This article was originally written in January 2010 for Plugged In Lawyer, a blog about social media for lawyers.
Jay Baer wrote a great post earlier this week titled Crushing The Myth of B2B Social Media. He opens his post by saying that hardly a speech or webinar goes by where he isn’t asked “But all this social media stuff doesn’t apply to B2B right?” This post got me to thinking about law firms, especially the big ones.
Now I haven’t been in a position to chat with a lot of law firms about their social media strategy, but it sure seems to me that they must be thinking along the lines of Baer’s audiences, because I’m still not seeing a lot of discussion about social media strategies in the legal news (which I follow quite closely) and I’m definitely not bumping into a lot of firms actively participating on the social media playgrounds where I frequently play.
What is this B2B issue raised by Baer’s audiences? They believe that consumers are hanging out on Facebook, not businesses and, since most large law firms have and seek businesses as clients (get it? B2B as in “business to business”), Facebook and other social media are not for them.
If an illusion that social media doesn’t apply to B2B businesses is the reason that law firms are resisting social media, law firms might be interested in the rest of Baer’s post, which opines that social media is probably more important for B2B companies than B2C companies. Why? Because B2B companies have a smaller potential customer base, a higher price point and a customer decision funnel that is more influenced by word of mouth and reputation.
Baer uses the examples of companies selling $10K pieces of manufacturing equipment versus sellers of $3 cans of potato chips, but he could just as well have been describing a high end law firm. B2B companies still need to educate their buying audience and position themselves as thought leaders in their industry, and social media with its huge impact on search engine results is the current platform of choice to advance these goals.
So listen up law firms — if you want an efficient channel for demonstrating your expertise, educating your potential clients about why you’re the superior solution to their problems, monitoring what others are saying about you, and developing loyalists who will sing your praises on the world wide web for all to see, head on over to Baer’s blog and read his post. And while you’re there, I highly recommend checking out his post titled 7 Ways To Use Social Media To Build Stunning Brands.
photo credit: istockphoto.com