Beyond social networking: The business of law

The social Web has revolutionized the way consumers are learning about their health related issues and choosing professionals. There is a strong correlation for law firms. It’s all about the GLUE.

As Heather Milligan writes on the legal watercooler; the web enables Clients to get to know you before they ever meet you. The way in which people [companies] are learning about their legal issues and choosing legal counsel is often being vetting, first, via the search results from major Web engines. [Big Law is no exception!]

Health care.

While the corporate web site continues to be the center of attention for every “brand,” when it comes to health care, most people still prefer to get their health care information from a neutral third party, a trend that will only continue in the future, according to blogger Jonathan Richman in an article published on AdAge in the DigitalNext (August 3rd). As Richman looks at Pharma’s digital social future, he believes that to better enable the “neutral third party” concept, at least one pharma company will take a leap and completely eliminate its site and instead syndicate all of its content to a handful of the health-care-related sites that create personalization through aggregation.

The Practice of Law.

Finding lawyers on the web is EASY, but getting the right information to choose a lawyer takes a little more work. Smart lawyers are building their brand via a social footprint on the web giving many more people than they could ever hope to speak to in a life time a 360 degree look at what they do, how they think, write, interact, who they know, and what others think about them.  Before you even speak on the phone, your social footprint can help clients choose you.

You don’t want to get left behind. Start building your brand now. It takes a while, and you have to know the ropes, but it will set you up for success in the near future – I can promise you that!

Pharma

Like the legal industry, currently the pharmaceutical industry is sorting through some restrictive regulations. Once we get past all that, we’ll see how the interactive web, especially the next generation of the web, will open up many layers of information, some that already resides on the web, to give patients, clients, corporate or individual, a better opportunity to make informed choices when hiring legal counsel or purchasing medicines. A real good reason to take a hold of your individual online brand, now.

Your online brand.

The web presents more opportunities for companies and individuals to learn about who they need to represent them via a simple Google search.

And lawyers have more opportunities to make sure they are everywhere, demonstrating their substantive knowledge, contributing to discussions and showing savvy about the social web.

In two years -probably less, it will not matter whether or not a law firm chooses to engage in social media. The semantic web and decision engines will make you irrelevant if you don’t have a credible, professional footprint. Think I’m crazy? I could give you at least a dozen examples of how it works, but I’ll stick with one sort of “out there” example that I predict will be the next must have. [It may not be this one, but there will be one!]

Glue.Spilled Glue

To see how this might work in action, check out GLUE.

Think of Glue as a portable version of your social network AND a decision engine.  As you navigate around online, Glue automatically displays reviews and recommendations from your group of trusted friends based on where you are right now.

In the health care or legal environment, eventually, patients or clients can take their social networks, and their opinions with them because every site becomes a social media experience yes, even your corporate site. People will share their comments about your services and discuss them with others — all without your involvement.

Another good reason not to ignore online social strategy. Start now to engage with your clients, keep them close. Meanwhile,  join me on GLUE.

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