Yes Virginia, Social Media Does Apply To Law Firms

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

15,740 Social Media Experts On Twitter — What’s A Lawyer To Do?

This article was originally written in December 2009 for Plugged In Lawyer, a blog about social media for lawyers.

———————————-

Blogger B.L. Ochman has been using Tweepsearch to follow the proliferation of social media gurus on Twitter.  She found 4,487 of them in May 2009.  Seven months later, she found almost 16,000, leading her to write Self-Proclaimed Social Media Gurus On Twitter Multiplying Like Rabbits.

Other bloggers are having fun with her numbers, including one that projected Twitter To Be Nearly Entirely Composed Of Social Media Experts By 2013.

This video also does an amusing job of portraying social media gurus as snakeoil salesmen.

Lawyers would be fools to ignore social media for growing their digital footprint and ultimately their Continue reading “15,740 Social Media Experts On Twitter — What’s A Lawyer To Do?”

What Is Google Chrome And Why Does It Matter?

This article was originally written in November 2009 for Plugged In Lawyer, a blog about social media for lawyers.

———————————-

Google held a big press conference today to reveal new details about its Chrome OS, the operating system launched in July.

It will be interesting to see what the future holds in store for desktop OS’s and apps, but I for one believe that we’re all moving online and Google is positioning itself beautifully to capitalize on that trend with its advertising revenue model.

Here are five ways that Chrome OS is different, courtesy of  Ben Parr at Mashable.com:

  1. The browser IS the OS. Unlike Internet Explorer and Firefox, you don’t have a browser sitting on top of an operating system.
  2. The OS is designed to fix itself. Applications are placed in “security sandboxes,” and if the system finds that its code has been compromised, it reboots and fixes itself.  Kinda reminds me of a starfish regenerating arms.
  3. Web apps only, no installations. No MS Office, no Tweetdeck, no nothing that requires installation.  Not even Google’s Android apps will Continue reading “What Is Google Chrome And Why Does It Matter?”

Crushing It With Social Media

Captain Crush

This article was originally written in November 2009 for Plugged In Lawyer, a blog about social media for lawyers.

———————————-

Wall Street Journal Blogs ran a post on Friday called Gary V’s Five Commandments of Social Networking, based on Gary Vaynerchuk’s new self-help book titled “Crush It!

The book is about using free social media tools to transform personal passion into a successful business, and the book is No. 5 on the Wall Street Journal business best-seller list.

What does Gary V know about social media?  Let’s just say that he has 851,000 followers on Twitter and 33,000 fans on Facebook.  He knows a thing or two about social media.

These are Gary V’s Five Commandments of Social Networking (as presented by WSJ Blogs) and yes, they all apply to lawyers playing in the social media sandbox:

  1. Treat it like a cocktail party. Social media is about conversations and relationships, not selling.  Put on your marketing hat to create your strategy and action plan, but “change your clothes” before your guests arrive.  Nobody wants to talk business at the party, but they’ll contact you Continue reading “Crushing It With Social Media”

Way More Concerned With YEO Than SEO

This article was originally written in October 2009 for Plugged In Lawyer, a blog about social media for lawyers.

———————————-

Jeff TurnerOne of my biggest influencers in the world of social media has been Jeff Turner, a guy who was at the forefront of blogging and all things social media in the real estate world before we even had the term “social media.”  Jeff is one of the most authentic, plugged in and generous voices I’ve ever found on the web.

I haven’t checked in recently on what Jeff has done, but I’ve been busy digging up my thoughtleaders and their Twitter information so I can reconnect with my roots.  That led me to Jeff’s Twitter homepage and his amazing, stop you in your tracks bio statement, “Way more concerned with YEO* than SEO….  *You Engaging Others.”

Not only does this statement capture the essence of who Jeff Turner is, it captures the essence of what social media and social networking should be all about.  SEO still has its place as part of a smart social media marketing strategy, but search engines, for all their complicated mathematical algorithms, are (at the end of the day) looking for relevance.  Engagement is what is relevant on the web right now.

Everybody should be more concerned with YEO than SEO.  Jeff was smart enough to recognize and articulate the concept. Big, big, “drop everything and create a post” hat tip to Jeff Turner for his social media brilliance.

By the way, I see from Jeff’s bio that he has also added two more little ones to his brood since I last checked in.  So glad there are more little Turners in the world.  🙂

Jump Start Your Legal Practice With Social Media

This article was originally written in October 2009 for Plugged In Lawyer, a blog about social media for lawyers.

———————————-

Cari Rincker posted a beautifully written paper on JD Supra called How Social Media Helped Jump Start My Practice.  In it she writes about quitting her job in Wyoming four months ago to relocate to New York and hang a shingle in an area of law she apparently had a passion for, but wasn’t practicing in Wyoming.

In her paper, Cari lays out a beautiful roadmap for any attorney to follow in establishing an effective social media strategy.  More importantly, she does an excellent job of demonstrating how and why she is connecting with her desired audience with her efforts.  As she points out, connecting with your desired audience starts with defining that audience and making sure that you’re writing to them, not somebody else.

Success with Cari’s strategy is self-evident in the post.  She lays out the facts like a skilled advocate and a reader can’t help but come to her intended conclusion.

I’m used to reading slick marketing white papers on the web, so it still cracks me up to see something less flashy that screams “lawyer” like Cari’s piece, but she did a beautiful job of blending the two worlds of law and social media.

For the traditionalists out there, you’ll really appreciate the style in which she writes the paper.  If you know me from prior posts, you know that I tend toward the flashier web 2.0 marketing style, but as a lawyer, I can still appreciate a good footnote or two.

Job well done, Cari!  I’m in total awe that you dropped everything to follow your passion.  You, in my humble opinion, are the new face of law.  You go, girl!

Lawyers, Just Say Yes To Social Media

This article was originally written in October 2009 for Plugged In Lawyer, a blog about social media for lawyers.

———————————-

Yes

Inc. ran a great piece this morning called Don’t Be Afraid Of Social Media.  The piece underscores that anxiety comes from not understanding this new media, noting that social media giant Mashable has a how to section that draws thousands of responses to every post.

If it helps take the pressure off, Andy Sernovitz — a highly respected commentator on social media — is quoted in the post saying “companies should think of themselves not as pioneers of a new technology but as ‘fast followers.’”  You’re not the inventor.  You’re the adopter of something that somebody else already invented.  Find yourself a guide and follow along — somebody like PluggedInLawyer who thinks this stuff is fun and can translate jargon to simple, easy-to-follow instructions.

Also consider what your expectations are for your social media campaign.  Sernovitz points out that many companies consider social media to be a marketing tool, and are disappointed that direct sales (as in “clients” for lawyers) don’t follow.

Social media is more of a listening tool, not a sales tool. Continue reading “Lawyers, Just Say Yes To Social Media”

Organizing All That Twitter Input

This article was originally written in October 2009 for Plugged In Lawyer, a blog about social media for lawyers.

———————————-

The goal of Twitter is to amass followers and people that you follow.  Following all the data that comes with that can make your head spin.

Making sense of all that twitter input can make your head spin, and plenty of companies have stepped in with desktop applications to help you out.  Mashable did a great review a couple months back comparing 19 different apps for power users, mac users and pc users.  The screenshots are excellent and each review lists pros and cons.  The application that gets the most buzz from the commentators I follow is TweetDeck.

The thing that annoys me about these applications is exactly that they are “desktop”  — as in one desktop.  I happen to work across two desktops — my office and my home office.  Should I ditch one desk and go mobile?  Doesn’t seem likely until Verizon and Apple make nice with each other.  Dump both desktops and go netbook?  Somewhat appealing, but I sure like Continue reading “Organizing All That Twitter Input”

WordPress Websites So Easy Even A Lawyer Can Set Them Up

This article was originally written in October 2009 for Plugged In Lawyer, a blog about social media for lawyers.

———————————-

Lightbulb4How many lawyers does it take to put up a wordpress.com site?  Only one and it’s you, if you follow the simple videos outlined below.  These videos show you how to set up all the pieces that I personally think you need to get your wordpress.com site up and ready to roll.  These videos and $35, that is.

So whip yourself up a latte, roll up your sleeves, put on a little Radio Margaritaville and let’s get going.  Reviewing these videos will take about 40 minutes, but it won’t hurt a bit.  I promise.

You’ve already signed up and created your profile, right?  Start here with a nice little welcome message.

Blog Set-Up

Setting Up Your Social Media Base Camp

This article was originally written in October 2009 for Plugged In Lawyer, a blog about social media for lawyers.

———————————-

Every effective multi-faceted social media strategy starts with a base camp.  Think of it as the hub from which all spokes emanate.

While it might be theoretically possible to use another platform like Facebook or LinkedIn as your base camp (at least from the “hub” perspective), the best base camp is your blog or CMS.  Why?  Your own blog/website/CMS is your little piece of digital real estate that you control, to the extent that you can control anything out on the wild wild web.  Facebook and other third party providers can and will change their terms of service at the drop of a hat, change their revenue model or worse, go out of business altogether, and your base camp could become untenable or wiped out.  Oh no, it’s way too risky to put your valuable base camp in the hands of a third party. Continue reading “Setting Up Your Social Media Base Camp”