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5 reasons your law firm should be focused on LinkedIn and not Facebook

Australian accountant, Ashley Summerville, penned five compelling reasons that professionals ought to leave Facebook and join LinkedIn.

I’m not proposing that lawyers and law firms ignore Facebook all together. Facebook, by sheer numbers, would be the third largest country in the world. Like AOL was in the late ’90’s, Facebook is arguably the central nervous system of social interaction on the Internet.

But when I walk into law firms and they want to talk about Facebook before LinkedIn I question the firm’s client development priorities. I put LinkedIn first and Facebook fifth in social media solutions delivering the highest ROI for law firms. Use of an RSS reader, blogging, and Twitter coming in two, three, and four, respectively.

Facebook’s wonderful for staying in touch with those close to you socially. I enjoy following and sharing with friends, relatives, fellow school alumni, and close business associates on Facebook. However, I don’t put Facebook above LinkedIn, something that’s generated a lot of business for LexBlog, on the client development front. Law firms shouldn’t either.

Why the emphasis on LinkedIn over Facebook per Summerville?

  • Target Audience – the average age on Facebook is 20 something… It’s a great place to meet people, swap videos, and chat. But it’s not a business platform. LinkedIn’s average age is 41. Most everyone is a business professional trying to meet other business professionals.
  • Business Groups – LinkedIn is designed around business groups. You can join these and instantly connect with people with similar interest. On Facebook, there may be fan pages, but it’s often just that, fans! No real dialogue goes on.
  • Recommendations – you can build relationships with people on LinkedIn and once they know/trust/do business with you, will give you recommendations. These professional endorsements give you an element of credibility that you don’t get elsewhere.
  • Integration with other platforms – you can connect to LinkedIn from multiple social media portals, such as BusinessWeek, AMEX Open Platform, and even from Facebook.
  • Knowledge Exchange – I’ve kept the best for last. The conversations I have on LinkedIn are with the best people in their fields. You can learn a huge amount just by listening. Ask questions and see what comes back. The quality is very high. And unlike other sites, the conversations rarely degenerate into slanging matches. You can also receive the comments by email every day or bundled into a single email every week.

Seattle Attorney Dan Harris, publisher of the China Law Blog, told me over lunch last week that he’s found LinkedIn incredibly valuable for networking and client development. His feeling is that Facebook is for people you already know.

What are you finding as a lawyer or legal marketing professional? How is LinkedIn working for you? How about Facebook?