There really is no substitute for the energy generated when people come together LIVE! Discuss, debate, share ideas, practices, and swap stories—yup, it can be done virtually, but that’s so two dimensional. It’s no substitute for a real handshake, a paper business card passed to a new “friend,” makin’ eye contact, and feeling the table vibe as notes are being frantically scribed on keyboards, iPads, and even the ever trusty pen and paper.
A couple weeks ago, a bunch of lawyers, marketers, vendors, and consultants met LIVE in NYC for a day of all things social media hosted by Hildebrandt Institute and WEST LegalEdCenter and the result was “ELECTRIFYING!”
That’s right. I love social media and how it connects people and content 24/7, but golly gee, a little old fashioned interaction is good for the soul. This LIVE event was no exception and reminded me why I urge the lawyers I consult with to add social media to their business plan but not to the exclusion of personal contact. Okay, ‘nuf said on that. Here’s some tid-bits from the day: Social Media for Law Firms LIVE!
Every Audience has an Audience.
There’s more engagement value when you can create or post content that your audience can readily distribute to their audience. Stop trying to push your lawyers to engage directly with others over the content they create. Instead, encourage them or help them produce or select something OTHERS want to talk about. It makes them look smart while positioning them and their content, exponentially, in the minds of a much larger audience. One that you could never before reach in the bricks and mortar world—including business lunches, newspapers (print) or email and telephone.
The desired outcome, i.e., exposure, thought leadership, or feeding the sales pipeline all comes about when we facilitate conversations among a broad audience. And we thought our only challenge was getting attorneys to respond to @ replies on Twitter, Facebook, blogs, or LinkedIn. Not so. Although valuable, no question, producing content that others like, share, download, and discuss makes one’s contribution even more relevant and important to ROI. Especially in light of the fact that search algorithms are now accounting for “likes” and “shares” with even greater emphasis when indexing content in search results. Google+ has truly impacted this new model. So, get out there, build or share valuable content, get noticed, and don’t forget to notice others’ content. It’s a WEB! (LIKE THIS POST? Share and Like above or below!)
From my Lawyers’ Guide to Social Media which was posted to the conference website:*
It isn’t what you’re saying on Twitter that best connects you and your services with others: it’s what you can get others to say about you that has the most impact.
Getting reTweets can do more for you at the “handshake” level than any other social site.
Focus on top 20% of followers as they are your most valuable conduit.
Show up often. Repetition matters.
Take Control of Your Footprint.
Whether you blog or maintain a profile on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook, you MUST pay attention. Adrian Dayton and Amy Knapp gave attendees an excerpt of their eBook LinkedIn & Blogs for Lawyers:Building High Value Relationships in a Digital Age, emphasizing the POWER of these new tools—not to be taken lightly. Your mere presence on the Internet (i.e. social media) is not enough. You have to be present. Opening an account and ignoring the obvious tactics of optimizing your profiles and responding to connections is a recipe for getting ignored-globally across networks. Clients, prospects and referral sources are taking social media seriously and woe to the lawyer or law firm that isn’t mirroring that.
I add that it is way too easy to use social media—to ignore it is a crime! Social media provides FREE tools that enable more marketing opportunities for FREE! What’s not to like about FREE?
Are your law firm videos still talking about yourself and how wonderful your commitment to client service is? Or, how carefully you recruit associates, and how you “understand” your clients’ business? Guess what? One point for trying, 0 points for execution. You’re missing some fertile ground for communicating REAL value. Aden Dauchess, Director of Digital Marketing – Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice, PLLC and Adam L. Stock, Director of Marketing & Business Development- Allen Matkins Leck Mallory & Natsis LLP had a few things to say about creating and posting video content that gets noticed, shared, and adds value. This session, I believe, was one of the most valuable of the whole conference. Aden’s diagram of the video process his law firm follows from start to finish was worth the price of admission.
What’s effective today? Videos that demonstrate thought leadership, news, industry events, education, and community involvement. Check out the Allen Matikins and Womble websites for a taste of how video is done right! You don’t need an expensive crew, charismatic talking head, or an elaborate setting. Just a credible topic, authentic delivery, and a modestly professional recording.
Thanks to the lawyers who shared their stories—bloggers who found a way to stand out, lawyers using LinkedIn Groups effectively, and time saving tips for cross posting and distribution.
Bottom line…social media is no longer a fad. It is a VERY POWERFUL medium. But, I’ve been saying that for almost 4 years now. The Law Gravity vision celebrates it’s 4th anniversary January 1, 2012 and we’re looking ahead at 2012 with optimism; offering lawyers, law firms and marketers context, training, coaching, content, policy, and strategy for successful and rewarding social media participation.
Look for a west coast edition of Social Media For Law Firms LIVE! in the Spring of 2012.
* If you’d like a copy of Lawyers’ Guide to Social Media, drop me a note and I’ll send it along to you in a PDF. It compares sites and services and suggests best uses for communication and engagement during the buyer/seller process.