Social media and social networking is the all the buzz in the lawyer marketing world. Every place I presented this year on ‘Social Networking for Law Firms’ told me they had the largest attendance, or close to the largest, they’ve ever had. And it’s not my looks.

At the first few presentations I tried to cover a mindmap of social networking tools. I talk fast and that just got me talking faster. Covering 20 different social networking mediums is not the best use of an hour. And when I was catching my breath, a smart attendee would ask, ‘If you were me, what 2 or 3 things would you make use of today and go to a law firm with?’

Good question. Obvious answer for me. Blogs. Twitter. LinkedIn. Use those three effectively and you can take over the world.

In the world of a lawyer that means doing the type of work you love and for the types of clients you enjoy doing it for. If not becoming a rock star in your field, then at least becoming a lawyer’s lawyer. You know, the person you call from time to time as a mentor who always has lots of good work and charges more for time than you could ever imagine charging.

Blogs? Got to have one. How else can you develop a central place where clients, prospective clients, and the influencers (bloggers, media, and social media hounds) pick up on your passion, philosophy, reasoning, and skill? How do you get seen when people search for info? You think I’m picking a pig in the poke by reading a lawyer profile on a website or Martindale? That’s nuts.

Twitter? Single biggest learning, brand building, network expanding, and reputation enhancing tool for me this year. Twitter’s influence is what took me off this blog so much in the last couple months. Twitter is no longer an experiment for me. Like Guy Kawasaki and Robert Scoble, I’d rather go without my cell phone for a week than Twitter.

Some people will tell you Twitter is a waste of time. Ignore them. Twitter, like everything I’ve discovered on the Internet in this crazy last 13 years, was confusing as all get out when I first tried it. You get less confused by playing with something. Playing for a lot of people is called a waste of time. But you don’t grow by not goofing around. Ask Google.

If you haven’t watched the brief Scoble video interviewing Kawasaki, do so. Guy talks about other things, but Twitter is what amazes him. ‘I think Twitter is, arguably, the most powerful branding mechanism since television.’ Guy says that Alltop would be nothing without Twitter.

LinkedIn? LinkedIn has won the professional social networking/directory space. The race is over. I get invites from professionals inviting me to join their network elsewhere. Other than LinkedIn and Facebook I ignore them.

Lawyers can get into esoteric discussions about the features they like in Plaxo. You can be build gated communities only allowing approved legal professionals ala Legal Onramp or Martindale-Hubbell Connected (first social community trying to create buzz without even launching). They may have some great features, but they do not have 900,000 professionals joining a week. 50 million professionals in hundreds of industries that can easily be met and networked with is way too good to pass up.

People will tell you they have joined LinkedIn and not gotten any new business. Ignore them. Some lawyers wouldn’t know how to take someone out for lunch or a beer. Using LinkedIn effectively (connecting, answers, discussions, groups) is a gift that keeps on giving.

First thing I do when I get a lawyer’s name is Google their name + LinkedIn. A LinkedIn profile tells me more about that lawyer than their law firm profile ever will. I don’t want marketing spin from your copy person.

If your LinkedIn profile has hardly any info and a few connections, that tells me more. That you’re not very innovative, you don’t grasp new technology, that you use less effective ways of networking and client development. If I’m a go getting client with an innovative business I’m passing on you.

New years resolutions? You could do worse than saying I am going to blog, Tweet, and network on LinkedIn.

Rick Sanchez Twitter CNNRick Sanchez, an anchor/correspondent on CNN who serves as the anchor of the weekend primetime edition of CNN Newsroom, started using Twitter while covering Hurricane Gustav last weekend.

No big planning or learning curve on Rick’s part in starting on Twitter. He registered a Twitter account (here’s Rick’s) and started using the darn thing. Perhaps he got some coaching or encouragement from assistant producers. But Twitter’s less complicated than a fax machine, and lawyers and law firm personnel have even mastered the use of that.

Rick needed two things. One, to gather as many first hand reports on the Hurricane as possible, some from other reporters, but mostly from average folks using Twitter to share their experiences. Such as New Orleans Attorney, Ernie Svenson, who Twittered via his iPhone from his New Orleans condo during the height of the storm and who is now reporting on real life experiences of the struggles of its citizens.

Second, Rick needed to spread the reach of CNN’s coverage of the Hurricane. What better way to get more people watching CNN than to connect with people like me via Twitter, and then have me in turn spread the word of CNN being on Twitter during the storm. I heard of Rick’s being on Twitter via Ernie or Robert Scoble, I’m not sure which.

Rick started using Twitter last Friday, I believe, and by the weekend, his use of Twitter spread like wildfire across the net. As a means of amplifying what Rick was covering, he started following people like me so that we would follow him. Hey, why not follow people who have the inside story on news. I cover news reporting and journalism on this blog. I want to see what he’s reporting on. I’m an amplifier for Rick and CNN.

The outcome of Rick’s use of Twitter? In Rick’s words, ‘Twitter rocks.’

  • His Saturday Newsroon show on CNN interfaced with Twitter, Facebook and Myspace was the most watched, highest rated of all newscasts on all networks.
  • The Saturday show was the most-watched program of the day for the P25-54 segment with 602,000 average viewers.
  • His Sunday CNN Newsroom at 11p was #1 in its time period.
  • On Monday CNN debuts a new Twitter show at 3 PM.

Here’s Rick’s comments on Twitter in his words (from my Tweetdeck).

CNN Twitter Rick Sanchez

Now instead of us watching you CNN. You’re watching and listening to us. We as citizen journalists using Twitter are making a real connection with CNN and making news together. Rather than CNN blowing off bloggers and lay people using social networking, CNN is joining the discussion in a real way – for the benefit of the public and CNN.

Way to go Rick. And to any others who encouraged and supported Rick.

It’s been a week since our last LexBlog Q & A. So when we finally had a free minute today to add another interview to the ongoing series, we pulled out the big guns.

Our guest? Robert Scoble, well-known technology guru and co-author (with Shel Israel, who we interviewed back in January) of the book Naked Conversations: How Blogs are Changing the way Businesses Talk with Customers. Robert, who writes the blog Scobleizer, currently works his "real job" with the tech magazine Fast Company, serving as managing director for their companion site Fast Company.TV.

Though a busy man, Robert recently took the time to answer an e-mail interview on blogs, lawyers and how he sees the two interacting. Check it out after the jump.

Continue Reading Robert Scoble of Scobleizer [LexBlog Q & A]

Getting bloggers to cover you, your law firm, or company is an art. It’s not done by sending press releases and cold emails to bloggers.

I probably get 30 press releases or announcements a day from organizations looking for me to blog about them. Can’t remember the last time such an an email from someone I didn’t know caused me to blog about what they sent me.

Uber blogger Robert Scoble, recently of Fast Company, offers some sound advice on how to get good PR for yourself in the blogosphere.

Read Robert’s whole post but here’s the highlights.

  • Go where the bloggers are. Create a list of few dozen bloggers and get to know them. If possible, go to events such bloggers are attending. Looking at Upcoming.org’s event calendars frequently, you can figure out which events a preponderance of bloggers say they’re attending and keep track of them.
  • Read the blogs of the people you want to cover you. Send them a note within minutes of their posting, blog about their posts, link to their blogs from your own blog, and add public comments to posts. Not only does each blogger get to know you, but their readers do too.
  • Send bloggers interesting stories — especially about other people — that you think they would be interested in. When you have something about your own business to announce, those bloggers will be more receptive to you than to some PR firm that only flacks for its clients.
  • Start blogging. When a blogger hears an interesting story, they go to Google and start searching other blogs so they can read more about it. Tell your story on your own blog.
  • Don’t send press releases. The blog world is built on relationships.

Bloggers matter when it comes to PR. LexBlog’s grown from the garage to a company with 14 people serving law firms across the country and internationally largely by my networking with other bloggers. Not once did I send out a press release.

Naked ConversationsNaked Conversations celebrated it’s second birthday this past Saturday.

For the unknowing, NC is a one of the seminal books on blogging. From wikipedia:

[Robert Scoble and Shel Israel] argue that almost every business can benefit from smart “naked” blogging, whether the company’s a small-town plumbing operation or a multinational fashion house. “If you ignore the blogosphere… you won’t know what people are saying about you,” they write. “You can’t learn from them, and they won’t come to see you as a sincere human who cares about your business and its reputation.” To bolster their argument, Scoble and Israel have assembled an enormous amount of information about blogging: from history and theory to comparisons among countries and industries. They also lay out the dos and don’ts of the medium and include extensive statistics, dozens of case studies and several interviews with famous bloggers.

If you’re in a PR or business development position (aren’t we all) trying to follow blogs and learn what blogs are all about, read it. If the concepts don’t make sense, read it again. If you’re already blogging effectively, read it. It gets the juices really going.

Shel’s comments on the the two year anniversary are enlightening.

It’s hard to believe it has only been two years since the book was introduced.

That’s the title of a post from Robert Scoble last week. He was responding to Susan Mernit’s report that Lane Hartwell was so pissed with people stealing her photographs that she decided to take her photos out of the public eye.

After offering up a way to watermark the photos and keep them online, Scoble says he’s just the opposite.

I WANT YOU to steal my content. In fact, next year I’m going to do stuff to make all my content available via Creative Commons license so you can use it whereever and whenever, including my video shows. I’d like a credit, yes, but don’t demand it. I’d rather just add to the human experience and if that means that other people make money off of my work, so be it.

I’ve found that the more I give away my content, the more magical stuff happens to me anyway and if that means my photos or writings or videos get used in some way that I don’t really like, well, that’s a risk I’m willing to take. Lane obviously is not.

Plus, today I have a little less competition from Lane, who was a great photographer but who’s work will be hard to discover now.

I’m right there with Scoble. And you lawyers should be wanting people stealing your blog content. The more it’s stolen by blockquote, reference and link, the easier for the world to discover you. And isn’t that what’s it all about, getting known for our expertise?

Want further evidence that you want people stealing your content? Scoble cites the New York Times whose traffic has taken off since removing its subscription pay wall in September.

As Scoble says, ‘…[W]hen you try to hold onto your content too tightly fewer people are able to find it.’