Still more social media for lawyers: Participate!

Posted on October 6, 2009. Filed under: Uncategorized |

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This week’s Daily Record column is entitled “Still more social media for lawyers: Participate!”

A pdf of the article can be found here and my past Daily Record articles can be accessed here.

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Still more social media for lawyers: Participate!

My thoughts continue to be focused on social media because of two upcoming speaking engagements on lawyers and social media.

The first is sponsored by Gotham Media Ventures, to be held Thursday in New York City. I’ll also be speaking Oct. 16 in Los Angeles at the American Bar Association’s Solo and Small Firm conference.

One important concept I intend to stress to attendees at both conferences is that engaging in focused online participation and interaction is the best way to amplify
and reap the benefits from an online presence.

It’s not difficult to do, as long as you’ve followed the advice from my two previous columns in this series:

Establish a basic online presence and identify the online platforms with which you are most comfortable participating. The final step is to dive in and interact.

Learn and interact, exchange information and network and share your content, including blog posts, recent achievements and media mentions.

Of course, an individual’s level of participation and interaction vary from one platform to next The key to effective participation is to be genuine, transparent, and to provide useful, relevant information no matter what the context.

Interact and converse, rather than merely broadcast and boast. Don’t be afraid to share personal interests occasionally alongside professional ones. Doing so humanizes you and makes you appear more approachable to potential clients and other attorneys.

Attorneys with a law blog should respond to people who comment on posts. Post comments to other law blogs, leave links to your blog when inputting your name and contact information.

Link to other law bloggers’ posts, discuss the points raised and offer your take on the issue.

Engage in a conversation with other bloggers. You’ll make new connections, increase the number of incoming links to your blog —important for search engine optimization —and, perhaps, you might even learn something new.

If online forums are your platform of choice —groups on Facebook, LinkedIn, or online legal communities Lawlink (lawlink.com), Martindale-Hubbell’s “Connected” (martindale.com/connected) and the ABA’s legal network, “Legally Minded” (legallyminded.com) —be sure to check in a few times each week

When visiting a forum, reply to posts from other attorneys if you’re able to offer useful commentary or information. Start new discussions relating to your areas of practice by asking for input regarding a change in the law, soliciting advice as to the procedures in a particular court or jurisdiction or asking participants for opinions on how to handle a particularly thorny procedural
issue.

By participating in online legal forums, you’ll gain useful information, increase your reach online and network with new colleagues.

Users also can engage in conversations with colleagues using the status update feature on Facebook and LinkedIn. Post your firm’s most recent blog posts to your accounts on those sites, post occasional updates about your professional activities and accomplishments, link to interesting news stories relevant to your areas of practice and comment on your colleagues’ recent activities. By doing so, you’ll provide colleagues and friends with useful and relevant information, engage with them, maintain professional and personal relationships and promote your practice and accomplishments.

Finally, if Twitter is your online platform of choice, follow my 50-30-10-10 rule. 50 percent of “tweets” should provide followers with links to articles, blog posts and other online content you think might be of interest; the percentage includes “re-tweets,” or re-posts of tweets from other users, of relevant content; 30 percent should be replies to other users’ tweets —in other words, engage in conversations with others 20 percent of the time; 10 percent of tweets should consist of self-promotion, including your firm’s blog posts and information about professional
activities and accomplishments;

Tweet about your personal interests and hobbies about 10 percent of the time. Doing so, again, will do much to humanize you, make you more interesting to your followers and allow you to connect with non-legal users who share similar interests.

That segment of your audience should not be ignored —they are your potential clients or referrers, with whom we all know it’s always a good idea to connect.

In summary, an effective online presence revolves around visibility, relevancy, personality and engagement. Find the forums with which you are most comfortable and put these principles to work. You’ll find it well worth your time and effort.

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3 Responses to “Still more social media for lawyers: Participate!”

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Niki: A great post, with so many important points to make. The point of social media is that it’s a 2-way street. Choose your online forums carefully and make the connections you desire through on-going interaction. In most forums (like LinkedIn), you can opt for email updates in the groups that you join, so you don’t need to go looking for the conversations. And don’t be afraid to let yourself come through in your comments. It’s the only way the online community will begin to understand who you are in an otherwise impersonal medium. If you do this, there is no need to “promote” yourself – by participating and adding to the flow of information, you are already showing people what you know and helping them at the same time. What more can you ask for?

Niki – Great post. I like your 50-30-10-10 rule. Good luck today and later this month with your speaking engagements and keep up the great work.

Question for you – Whatever you’re saying seems to be generating a ton of interest among attorneys. Are you noticing a dramatic change in terms of the level of interest and openness to social media among “Main Street” AND “corporate” attorneys?


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