How I Got My Score Over 50 on; Bird by Bird

Being a social media showoff sure has its frustrations. I shared some ideas with our friend Jim Kraft, who is semi-retired in Florida. He and his wife Margie, my wife’s best friend, are still busy selling real estate several days a week at Siesta Key/Sarasota Springs. I strongly recommend them.

They are highly intelligent and rather tech savvy, but Jim talked about his blog efforts. He retained a paid service, identified 20 subjects for blog posts, wrote them in advance, and posted them in a careful sequence. A few months later, he hadn’t got any responses, had not posted any new ones, and decided to give it up. I admire his effort and empathize with the apparent lack of results.

I confess that had I put the money and effort I have invested over the last 5 years in “social media” and Internet advertising into print ads, Yellow Pages, and newspaper, and perhaps billboards, I would have received more direct benefit. And, even though I have posted 130+ blog articles, self-published an Amazon Kindle Book, and stoked my ego, I have not yet found a way to make it “pay off”. I have sold only a few, and as of now Amazon has not sent me any money! So why bother?

1.      I have learned a vast amount, read over 20 books, had lots of fun, and, I believe, poised myself for the next stage where nearly everyone, even in Buckhannon, which is several years behind other locales, has access to a powerful computer/search engine.

2.      Add to desktops, laptops, iPads, other tablets, iPhones, and other“smart phones”,and you are approaching a 75% saturation.

3.      I just asked Siri to search the web for a good lawyer in Buckhannon, WV, and she disappointed me badly. Clearly, the paid services are dominating here, but that is the way people are going to be finding all service providers, so I had better figure it out.

4.      On the plus side, when I asked her to find lawyer Burton Hunter in Buckhannon, WV, she found dozens of entries. Anyone wanting to find out about me, how I think, my qualifications, and whether I would be in their “comfort zone” will have more than enough information.

Recently I read an article in Wired Magazine about how to learn my score for impact on the Web by signing up for I dutifully signed up, and there was my score, 13.43!

This was very discouraging. My friend Dick Billick, internet consultant was 24. My son John, who is very tech savvy, and a professional sales rep was 36, and the author of the article was a 46.

The author explained some of the techniques for getting seen on the Web, and I was doing many of them. I went back, updated some of my web connections, wrote some blog posts, and hoped for the best. When I checked my “” rating this week, I discovered that my score had zoomed to over 52 and leveled out to 50.43! Talk about an ego boost. I had just learned my Klout score when I spoke with the Krafts, so I was bubbling over with enthusiasm.

Here is what I told them. I like to read books on writing. And, of course, I love to write. My guess is I have written well over 10,000 substantive letters in my profession, and a similar number of motions, pleadings, briefs, and memos of law. Some projects, such as becoming visible on the Net, seem too daunting. A little book titled “Bird by Bird” by Ann Lamott recalls a situation when her younger brother was literally stuck at the kitchen table, crying, because he was to the last evening of a school writing project, on birds, which he had put off for weeks because the task seemed too great. His father, a professional writer, calmed him down and told him to write “bird by bird”, which is how he finally got it written.  So, that’s what I suggested to Jim and Margie. “Bird by Bird”. Here are some bite-sized tasks:

1.      If you are chatty, with lots of experiences, tips, and advice, you are half way there. I believe the “non-showoffs” will have much more difficulty.

2.      Claim your business address on:

a.      Google Maps;

b.      MapQuest;

c.      Bing;

d.      and Yahoo Maps.

3.      Since tasks like #2 above take time, resign yourself to doing them instead of your cross word puzzle or other activities you do with the t.v. in the background. It really needs to be a fun activity for you. If it isn’t, I guess you need to hire a professional, but be prepared to pay, and the professional still wants your personalized input.  

4.      Be sure you have a library of photos, of yourself, your office (outside and inside), and videos. Fill out every empty blank when claiming your sites. Upload the photos and videos. Now when someone is looking for a lawyer, realtor, restaurant, or other business in your town, the Google Map page with pop up, and your will probably be the number one site.

5.      Since you would not be reading this if you are not on Facebook, create a professional Facebook Page, set it to public, and link all your other activities to it. That way, your posts to that site will go to your Linked In Friends and Twitter Followers.

6.      That’s right; even get yourself a free Twitter account, but when you post, do not be trivial. You may talk about your new blog article, or, if you are a good photographer, post some of your more interesting shots.  

7.      Carefully fill out your application for the professional site Linked In. It is as professional and “buttoned down” as a site can be; lots of CEO’s, vp’s, accountants, lawyers,  bankers, and educators.

a.      “Recommend” some of them who you honestly know is in the top of their field. Some will reciprocate.  

b.      Join several professional groups in Linked In. I am in the ABA small firms group and several divorce, small firm, and social media marketing groups.

c.      Post things to Linked In. I answered a question for a young lawyer in the mid-west on how to get started, as he had just “hung out his shingle”. I sent him a link to the PDF version of my book at no charge. I posted my views on whether you should become FB and Linked In friends with competitors. My suggestion; absolutely.

d.      I also explained how important professional groups in your State are, how I found many of my best experts from my list of seminar speakers, and how attending continuing education seminars keeps you current in a fluid information age. I got a large number of comments, and “thank yous” from my colleagues.

e.      Get a good list of sites, and carefully fill in your applications for their free sites:

                                                       i.      YouTube

1.      I have nearly 100 videos posted to YouTube. Am now struggling how to segregate my fun, personal, vids, with the informational ones I have recorded for clients and colleagues.


1.      Even if you cannot find time to write and upload a Kindle Book, write some reviews and comment on others.   

                                                    iii.      Yelp;

                                                   iv.      Foursquare;

                                                     v.      Google+;

                                                   vi.      Pinterest;

                                                  vii.      Manta; and
                                       viii.   Tumbler.

8.      Over two years ago, I started a blog, “Perspectives of a Small Town Lawyer”. I struggled at first, but have re-written most of the posts several times, added photos, and tried to have a mix of informative posts, “how to” posts, suggestions to clients and colleagues, and opinion pieces. An ideal reader might be a younger colleague practicing in a small town environment, but I also tried to write it so at least 50% would be of interest to anyone who likes to read.

9.      I reformatted it to PDF, so I can send an iPad, iPhone, or laptop user a copy of the book for free.

10.   Just in case it “goes viral”, it is available through Amazon Kindle for $2.99.Profits go to my favorite charity, me! Don’t worry, no “profits” yet.

11.   I started a new Blog, “WV Lawyer – Tips and Techniques” and will begin to separate my writing into blogs for colleagues and judges, and for clients and potential clients.

12.   I have been posting lavishly to my personal FB page, and gradually increasing my list of friends to over 500. As a “militant moderate”, I take on the views of the left and the right.

13.   I have touched on my philosophy and religious beliefs. “Burt’s Views on Religion and Religiosity” became a chapter in my book. Some of my fundamentalist friends are “praying for your immortal soul”. But I cannot resist being a voice for science and reason. I think to do otherwise reveals that I have failed to adapt to the modern age. I agree with Justice Holmes. We cannot prove our values or beliefs are better than anyone else’s, but as our “can’t helps”, we must adhere to what we believe is right.

14.   This is an important one; once you have taken it “bird by bird”, and have all these sites and active accounts, then do everything you can to link them!

a.      Your FB professional posts should go to Twitter and Linked In.

b.      Your neatest photos should be shared with FB and Twitter. Use Camera + or Instagram.

c.      Post your videos to YouTube; then “share” with FB and Linked In.

d.      You can take a “long url” and paste to “” and ad that url to your tweets.

e.      People will forgive you, even if you post a bit too often, IF

                                                       i.      You are funny;

                                                     ii.      Your photos and videos are well done. If you are not a good photographer, of course you make yourself look bad by posting bad photos. Either go to a two day seminar or find something else as an outlet. I can take good photos because I have been doing it since my 4-H project 50+ years ago.

                                                    iii.      You are sincerely trying to provide valuable free stuff, promote honest discussion, and trying to connect friends and family in a meaningful way.

15.   Keep an Evernote outline, or even a legal pad, with things you want to do in your Social Media Marketing presence. And remember, you can “sell yourself” without seeking a profit in your charities, personal interests, church activities, children’s myriad activities, etc.
But, in the end, you will have to succeed “Bird by Bird”.

This post was written by Burton Hunter

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