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Social Media 101 for Law Firms – Don’t Get Left Behind

LTO logoFeaturing expert Kerry Scott Boll of JustEngage - please take our snap-poll on social media usage

Social media is not only shaping a new culture, it is also tremendously affecting business progress and influencing globalization.  As a business tool, social media platforms create greater communication channels so people can make informed decisions about people, places, services, products, and businesses, and get quick access to information around the world.  Kerry Scott Boll, founder of social media consulting firm JustEngage, says the best way to get more business is to offer great services and connect with the general public to show them you care – and to show it online.

Boll points out that in previous economic downturns, the legal industry has been relatively unscathed – not the case with the current recession where it has been hit hard.  He points to social media as a particularly powerful – and largely free - tool for law firms to showcase their expertise, increase their web presence, and bridge the gap between generations.

The most important platforms that lawyers need to be connected to are LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Google+, and YouTube.  With 75% of American adults now using social-networking sites, connecting through the web it is the most effective, free, and powerful way to communicate with consumers.  The more social media sites a firm or individual is connected to, the better their search engine optimization (SEO) will be, and the greater visibility they will have on Google+, although all of the social media platforms warrant attention.  LinkedIn is the most dominant in the legal industry.  According to the ILN Social Media survey, LinkedIn is the best place for firms or individual attorneys to network and create a presence on the internet.  With over 2 million companies and 161 million active users, many other industries have realized LinkedIn’s importance.

Facebook and Twitter have their own value.  With over 845 million users, Facebook is the single largest networking site available.  Boll explains that for personal injury lawyers, Facebook can be a great asset for presence and prospecting.  Twitter is considered the second most relevant research tool because it allows people all over the world to communicate fast, in real-time.  Social media has been used for jury selection and eDiscovery, and allows lawyers to filter through vast amounts of data quickly.

Google+ and YouTube are also important tools that law firms can take advantage of. Though relatively new, Google+ is interesting because it takes the best aspects of Facebook and LinkedIn and allows users to communicate through targeted ‘circles’.  These private circles essentially let users share relevant information with the “right “people, so Google+ provides a way for both professional networking and communicating to consumers.

YouTube is different from the other platforms because it is centered on video sharing and visual presence.  Law firms can post internally-focused and publicly oriented marketing videos, helping to tear down the invisible curtain created when communicating via computer and further humanizing the firm.  YouTube is a great resource to post speaking engagements, recruitment videos and training.

Boll jokingly says lawyers need to learn social media because it “ain’t going away” – and not only that - he predicts that eventually social networks and the cloud will completely replace internal email hardware and software.  Future organizations and individuals will communicate solely through social media.  Firms need to realize now that, as much as their business values may be grounded in traditional methods, clients still dictate their and technology choices to some extent.  With millions of users already using social media and the new generation of lawyers growing up glued to the web, the legal industry will be forced to embrace these communication platforms, or risk being left in the dust.

We invite you to take our snap-poll on social media usage at the following link: Results will be posted tomorrow.

By Ada Spahija
Burke & Company

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