadership campaigns. Learn more.