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Why do law firms still block Facebook and Twitter?

My retort: Who the bloody hell knows!

But the main reason is productivity.

And what underpins that?

Trust or rather the lack of it.

Sad. Really sad.

Firms need to understand that this social media phenomenon is not going away. Like it or loathe it the way that we will consume content, inform or be informed about the products or services we buy or how we engage with suppliers is going to be driven through the web. Just because your brochure website is getting pitiful traffic doesn’t mean to say that your raving fans or those scratching around for some help, won’t want to engage across Facebook or Twitter.

If your call to action is a simple one – “How can we help?” – and I find you on one of these channels, I may be much more comfortable making that initial connection than having to go through some convoluted process that involves filling out a contact sheet or telephoning and passing through numerous pairs of hands before I get to the right person.

Even if you are not paranoid about vast swathes of chargeable time disappearing into the ether, the lack of a policy is also no reason to prevent people from engaging. If you need reassuring then go check out the policies on Chris Boudreaux‘s great site where he has amassed a slew of policies including those for Intel, IBM, the US Navy and the UK Government. Surely if these institutions can open up Pandora’s Box then so can little old law firm?

And then there is the old fire wall/technology issue. As long as you have a half decent IT/security policy then there is no reason why you cannot allow everyone access to Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

For those hardy souls who have got fed up asking they have buggered off and done their own thing. They have set up incognito a Twitter feed, they are passing comment on Facebook and will spend time engaging on LinkedIn. They can see the point of this social media thing and certainly wouldn’t be wasting their time just to have a chat!

Firms need to unlearn what they have (supposedly) learned. Marketing is more than what your moribund, printed literature says. It sure doesn’t come through from your website – that looks like every other site. No marketing is about reinforcing every touch point across the firm. Twitter and LinkedIn offer exponential opportunity to tap the market and leverage your firm’s intellectual capital if you know what you are doing.

Next time you are faced with the umpteenth request for the key to unlock the social media chest, make sure you understand the market well enough to argue your corner. Of course, just because your nearest and dearest competitor is on these wretched platforms is no reasons to follow suit but you can bet they have been through the same difficulties before succumbing to the inevitable.

My advice, don’t waste any more time sweating about things, and just lift the curtain. The sooner you do it the better. But of course you will need to make sure that everyone knows what to do as otherwise you may just find they spend their time in completely unproductive ways.

~ Julian Summerhayes ~