Social Networking

Social Networking- Successful Training for Lawyers

Social Networking- Successful Training for Lawyers

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Many law firms are (finally) starting to take a serious look at social networking tools as an inexpensive resource for developing new business. (Note: This author points out that online social tools may be inexpensive in dollars but they are time intensive if done correctly.) To conduct training sessions they are frequently using or considering using outside consultants.

Since the ranks of self-anointed social networking experts grows daily and general law firm consultants are picking up on the basics, there are a lot more choices these days of who to hire for the job.

In my travels I have learned several things that I am happy to share and that might help you. Here are 10 things to consider when looking for outside counsel to introduce attorneys to social networking tools.

Square Peg? Round Hole? Lawyers, In-House Counsel and Social Networks.

Square Peg? Round Hole? Lawyers, In-House Counsel and Social Networks.

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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?

Will Online Networking Expedite the Development of Rainmakers?

Will Online Networking Expedite the Development of Rainmakers?

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I asked Mike O’Horo, of Sales Results Inc. if he thought social networking online will expedite the development of young professionals into rainmakers. His response was so on point that I would be selfish not to share it with you.

So, I asked Mike, “Do online social networking behaviors produce rainmakers at an earlier age? Where does business development fit in?” Here’s what he said:

“That depends on the degree to which the young professionals in question recognize the difference between marketing and selling. Social networking tools emulate and magnify personal networking behaviors, and serve the same purpose: helping you to get found, presumably by those whom you most want to find you. [marketing/exposure]

Getting chosen from among those found (selling) requires a disciplined decision-management process that is entirely distinct from marketing [networking]. Therein lies the double rub re: online social networking. If you can’t sell, all the getting found (leads) in the world is just wasted opportunity. Likewise, if you can’t manage the distillation process, weeding out those who want to act vs. those who must act, you’ll exhaust your extremely limited sales-time bandwidth before you get the desired results.

The bottom line is that these tools are just a medium within which to conduct the same marketing and sales activities that have been necessary in commerce for hundreds of years. Faster, cheaper, broader? Yet bet. Sufficient? Not by a long shot. As my friend, Mark Greene, was wont to say during his decades as a premier market research wizard, “Necessary, but not sufficient.”

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To Block or Not to Block the Social Web at Work.

To Block or Not to Block the Social Web at Work.

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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.

Facebook Friday

Facebook Friday

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FACEBOOK Friday? What’s that?

Well, it’s kind of like a “jeans day.” Remember them? Well, this is no facebooking during regular business hours, except on Facebook Fridays which is once a month or once a week. You choose. Employees still have to do their work, but when they have a free minute, they’re free to play around on social sites –within the limits of company social media policy, of course.

Since it’s Friday, and I get this question quite often, I thought I’d share a quick lesson on how to set up lists on facebook and customize privacy settings accordingly. This allows you to give your business and personal contacts different access to your stuff.

Lawyers on the Ledge

Lawyers on the Ledge

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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.

Good, no, really great things are happening.

Good, no, really great things are happening.

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The contest, a four-hour event, was Web-cast in reality show genre. Their buzz online hit the top 10 trending topics on Twitter in the process. The experience exposed P&G marketing directors to digital media in a hands-on-way they may not have learned otherwise.