It’s hard to ignore the presence and power of social marketing for business. And you don’t have to look far to see reports of sites like Facebook, YouTube and Twitter registering usage of billions of minutes per day. Even a large percentage of lawyers use these sites as well. A 2009 Martindale-Hubbell “Networks for Counsel Survey” had 89% of attorneys between the ages of 25-35 and 66% of those aged 46 or older belonging to one or more social networks. But social marketing for lawyers creates some unique challenges.
These do’s and don’ts establish good starting points for your online activities:
- Consider social marketing as another tool in your client development kit. Along with your website, social marketing is an easy to use, intuitive way to build trust and create potential referrals.
- Quickly remove or “untag” photo’s posted on Facebook that might cause a few eyebrows to wrinkle.
- Use social networking sites to build contacts, answer questions and exchange information. LinkedIn and Martindale-Hubbell Connected are the two obvious choices here.
- Let common sense prevail over your 1st Amendment rights before posting or publishing.
- Use social networking, ethically, for information in litigation. Most users have little or no privacy settings set up, so it’s wide open. Happy hunting to all family & divorce lawyers.
- Don’t avoid it because you think it’s just another online fad. Social media and social marketing are here to stay. Just ask Facebook’s 400-million+ plus members.
- Before posting, think “do I want this information out there, forever?” Don’t put anything on any of your profiles you wouldn’t want potential clients, judges or opposing counsel to see.
- Reconsider before you use social marketing or social networking sites to complain about judges, juries or venues. Just because you can call a jurist “clueless” doesn’t mean you have to publish it for the world to see. This scenario actually happened to a lawyer in Illinois! See this article from the NY Times for more examples.
- And never, ever pretext or employ deceptive “friending” strategies to gain information on a defendant or client.
Social marketing and networking is a fun, exciting way to practice client development. Join, contribute and be part of the conversation!
Image credit by kentoh.