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LexisNexis Social Media Visibility : PT Barnum incarnate?

LexisNexis Social Media Visibility“There’s a sucker born every minute” is a phrase credited to American showman, P. T. Barnum. Barnum’s friends and acquaintances told him the quote was out of character for him. Barnum’s credo was more along the lines of “there’s a customer born every minute” — he wanted to find ways to draw new customers in all the time because competition was fierce and people could become bored easily. Either way, a sucker born every minute or people easily bored being sold things by fierce competitors, the concept aptly applies to lawyers and law firms buying Internet marketing products. The latest is LexisNexis – Martindale-Hubbell Search Engine Social Media Visibility product.

Maximize your website’s visibility and drive more clients to your business by competing in a space that generates half of the Internet’s online conversations.

Wow, What do I get as a lawyer? (with a little commentary from me)

  • Custom blog. We’ll create a blog that’s tailored specifically for your firm with a look and feel that’s consistent with your website. — That’s not so bad, though I hope we’ll have a niche blog for each practice area and not a firm wide blog as I hear those don’t work.
  • Customized content. Improve your visibility in search engine results with fresh content. Partner with our marketing specialists to create a blog content plan on the topics you choose. Then, our team will compose manual blogs on a weekly basis. Or, upgrade to Social Media Visibility Advanced to receive custom written blogs twice per week. – Wow, not so fast there skippy. I thought blogs, like other social media, were a means of networking through the Internet to build relationships and enhance my reputation, the way the best lawyers have always gotten work. How am I networking if you are writing content for me? I heard that the lawyers who were truly benefiting from blogging viewed listening as more important than content, that way you’re engaging your target audience of clients, prospective clients, and amplifiers and influencers (reporters, publishers, association leaders, conference coordinators, and leading bloggers – whether legal, local, or industry related). Will the byline say the content is written by me? That can be misleading and cause ethical issues for me. Or will you do it the FindLaw blog product way and say the content was written on my behalf so I can skate up to the edge of unethical conduct?
  • Submission to blog directories. We’ll submit your blog to up to twenty major blog directories and legal blog lists. — Is that of any real value? I heard people don’t go to directories to look up blogs. I heard the best way to get seen and get cited as a reliable and trusted authority is to reference others writing on the net.
  • Link building. We’ll submit your blog to other relevant sites, such as Digg®, WordPress™ and Squidoo® to generate inbound links. Wow, is that of any value either? I heard Digg has experienced a steep decline, with the founders having left and the property up for sale. WordPress? If I just blog in an effective way, won’t I pick up links from hundreds or thousands of blogs anyway? Squidoo? As much as like Seth Godin, one of its founders, I don’t hear anyone talking about Squidoo anymore other than him. Are you sure you aren’t trying to name drop on me, hoping that I don’t know anything about those sites and that I’ll think what you’re doing is cool?
  • Develop a relationship with potential clients to gain their business. We’ll set up your firm’s Facebook Fan Page and Twitter account with feeds to your blog, as well as create a LinkedIn company profile that includes five personal attorney profiles (get up to twenty-five profiles with Social Media Visibility Advanced). — That’s starting to sound like a good use of social, to build relationships. But when I build relationships in the real world and even over the phone and by email, I do my own talking. I go to networking events myself to meet and engage people, I don’t hire a lacky who lives a thousand miles away, whom I have never met, and who doesn’t really know the type of people I like to engage with nor the type of subjects I like to engage on. Seems like I could be perceived as a phony and a fraud if I don’t go out and network myself. And LinkedIn profiles? I heard that was something I can do for free and that truly being personal in those profiles, as opposed to the old Martindale-Hubbell type profiles is what works. Don’t I need to really use LinkedIn to network through groups, sharing news and info, and connect with the people I meet to make LinkedIn really work for me? Seems like just paying you to do a LinkedIn profile isn’t going to do much for me.

I know we’re all for companies generating jobs in America. And God knows, LexisNexis hiring stand in networkers for lawyers across America will generate a lot of jobs. I’ve heard LexisNexis charges law firms $10,000 per year for Social Media Visibility Advanced. Is it possible LexisNexis, in the face of stiff competition from Thomson Reuters FindLaw, and legal industry startups who have built their companies through blogging and social media over the last 8 years feel compelled to get a social media product, whether good or bad, to market? Is it possible that LexisNexis senses lawyers may be bored with websites, the Martindale-Hubbell directory, and Martindale Connected is selling Social Media Visibility to draw in unknowing lawyers as customers? My personal belief is that LexisNexis does not know how blogging and other social media works for business development or does not care if they sell a social media product not founded on the principals of social media to unknowing lawyers. What do you think?