In the interest of transparency, I am enthusiastic about social Web tools and particularly Facebook. Continuing in my series of Facebook Fridays, today’s post will address: Should a law firm have a Fan Page and if so, what should it look like?
If you haven’t seen it action, you’ve probably at least heard about how Dell or Zappos, the poster children for companies using social media, are creating revenue and positively impacting their brand in Social Media. According to various reports, most other companies, retail or B2B, have barely gotten started; law firms are no exception.
An April 2009 article on Adweek.com confirms that law firms are not alone:
“Thousands of brands from large, medium and small companies… crossed that hurdle a few years ago of making a Web site. But they are not yet waking up to the fact that the Internet is not just about parking your information somewhere and hoping people stumble across it somehow. You have to be active for anyone to notice…. Companies obviously know Twitter and blogs and Facebook. They just don’t know how they fit in. ”
Most law firm marketers are slow to increase social media in their marketing mix. It’s looked upon as mostly experimental and they invest only as time and priorities permit.
A huge source of information about the law resides in lawyer authored blogs, says Rees Morrison, who blogs at LawDepartmentManagementblog.com.
Rees is a law firm management consultant. However, when it comes to finding management related content from in-house counsel, the story is a quite different. Social networks targeted to in-house counsel get most of their management [related] comments from non-practitioners.
“Having hosted for more than a year discussion groups on LinkedIn about law department management and on Legal OnRamp about legal department operations, I can attest that very few in-house attorneys either start topics or comment on topics,” stated Rees on his blog post of June 1, 2009.
I’m not surprised, at all. Why? Aside from factors such as time, confidentiality, and other resources, why do in-house counsel need to post on social networks? Don’t they get their information from, and exchange ideas with, their trusted advisers and staff? What does public discourse add to the equation?
Greg Lambert, 3 Geeks and a Law Blog, just posted the ’09 list of must read blog posts. Gathering suggestions from his Twitter community, this list rocks. So far there are 150 posts. And we’re only in the first half of ’09.
There’s so much great stuff here it will take me all year to read them. My plan is to read one a day for the next 145 days. (I already read 5 and the inspiration factor is off the scale. Check out The Sun, The Cave, Enterprise 2.0 and the Ah Ha Moment on Cheryl McKinnon’s blog Candy and Asprin. The 2 minute video at the end is a treat.)
Thanks Greg (@glambert) and everyone who contributed selections. This a true example of community. What did we do before the Web went 2.0? Not to worry. No looking back.
Does blocking access to social networking sites at the office really work? Are social networking sites the only places of risk for companies and law firms on the new social Web?
Do you know that if your partners and employees can access blogs and other sites that allow commenting, reviewing, or streaming content (e.g. news videos or podcasts), via the firm Internet connection, you are, by default, giving them permission to participate in the social web.
Law firms need viable responses to the new way in which people are using the web. Shutting off access to social networking sites isn’t the last decision you’ll make.
So what should law firm leaders do? Here are a few suggestions that I recommend.
You know your culture better than anyone, so use that as a filter for decision-making. Every firm is different. It certainly is the administrator’s job to look for the loopholes and the worst-case scenario, BUT if you make something a bigger deal than it is, it will become exactly that. Permission based policy works better than restrictive policy.
Responsibility for what employees are saying about your law firm across social media networks is making its way to you, marketers (if it hasn’t…