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Is Thomson Reuters really using social media to engage lawyers?

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Per Thomson Reuters’ Susan Martin at Legal Currents yesterday, Thomson Reuters is using social media to engage in customer support initiatives.

  • Two years ago an innovative customer service strategy began to emerge at Thomson Reuters that would eventually evolve into the company’s Customer Experience Operations’ use of Twitter to find and respond to customer complaints.
  • A summer associate blog renamed the West Reference Attorney Blog receives high traction today after initially being in the top 10 of the ABA’s most read blogs.
  • After the blog’s success, West turned to Twitter with the creation of @WestlawRefAtty Twitter handle to respond to customer service concerns voiced via Tweets.
  • In 2013, will look to expand the presence of blog, develop thought leadership pieces, and use Twitter to share their blog’s content.
  • New platforms—such as LinkedIn—are being considered for how they might be used to connect with customers.

I laud Thomson Reuters for using social media, but I question whether the company is really using social media effectively to engage lawyers and law firms in a real and meaningful manner.

  • Do employees tweet in their names? People tweet, corporations do not – if you are looking to build real trust. Susan Martin writes for Legal Currents, a publication I follow and from which I share pieces on Twitter. Unlike other reporters I can’t attribute something to her as she doesn’t have a Twitter handle that I can find.
  • How authentic is Thomson Reuters’ engagement? This is a company which sells blogs to lawyers and writes some of the lawyers’ blog posts for them – certainly not blogging and going to the edge of misleading consumers.
  • Invited bloggers to St. Paul for the day last month to engage them regarding new TR products and then asked bloggers not to tweet or blog during the day – very odd if you wish to engage legal professionals, both on site and offsite that day.
  • Is the company’s leadership using social media to engage the legal community? We’re no TR, but the 2 employees in our company making the most concerted effort to use social media (blog, Twitter, LinkedIn et al) are LexBlog’s President, Kevin McKeown (@kevinmckeown), and I. And we’re as busy as anyone in our company — it’s just that important in building relationships and for our learning from other leaders
  • TR may have some good people and solutions, but by and large does not have a good reputation with lawyers, especially when it comes to marketing and business development solutions. Their use of social media to date does not seem to have endeared them to their customer base as has been the case with other companies’ use of social media, ie, Dell or Microsoft with Robert Scoble.

I’m all for engaging TR on these issues through social media or otherwise. There is much to be gained both ways. Comment here, blog about the issue so we engage and draw others in, whatever you think best.

I’m also interested in what others think. Do you lawyers and other legal professionals see TR making effective use of social media to engage the legal profession?

Image courtesy of Flickr by Mike Cogh.