Saturday, January 22, 2011
The discussion about the value of social media to the practice of law has been polarizing. Some have argued it's overhyped and oversold while others warn that lawyers who don't embrace social media as a means to network and attract and communicate with clients risk becoming dinosaurs. Falling into the latter camp is this editorial from Law.com:
The people making decisions at your firm need to take care not to dismiss social media based on a reliance on the old ways, or they may be setting themselves up for failure. It was this kind of thinking that almost put the Eastman Kodak Co. out of business when digital cameras came out. This same backwards thinking has led to the failure of countless businesses, as documented in Clayton Christensen's book, The Innovator's Dilemma. Time and again, businesses fail when they refuse to recognize the importance of disruptive innovation.
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The time is long past for asking, "Should we use social media?" The question today needs to be, "How can we use social media effectively?"
So how can your firm use social media? Think small. Very small. Start thinking about how your attorneys can better leverage social media as individuals. The average Facebook user has 130 friends. Multiply this by 100 lawyers and you can reach 13,000 people. For law firms to use social media effectively, they need to allow their attorneys to be social online.
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Let your attorneys participate in Web 2.0. There are two primary behaviors they can begin with online. First, they can listen to what the biggest concerns of their contacts and clients are. Second, they can engage in conversations with these people by commenting on their blogs, responding to articles they post and forwarding the good content they see to others. One of my clients has a daily habit of reading all the best intellectual property news of the day. He prints out the most important articles and adds them to a paper file. For him, it has been very easy to add one step and share those important articles via LinkedIn and Twitter. The most successful users of social media find a way to fit these new tools into their existing routine.
You can read about what returns on investment, according to Law.com, attorneys can expect for their social media efforts here.