Social Media: From PR Dross to Winning Business…

Posted on May 17th, 2011 by Chrissie Lightfoot

First of all, HUGE apologies re. my lack of posts of late. It's been a busy Q1 & Q2 2011 on the writing, speaking, conference and client scene ergo I've been a wee bit remiss in the blogging department. I hope to rectify this, starting right now!
y a fabulous tool to complement traditional marketing, sales, PR and business development. I say ‘used correctly’ because its real power, strength and ROI (return on investment), IMHO, lies in social capital and human capital, which means, the activity must be done by the individual lawyer, not ‘the firm’.

Undoubtedly, most firms have allocated social media activity as the responsibility of the marketing person or business development person; an individual pumping out ‘marketing and PR messages’ about the firm behind the corporate veil. It’s not engaging or at all of interest to the recipient.

How can I say this? Well, I’ve read enough articles, spoken to enough entrepreneurs (buyers of legal advice) and seen enough law firm website statistics to know that in some cases over 50% of the traffic to law firm websites goes directly to lawyer profile pages. It tells me that potential buyers of legal advice are interested in the individual lawyers. The lawyer being visible, available and engaging to the seeker is extremely important. It’s why having a video clip on a lawyer’s profile is beneficial for the viewer because they feel that they can begin to relate with the lawyer before they’ve even met.

Social media is all about involvement, engagement, being human and being authentic. The recipient (follower) of one’s message is interested in the individual expert who is sharing their information, knowledge, interests and personality. An entity (a law firm) is not human; it certainly doesn’t have character or personality; but the people within it do.

It’s why the top law firms have been lambasted in the past few months in various legal media for churning out PR dross into the social media streams. Firms fail to realise that it’s not about them, the firm. It’s about THEM, the recipient, where the focus should be on the individual lawyer providing information of real interest to be useful and beneficial to the potential and/or existing client. And herein lies the greatest challenge for the profession as I see it right now…

If a leader or manager in a law firm is asking themselves “how can ‘my firm’ use social media and social networking” the answer is simply, it can’t. It’s THE LAWYERS who should be using social media and engaging in social networking; they are your best PR mouthpiece aligned with your firm wide PR strategy because social media is all about relationships. People build and engage in relationships, not entities.

I believe it’s definitely time to turn the traditional top down triangle marketing mantra upside down to capitalise on each and every lawyers’ social capital and human capital.

The question leaders and managers within the profession should be asking themselves is ‘should we be reinventing our entire marketing, sales, PR and business development approach to embrace, involve and engage all of our lawyers?

The real challenge therefore for ‘the firm’ and every lawyer is to embrace the social media revolution for the benefit of the potential client and existing client; ultimately the firm and the individual lawyer will benefit of course. In order to do this we must adapt, innovate and defy our comfort zones.

Invariably, most of us lawyers are not comfortable marketing and selling ourselves. Fact. Take a look around any networking event, offline or online. We’re usually the ones huddled together in a corner somewhere hoping that we won’t be disturbed. But, when we are, we’re usually more than happy to engage in conversation.

Simply put, if we view social media as engagement and conversation, it shouldn’t be that challenging. We might even find that we actually enjoy it…

What's your thoughts?

Warmest as ever

Chrissie Lightfoot
The Entrepreneur Lawyer
(of the naked kind)

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This entry was posted on Tuesday, May 17th, 2011 at 6:43 am and is filed under Future Law, Law Management, Lawyers, Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.


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