Social Media for law firms ~ Letting go of …

… the firm ‘message’ (branding etc.) is and remains one of the biggest challenges for law firms.

Almost without exception it is kept within a very tight circle of people and is guarded on all fronts (or it should be…).

But the world is changing.

People have the mobile web in their hand, on a tablet or on a computer and you cannot control what they decide to say (unless you are forced to issue an injunction and even then that may only be a temporary measure).

Firms need to get used to dealing with a message that is adverse to the firm and could not have been predicted.

Control is lost in a very short period, perhaps minutes.

Retailers have had to cope with customer dis-satisfaction on forums, Twitter, Facebook or blogs and it won’t be long before the legal market starts to realise that he who shouts loudest and with the biggest network impact (“OMG have you seen how many people read his/her/their blog”) have tremendous power and need to be very carefully managed.

Now is the time to start crafting a social media policy but also understand that client care means going beyond the layered approach to internal complaints handling or client satisfaction and firms need to have a Team ready and able to cope with the might of web. Managing partners stand ready to have to respond to a complaint in the blink of an eye (or a Tweet) because you will be in the line of sight as every CEO of a large company is when something goes wrong.

If partners haven’t thought of this as an ‘issue’ it is only because clients have not sought to move in this direction but it is only a matter of time before we start to see them take their angst out on the web and in a very public way.

This may keep partners awake at night but there will also be those who see a (nascent) silver lining of turning those clients around into fans and influencers. It won’t be easy and some firms will simply want to put a lid on things but the problem is there and firms need prepare.

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