William (Bill) Hurst is an Indianapolis personal injury lawyer. I have watched Bill engage with me and with many others on Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social networks and have been impressed with how active and effective he has been. Some time ago, I asked Bill if he would be willing to write a guest blog post about his experience with social networking. Bill didn’t write a guest blog post, but he did email me about his experience and I asked him if it would be OK to post it here to share with our readers. Here is what Bill wrote to me:
I doubt very seriously if my experience would be very helpful to any of your followers/subscribers, but it is true that my social networking has been rewarding. Let me give you a little bit of my history. I was heavily engaged in advertising through the late ‘80s, early 2000s on TV and was on the back cover of the Yellow Pages. In the late 90s it became clear that the internet was the future and we created a website and hired numerous people to optimize it, etc. We were spending about $10,000 per month and getting nothing in return. It became an area of disagreement with my partner and I because he continually contracted with companies who really were promoting themselves and not us. (FindLaw, was one example of this.) I stayed out of it and knew very little about promoting our website.
In 2009, my partner and I split up and I made the mistake of giving him the website and kept the telephone number. I set up a new website which has morphed into my current website. So in 2009 I found myself on page 30 of Google. At the time I had very little knowledge of how you promote your website (as well as an inability to type). We had never blogged, never tweeted. We had no idea of what “LinkedIn” or “AVVO” etc. were. I talked to several companies about blogging, reviewed the kind of work that they did, and the content was neither good nor interesting. I looked at what other local lawyers were doing on Twitter and noted that they were saying nonsensical things like “I’m at the Court”, “now I’m in my car” (no one was on G+ then) and I decided to try to do it myself after reading blogs about the merits of social networking.
I opened a Google account because I knew Google would certainly favor their own and tried to figure out what a “circle” was, which took me a week or so. I stayed on topic and looked for people who were interested in legal information and luckily early on ran into Michael Ehline and all the people who you and I network with. This was all 2-1/2 years ago. Currently on Google I’m in several thousand circles (of which about 650 on occasion share my posts and/or plus). On Twitter I have about 2,500 followers (about 50 re-Tweet and engage, but for the most part they are G+ friends).
I have no doubt that doing this myself while time consuming has led to better results than I ever could have achieved with some of our local “experts”. Fortunately for me, other personal injury lawyers in the area are only engaging in social networking to a minor degree. A couple of the law firms that I’m very friendly with have hired college students to network for them and they’re doing an awful job. If it hadn’t been for people like you, I never would have been able to achieve what I have achieved. I’m on page 1 on a number of keywords now and have been for over a year. Only recently did I hire someone to help me obtain some backlinks but prior to that I did all that myself. So, Dan, the message really is that I had no special expertise or knowledge. I learned as I went and just used my common sense. I looked for and engaged with social networkers who seem to be successful in what they’re doing. I’ve attempted to cultivate relationships with these people and learn from them. I’m still learning.
~ Dan Goldstein