Business development Business Excellence Law Firms Leadership Marketing Professional Service Firms Selling Social Media

Social Media: The Hierarchy of Demands for Lawyers

Right now, I am intensely focused on social media.

It has been a real joy and delight to reacquaint myself with friends, family and exchange a few ideas with business leaders (yes I have had the occasional tweet from Tom Peters and an email from Seth Godin when discussing his book Linchpin). The business end of things is still developing.

My focus at the moment has been to understand the execution end of social media – how does Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn work and to spend some time working on my WordPress blog (yes you will see that I have changed to a host and it now carries my own name; thank you for bearing with me).

Back to the heading.

I have been chatting with my brother, Martin, who is an awesome guy when it comes to IT; he used to work for HP and now has a uber role with a major IT services company. Anyhow, he and I were having a brotherly tussle over the phone about what I described as the hierarchy of needs of a business. I gave him the link to a Seth Godin blog where he had talked about this – he termed it the hierarchy of success.

It went like this:

1. Attitude;

2. Approach;

3. Goals;

4. Strategy;

5. Tactics; and

6. Execution.

I was very much at the 1/2 end of the hierarchy; Martin was at the 5/6 end.

It got me thinking: what is the hierarchy of needs for lawyers when it comes to social media, assuming the firm they work for has opened up or allowed them to participate in social media.

The hierarchy goes like this:

1. Billing;

2. Recording billable/non-billable time;

3. Dealing with or trying to nurture internal referrals;

4. X-selling with existing clients (I have talked before about up selling but let’s just stick with X-selling);

5. Administration;

6. Business development that doesn’t include the above;

7. Social media.

Now I could have made the list a great deal longer or included sub-categories but the point is that presently social media isn’t regarded as part of 6; let’s face it if most lawyers were to turn around to their boss and say: “I’m not going to that networking event but instead am going to spend the next 2 hours on Twitter” then I can pretty much guarantee what the response would be: “Are you having a laugh….!”.

Now it may be wrong to try and place it in a hierarchy which, when broken down and set against Seth’s list, is only around the execution end or managing time; and that is where, full circle, we come back to the nub of the tussle between me and the bro; if firms don’t move or decide to focus SM at a higher end of the list then undoubtedly it will get relegated to 7 or at best to 6.

I would be really interested to know your experience of SM integration and where you would place it in the hierarchy.