Mass Lawyers Weekly
Social media, social media, social media.
Blogging, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+ et al. have changed the way people communicate and consume information in both their professional and personal lives. It’s official. And it’s not too late for you to join the e-parade.
Generally, law firms with their paper-bound traditions have been slower to adopt these new channels than other industries. What has become clear in the last year, however, is that firms that ignore social media have put themselves at a competitive disadvantage.
A recent study by Greentarget, Inside Counsel magazine and the Zeughauser Group revealed that where there was once a great generational divide in social media usage by in-house counsel, the gap has significantly narrowed; indeed, 76 percent of those surveyed said they consider lawyers’ blogs when deciding which firm to retain.
Here are five ways that social media tools can help your firm stay on top of the game:
1) Relationship building and networking. While no substitute for face-to-face contact, a well-developed social-media profile can help you “reach out and touch” your clients by creating a friendly dynamic more akin to a face-to-face meeting than the cold correspondence of the past. Put time and effort into your profile with pictures, graphics and information that make potential clients feel like they’ve already shaken your hand.
2) Thought leadership. Blogs enable you to showcase your knowledge and expertise in a certain practice area or on a specific topic. Blogs that provide useful information and are updated frequently become a “go-to” resource. Another way to demonstrate expertise on a certain topic is to initiate a discussion through groups you have joined on LinkedIn. The same goes for replying to questions on LinkedIn’s Q/A board.
3) Visibility and brand-building. Social-media profile pages for individuals and firms lend credibility when a client, prospect or referral source is researching you online — something that happens with great frequency. If they can’t find you on LinkedIn, Facebook or through other social media outlets, they may end up going with someone else. In addition, social media tools provide another outlet through which to promote articles you’ve published, media mentions, speaking engagements, etc.
4) Competitive and business intelligence. Although the conversation about social media usually focuses on participation and contribution, another important use is in monitoring trends in your practice area, your competition and your clients. Many clients complain that their lawyers don’t understand their business. What better way to impress them than by following their Twitter feeds, reading their blogs or “LinkingIn” with them? These insights can lead to additional business opportunities that you might not have even been aware of without social media.
5) Recruiting. With 1.3 billion combined users, LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter allow you to target candidates that fit the position you are hiring for, as well as enable you to evaluate candidates’ profiles. In a bird’s eye view, you can see individuals’ work history and education, read recommendations that have been written about them, view their photos and more. The information provided in the profiles makes recruiters’ jobs easier and helps them to narrow their search quickly and cost-effectively.
Katie Rutter is the principal of Katie Rutter Consulting (www.krutterconsulting.com). She provides strategic planning and marketing services to law firms and other organizations. She can be reached at (781)718-2440 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Allison Nussbaum is the vice president of sales at Manzama Inc. (www.manzama.com), a social and business-intelligence listening platform designed exclusively for legal professionals. She can be reached at email@example.com.