Should lawyers ignore Google+ for now?

Google plus lawyersLaw firm social media consultant, Adrian Dayton, penned an interesting piece at the National Law Journal last week advising lawyers to ignore Google+ for now.

Dayton’s position, also drawing the support of others in the field, is that it’s too early for the vast majority of lawyers.

…[T]he innovators and early adopters will always be willing to jump from platform to platform and try new things. The early majority will jump aboard once the time is right, and the late majority is the last big group to join before you get to the laggards. The late majority (think your managing partner or grandfather) have finally joined LinkedIn. They came kicking and screaming, and now you want to tell them they need to join a new network? It isn’t going to happen. At least, not in the near future.

Based on the majority jumping on later, Dayton doesn’t believe it worthwhile to get involved with Google+.

…[U]nless you hope to connect with high-tech start-ups, marketing or advertising agencies or social media marketers. This is the new and shiny object in the online space, and if the populations you want to connect to are attracted by that sort of things, give it a try.

Dayton’s point is well taken, but he may be missing a couple points.

First, lawyers in any area of the law stand to gain from meeting innovators and influencers in their industry and locale.

If you’re an environmental lawyer, what if there’s a leading environmental reporter, a leading environmental engineer, an environmental executive, or an A-list environmental blogger with thousands of followers using Google+? Who cares whether the majority of them are there. You’re the only environmental lawyer in town in the case of Google+?

You are much more likely to engage such professionals today on Google+ when you are both experimenting with this new medium than when the likely masses arrive later. The noise you’ll get later will drown out the clear signal that allows you to connect and build relationships today.

The same could be the case for a local estate planning lawyer, a patent lawyer, a M & A lawyer, or a family law lawyer.

No guaranty that you can connect with reporters, association leaders, an A-list of bloggers, and leading community leaders (all influencers of your clients by what they write and say about you) at Google+. But you’ll never know without trying.

The second point that Dayton may be missing is who cares if the late majority which Dayton describes as of managing partner or grandfather age are not using Google+ yet. Who cares if they ever do?

Lawyers build plenty of relationships with non-clients via social media which relationships lead to work.

Lawyers are cited by leading bloggers, lawyers are quoted by leading reporters (mainstream and trade) and lawyers are invited to speak to associations. All because of their use of social media.

Clients and prospective clients are tremendously influenced by such exposure and reputation enhancement. And in each of these cases, the late majority never participated in the social media the lawyers were participating in.

It simply doesn’t matter if the early majority or late majority of your ultimate clients are using social media for your social media effort (blogging, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, or Google+) to work for you as a lawyer.

I know Google+ presents yet another social media and we all have limited time.

But lawyers who tend to separate themselves from the pack when it comes to business development do things differently. Such lawyers are not waiting for the majority.

PS – Let’s leave the managing partner door open to grandmothers and even non-grandparents. Not saying that’s what Dayton implied, but I want to make sure. ;)

Kevin O'Keefe
About the Author

Trial lawyer turned legal tech entrepreneur, I am the founder and CEO of LexBlog, a legal blog community of over 30,000 blog publishers, worldwide. LexBlog’s publishing platform is used on a subscription basis by over 18,000 legal professionals, including the largest law firm in each India, China and the United States.

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