Branding consultant, William Arruda (@WilliamArruda) had a nice piece in Forbes this morning on “What Boomers And Gen Xers Get Wrong About Social Media.

I couldn’t help but think that Arruda was speaking to many managing partners and leaders of law firms across the country.

Arruda works with a lot of senior executives whose social media errors needlessly work against them. The nine worst apply equally to these law firm leaders.

1. Thinking you are immune.

Social media is not about you. It’s where the world is headed. It’s about the lawyers and other professionals in your firm, your clients, your prospective clients, your business associates, and your community at large. You need to be seen as innovator, not a reluctant relic.

2. Being invisible.

Anyone meeting with you is going to Google you. If you are absent, other than a website profile, you don’t exist. As a leader you are apt to have an excellent offline presence. Your online presence needs to be its equal.

3. Making a mediocre attempt can be worse.

An incomplete LinkedIn profile with no picture and a few contacts. A Twitter account with five Tweets from two years ago. How do the people you lead perceive you?

4. Being silent.

Social media is not broadcasting, it’s about conversation, relationships and engagement — all the things you feel comfortable doing offline. With your audience now online, how can you remain absent from the conversation?

5. Not acknowledging your team’s wins via social media.

You have good people on your team. They are doing some great things. Rather than solely an internal shoutout, why not give them kudos online? I need to do better on this one myself.

6. Not training your lawyers and other professionals to use social media.

According to an Altimeter Group survey, 62% of companies have no social media education program. For law firms the percentage is probably higher. If social media is about accelerating relationships and word of mouth, aren’t you shirking your business development responsibilities by not empowering your team?

7. Thinking real- and virtual-world communications are separate.

As Arruda says, “You’re doing double the work if you think real-world communications are distinct and separate from social media.” They are one in the same. Online networking leads to face-to-face offline engagement founded on trust.

8. Not learning from Gen Y’s.

The younger people in your firm know how to push the social networking buttons, you know how to build relationships and word of mouth through networking. You can learn from each other.

9. Missing the opportunity to stand out.

Social media adoption among law firm leaders is low. That’s good news. By you and your firm leading on social media, you’ll stand out as as innovators.

Later this year I’ll be speaking to the lawyers at large law firm about social media and business development. I am doing so at the request of the managing partner.

A couple years ago the managing partner was skeptical of social media. As a leader, his position is evolving. How about yours?

Image courtesy of Flickr by Villanova Law