carl-heyerdahl-181868Does this sound familiar?

  • “I wrote a blog post, but no one called me to give me a case, so blogging must not work for business development.”
  • “LinkedIn is just a rehash of your resume, so it can’t work for business development.”
  • “Twitter is full of people talking about what they had for breakfast, so there’s no way I’m spending any time on there.”
  • “People only use Facebook to see what their friends and family are up to.”

Raise your hand if you don’t think social media works.

If you’re a long time reader of Zen, you’ll know that I’m a big fan of social media. I’m not here today to tell you that it’s the right tool for everyone – any more than I would tell you that public speaking or writing articles or attending networking events is the correct tool for everyone. But I AM here today to tell you that you’re asking the wrong questions about it.

All the time, I hear from my own lawyers, from marketers, and in the industry, people wanting to know whether anyone is “really getting business” from this “social media stuff.” 
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We are finally here at the “ugly” of the 2017 Super Bowl commercials – do you already have your list is mind? The first couple were really easy for me to come up with, and the last few were late additions after some extra thought was given to the crop of ads this year.

No need for extreme measures just Switch to Sprint!

https://youtu.be/w_8ms2RzSYk

Sprint, seriously?

The best that you could come up with after spending all of that money on this spot was the idea to fake your own death to get out of your phone contract?

Seriously icky and disturbing.

And while his family watches no less? Really? Just a no, all around.

We get it. You want to give us the message that it’s hard to get out of your phone contract. But is that really the reason you should switch to Sprint? Because it’s so hard to get out of your phone contract that you need to fake your own death? That’s the best you have to offer us?

Huh.
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Now that we’ve seen our lackluster list of “good” Super Bowl commercials for 2017, let’s dive into the ones that I thought weren’t so hot. The majority of spots made it into my “mediocre” category, so it’s harder to choose “bad” and “ugly” ads this year than you might think – but I’ve buckled down and come up with a few for you!

CURE Auto Insurance 2017 Super Bowl Commercial: Don’t Follow Too Closely

https://youtu.be/HrHpVdgynAA

CURE Auto Insurance has never made an ad I’ve liked, and this year is no exception. But I find this one to be especially disturbing. The message in this spot is the idea that you shouldn’t “follow too closely” – they’re an auto insurance company, so they’re banking on a double entendre. They literally mean that you shouldn’t follow people too closely in your cars (though they’ll protect you from people that do, is the brand claim), but the metaphor in the spot is people who “follow” you too closely on social media.

However, the ad comes off as really creepy and stalker-esque. Which real-life following mishaps can cause too. Differently executed, this commercial might have been funny. But instead, it’s a bit traumatizing – for anyone who has ever been harassed online and off, cyber- or in-person stalked, this ad isn’t funny in the least. And they’re an auto insurance company, whose message also gets lost in there somewhere too. Not only is it a big miss on the messaging, it leaves me with a negative feeling about the company, which is really not something you want to achieve with your marketing.
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Gratuitous photo of me with the winningest Super Bowl QB of all time
Gratuitous photo of me with the winningest Super Bowl QB of all time

It’s that time of year again – the time when football fans mourn the end of another season with the pigskin and marketing fans rejoice because the best and brightest (usually) bring out the year’s highlights for strong ad campaigns. Also, guacamole tends to abound, and when is that ever a bad thing?

2017 was a little bit different, and definitely in a bad way. We had a little bit of a warning, because advertising was down – Tim Calkins, Clinical Professor of Marketing at the Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University talked about some of the reasons for it in his post “Why Super Bowl Ads Are a Tough Sell in 2017.” And it makes sense. In seven years, ad buys for the Super Bowl have at least doubled in cost (really, NFL?), and that doesn’t take into account that companies now must create an entire social campaign around their 15-60 second spots. Where they used to have to draw only on their creativity for the ad, and perhaps a fully branded campaign around it (depending on the brand), they now have to consider both the social impact and the social engagement that the spots will generate – before, during and after they air.

This year’s crop of spots also saw some big names absent too – no Doritos or Butterfingers meant that we were already lacking some traditionally funny giants right off the bat. The tense political climate of the moment had a lot of people asking whether brands would play it safe, or take risks. In some cases, it had fans misreading the intentions of brands’ ads, because of the context of the environment. Overall, it was a ho-hum crop of spots – both on the good side AND on the ugly side. While I still have a few for you in the “ugly” category for next week, I felt like I was missing both the highs and lows of previous Super Bowl ads.

But without further ado, let’s look at my top five commercials for this year, and what lawyers can learn from these spots.
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Grunge cracked zombie virus concept background with some soft smooth lines

In keeping with our theme of zombies (this is the last post on this for a while, I swear), when last we saw our intrepid band of beloved Walking Dead characters, they were coming up with a plan to fight Negan and the Survivors. Without a plan, they spent much of the previous season just reacting to a bad situation – they thought they had all the information they needed on Negan, and took out one of his outposts, only to learn it was a small segment of his followers, and **spoiler alert** people died.

While no one is going to die without a content marketing plan, a rigorous, strategic plan can turn what is haphazard actions taken with fingers crossed into an efficient formula for building your online reputation into something that works for you. A plan combats the two issues we addressed with hit-or-miss content marketing last week,

  1. You’re a busy person who needs efficient marketing that works for you.
  2. Your audience is comprised of busy people who won’t hunt through tons of content to find the gems.


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Grunge cracked zombie virus concept background with some soft smooth lines

On all The Walking Dead quizzes I’ve taken, the results always show that I’m a Carol (TWD fans, you know what I mean).

But we’re not fighting actual walkers (or Saviors) – just the zombiefication of legal content marketing that’s been happening over the last couple of years as the patina wears off on our shiny new toy of content. Who’s with me?

This week, we’re looking at the second tactic that Shane Snow of The Content Strategist outlines in his piece for combatting content zombies, and that’s data – YAY DATA! 
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Grunge cracked zombie virus concept background with some soft smooth lines

17 million people watched the October 23rd premiere of the 7th season of The Walking Dead.

Although the show is wildly popular because of its writing and its character development, it’s safe to say that it’s also a huge hit because, well, zombies.

Zombies may not be the biggest threat facing our friends on TWD at the moment, but it turns out that zombie-thinking IS the biggest threat facing our content marketing efforts in the legal industry.

That might sound extremely dire, but hear me out – as we look at the saturation point we’re reaching with content (both in and outside the legal industry) and we look at the lack of care a lot of us are giving to the details over the tools and the shiny new thing, we’re just blindly producing more and more and more and more, adding more noise (as Adrian Lurssen would say). 
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A photo by Ben White. unsplash.com/photos/4K2lIP0zc_kLet’s try this one more time – I originally wrote this post last month – and let me tell you, it was great. Then, the internet gobbled it up, and as I hit “publish,” almost the entire post disappeared into the ether, never to be seen again. Since I was already limited on time that week while we were in the throes of last minute conference prep, you can imagine the angst that caused me – and that also meant that I haven’t been able to bring myself to attempt to resurrect the post until now. But let’s see if we can do some justice to the original and get you excited about using IG stories.

In August, Instagram rolled out their new “stories” feature, affectionately referred to as “Snapchat for grown-ups.” We’ve already talked about why you may want to care about this, and how you can use them, so today, I want to look at a couple of accounts who are using IG stories really well now that we’ve had a couple of months to figure them out and talk about what advice you can appropriate from their examples.
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photo-1467501556106-31d7a35cc25dNo one is more surprised than I am that one of my most popular posts here on Zen is “Instagram: How Lawyers Can Use it & Get Noticed.” I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – I really doubt that using Instagram is going to bring you business as a lawyer. BUT, I do think it’s an important tool for you to know how to use for two reasons:

  1. It’s another tool to have in your arsenal, and one you should know how to use, especially with its staggering usage statistics (plus, it’s fun to use and engage with).
  2. It’s fairly likely that your clients are using it either as individuals or as companies, so even if you, yourself, don’t use it, you should understand how it works and the potential pitfalls, to be a good advocate for your clients (that’s true for all social media by the way).

Since Instagram is such a hugely popular topic with my audience, I wanted to take a break today from our law firm of the future series to look at a few more tips about how you can stand out from the competition on Instagram. Brands are using it, which means that it’s not just for individuals, and you can get some great advice for dos and don’ts from taking a look at their behavior on this platform.

Kara Burney shares a great piece from the Content Marketing Institute, taking a look at what some of the biggest brands are doing with Instagram, and what that might mean for you. You may be interested to know that in three short years, we’ve seen an increased from 24.6% of Fortune 500 companies using Instagram to 50% using it in 2016. Burney followed their activity for a year to get us some great insight. 
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photo-1469013078550-305e63b7c8f7Back in February, we talked about how lawyers can use Instagram to get noticed. Instagram still continues to dominate when it comes to social media, and whether you’re using it yourself, or you just want to have a better understanding of how it works because your clients are using it, it’s a great tool. That being said, I still stand by what I said at the end of my last post:

In summary, while I doubt that Instagram is going to bring lawyers new business, it’s another tool to have in your arsenal, and one you should know how to use, especially with the staggering usage statistics that we see, and the new account-switching feature that will make it immensely easier for brands to use.”

Instagram continues to roll out new features to stay competitive with other social media tools, and one of those features is what we’re focused on today!
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