Joey Vitale is a trademark attorney (also known as a “brand legitimizer”) for online entrepreneurs, emerging thought leaders, and course creators.
With his law firm, his courses, and podcast Joey helps online business owners call legal dibs on their brand name and signature methods so they never have to worry about losing their brand overnight.
Today we share his presentation, “Building A Tribe Through Social Media” from MaxLawCon 2018.
Watch the presentation here.
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Transcript: “Building a Tribe Through Social Media” with Joey Vitale
Run your law firm the right way. This is the maximum lawyer podcast, podcast, your hosts, Jim hacking and Tyson metrics. Let’s partner up and maximize your firm. Welcome, Judy show.
In today’s episode, we’re throwing it back to a presentation from Max law con 2018 July, Vitaliy shares his presentation, building a tribe through social media, let’s get to it.
I’ve got three pictures that I wanted to start off with. And by the way, this isn’t me on that mountain. So this is the first picture that I wanted to show everybody. I think that this is the Grand Canyon. At least that’s what Google tells me. I’ve actually never been, but my wife has. And after we got married, we were looking through some old photos. And I saw this photo of her and an ex boyfriend in front of the Grand Canyon. It was beautiful. But we had been married for a while. And I could tell that it was a fake smile. Like, you know, one of those, like Amphion smiles. And I was like, Ooh, like, why aren’t you happy in this picture? And she was like, Oh, it was awful. We fought the entire drive there. I basically knew that I was going to break up with them and then had to suffer through the rest of the experience. And it just ruined the whole trip. I mean, it was beautiful to see it. But yeah, it it was just an awful experience. And that kind of put a nugget in my head of this truth that if the journey sucks, the destination will probably be a letdown. This is the face of a guy who is really scared doesn’t really get himself into. So in 2014, I graduated from this law school. Yeah, I was really scared because I just I had started to realize that I was on this path that I had set for myself. And I wasn’t liking the destination. I had said yes to a law firm. Finally, and I was looking around the room at that law firm. And there was nobody in that firm whose lives I wanted. Next neck third picture. So this is me in 2018. Not a Grand Canyon smile. It’s a genuine smile. Since 2014, I’ve come quite a long way in kind of realizing the type of law that I wanted to do, and kind of re steering that journey that I was on so that I would like the destination I was heading towards. As Jim said, I’ve now got a Facebook group. It’s kind of hard to see, but it’s just over 7000 members, creating small business owners. I’m a trademark attorney. I work with a lot of Etsy sellers, handmade artists, wedding industry clients, and so I’m going to unpack how that happened. So we’re gonna get into how I have built a tribe on social media. But before we get into that, Jim, raise your hand if you’ve ever been to a timeshare seminar. Okay, so excited. So my my mom who’s like the best person ever, she’s actually here today. We have a timeshare in Cancun. And every couple of years, we go to Cancun, and one of my seven kids has to go with my mom to sit down with a timeshare. And it sucks. You already have the timeshare, you’re already there. They’re trying to upsell you all of these things. And they’re just really hard selling you on the stuff that you don’t want, and you’re trying to enjoy your vacation. I’m not here to sell you. This is not going to be a timeshare session. What I am going to talk to you guys about might not apply to you and your law firms as much as it has worked for me. But I hope that there are a couple of gems that you can take away from this. And going back, I don’t really know how this happened. And I don’t know if I could repeat it. But we’ll get into the process of how I started. I can now confidently say that I’m not your average attorney. But for a long time, that was negative self talk. I went to law school, it was really hard, did not expect the ranking system. So that was super stressful. I had a couple of you know, I’ve worked really, really hard so I could get those things around my neck congratulation time. But I felt like I was always a less than attorney. And that that made me not average. And I think a way that really captures that is my commitment to being a joey as a lawyer. I’ve been called Joy my whole life. And when I was in law school and started practicing, people were pulling me to the side whether it was family members, law school faculty members of my firm saying, Hey, Joe, or are you sure? You know, we’re putting something together for you? Are you sure you don’t want to start by going Joe? Because Joe is probably not going to track super well in the courtroom like you want people to take you seriously. And the reality is I’ve always been more of a natural Peacemaker. I’m one of seven kids. So again, thank you to my mom and I’m in the middle So for the most part, I play Peacemaker. There are a couple of siblings who we fought a long time ago. But now we all get along. But in general, I hate fighting. I also like really overly formal settings. Anybody who’s gone through law school knows that you have to go through all of these networking things. And you don’t really know how to network very well, and you’re all so trying to get a job. And so you’re trying to be who they want you to be, which can be really hard. If you’re like me, and you’re not a sports fan in St. Louis. I’m not saying that that’s good, or that’s bad. But every time I would go to these events, I’d have to pretend like I liked the Cardinals. So hopefully, they would hire me. And again, I kind of Kate conflict. So the more that I was in the courtroom, the more that I was doing opposition research, the more I realized, this is not going to be a good fit for me. And and again, for a long time, I thought that all of these things that me being a peacemaker, me not being a very formal person may or may not really liking conflict at all, I thought that those were weaknesses as an attorney. And it took a long time for me to figure out what to do with that. So very, very long story short, I decided to leave that medical malpractice law firm, without really a plan B in mind, started co working, working up counsel with a couple of different attorneys started niching down working with startups than with small business owners eventually got the confidence to go out on my own. And I like to say I jumped in entrepreneurship. But the truth is that I belly flopped into it. And it was painful. And it was really hard. And eventually, I realized, you know what, I think that there’s this niche that I can serve. There are these awesome people on Etsy who are who have really turned a hobby into a business. And they don’t really have any legal protection setup in place yet. And I think that I can do that really well in a way that other attorneys aren’t doing. And since I said yes to that, it’s just created some some awesome things. So again, there’s the Facebook group that has over 7000. Members, I now do a weekly show with Mitch Jackson legal our dot Live, which actually has so much traction at this point that we’ve been getting messages, because we missed yesterday saying, Hey, we were waiting for the show yesterday, what happened. So being able to go on an interview with with a mentor and friend of mine is just amazing. And it’s not just that I have a group, it’s also really engaging. So you might not be able to read this, but the group isn’t just about legal stuff. So I wrote my wife and I fight about this constantly. It’s a really important issue. How do you define a few, three year more, or two or more, I got over 700, people pulled over 110 comments. And you can see that I was in the far minority. My wife is always right. But if you don’t think that a few is two or more, you haven’t taken the bar recently, because that’s how they teach it. So I am technically right, but I can give her the when one thing that I’ve learned is that traditional marketing has lied to us. Traditional marketing tells us that we have to market our firms that we have to market our companies that we have to tell people what their value is, and how great of a company we are. And I think something that a lot of people, you’re here because you realize that that’s not the truth, you understand that it’s about the humans behind the business. It’s not just the business as a whole. And you don’t just want to be this where you can plug and chug anybody’s face into, you know, a backdrop of a bunch of books. So, the cool thing about this space is that Jim and Tyson are doing this so well and they’re doing it both professionally and humanly so so Jim’s got a video on b2b Visitor Reese’s to the US with over 60,000 views on YouTube. Tyson’s got another serious video with over 10,000 views. I’ll let you guys fight over that later. I know that you like to compare each other’s views. But they also show off their human side. Jim’s got a vlog and Tyson has a video that’s called horses question mark.
I didn’t actually watch it. I just thought the title was really funny. But here’s the really cool thing is that every single person who’s speaking at this conference understands this. So this is every single speaker is either homepage, or really easy to find social media presence, showing off their photo. And when you go on their site, when you look them up, you understand that there’s a person behind the company. I think that’s awesome. So social proof is more than just singing your own praises. we all we all know that we all know the importance of testimonials really quick. I wanted to show you guys I know that Jim and Tyson do their tips and hacks of the week in their podcast. This is something that slack does that I just saw yesterday that I thought was brilliant. And I’m going to start stealing as quickly as I can. What they do is on their website when they have their features list of you know what they’re what slack does, what their features are. They explain what it does, but for every single thing Make sure they also have a testimonial. So it’s not just them tooting their horn. And I think that’s a really smart way of using testimonials to say, you know, not only are we good law firm, but we’re also responsive. And here’s a testimonial saying that we’re responsive. You know, we communicate on time we all these other things that we say that we do that makes us better than the other law firms, and then having testimonials that prove that I think that’s really cool. So the truth about building a tribe is that it won’t necessarily make you money, I polled my group. And so I know that over 90% of them are making 20 to 30k, in their business for the year. And so they probably don’t need an attorney for this hobby that they have. But I’ve created a following among them nonetheless. But it will make people remember you. And John Fisher, if you haven’t read his book, however, system, it’s amazing. And somewhere in your book, John, you talk about this, this problem that a lot of attorneys have, where you can give them the best service ever. And right after it closes, they love you. Then two, three years later, the topic of you know, if that story of that lawsuit comes up, and they can’t remember your name. That’s what having a social tribe on media can accomplish. So and this is what I mean, I’m in a number of Facebook groups. This isn’t from mine, but somebody asked in another Facebook group, hey, I got this question about trademarks. And one of my clients said, it says Joe is the guy to talk to about trademarks. And then I respond. And then another client said, Yes, second, Joey, I spare Joey for. And all of these are either clients, or people who are part of my tribe, who are promoting me, really without me having to do any work, because I have this tribe on social media. And I’m going to show you guys kind of how I got to do that. And you might be thinking, Joey, that’s cool. But this is probably not going to work for a practice area. And that’s, that’s okay. It, this might not work for you. But what I’m trying to do, and what I hope I can do is really just pull back the curtain on how I did this. Again, I’m not here to tell you, the first thing you have to do is find your niche. And Jim, I got to another slide here. So the important thing that I think attorneys don’t understand is that a niche is not a practice area. So what I advise you guys to do is to look back on your recent 10 clients, and pick three of them that you’ve liked the most, that you really enjoy working with. And then try and figure out what the commonalities were there. What do they have in common? Are they men or women? How old? Are they? Do they have kids? Do they not have kids? Are their pets their kids? Are they new parents? What are their hobbies? What are their public concerns? And then you use that to find your community. And again, this is this is what I’ve done. The nice thing about Facebook, and I’ll get into this later, Facebook is a really good social media platform where people like to be entertained, but they also like to be educated and they’re looking for answers. So So go and find five Facebook groups, try and find them. Some that have over 2000 members in them that are based on that niche of that commonality that you’ve found, either a passion of yours that they also have, or you know, it’s okay if you’re not your target market. I am not a six year old woman on Etsy. And then just spend a full week listening and engaging Here are four groups that I am a part of actively. The first is called the rising tide society. It was made by a woman named Natalie Frank, who was a photographer and calligrapher, who, after running her business for several years, realized that she felt very alone and isolated, and that she knew that there were other people across the country and across the world doing similar things. But there wasn’t a community for them to get together and share their stories and be better at business. And so she built a community called Rising Tide society, rising tide lifts all boats, and now pretty much across the country and across the world. They have monthly physical meetups as well as this digital community. So I’m in there, I’m in the dubsado community. dubsado is a CRM tool specifically for creative small businesses. So it sends out really beautiful contracts or electronic signature, that you know, graphic designers, photographers love to be able to send something that pretty, and then it also have workflows, tasks, all of that. Again, it’s a growing group and it’s really active manifestation babes, one of my clients, she makes money somehow on just going live pretty much every day and talking about the importance of manitech manifesting and vision boards and really helping business businesses think and dream big about their business. And that’s got almost 50,000 members at this point. And then hoop mama designs one of my favorite clients, she created a really successful business that sells digital Have a design work. And so this group is where she, she educates, and builds a community around teaching others how to do what she’s done. So find those groups just to listen. And then when you start engaging, start with a service. So search in the group, if you can for legal questions in your practice area, if you can find them respond with a thoughtful, and human comment, do not ask for a call right away, or drop links super quickly look at recent popular threads. And the nice thing about Facebook is that there can be a post from 2016 that asks about your practice area or whatever. And even though it’s not recent, if you add a comment, then all of a sudden, that bumps up to the top of that newsfeed in that group. So you can bring like a dead thread to life by commenting on it. And soon and again, this is what happened, like I showed you earlier, there’ll be tagging you when people ask a legal question, because you’ve become known as that person in the group. Who is the go to person?
Hey, guys, it’s Becca here. I’m sure you’ve heard Jim and Tyson mentioned the guild on the podcast and in the Facebook group. That’s because we’re seeing some really exciting things happening with guild members and their businesses. The Guild is this perfect mix of a community group coaching and a mastermind. Inside you’ll gain support, tap into a network of connections, and continue learning a common theme among successful entrepreneurs. There are so many benefits inside the guild, including weekly live events and discounts to all maximum lawyer events, head over to maximum lawyer.com forward slash the guild. Check out all of the benefits and watch a few testimonials from current members. Investing in a community is like the self care of business ownership. Being in a community with other people who get it is crucial when you’re creating a rock solid foundation to build your business on one that’s strong enough to withstand setbacks, transitions and growth. So head to maximum lawyer.com and click on the guild page to join us. Now let’s get back to the episode.
So here’s a really good example. And this happened April 30 of this year, somebody says trademarks who’s got them? Do I need one? Is it difficult? I love insights from the bosses who have navigated this before. Thanks, 1,000,001 of my friends said Joe is your human. I love that. And then she said yay, I had some stuff. The next slide, we’re going to really dig into kind of what I did here. So the first thing I did was I wrote a longer post, and then I provided a link. Thanks so much, Joey. A couple of people said that they you know, that were vouching for me. I said thanks to them. And then she said any as a cute dog. Come on. Now, this is kind of dissecting that thread. So I responded with a customized, empathetic, valuable and human response. This wasn’t something that just was copied and pasted from a blog post. I thanked the person who recommended me. And then I mentioned the person who asked the question, I had a couple of tidbits. And then I provided a really powerful resource. On our site, we have an FAQ page that we organize, like almost like a table of contents of all of our blog content. And so every time we have a new blog post that’s out, we update this FAQ page. And it’s compartmentalized. So depending on whether you have a trademark question or LLC question, they can look find it and we have a short answer, and then a link to the longer answer and a blog post or a video. And so she says, Thanks, again, social proof, it’s important to always say thank you to the people who are vouching for you. Because that reinforces them doing it in the future. And then if they can add something fun and human about you like the fact that you have a dog, that’s a really nice bonus, yeah, it’s asked out into law.com. So it’s, it’s a static page, where I basically have compartmentalized the different types of legal questions, breaking them off into sections. And then if you go there, you’ll see it, I do need to update it. But basically, it basically says, here, here is either a list of places to go, if you have certain questions that you need to ask, or more likely, if you just started a business, and you don’t know what legal questions to ask, read through this. And here’s the most popularly asked questions and the answers. And so it’s just like section and then in a bullet form of questions and answers and links. So real quickly, I just wanted to dig in on this point. I think it’s really important. I think, as lawyers, we tend to really like issue spotting, and just giving answers. And the problem with that is I think that at the end of the day, they don’t really want an answer as much as they want to be listened to and heard. And so it’s really important not just to say, here’s what you should do, because that doesn’t create a relationship. So I ended it saying, you know, find an attorney who you like and trust, and you try and be thoughtful and kind and not just jumping to what the answer is. This just breaks down more kind of what this was. Again, if you couldn’t see it before, so again, more social proof people saying that they’ve worked with me. And again, it’s because I’m working with those people in those groups that they know me. And then I just, this is just my excuse to put a picture of my dog, Mr. Feeny for being more than attorney who practices fill in the blank. So I recently started working with a social media expert on Instagram, raise your hand, if you’re on Instagram. Raise your hand if you feel like you don’t understand what you’re doing on Instagram. So we started working, and he was like, Joey, I think it’s important for you to be on Instagram, because part of what I’m working on is, is speaking at conferences with a bunch of creatives in them. And those types of conference owners really liked seeing really highly engaged Instagram presences. And so he said, Well, do me a favor, do some research, try and find some attorneys who are really crushing it on Instagram. And what I found out was that there really aren’t any attorneys that are crushing it on Instagram, as attorneys, with Mitch kind of being the exception to the rule. But But what he said was, Joe, we’re looking at your past posts, we’re looking at, you know, you’re giving legal tips, you’re doing other stuff. But the stuff that people are liking the most are pictures of a sorry, if you can go back of your wife and your marriage, I guess, you know, I have an older following. And so they like knowing that I’m like a good kid, and that I love my wife. They love pictures of your dog. And they they love it when you talk about your your family and your Sicilian roots. And so those are your three types of content that you put out on Instagram. And then yeah, yeah, yeah, one of my clients, the other day came, we were talking about things and they said, Joey, I feel like when I work with you, like You’re like my nephew, who comes over and picks up the computer, and that really is the type of relationship that I have with with my clients. But you’re right, I need to add more of that to and like, like Mitch said, there’s a way to tie those pictures or the like the starting point of those topics into your practice, and why you’re a lawyer, why you do what you do. So so we can get started. Again, here are the four big Steps Find your niche. Again, it’s not just a practice area, find your community, I found it to be especially effective on Facebook, start with a service. Yeah, and be more than just an attorney who does acts. And again, going back to John in his book, The real value of having a social tribe like this is that you you won’t be the attorney that they can’t remember. So I’m giving everybody homework, I was gonna give you guys a minute to do it. But go ahead and just text Hi, Joey and your name to this number. And I am really excited to connect with all of you. Funny story about Jim. So I listened to Tyson and in Jim’s podcast for a couple of months. And then eventually we met up. But on the podcast Tyson, you always call him Jimmy. And we’ve talked about this. And so the first time we met had a bradco. Jim got there first. And I was like, Oh, hey, Jimmy, he goes, it’s Jim.
Last slide here, this is something that I’ve learned for myself and with the business owners that I work with, is that you have to love yourself more than you love your business. And I think that this aligns really well with the whole maximum lawyer community, because we realize that being a maximum lawyer isn’t just about being the best, most profitable attorney that you can be. But also having, having that be what allows you to have the life personally and professionally that you want. And if you can have that mindset of I want to love myself more than my business that can really help inspire some things about you know, what is it that I love about myself more than my business. And that’s your differentiator. That’s what you then promote on social media. That’s what makes these people follow up, fall in love with you and become not just clients, but fans and part of your law firms family. And that’s it. Any questions? Yeah, that’s my brothers. I recently moved to Chicago. And so again, this is just hopefully like a conversation Ender. Where people can say, hey, Which team do you root for, and I can just point my finger and then it’ll be done. As a trademark attorney, by the way, for those of you who don’t like sports, if you go to any type of sporting place, there’s a fun trademark game you can play called Find the trademark registration. Most of all of the advertisements are registered trademarks, which means that they should have circled are after the name of the business. And so it’s a cool way of seeing what businesses have registered trademarks. Mitch. Yeah. Thanks, Mitch. So, yeah, so I learned very quickly that the reality of that community that I was quickly building, they weren’t all ready to buy, and they didn’t all need to buy. And so I very quickly realized, you know, I think that my law firm will be more successful if I’m transparent about the fact that the legal things that my law firm provides her not foundational legal needs, but there are probably more foundational business needs that this group needs. And so I started a weekly interview, Facebook show where I was interviewing guests who I frankly thought did more valuable things for small business owners than me, hopefully making connections between the followers and the people in that group. And, and that’s been my way of having a strong referral system. Because those people are then working with businesses and when they do grow when they do need trademarks, or they realize if they don’t have an LLC in place, and it’s time to, then they can get back to me. And, Mitch, I mean, you know, just as well as I do that the power of video, it’s just such a humanizing thing. And it’s, I think, to a certain extent, you can, I would maybe spend no more than an hour doing tech research, and how to do on video, and then just do what Mitch says, and hash tag, just start and just hop on video, you’ll learn as you go, you’ll find that most of what you think were problems with the videos, nobody else noticed. Any other questions? Yeah. So I was able to kind of create my own community for it. But I think that that’s that might not be necessary. So if you find groups that are, and when you say family law, can you tell me more about what specifically the types of cases that you work with? So I would be really shocked if there weren’t any Facebook groups that are like mad at my husband, and you can just sneak in there listen, to see what the conversations are like. And then I, I chose my practice area. I mean, when when I started in the law, I thought I would be working primarily with men and women with purple hair and tattoos. And then when I started going out there, I realized that there was a deeper calling in this, this older demographic. And so I think it also helps you find kind of a particular niche. Do you currently have any strong relationships with like couples therapists, I would see if you can, you know, try and reach out to people online and say, hey, you know, I’m not asking you to, you know, give away any confidentiality, or do anything that you can’t do as a therapist. But I would love to have like a lawyer interviewing a family therapist show about what’s the difference between something that should result in a divorce versus something that can be resolved amicably, or at least what can that look like? I would start at as you I, I started my law firm as the Law Offices of Joseph C. Vitality, then realized that I was going by Joey, and people were getting confused. So I went by JC V law. And then people would confuse the initials. And so that’s why I went within the law. But but I’m doing I mean, people, when you saw that they weren’t tagging my, my group, or even in the law, they were tagging me personal. So I think that you can totally build up a name for yourself, the way that my law firm works, it’s a pretty unique business model. It’s a lot of monthly recurring revenue. So I work with creative small business owners that usually want a trademark plus something else, like a very kind of basic legal document, or maybe LLC formations or an operating agreement to go along with the LLC. And so what I’ve created a year long plan for them to join. And the goal is to force them to actually pay me month to month instead of upfront. And so I was kind of forcing myself to starve in the beginning financially. But now I’ve got a floor floor each month of recurring revenue that’s coming in. And I in the group is actually where I let people know, hey, I’m doing a discovery call. Here are times to schedule an appointment with me. And what I what I stole from Jim, because I’m at a point now where I was getting, I was on maybe like four calls a day. And so I finally started pricing it and then repackaging that concept as, hey, you know, I know that I did free discovery calls before, but they were actually not very helpful to people who are calling because I was biting my lip the entire time, just saying we might be able to work together. And so what I’m realizing now is that I can start to be a law firm and have these discovery calls, where I can tell them, Don’t worry about it yet. And that that is valuable to them. And so now, I’m, I need to learn a lot from everybody else who kind of knows their marketing mind is very much like guerrilla networking. But I, I am just kind of posting three times a week. Hey, you guys, here’s a link to grab a call with me. And that’s where I’m getting most of my leads. Yeah, I’m gonna need your help with figuring out how to create a separate business that will allow me to do that. I don’t think that they can offer now legal services in addition to legal services, but yeah, definitely, definitely. Again, I’m not a good example. I actually met a couple of months hopefully will be higher. I’m really not I’m not spending any money on ads. I Yeah, that’ll be changing soon, because I’m starting to see the limits of organic Facebook. I am. I’m trying to think of what our stack of like legit social media costs. I will say, again, another tip for Mitch, there’s a service called Bom bom.com, that allows you to send video based emails that had that turn a three second gift into the first out of the first 30 seconds of your video. And that’s not strictly marketing. But that’s really helped. cold leads turn into warm leads very quickly. Not not much one of the I’m not to schedule that yet. One thing that I learned quickly, I started the group. And very quickly, it got to like one or 2000 members because of a blog post that I wrote that went viral within the Etsy community. But before I knew otherwise, there’s the default setting in a Facebook group is for everybody to be able to post and that posted just go into the group. And people started asking questions, and people who were me were answering them legally. And so I really quickly shut that down. And now everybody in the group knows. And it’s one of the few groups I know of where you can’t sit only I can submit posts in the group. And so I that’s how I manage the conversations that are going on. I wouldn’t necessarily say I wouldn’t necessarily say that I’m cutting back. But I am realizing that people who understand Facebook ads are looking at what I’m doing. And they’re like, Joey, you have a very clear programmable market that we can reach this out to. And so I’m starting to see the benefit of that. And what I’ve learned is that once you start dabbling in ads, then your organic reach starts to go down. And so once you do commit to start testing, ads, just know that you, in a sense are saying that you’re going to commit yourself to it because if you stop Facebook doesn’t like it. Oh, okay. So there’s there’s a difference between being on your business page and putting stuff out there and not paying advertising for it, versus doing stuff from your personal page. I do very little out of my personal page. That is publicizing my law firm and me being a lawyer, except for if I get tagged in a group. And at that point, it’s usually pointing back to the firm.