Why don’t Law Firm Partners get Social Media?

My short list:

  • Fear;
  • Ignorance of the unknown;
  • Generational – generation ‘Y’ and all that stuff;
  • “It’s not my thing”;
  • Control;
  • No systematised programme that shows a big fat arrow to the bottom line;
  • There is no Leader or Uber firm name(s) to follow;
  • There is no rule book that says what you can/cannot do;
  • Risk;
  • Partners are not social – enough;
  • It means thinking at the limit of the box;
  • It means diverting people to a technology that is unproven;
  • Not enough people are willing to cede control to those who have a voice and might not always be on message;
  • No budget (but remember most of the platforms like Twitter and LinkedIn are FREE);
  • No one would bill whilst they were messing with this stuff;
  • It would mean crafting a policy that would open up the use of Facebook to everyone;
  • It is a load of unmitigated BS.

I think you get the picture.

But amongst the plethora of Not to Do points, there is one stark reality that partners need to grasp: save in the case of long-standing, established relationships, more and more consumers of legal services will seek out their service provider via: (a) their friends, colleagues and acquaintances who will point them in the direction of a name or URL; and (b) the ubiquitous search on one or other of the search engines will be the way people find your firm. And it will those firms that have earned attention using social media that await the biggest prize – more clients/more instructions/more (obscene) profit.

[Oh and coming up on the rails is the idea of social indexing, which is linked largely to Facebook, where you will look or be able to view a stream to check out which of your friends likes a particular firm. If you need a good source for this check out the work of Forrester Research or Jeremy Owyang.]

Even if you have decided to dip your proverbial toe-n-a-i-l in the murky looking water, you need to start thinking total immersion. Trust me whatever the most outrageous position you can conceive will be nowhere near where you end up. If you end up with 10-15% of your marketing budget for 2011 committed to social media you will have done extraordinarly well.

My *top* tip for all partners who find there way to this blog:

Get on LinkedIn now, build your profile so that it says 100% complete and commit to it with 100% effort for the next 100 days so that by the end of it you have met with, off line, 50% of the people that you have connected with.

Call it the 100/50 CHALLENGE.

If you really want to raise the stakes conceive of a prize for the partner who achieves the most meetings in 100 days. Perhaps a weekend break for 2. The main thing is to demonstrate that this stuff has depth and meaning and is not just about the wretched cheese sandwich or whatever other lame point you keep coming up with for avoiding social media.

Oh and one final point – try to be remarkable in the way that you engage. You know in such a way that shouts interesting and not dullNESS!

Contact me

For more on developing profitable business, innovating in professional practice and implementing social media, subscribe to the RSS Feed of my Blog. Follow me on Twitter at @0neLife, or @Ju_Summerhayes connect to me on LinkedIn or friend me on Facebook. If I can help you or your practice, check out my coaching and consulting firm via LinkedIn, email me on juliansummerhayes@gmail.com or call me on 075888 15384.

4 responses to “Why don’t Law Firm Partners get Social Media?”

  1. Jon Busby says:

    I have been tracking these posts for some time and would like to put my tuppence worth in.

    I think you need to distinguish between social media and web engagement. Although on the face it, to many, they will seem like one and the same thing, they are not quite.

    The web, a firms website, is tool for establishing, refining and then connecting with a a lawyer or law firm. A website is very much built on the premise that the viewer can find, arrive and decide at their leisure. This is a scenario where the client is in control. Law firms need to place less emphasis on social media more on exploiting their websites better.

    I mean as a ‘customer’ I am as likely to follow a lawyer as I am to follow an accountant or funeral director…in other words, not very. If I want to find a lawyer I will do what I do to find just about anything…Google it. Then I will start refining via websites. Then I will pick up the phone to talk to a lawyer, pour my sorry little heart out and leave it for him to sort out the problem.

    Even if I did want to follow you I would find you by ‘crowd referral.’ In other words via my existing followers who I have a degree of trust with. This is no different to traditional client referral that lawyers are used to.

    Social media is far far more one on one and is much more restrictive in terms of what it can do in terms of providing initial information, e.g 140 characters of Twitter. The very word ‘social’ implies, “I like you, we click, we get on, you are interesting on so many levels.” Do not delude yourself that clients want a constant and ongoing relationship…they don’t.

    Social media for law firms, generally if at all, comes after the connect has been made, (certainly B2C), not before. Doing it before will just alienate you as an annoying broadcaster who is trying to push something.

    If a lawyer picked up one of my tweets and contacted me I would block him and maybe report him for spamming me.

    My sense is that clients do not want to find and engage with lawyers via social media tools and certainly not initially. They want to talk to a human being so it is the website that should be structured to navigate them to the human being contact.

    There is a lot of talk about social media being the next big thing for lawyers. What I am seeing is lawyers tweeting with lawyers (or other non-income streams), lawyers blogging with lawyers, lawyers connecting up with other lawyers via Linkedin. You will have spotted a lack of the word ‘client’ in that last couple sentence.

    I also think that many lawyers are there (social media world) but don’t really know why they are there, but because everyone else is there, they have to be there.

    I constantly read articles about how “i get a positive ROI from social media” but noone ever shows me the numbers…ever. So I could say “I have just received an invite to Will & Kate’s wedding.” You would have no way of disproving me, if pushed, because I can say that the condition of the invite is that I can’t take pictures and am not allowed to show you the invite.

    In 2011…fewer clever tools, more clever human engagement. This is important because local accessible human engagement will be a law firms key differentiator. Firms just need to harness the smarter web tools to strip unnecessary cost out.

    ps my top tip…don’t shout at anyone, if you don’t get social media don’t worry cos we human beings are more interested in engaging with human beings than remote machines.

  2. Jon Busby says:

    I have been tracking these posts for some time and would like to put my tuppence worth in.

    I think you need to distinguish between social media and web engagement. Although on the face it, to many, they will seem like one and the same thing, they are not quite.

    The web, a firms website, is tool for establishing, refining and then connecting with a a lawyer or law firm. A website is very much built on the premise that the viewer can find, arrive and decide at their leisure. This is a scenario where the client is in control. Law firms need to place less emphasis on social media more on exploiting their websites better.

    I mean as a ‘customer’ I am as likely to follow a lawyer as I am to follow an accountant or funeral director…in other words, not very. If I want to find a lawyer I will do what I do to find just about anything…Google it. Then I will start refining via websites. Then I will pick up the phone to talk to a lawyer, pour my sorry little heart out and leave it for him to sort out the problem.

    Even if I did want to follow you I would find you by ‘crowd referral.’ In other words via my existing followers who I have a degree of trust with. This is no different to traditional client referral that lawyers are used to.

    Social media is far far more one on one and is much more restrictive in terms of what it can do in terms of providing initial information, e.g 140 characters of Twitter. The very word ‘social’ implies, “I like you, we click, we get on, you are interesting on so many levels.” Do not delude yourself that clients want a constant and ongoing relationship…they don’t.

    Social media for law firms, generally if at all, comes after the connect has been made, (certainly B2C), not before. Doing it before will just alienate you as an annoying broadcaster who is trying to push something.

    If a lawyer picked up one of my tweets and contacted me I would block him and maybe report him for spamming me.

    My sense is that clients do not want to find and engage with lawyers via social media tools and certainly not initially. They want to talk to a human being so it is the website that should be structured to navigate them to the human being contact.

    There is a lot of talk about social media being the next big thing for lawyers. What I am seeing is lawyers tweeting with lawyers (or other non-income streams), lawyers blogging with lawyers, lawyers connecting up with other lawyers via Linkedin. You will have spotted a lack of the word ‘client’ in that last couple sentence.

    I also think that many lawyers are there (social media world) but don’t really know why they are there, but because everyone else is there, they have to be there.

    I constantly read articles about how “i get a positive ROI from social media” but noone ever shows me the numbers…ever. So I could say “I have just received an invite to Will & Kate’s wedding.” You would have no way of disproving me, if pushed, because I can say that the condition of the invite is that I can’t take pictures and am not allowed to show you the invite.

    In 2011…fewer clever tools, more clever human engagement. This is important because local accessible human engagement will be a law firms key differentiator. Firms just need to harness the smarter web tools to strip unnecessary cost out.

    ps my top tip…don’t shout at anyone, if you don’t get social media don’t worry cos we human beings are more interested in engaging with human beings than remote machines.

  3. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by MichelleHynes-McIlro. MichelleHynes-McIlro said: RT @Catrin_Mills: RT @0neLife: Today's blog post. Why don’t Law Firm Partners get Social Media? http://bit.ly/eJX4Lt // great blog Julian! […]

  4. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by MichelleHynes-McIlro. MichelleHynes-McIlro said: RT @Catrin_Mills: RT @0neLife: Today's blog post. Why don’t Law Firm Partners get Social Media? http://bit.ly/eJX4Lt // great blog Julian! […]

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