Next “Big Thing” for Lawyers in Social Media?

“What’s the next big thing for lawyers in social media?” – Question asked  during the 2010 APLF Meeting, October 1, 2010.

My answer for now is Facebook.  LinkedIn, blogging and Twitter are the “big things” of today but Facebook is next in my books. Specifically, law firm pages as well as individual attorney pages.

Reasons

  • Network.  Have you noticed how everyone under the sun finds you on Facebook?  Even your best friend’s sister’s aunt from Grade Two? (Not always a good thing mind you) Creating a professional page outlining what you do can help inject your name should the need arise for your services.  Your personal network of friends, classmates, family and coworkers will appreciate knowing who to contact.
  • Visability.  I’m turning 30 in less than a week so I can still call myself a twenty-something.  Most people I know use Facebook to research everyone and everything they do/use/buy/want/think about etc.  Creating a professional page will help your firm be findable and easier to access.   
  • The Wall.  Your Facebook wall should be an ongoing discussion related to everything in your practice area. Careful consideration should be made when deciding your wall’s privacy settings.  Public walls promote conversation.  Private walls prevent dialog.  Guidelines should be in place to ensure questions/comments are attended too if you decide to go public.
  • Landing Pages.  Create your very own landing page using the Static FBML Application.  This is the page new users will see when they first visit your site.  Include links to your blog, website, twitter, and/or anything else you’d like.  It’s best to include a list of what users will “get” should they decide to like your page.  What type of status updates will you be posting? Practice changes? Hires? Events? Charitable functions?  Let people know.  
  • In-house Counsel Research.  We all know referrals are the number one source of work.  But how do you think the referrals are backed up?  What if two referrals were given?  Creating a Facebook page can help confirm the referral by providing relevant content.  Creating content on twitter, on blogs, etc. can also help with this.
To Do’s

  • Create a strategy on how you will follow up with those who engage with you via Facebook.
  • Realize that you may get negative feedback and decide how to deal with that.  Who will be responsible for this? My suggestion would be to try and take an online conversation offline.

  • Keep your page up to date: content, contact information, events, etc.
  • Don’t post too often.  I can’t stress this one enough as I tend to “unlike” pages that post content 100x per day.
  • Take your time.  Create a professional presence tailored to your firm’s character.  Be Professional.
  • Don’t self promote 100% of the time.  Discuss current events relating to your practice as well as links to your own content.  Answer questions and post questions.  Find out what people are interested in.
Resources

Photo Cred nzdave

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  • Melanie Hatton

    You're on the money with this trend prediction Samantha. Not so long ago, Facebook was seen as too informal a social media venue for traditionally technophobe lawyers and probably a wider range of professionals too; but with more and more non-law businesses taking advantage of Facebook so successfully, legal professionals are beginning to warm to it also.
    As with any new tech-trend, it will take a while to catch on with mainstream lawyers, but it will catch as the more entrepreneurial and contemporary members of the profession exploit their advantage.

  • Samantha Collier

    Thank you for your insight and comments Melanie. Greatly appreciated.

  • Nancy

    Good post Samantha. I agree that Facebook is fast becoming the entry point for many people who used to be shy about Social Media. I think it will lead many to be more open to all other conversational and connected media.

  • Samantha Collier

    Thanks for your comment Nancy. I just tried to update our Facebook Places location and realized it's not available in Canada yet.

  • Urszula KoczyƄska

    I do it too. I think that google searches would look totally different if google took advantage of dark sharing. Unfortunately, private is private. So we have to deal with spammers. wprzedszkolu.com.pl