I talk to a lot of lawyers who are still on the ledge about the “safety” of social networking and so I believe membership only sites such as Martindale Hubbell’s Connected, Legal On Ramp, Legally Minded, and JD SUPRA could be a real plus for them as they are in a safe zone of their lawyer peers and in some instances others in the legal industry.
Lawyers who get a lot of their work from other lawyers through referrals will probably find these sites more useful than those who don’t. It can be a supplement to a bar association meeting, and, if they attend often, get involved in thought leadership, and contribute to the community it should be successful as a marketing tool.
Social networks are not about making deep relationships, but rather they help like-minded people find each other. If there is some potential to do business together they will take the relationship off line and go deeper.
Lawyers who are solo or in a small firm that lacks multi-disciplinary practice resources should find the content helpful. And, similarly if that lawyer gets involved and contributes content they should be able to successfully brand themselves, gain exposure and market their practice in a meaningful way.
As I often hear myself telling others, social computing is a great time saver in that it allows one to many communications. In essence, what you say one time gets heard and seen by many. This gives great opportunity to cover a lot of geography with efficiency. AND, if it’s relevant, interesting and entertaining it has potential to spread virally.
But as in all things related to social networks, online or offline, they will only be as good as the people who show up. A social network host can provide the best tool in the world, but if it isn’t easy to use, if it doesn’t catch on, if the community isn’t full of creators and thought leaders, but rather just spectators, it will be just another online directory or dead social network. So, don’t forget to be discriminating as to where you choose to spend your time.
In my next post I’ll share twenty-five questions to help you determine whether you should invest your time online networking or publishing a blog? If yes, where should I be?