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Social media works for law firms even though your clients do not use social media

During my webinar about Twitter for law firm client development yesterday someone asked why they should use Twitter if their clients don’t use Twitter. Legitimate question.

I’m regularly asked why our law firm’s lawyers ought to care about social media and social networking – blogs, LinkedIn, Twitter, and the like when the vast majority of clients don’t spend their time using social media.

Yesterday, Hubbard One, part of Thomson WestLaw, released their social networking survey. Though I have requested a copy of the survey, I’ve only seen a summary so far. There’s little question that portions of that survey will be used by law firm leaders to argue that social networking/media is of questionable value as in-house counsel are not using social networking/media.

What everyone is missing is that it doesn’t matter if your clients are using social media and social networking? Social Media and social networking are still integral to any law firm’s client development program.

Why? Because you’ll be engaging the influencers of your clients, prospective clients, and referral sources. You’ll be building meaningful relationships with those influencers. The result is being viewed as a reliable and trusted authority, a leader in your field, and highly influential by those influencers.

Influencers include bloggers, reporters, editors, publishers, conference coordinators, and association leaders relevant to the industry you want to do more legal work for.

Who cares if in-house counsel are using Twitter, reading blogs or using LinkedIn?

  • You get quoted in the Wall Street Journal in a story relating to the industry in which this in-house counsel works, your measure of influence is going up in that in-house counsel’s eyes.
  • You present at an industry group conference attended by that in-house counsel and network with her afterwards, your measure of influence is going up in that in-house counsel’s eyes.
  • You get cited in a leading industry blog that in-house counsel found when doing a Google search on a legal issue your measure of influence is going up in that in-house counsel’s eyes.
  • When in-house does a Google search on your name and finds that you are cited routinely by legal and industry blogs, quoted in mainstream and industry publications, and regularly present at industry conferences, your measure of influence is going up in that in-house counsel’s eyes.

Those citations in leading blogs, interviews in major publications and speaking engagements at leading conferences don’t just fall into your lap. You need to go out and establish yourself as a reliable and trusted authority in your niche. You need to develop relationships with bloggers, reporters, editors, publishers, association leaders, and conference coordinators.

There’s not a better way to establish yourself as an authority and build relationships with these influencers than using social media and social networking. Through blogging, the strategical use of Twitter, and the effective use of LinkedIn, you establish yourself as an authority with influencers.

LexBlog has 3,000 authors on its blog network. I am regularly cited by bloggers as an authority on the use of social media for client development. I get regular calls from reporters working on stories relating to the work I do. I travel the country speaking at conferences in front of potential clients.

How did it happen? By using social media and social networking. I blog to engage the influencers. I use Twitter to build relationships with the influencers and further establish my expertise in the eyes of those influencers. I use LinkedIn to connect and network with the influencers.

LexBlog’s prospective clients are not heavy blog users. They don’t use Twitter. And many of them have never heard of LinkedIn. That’s okay. Word of our expertise is getting to our prospective clients by word of mouth via the influencers of our prospective clients.

It’s the same for your law firm. Use social media and social networking strategically. Identify the influential bloggers, reporters, editors, publishers, conference coordinators, and association leaders in the industry you want to do more legal work for. Then get out and engage those folks and build meaningful relationships with them.

  • http://www.legaline.com/lawsites.html Bob Ambrogi

    You are absolutely correct, Kevin. I just wanted to add that the Hubbard One poll doesn’t reflect what I’ve heard from GC. I have spoken to a number of GC about this and heard through the grapevine about others. They may not be big on Twitter, but they tell me they do regularly use LinkedIn. Plus, increasing numbers of inhouse counsel are using one of the ” legal vertical” networking sites such as Legal OnRamp or Martindale-Hubbell Connected.

  • http://www.gatewaybizdev.com ElizabethL

    Great post! I think often times, companies get caught up in trying to “sell” their product to their target market- they aren’t engaging the influencers. In most cases, it’s companies that are trying to do it all on their own. It might be wise to look into outsourcing social media.

  • http://www.myrlandmarketing.com Nancy Myrland

    Cue the music, and turn up your speakers…..ready?!
    “A…a-a-men, A….a-a-men, A-a-men, Amen, Amen, Sing it Over, Amen, Amen, Amen, Amen, Amen!”
    Kevin, OUTSTANDING post!!! I could not have said any of that any better than you did!

  • http://lifeatthebar.com/ Julie A. Fleming

    I haven’t heard anyone else word this quite the same, but you are exactly right. One of the best ways you can increase future business is by earning the respect and trust of your peers. Participating in social media is essentially marketing to those who will market for you in the future.