By Kevin O'Keefe

It's not about the numbers

20130314-115113.jpg If you can score it, then that’s how to measure success. You could almost call that the mantra of legal marketing and business development.

Legal websites brought us analytics. How many page views? How many unique visitors?

Email newsletters brought us subscribers. How many? How many opened our email?

Now social media and social networking brings us followers and analytics.

  • How many followers do we have on Twitter?
  • How many subscribers to my blog?
  • What, I cannot get exact statistics on my blog with RSS subscribers?
  • How many likes on Facebook?
  • What’s that tool that pushes my content across all my social media at once?
  • How do I get my social media to push people to my website or blog where I have my analytics?

If Martians came down to earth, you know the kind of Martians who do business development, and saw you chasing numbers like this as a measure of growing business, they’d think you were nuts.

Forget Martians. How about the lawyers who built the law firms who are employing you? Those lawyers didn’t need stats and numbers (other than revenue) to measure success. They conducted business development the old fashioned way – via networking to grow their word of mouth reputation and relationships.

Brian Solis’ (@briansolis) Altimeter Group surveyed 700 executives and social strategists last year. Though 100% were using social, most did not know why.

In fact, we found that only 34% of businesses felt that their social strategy was connected to business outcomes and just 28% felt that they had a holistic approach to social media, where lines of business and business functions work together under a common vision. A mere 12% were confident they had a plan that looked beyond the next year.

Is your law firm in this group of the wandering clueless when it comes to social media? Are you tying business strategy to social media strategy (if you have one)? Are you measuring social media success the same way you are measuring business strategy success?

We’re networking through the Internet, folks. Challenge yourself to forget the numbers.

  • Place numbers lower on the totem pole when measuring ROI when it comes to the net and social media. Numbers can be important but not as important as other things.
  • Take a chance and tell others the same in your firm. Tell them let’s tie social media strategy to the business strategy developed at the highest levels of the firm.
  • Tell them no more stats first – it’s about whether a lawyer’s network is growing, whether they are being recognized as a subject matter expert, and it’s whether good clients are being generated by our Internet business development efforts.
  • Ask yourself if you are grasping at numbers because it’s a way to rationalize what you do, as opposed to really helping your firm.
  • Go out and find case studies supporting the position it’s not about the numbers.

Never before have lawyers and law firms had the power they have today to generate new business by accelerating relationships and a word of mouth reputation.

Let’s not blow it by measuring success by numbers.

Image courtesy of Flickr by Richard Bowen.

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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