Two for Tuesdays: More LinkedIn

The weather is finally beautiful here on this Two for Tuesdays - low humidity and low heat, just the way I like it! 

Another thing I like, as you may know, is LinkedIn. Our first Two for Tuesdays post offered two tips for LinkedIn, and there's so much to gain from it that I'm back to bring you two more! The first post focused mostly on what changes you could make to your profile, while today, we'll look at what you should be doing in terms of your usage of LinkedIn.

Tip One: Make it Effortless

The first few years I was using LinkedIn, I had to try to remember to check it periodically. I was mostly reminded any time I would get an invitation from someone to connect (or if someone accepted my invitation), but otherwise, it certainly wasn't at the top of my mind. I'd wager that that's the case for busy lawyers and marketing professionals as well. 

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Bringing Law Firms "Back to The Future" of Social Media

Only one thing could bring me in from my vacation, and that was the Legal Marketing Association's Social Media Shared Interest Group's webinar with Peter Shankman (@petershankman) and Jasmine Trillos-Decarie (@jasminedecarie), entitled "Bringing Law Firms 'Back to The Future' of Social Media."

I wasn't alone in thinking that, if the tweetstream was any indication - valuable tidbits from the conversation were flying over on Twitter! We even had a legal marketer join the LMA just to be able to attend the webinar, and she said it was well worth it! 

LMA members can access the full recording over on the website, but for everyone else, I'll share some of the valuable information that came out of the presentation.

Jasmine kicked it off from the law firm perspective - she's got more than 20 years of experience in legal marketing with AmLaw 50, 100, and 200 firms, so she knows what she's talking about! 

 

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Two for Tuesdays: Tips for Twitter

It's another Two for Tuesdays here, and apparently, I'm feeling the need for lots of alliteration today, as we're looking at two tips for Twitter. 

Why bother with Twitter? 

Let's look at a couple of stats first, and then why those might be important: 

  • 255 million monthly active users (that's ACTIVE users)
  • 500 million tweets sent per day
  • 77% of accounts are outside of the US

And lawyers may be a bigger deal on Twitter than they think. According to Kevin O'Keefe, the "median active Twitter user (tweets at least once a month) has only 61 followers." So it follows that...

If you’re a lawyer seeing yourself as a Twitter laggard because you have only a few hundred followers, fear not. You’re in the 80th to 90th percentile. Reach 1,000 followers and you’re at the 97th percentile of active Twitter users."

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LinkedIn's Publishing Platform - Could I Be Convinced?

Last week during our annual conference, one of our delegates wanted to sit down with me and talk about content. He mentioned that his firm's website didn't have the capability for publishing articles, and there were no current plans to change that, but indicated that he had things he wanted to say about his area of practice. 

While some of you may think a blog is the answer, he had some other caveats - he wanted something that he could update and publish to as frequently or infrequently (due to his busy schedule) as he liked, and something that wouldn't require too big of a learning curve.

"Ah ha!" I thought - LinkedIn's new publishing platform is exactly what he needs.

I know I said last week that I wasn't sold on it yet, but I'm coming around - it's exactly right for this type of attorney: someone who doesn't have the ability to publish articles on their website, is looking to get more information out there, but without as big of a commitment as a blog would be. 

On a side note, bloggers, I can hear you arguing with me already - I LOVE blogs, and I think they're a great tool for many people. But I see LinkedIn's publishing platform as providing a compromise between blogging and not blogging, and offering a comfortable place for lawyers such as the one I'm referring to to get their feet wet. Plus, I like that for an infrequent writer, having a full and complete LinkedIn profile keeps the page from looking abandoned, which can be very obvious on a blog, with the date of the last post always so visible. 

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Wondering Wednesdays: LinkedIn's Publishing Platform - Yay or Nay?

We're back with our latest edition of Wondering Wednesdays, in which I give my thoughts on LinkedIn's new publishing platform. 

 

 

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Two for Tuesdays: Facebook

For today's Two for Tuesdays, I want to spend some time talking about Facebook. I can hear many of you rolling your eyes, either because we're talking social media, or because we're talking Facebook, or both. 

But, as I say regularly, social media is nothing more than a set of tools for building relationships - just as client lunches, cocktail receptions, and conferences are. If you use these tools to connect with people, and share yourself in the same way as you would in person (and, of course, combine the use of these tools with meeting in person), they can be extraordinarily valuable. 

So why Facebook? There's a couple of reasons - the first is that likely most of you reading this are already on LinkedIn, which I consider to be the most professional of the social media tools. I think that will always remain the case (unless another, unique platform comes along), and I find LinkedIn to be incredibly valuable. 

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LinkedIn or Left Out - A Recap

I'm bringing you another recap from LMA14 today - this one focused on "LinkedIn...or Left Out? An Opportunity to Big for Smart Firms to Ignore." The session description reads: 

LinkedIn is radically changing the way General Counsel evaluates outside firms. Greentarget's 2013 social media survey found that two-thirds of in-house counsel use LinkedIn on a weekly basis. LinkedIn threatens to sideline firms who ignore its impact, and presents an opportunity for firms who mobilize their partnerships to embrace social business. In this panel, we'll explore how leading firms are using LinkedIn to burnish their brands, enhance attorney reputations, and continuously engage clients with thought leadership." 

The panel featured Patrick Baynes (@patrickbaynes) of PeopleLinx, John Corey of Greentarget (@greentarget), Lindsay Gotwald (@lindsayweb) of Faegre Baker Daniels, Megan McKeon (@meganmckeon) of Katten Muchin Rosenman, and Michelle Woodyear (@mwoodyear) of Orrick. 

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Key Takeaways from "Can the C-Suite Lead the Social Media Law Firm?"

The very last session I went to before our wrap up at LMA14 was "Can the C-Suite Lead the Social Media Law Firm?" with presenters Deborah Grabein (@dgrabein) of Andrews Kurth and Michael Hertz (@michaelhertz) of White & Case and moderator Kevin O'Keefe (@kevinokeefe) of LexBlog. 

The description of the session in the conference book reads:

While Fortune 500 executives are beginning to leverage social media, law firm executives are lagging." 

Two C-Level decision makers (not practicing lawyers) in Am Law 200 firms made the decision in the fall of 2013 to start using social media, personally . They wished to experience how their use of social media could help change the perceptions of their brand, better equip them to lead their marketing and business development teams, and help them guide individual lawyers in their use of social." 

With five months of strategic consulting and coaching, these executives became active content creators and social media contributors on blogs, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Google+."

Learn about the personal and firm wide challenges and rewards these law firm executives experienced, and will continue to experience in their personal use of social media." 

 

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Social Media: The Importance of Listening First

Several years ago, when we first started to see social media take the stage, I jumped right in with both feet and never looked back. I was fortunate to be an early adopter - I say fortunate, because that means that most of my mistakes in using social media were seen by only a few people early on. I got to learn the lingo and understand the norms for each of the platforms before I was connected with hundreds or thousands of people. 

When I speak about social media, I still recommend playing around on the platforms first to understand how to use them. But today, I want to talk about the incredible importance of listening first when you join a new platform (and this advice goes for even the savviest social media user, since every platform has its own unique style). 

To give you a little background, before I switched my major to computer science, I was an anthropology major, and ended up minoring in it. I LOVE anthropology, and what really ignited my passion for it was the work I did in linquistic anthropology, which is defined as:

the interdisciplinary study of how language influences social life"

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LinkedIn 2.0: Efficient Strategies for Busy Lawyers - A Webinar Recap (Part II)

Yesterday, we discussed the first part of the excellent webinar with David Ackert & Jonathan Fitzgarrald on LinkedIn 2.0. When chatting last night with my fellow SIG leaders, Nancy asked me why it was I considered this to be the best session we'd had. She wondered if it was because they got into the "how" of using LinkedIn as opposed to the "why." 

My answer to her was that it was the 2.0 nature of it - it's safe to assume that those participating in a social media group like ours would be those most likely to have already bought into the idea of social media, and are more focused on how to sell it to their attorneys and its practical use. Even more than that, pretty much everyone has a LinkedIn profile these days - but the idea of setting objectives and fine tuning your strategy to meet those objectives is something that's really useful to both attorneys, and the marketing professionals trying to get them to use LinkedIn for business development.  

It also doesn't hurt that Jonathan and David are not only excellent presenters, but also extremely knowledgeable - both when it comes to using LinkedIn and working with attorneys. 

So, if you're a part of the LMA and have the opportunity to see the recording of the session once it's circulated, make sure that you do so! Now let's get into Part II...

 

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LinkedIn 2.0: Efficient Strategies for Busy Lawyers - A Webinar Recap (Part I)

Apparently, this is the week for excellent webinars, because I had the privilege of attending another amazing one this afternoon. The LMA's Social Media Shared Interest Group offered LinkedIn 2.0: Efficient Strategies for Busy Lawyers, featuring presenters David Ackert (@DavidAckert) of The Ackert Advisory and Jonathan Fitzgarrald (@JRFitzgarrald) of Greenberg Glusker, moderated by our own Nancy Myrland (@nancymyrland) of Myrland Marketing & Social Media. 

Before I get into the meat of the session (and boy, was it meaty!), I want to make sure to note that if you'd like to join the Legal Marketing Association, you can take a look at the options and categories for membership over here

And if you're already a member of the LMA, and want to join the Social Media SIG (we're cool, I promise!), you can join through the LMA website here. LMA members can also join our Facebook and LinkedIn groups (whether or not you officially belong to the SIG). 

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Using Social Media to Get the Most Out of Conferences

Yesterday, I had the chance to sit down with Colin O'Keefe (@colinokeefe) of LexBlog, who will be covering next week's LMA conference, to talk about my tips for making the most out of attending a conference - see what I had to say about social media, avoiding your hotel room, and never eating alone right here, and make sure that you're following along with the interviews that LXBN is doing

Social Media Works for Lawyers...But It's Just a Tool

Last week, Kevin O'Keefe (@kevinokeefe) caught my eye with his post "Social media for business development by lawyers is a big lie?" It was written in response to Conrad Saam's (@conradsaam) post "Every Social Media Consultant is Lying to You.

Regular readers here will know that I'm a big fan of social media, for lawyers and other business professionals. So I know you'll expect me to refute the points in Saam's post and support those in Kevin's (and I will...maybe). 

But I want to start with this statement - I do not think social media is the be all, end all of business development or marketing tools. 

I never have. 

I even tell my attorneys: the likelihood that you're going to start using a social media platform (like Twitter) and immediately get a client - or ever get a client - is incredibly small. 

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Getty's New Embedding Feature - Don't Get Excited Yet

We all know that images are incredibly important in this day and age. When you're constantly bombarded with information all day long, a bold image can stop you in your tracks and help you to focus on the associated content. 

In fact, this infographic from mdgadvertising has some great information about how important images are in social media, including this tidbit: 

Articles containing relevant images have 94 percent more total views than articles without images, on average."

We've talked time and time again here about how important it is to include relevant images in your blog posts, and many, many people do that regularly. 

Because of that, there is rampant copyright infringement happening all over the internet, either with people who don't understand copyright law, or those who just don't have the funds to purchase the rights to an image and are just hoping not to get caught.  As a photographer, I'm seeing my own photos pop up more and more for both commercial and noncommercial use, without my permission.

So in a significant move yesterday, Getty announced that they'd be opening up a portion of their images free of charge, through their new embedding feature. Many bloggers and social media connections started jumping for joy...but wait, is it all good news? 

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Two for Tuesdays: Building Social Equity

Today's Two for Tuesdays comes via a suggestion from my friend, Nancy Myrland (@nancymyrland), who is helping me battle today's writer's block! She recommended I look at two ways to build social equity - social equity is generally considered to be a term of use in social media, whereby you build your credibility online to increase your perceived value by others. But it can also apply in all networking and business that we do - how do we get people to perceive us as valuable to them? 

Tip One: Say Thank You!

This may be an obvious one, but I can almost count on one hand the number of times people have thanked me when I've helped them with something, so it IS a noticeable trait. And you can use it in a number of ways: 

  • When you ask someone a question, via phone or email - whether it's for a referral, an answer to a query, or something else - just say or write "thank you" in return. It takes moments only, but it makes such a huge difference.  When someone thanks me for helping them, I know my work is appreciated, I'm more likely to help them again in the future (and do so in a speedy manner), and it raises my opinion of them. 

    Additionally, in this day and age, email is fairly ubiquitous. And although it's become far more reliable, there are still many, many situations where an email will go missing and not reach its intended target. So the "thank you" not only expresses your gratitude, but it also confirms with the other party that you received their message and it's not off floating unseen in the ether somewhere. 
     
  • When someone does something really nice for you - sends you a big referral, invites you to speak on a high profile panel, involves you in an event or conference where you meet some excellent contacts - go the extra mile and write a handwritten thank you note. I do this periodically after ILN conferences, and include some photos of the person that I took at the event. It's a memorable way to show your gratitude - not only are you doing the right thing, and being nice, but you're also standing out from the crowd, so that person will remember you the next time they are looking for a lawyer in that area, or someone to do a favor for. 
     
  • When someone shares your material online, by retweeting a blog post, posting your latest article on LinkedIn or Facebook, etc., make sure to take a moment to say thank you. Again, it's just a way to build your social equity online, to show people that you're not just a faceless internet account pushing out your own information and never engaging with anyone.

When you make "thank you" a regular part of your conversations, not only is it just the right and polite thing to do, but it raises peoples' opinions of you, helps to make you more memorable, and takes almost no time at all. 

Tip Two: Be Helpful

Being helpful is another important part of building strong social equity - and this is again true of online and in-person situations. 

  • Share online: As Kevin O'Keefe (@kevinokeefe) said in his webinar last week (recapped here in case you haven't seen it yet), if you're not sharing other people's insight online, it's basically like walking into a cocktail party and reading your own content - sure, you'll be remembered, but for all the wrong reasons. 

    If you really want to be considered a thought leader, someone who is smart and worth listening to online, you have to share everything that might be of use to your audience - that means some of your own material and a lot of other people's material. Consider yourself to be a repository of information in your area of expertise, and share, share, share everything you can find in that arena. 

    This doesn't have to be complicated or hard - as Kevin also explained in his webinar, you can easily set up searches in your RSS reader for sources and subjects, all of which will then be delivered to you, and you can pick and choose what to forward to everyone else. Easy peasy, as my mom would say. 
     
  • In-person: Don't just leave this online though, be helpful in person as well!
    • Find an article that might be of use to someone? Cut it out and send it to them (you can also use that article as fodder for a blog post with your thoughts included, but that's another post altogether).
    • When you see something that benefits someone, send them a quick email with the link and say you were thinking of them. 
    • Speaking on a conference panel that needs a few more smart people? Reach out to a colleague or friend who would make sense as another speaker to offer them the opportunity. You're helping both that person AND the conference organizers. 
    • Know someone looking for more information on a subject, and know the expert in that area? Connect them through email or social media.

When you're always looking for ways to help other people, either by connecting them with the right people, sharing information with them, or just doing them a favor, not only are you being a nice person, but you're also raising your social equity. You're making yourself memorable by being helpful. Not only will the other person remember you when something comes up that they might need your assistance with, but they also have a more favorable impression of you, which makes them naturally want to return the favor, look for ways to send you business, and help you to achieve your goals. 

In fact, although I have yet to read it, author, speaker, entrepreneur, and all around nice guy, Peter Shankman (@petershankman), recently wrote "Nice Companies Finish First," on the very notion that competition is out in favor of collaboration. So I'm not the only one to think that being nice will help you professionally, as well as let you sleep peaceably at night. I know Peter's work well through his blog posts and social media conversations, so I know that his book will offer similar value. 

What are your tips for building social equity? Feel free to add them in the comments! 

Daily Habits of Highly Effective Bloggers - A Webinar Recap

Last week, I had the pleasure of attending LexBlog's webinar "Daily Habits of Highly Effective Bloggers" with Kevin O'Keefe (@kevinokeefe). Kevin kicked off the session by saying that there is no perfect way to blog, but that over the past ten years, he'd develop some habits that work for him. 

The session covered: 

  • Essence of blogging
  • Listening tools
  • Posting
  • Complementary Social Media
  • Habits of LexBloggers
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Happy 5th Blogiversary to Zen & The Art of Legal Networking! (And 5 Tips for Blogging)

It's a little hard to believe, but today marks five years since I wrote my first blog post here at Zen & the Art of Legal Networking. 

Since the traditional gift for a five year anniversary is wood, in honor of my five years of blogging, I made a donation to American Forests. The donation will allow American Forests to plant 25 trees in my name, which will result "in cleaner air and drinking water, restored habitat for wildlife and fish, and the removal of millions of tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere."

Also appropriately for today, I attended Kevin O'Keefe's (@kevinokeefe) webinar on "Daily Habits for Highly-Effective Bloggers," for which I'll be posting a recap early next week. Since that has me thinking about my own blogging habits, and because it's our five year anniversary, I'm offering you my own five tips for effective blogging: 

  1. Create an editorial calendar: I started with this one from HubSpot, and I can't tell you what a difference it's made in my blogging. I used to be one of those "do as I say, not as I do" bloggers who would recommend the calendar, but didn't have one myself. But now that I do, I have a daily writing prompt, it's encouraged me to think outside the box on a regular basis about what I want to write and where I draw inspiration from, and it motivates me to write daily, which I struggled with last year.

    Rather than wait for inspiration to strike, or a block of time that you have free to write (is there such a thing?), give yourself assignments. It makes a HUGE difference. 
     
  2. Look outside your industry/expertise: While I draw great inspiration from the smart people I know in legal marketing and the legal industry, it can often be very limiting to focus just on the things and people I know. When I step outside of legal and look at what other industries and companies are doing, and then figure out how that translates to what we're doing, it makes me a better marketer and sparks my creativity as a blogger.

    Take a look at current events and what's popular to see how it might impact companies in your area of the law, or what lessons people can learn from some new idea or topic of conversation. We can all easily get sucked into writing the same thing over and over again, just using different words, and looking outside the industry can give us a fresh perspective (and on the plus side, it's also different to what everyone else in your field is writing about). 
     
  3. Read, read and read some more: Listening is key, and that's part of what Kevin talked about in his webinar today. When I regularly read what other people are saying (both in and outside of the legal industry), I have the opportunity to recognize the trends - I see what is important to people, and where I might have some feedback. That's how I got started blogging in the first place - I would read other blog posts and people's comments on Twitter, and I realized that I had a lot to add to those conversations. A lot more than would fit in a blog comment. So I started writing my own posts, referencing and responding to others.

    You can look for these kinds of "conversations" in articles, in blog posts, in facebook chats, around the watercooler, with your spouse - wherever they might appear. My blog would be very boring if I was trying to come up with something original (does such a thing exist?) and always talking only about myself. 
     
  4. Figure out when your best blogging happens: This will be different for everyone - some people are at their best first thing in the morning, while others need a bit more coffee before they can get started. Some people will do better using a weekend morning to blog, while others prefer to write in the evening, and schedule their post to publish the following day. I'm a post-lunch kind of gal - I focus more on the immediate needs for my day in the morning, like email and updating our website, checking in on various projects we have going, and then after lunch, my brain is functional enough for the more esoteric conversations that come from my writing.

    That schedule won't work for everyone, but it's what works for me, and because I've identified that, it makes it much easier to blog more regularly. If I tried to change that and force myself to write at another time of day, I might write less often, or not be able to get at the points I want to make. So look at when you're most comfortable writing and make it part of your routine. 
     
  5. Just write something: There are many (MANY) days when I have writer's block. I'll sit at my computer and either draw a total blank, or not be able to cohesively translate the thoughts in my head to words on the screen. At those times, walking away sometimes helps (or having another cup of coffee), but a lot of the time, I just need to write something. Anything. I'll take an idea I've had for another day and start to write about it, or focus on the post I'm doing for the following day. The posts may make no sense at all, and then I have the choice to save them to review another day, or totally delete them. 

    More often than not, the act of just writing something will get my creative juices flowing, and then I'm able to write the post that I really wanted to in the first place. I had a bit of that today - I started out knowing that I wanted to write about my blogiversary, but also to write a post with some substantive information in it. I didn't know what that substantive information would be at first, so I just focused on writing about the anniversary in the hopes that something would fire up in my brain - and it did. Five habits for bloggers for five years of blogging. 

    And at the worst, maybe nothing comes out of your writing for that day, but maybe you've unblocked yourself enough to write something amazing the following day. For me, sometimes just taking action is enough, whatever that action may be. 

Those are the five tips for blogging that I have for you today! On Monday, I'll bring you the recap of Kevin's webinar, but in the meantime, add your own tips for blogging in the comments below! 

 

Lawyers: LinkedIn's Publishing Platform Just Hit Home For You

This morning, I have a treat for you all! I'm bringing in a guest poster (which I'll be doing from time to time, to switch things up), and today's is my very good friend, Nancy Myrland. Nancy is the President of Myrland Marketing & Social Media, where she is a Social Media Consultant, Speaker & Trainer, and a Professional Marketing Advisor, specializing in helping firms and companies grow their business by strengthening relationships with their clients through the strategic use of Social Media.

Today, Nancy brings us an excellent post about LinkedIn - with all the changes in the last year, it can be tough to keep up, and Nancy helps us focus and understand what's important about LinkedIn's newest change, opening up their publishing platform. 

***

There are 2 conditions I’ll bet hold true for just about every person reading this blog post.

  1.  You’re busy.
  2. There are clients out there who need your services.

Your job as lawyers, and our job as the marketers who advise you, is to deal with the reality of number 1 and help you to find number 2, right? 

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Two for Tuesdays - Blogging Part II

You may remember that a couple of weeks ago, our "Two for Tuesdays" focused on tips for blogging. Today's post focuses on a couple of additional tips for blogging, but can also be applied to other writing you're doing. These days, it's becoming more and more difficult to distinguish one from the other, since both are sharable online, and many of the same principles of how people consume information apply to each. 

The first tip is again, one you can implement easily, while the second may take a bit more time and thought (and the first is one that's a HUGE pet peeve of mine, which I'll explain): 

Tip One - Use Shorter Titles

The title is, by far, the most important piece of your article or post.

"What about the content?" I can hear you saying.

And while, yes, the content is critical, the title is the reader gateway - it's what self-selects those who will not have an interest in what you have to say, from those who will find it valuable. 

Secondarily, it gives the latter group a reason to read further - if the title is bland or boring, they may not read any more. If it's catchy, but non-descriptive, you may lose people who think the content doesn't apply to them. So it's a key piece of any writing that you're doing. 

The reason my tip today is to make your titles shorter is this - shorter titles are easy to share. Pretty much every article or blog post is going to have buttons that allow the reader to easily share the post through all kinds of social networks. The longer the title is, the more likely they'll run into a character limit somewhere (Twitter, or LinkedIn Groups, for example) and rather than doing the work of figuring out how to shorten the title, they'll just decide NOT to share the piece after all. 

I can't tell you the number of times I've had to forego sharing a valuable piece of content on Twitter, simply because the title was too long. It drives me crazy.

You may argue that if someone finds your work very valuable, then they will go to the extra effort of sharing it, even if the title is too long. And perhaps, on a small number of occasions, they will. But think about your audience for a moment - they're busy (we're all busy, right?) and unless you make things as convenient and easy for them as possible, they're going to be on to the next thing. 

Ask yourself - what's more important? Getting every potential keyword and content note into your title (and losing readers and a potentially viral circulation), or creating short, pointed titles that make your purpose clear and are easy to share. It's a no-brainer. Take two minutes to see how difficult it would be to share your title and the link before hitting "publish," and before long, it will be second nature. 

Tip Two: Break up Your Posts Visually

When I first started blogging, I would write long dissertations, broken up only by some paragraphs, and maybe a few titles here and there. When I joined LexBlog after a few months of blogging, one of their first suggestions to me was to work on creating more space - the reason for this is the nature of the way we consume information today.

No one is really sitting down at their computer or mobile device and reading every word that someone writes. It would be nice to say otherwise, but we're just all too busy and inundated with content to do anything else. So instead, we're scanning posts to get at the salient information and decide if we need to really concentrate on a subject, if we want to share it, or if we want to move on. 

The way your post looks visually can assist with this - and the way to do that is to break it up: 

  • use MUCH shorter paragraphs than you're used to (a sentence or two)
  • employ lists (bulleted or numbered - people love lists!)
  • break up your post in sections with headers that employ larger, bold fonts, etc. 

If you're unsure as to how this might work best, take a look at some of the articles and blogs that you've enjoyed the most - look at how they handle spacing, and what's visually pleasing to you, and translate that into what would work best for your own writing. It makes a huge difference!

Got any additional tips for blogging (or writing for that matter)? Feel free to share them in the comments below! 

Two for Tuesday - Use Social at Conferences

I'm back with another Two for Tuesday, and today's post focuses on how you can use social media to make the most out of attending conferences and events. We all attend events throughout the year, whether it's a networking cocktail party or a CLE seminar or a multi-day conference. And social media can actually help to enhance your conference experience in many ways. Let's look at two of them! 

  1. LinkedIn: There are two ways that you can use LinkedIn as part of your event experience. First, if you're attending a conference, there will often be a group that is dedicated to the event. Here, you'll find discussions about speakers and sessions, as well as conversation among the attendees. It's a great place to start connecting with people before the conference, so you can make the most of meeting them at the conference. The majority of event organizers won't give you advance access to the attendee list, so LinkedIn groups can be a way around that, so that you can be a bit more strategic about who you want to meet. People will also get to know you beforehand if you're actively contributing valuable information to the conversations. 

    LinkedIn is also where you want to connect with people you're meeting at the conference or event, as well as speakers. If you've got your laptop with you in a session, or your smartphone in your pocket at a cocktail event, you can easily look up the person you're speaking with on LinkedIn and send them a request to connect (just after the conversation though, you don't want to be rude!). Make sure to send a more personalized note than the standard one (I don't believe this is yet possible with mobile, but hopefully soon), and reference your conversations. In the past, we used to collect business cards and have an assistant input all of that information into your contact database, but now, you can connect to them on LinkedIn instead. And that's a much better way to network because you can learn more about them fairly quickly to see where you might have commonalities, and you have reasons and means of connecting with them in the future through the platform. 

    Similarly, if you see a speaker that is particularly engaging, connect with him or her on LinkedIn as well - let them know you enjoyed their presentation.  Perhaps you're a blogger as well, and you'll be recapping their session. Send them a note with the link to the post afterwards to add another point of connection. Even better, ask them to guest post on your blog, or interview them for a post. 

    The idea here is to take your event or conference attendance from being a flat, one-dimensional effort of simply showing up and talking to people to an multi-dimensional, rich experience. You're meeting people, but you're also adding them into your network, where you will engage them in the future through conversations, sharing valuable content, keeping up with their careers and projects, and if you're in the same city or geographic area, additional in-person meetings. 

     
  2. Twitter: When I first started using Twitter, it was very conversational, because there was such a small group of people on there and we all knew each other. Today, Twitter can tend to be a little more about broadcasting content than engagement, but conferences and events are where it really shines. 

    When you know you're attending an event, find out whether there will be a hashtag for that event - generally, smaller networking events won't have these, but conferences and CLE seminars will, because they want to empower their attendees to share their content. For example, the Legal Marketing Association (organically) developed a hashtag that includes their name and the year of the conference - so this year's will be #LMA14. 

    Since you're (hopefully) using some kind of platform to manage Twitter, and not just the web interface, you can use this platform to set up a column that only shows you the tweets relevant to your hashtag. That will allow you to see all of the conversation surrounding the conference or event before you even get there - not only will the conference/event organizers be offering tips and news about speakers and events, attendees will be using the hashtag to start conversations and get to know each other. Like LinkedIn, it's a way to connect with people before you meet them face-to-face, so you start off the conference ahead of the game. 

    Twitter is also useful during and after the event - during the event, you can use the hashtag to connect with people who are also there, and find out who might be in the same session as you, who wants to meet for lunch and where, who is standing alone during a coffee break and would be happy to chat. You can review the information coming out of the sessions you're not attending, and see the gems coming out of the session you're in. If you're blogging, you can share your recap posts during and after the conference using the hashtag, so others who are interested in them will get to see them as well. 

    Follow the people you've met, so they appear in your regular Twitter stream, and engage with them. That will continue the conversations long after the event is over. You can also connect with the conference organizers - maybe you have ideas for future events, or maybe it's just too hot in the conference room, and you want to ask them to turn the heat down (I've done that). 

Social media is so-named because it's just that - "social." So it can help to add a huge benefit to your existing networking events. Think about this for a moment - if you're attending a conference or event for the first time, and you may or may not know some of the other attendees, wouldn't it be better to have chatted online with a few people already, perhaps have a coffee meeting or dinner arranged for the first evening you're there, and spend the entire time having meaningful conversations, because you've gotten the small talk out of the way online?

Contrast that with arriving cold, with no connections, spending the first night having room service in your hotel room and reviewing the attendee information you received when you registered to see if you may know someone and figuring out how to connect with them the next day. Or having to introduce yourself to the people you sit next to, whom you've never met before, and hoping you'll have something in common. 

There's nothing wrong with the latter scenario, but the former gives you a leg up and helps you maximize the time that you're dedicating both to meeting and engaging with new people, as well as educating yourself in your area of expertise. And it becomes more and more natural the more  you use it - I've met many amazing colleagues through social media, and my usage of Twitter and LinkedIn for the LMA conference is second-nature now - give it a try for your next event! 

 

Two for Tuesdays - Blogging

We're here with another Two for Tuesday, and I decided to give you a couple of tips about another of my favorite things - blogging! As I mentioned last week, Two for Tuesdays is designed to give you two tips that you can implement today - as with last week's post on LinkedIn, this post has one tip that you can implement quickly, and another that takes a bit more of a time investment: 

  • Include images: You may think it's a silly thing to include an image with your blog posts when you're a serious lawyer, but I can't emphasize enough how important this tip is. First, because you want to give people a reason to look further at your post - we all see so much information every day that there's got to be a compelling reason to look further. With a bold, eye-catching image, your post will stick out from all of the other text-only things we're reading, and our eyes may stop scrolling through for a moment to read the title of your post and see if it interest us further. 

    It's also good practice for breaking up your posts visually - with blogs, people are not usually sitting down at their computer or mobile device to read posts word for word. They're scanning through quickly, and images (along with things like short paragraphs, bullet points, quotes) can break up the post, thus making it easier to digest for the reader. When they glance at it quickly, they'll know that it won't be too tedious for them to read, and they'll keep reading. 

    One note about images though - make sure you have the rights to use them. You don't want to be searching Google for the perfect image to use in your blog, only to find out later that it's copyrighted. Your best bet is to sign up for a stock image account - yes, it costs money, but not as much as if you get yourself into trouble using someone else's images. It's also still a grey area as to whether you can use an image without someone's permission, even if you attribute it, so stick with the stock images. I use iStockPhoto for all of my posts. 
     
  • Create an Editorial Calendar: I know this one is going to take more work...because I just finished doing it myself. I started by searching for sample editorial calendars, and found this one from HubSpot, which works really well for me. I created a new worksheet for each month, and set up cells on each worksheet for every week of that month. Then, I got to work. 

    I already knew there were regular features that I do (the Friday Roundup, Firm of the Month) and features that I want to do more regularly and in a scheduled way (ILN-terviews, Success Stories). So I began with slotting those into my calendar - I liked this sample because it prompted me to note the topic/title for each post, a brief note about the contents (excellent for when I think of a post), the keywords I want to use, who my target it, and the link. I even included an extra column to record the statistics for each post, which I periodically review. 

    Once I had my standard posts in, I started giving some thought to what other types of content I wanted to be producing regularly - this was a bit tougher, because it means I had to be inspired. But the idea here was not to develop a calendar's worth of specific posts - first, I only looked at the next three months (with a note in my agenda to review this quarterly). Secondly, I was looking for very general subject areas - these allow me to make room for timely topics, should I want to use them, but give me enough direction that on days where I'm struggling to come up with something, there are ideas right in front of me. 

    For example, that's where Two for Tuesdays came in - it's broad enough that I can cover whatever I want: social media, networking, conference attendance, event planning, whatever. But it's also specific enough that I spend the week prior to writing it looking for two tips about something that I want to share. 

    I've found that being as busy as I am, it's not a good idea to wait to blog until I'm "inspired." I either forget to write down my ideas when I have them, or I'm so busy that it completely falls off my radar. I'm a deadline and list-oriented lady, and so having an editorial calendar both gives me the freedom to write when I'm inspired, as well as motivating me to blog more regularly and strategically. (Plus, I've been suggesting it for so long, I thought it was time to do as I say!)

    The other thing that's nice about having an editorial calendar is that it's easy to see how and when you need to schedule posts - if you have a case coming up that's going to take up a significant amount of your time, you can do a little advance writing so that you have a few things lined up, which fit right into the calendar. You can even recruit guest posters to write to those topics. 

So there are your two tips for blogging this chilly (at least in the northeast) Tuesday. What better place to stay warm than working in front of your computer to implement these tips?  What tips for blogging would you add? 

Two for Tuesdays - LinkedIn

We're kicking off a new feature today here on Zen - Two for Tuesdays! I've given myself the assignment of sticking to an editorial calendar for the blog this year (everyone get excited!) and one of the regular posts I'd like to contribute is this one, which will cover two quick tips that you can implement today on a range of subjects.

Today's topic is one of my favorites - LinkedIn. It's changed a lot in the last year, and continues to grow in importance for online networking (and to use to facilitate offline networking). My two tips involve recommendations for your LinkedIn profile: 

  • Make your Professional Headline more descriptive: So many professional headlines that I see (this is taken from your job title when you create your profile, but can be edited separately) are not at all descriptive. In some positions, that's fine - your job title tells the story. But for lawyers, either having "partner at xyz firm" or "shareholder at xyz firm" or some other iteration of this doesn't tell anyone anything about you. 

    Let's be honest - we're all busy people, and unless something catches our attention in a way that tells us why it matters to us, we're not going to look further. So if potential contacts (or even existing contacts) glance across your name and professional headline quickly, and all it tells them is that you're an attorney, they're not going to look any further to do the work of finding out what area you practice in. 

    How much better would it be if your professional headline read instead something like "Co-Chair, Intellectual Property Litigation at xyz firm" or "Leader of the Labor & Employment Law Practice Group at xyz firm"? If you've been reading Zen for a while, you know that I've mentioned this before...multiple times. But as I took a quick look through my contacts list on LinkedIn this morning, about 90% of my legal connections had "partner" or "lawyer" as their listed job title. Differentiate yourself by telling people why to connect with you and why to look further. It takes two minutes to make the change to your profile, so do it today. 
     
  • Make it more visual: Although I consider my LinkedIn profile to be fairly advanced, I recently had the opportunity to look at a friend's profile, and realized that it looked so much more interesting and professional than mine. Why? Because she had added recent articles that she'd authored, which made it far more visual. 

    One of the recent changes to LinkedIn is the ability to add links and files, both to your summary (shown at the top of your profile) and to your individual positions. This took me a little bit more time, but it was worth the investment - I spent a little bit of time adding some of my recent blog posts (which all have catchy images included as part of them, thus making the profile more visual as well), I added representative images for some of the projects I've worked on, and even a link to a YouTube recording of a webinar presentation I gave to one of our firms. 

    It has two benefits - first, that it makes my profile look more complete and interesting. Visual impact is hugely important, and when you can add something to your profile to break up the text (making it easier to read) and showing concretely what you're about, the benefits are huge. Secondarily, and more importantly, you're giving people something to click on and interact with - it's a motivation to learn more about you, and a benefit of visiting your profile. It's another way to make your profile well-rounded, and more than just a static description of who you are. 

    For attorneys, while you may not want to include too much about individual cases for confidentiality reasons, you can share things such as blog posts that you've written (for your own blog, or if you've guest posted somewhere else), articles that you've written (you have the ability to share both links and individual files, so a PDF copy of an article is perfectly fine), recordings of presentations you've done, or images from speaking opportunities, etc. Look at the work that you've done in terms of business development, and see what you can repurpose - you don't need to reinvent the wheel, but see what you can leverage. 

Please let me know in the comments what other types of tips you'd like to see - I'm happy to speak about anything I have experience with, and bring in others to speak about things I don't! 

 

If You Build It, Will They Come?

Towards the end of December, we hosted a webinar with Adrian Lurssen, one which I'd sat in on previously. But this time, Adrian said something that really stuck with me - he said that you can't just build a blog. You also need to build an audience. 

That got me thinking about how many people start a blog, start writing content (even great content), and then sit back and wait for the magic to happen - a la Field of Dreams, if you build it, will they come? 

The short answer is no - and I'm not the only one thinking about this. For the why, you need to take a look over at Jayne Navarre's latest post "2014 Reboot: In case you've forgotten, law Blogs are (still) 'social' media" and Kevin O'Keefe's follow-up "Do not confuse writing an article with blogging.

 

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10 Wishes for 2014 - Be Social, Online and Off

In case you missed yesterday's post, I'm offering you my 10 wishes for you in 2014 (and for myself, for that matter - I'm not off the hook!). Today's two wishes are about relationships, both on social media, and off: 

  1. Make This the Year You Go Social: If you're not using social media yet (well, you're probably not reading this post then!), make this the year you do it! If you're afraid of either being overwhelmed by it or making a mistake, start small - head over to LinkedIn and get your profile set up. Connect with people and start to engage with them, once a week if you're busy. Know that social media is still so new that everyone is still learning what it all means and what the right tools are. And don't be afraid to ask questions - of your colleagues, friends, or consultants, if you need them. You won't regret it. 
     
  2. But Take it Offline: I'm a big fan of social media (a BIG fan), but you've got to take those relationships offline to make them meaningful. If you're connected to people in your city, reach out and ask them to meet for a cup of coffee or lunch. They don't even have to be in your industry (see #2 above). Just take those online relationships that you're creating and nurturing into the real world to make those connections stronger. Relationships are what drive us, personally and professionally (remember when I talked about that here?). Some of the most fulfilling and meaningful relationships are those I have started through social media, and are continued through social media, but they have come offline.  Check out these recap posts too for some more thoughts on this - herehere and here

    Another great place to take relationships offline? Conferences! All of us must attend one conference a year for the most part, and sometimes they can be daunting networking opportunities. But I've found that Twitter can be a great place to meet people - before a conference, find out what the hashtag is for the event, and start following along with the conversation to see who else will be there. You may already know a few people, or it's an opportunity to engage with people you haven't met yet. 

    Then, when you're at the conference, use the hashtag to let people know where you are - looking for someone to eat lunch with? Tweet that out, with a meeting place. Sitting in a session and not sure who else is in there? Tweet that out. Make sure when you're tweeting from a conference that you're making arrangements to meet people in person - even if you just say hello at the beginning or end of a session.  You can also use social media to connect with the people that you've met - add a speaker that you particularly liked to your LinkedIn connections, and tell them why you liked their presentation. Add the contacts that you've made with a note reminding them of your conversation. There are so many ways to blend in-person and online relationships, and this is the year to do it! 

I'll be back tomorrow with another two wishes for you! 

12 Days of Social Media - Are you Tuning in?

As you may know, I'm a proud member of the leadership committee for the Legal Marketing Association's Social Media Shared Interest Group (how's that for a mouthful? We go by LMA Social Media SIG for short). Last year, we kicked off a new tradition - putting together 12 days of social media. The topics range from some of the best bloggers out there in the legal marketing field to recommended connections on LinkedIn and more.  It was an incredibly fun project, and we capped it off with a Google+ Hangout that served as our holiday "party." Check out all of last year's posts here.

This year, we wanted to get a little more in-depth, and create some real resources for our members. We're already up to Day 10, and if you haven't taken a look yet, I highly recommend it. We've got some smart people leading this SIG, with some fabulous advice. Some of the things we've covered this year include: 

We've got a couple more days left, which you won't want to miss. Feel free to add your suggestions if you think we've missed something and join the conversation!  We've opened these posts up publicly, so you don't have to be a member of the Legal Marketing Association to read them! 

But if you're interested in the LMA - the 12 days of Social Media are a sliver of what you get when you're an LMA Social Media SIG member. We host regular Social Media webinars with experts inside and outside of the legal profession. As a member of the Social Media SIG, these posts and invitations will be sent to you automatically via the Groups ediscussion Forum.

To get full benefits, and advance notice of our events, please join (these are members's only):

The Social Media SIG
The LinkedIn LMA Social Media SIG private group
The LMA Social Media private group on Facebook, and
If you're not already a member of LMA, please join us here.

 

Is Anybody Going to Click on That? Getting Clients to Read Law Firm Content, A Webinar Recap

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of sitting in on another of the LMA's Social Media Shared Interest Group's webinars, this time with Adrian Lurssen of JD Supra. Adrian talked about some best practices for getting clients to read a law firm's online content, using a case study to walk us through. 

As I've noted before, I won't give away everything from the webinar, since it's an LMA membership benefit, but there was some great advice that Adrian shared with us. 

His case study focused on the discussions surrounding the America Invents Act, for which JD Supra saw 82 firms producing content.  Of these firms, only one stood out, Pepper Hamilton. Adrian delved into the "why" of the popularity of their post, as well as defining the goals we should be pursuing as we produce content. 

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It's Here! -- A Look at the 2012 In-House Counsel New Media Engagement Survey

When I attended the general counsel panel a couple of weeks ago at the LMA's Annual Conference, I was happy to hear that the moderators would be spending some time focusing the panelists on discussing social media, and their use of it in their outside counsel relationships.

I'm going to delve into that discussion more in a future post, but today, I wanted to talk about the results from Greentarget, Inside Counsel, and Zeughauser Group's In-House Counsel New Media Engagement Survey results, which were released last week. I pay very close attention to this survey because let's be honest, social media isn't going to matter one whit to my clients if their own clients aren't paying it any attention. 

This year's survey results reaffirmed both the comments of the three general counsel at the LMA Conference, and my anecdotal experience, which I often share with my attorneys. Today, let's look at a couple of highlights. To see the survey results in full, click here

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Taking it Offline

Social media is the perfect medium for someone like me - someone who's an introvert, a bit on the shy side, and prefers to have the safety of being behind a computer screen rather than face-to-face. 

But if you're using social media to be...well, social...and you'd like it to lead to business development opportunities, you've got to take it offline. While it's possible to build relationships online, and to nurture them there, you cannot discount the benefit to meeting someone face-to-face. 

A conference is the perfect opportunity for this, and I'll tell you a story about how social media has enriched my conference experience at the Legal Marketing Association's Annual Meeting (which I'm currently en-route to - I love airplane wifi!). 

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On Why You Won't See Me Change My Profile Picture

As you're probably aware, unless you've been hiding under a rock, yesterday and today are important days in the US Supreme Court - yesterday, the Justices heard oral arguments in the challenge to California's ban on same-sex marriage, while today, the Justices will be hearing arguments about the constitutionality of the federal Defense of Marriage Act. 

My Facebook feed, as I'm sure is true for many others, has been full of profile photo changes to an equals sign, on a red background, in support of same-sex marriage, and status updates relating a connection's thoughts, one way or the other. 

I, too, have very strong opinions on the subject, along with a number of other hot-button social and political issues.  But you won't see me changing my profile photo any time soon, or adding my two cents. Why not? 

 

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LMA13 Attendees - The Twitter Edition!

A year really flies, doesn't it? 

Once again, it's time for us to put together the list of Twitter attendees for this year's Legal Marketing Association Annual Conference - in Vegas! 

The LMA's Social Media Special Interest Group, for which I'm a co-leader, will be talking about some very important tips for how to tweet (and use other social media) responsibly when you're attending a professional conference (particularly in Las Vegas), but for now, let's take a look at the list of those who will be attending and tweeting! 

We'll have designated tweeters for each conference session, and we'll make those public once the schedule is fully fleshed out - if you'd like to tweet and are attending the conference, please let me know. Stay tuned to the LMA listserv also for more information on our annual Tweet-up/Meetup! 

Without further ado: 

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Happy Blogiversary to Zen & The Art of Legal Networking!

Four years ago today, I wrote my first post here at Zen & The Art of Legal Networking. 

Before I launched Zen, I really didn't think I'd have much to say - I'm sure those of you who read this blog regularly are chuckling, since you know I'm definitely one of the more wordy legal bloggers out there. But after joining Twitter in April 2008 and connecting with people in the legal community, I was often inspired by them and realized I had more to contribute to the conversation than 140 characters would permit. So Zen was born. 

What have I learned over the last four years? 

  • Blogging and social media can lead to some of the most interesting professional (and personal!) conversations, and connect you to people you'd never imagine meeting. 
  • If you can't write a short post (ahem), break it up visually with headers, lists, images, and other formatting options. 
  • Don't just hope people will find your content - share it
  • Keep your titles short, or they'll eat up too many characters when people try to share them socially - so they'll just give up. 
  • Use a photo for visual impact - it makes people more likely to read your post, and nowadays, it allows people to pin it on Pinterest. (But when using a photo, make sure to use a paid site like istockphoto so you won't have any copyright issues)
  • Some of your best content will come from things you're already getting paid to do - repurpose your notes from conference and webinar sessions, presentations you're giving and conversations you've had, to share with your audience. 
  • Never stop learning - this is a life lesson for me, but it's applicable for blogging too. There's always something to learn from those in your profession, and those outside of it for that matter. Don't stop growing. 
  • Stats don't matter - you don't want to connect with the MOST people...you want to connect with the RIGHT people. (Though I only check my stats about once a year, I did take a peek this morning, and I am tickled to see that I have over 27.5 thousand for this year!)
  • Social networking is awesome...but you've got to take those relationships offline. Meet local connections for coffee or lunch. When traveling, reach out to people in those cities that you know online. Use social media to connect in person with people at the conferences you're attending. You've still got to do the face to face - and speaking as a shy introvert, I promise you that social media makes that much easier, so don't be afraid to do it. 

Social media, and Zen in particular, have introduced me to some of the most brilliant, wonderful people in my industry (and beyond) and have given me some truly incredible professional and personal opportunities. Thanks to everyone who has helped me along the way - I appreciate it more than you know. 

I'll leave you with a fun fact - in looking for something else in my files yesterday, I came across the list of possible blog names I was working on before I settled on Zen. The list had me chuckling, but my favorite runner up was "I Love Lawyers More than Brussels Sprouts." How's that for a blog name?

Social Sharing: Are You Missing Out?

How many of you are producing content? Raise your hands. 

(Extra points if you actually raised your hand while reading this). 

That's great - these days, I'm seeing so much valuable content out there, so many smart and talented people sharing what they know. But as the saying goes, if a tree falls in the woods and there's no one there to hear it, does it make a sound? 

Similarly, if you write an article or blog post, but you forget to share it through your social networks, is anyone reading it? 

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Combating the Internal Politics - How to Sell Social Media to Your Lawyers

The Legal Marketing Association's Social Media Special Interest Group is at it again - this afternoon, they brought members an excellent webinar focused on combating internal politics - how to sell social media to your lawyers. 

Featured on the panel were moderator and LMA SIG leader, Gail Lamarche, of Henderson Franklin, an employment law attorney and social media maven from her firm, Suzanne Boy, and legal marketing expert, Jill Rako with Ohio-based Bricker & Eckler. 

Since these webinars are an LMA member benefit, I'm not going to delve as deeply into the recap as I traditionally would, but I do want to hit the highlights! 

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Blogging: Greater Returns with Less Effort - A LexBlog Webinar

Despite being a long-time blogger and follower of Kevin O'Keefe on social media, I always learn something new when I attend one of his webinars.  Today, I was able to participate in "Blogging: Greater Returns with Less Effort," which was excellent and I'd like to share my recap with you. A full recording of the webinar will be available in the coming days on LexBlog's YouTube channel.

Usual Starting Point

Kevin began at the beginning, so to speak, with the questions that he normally gets at the outset of a firm or attorney beginning their foray into blogging: 

  • How frequently should lawyers blog? 
  • Should we have a group blog to take the weight off of one person? 
  • Should we have an associate write the blog? 
  • Should we have a ghostwriter? 
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Using Video to Market Legal Services

In what proved to be our most popular webinar yet, the Legal Marketing Association's Social Media Special Interest Group held a session yesterday on using video to market legal services. We were fortunate to have three stellar presenters - Adam Stock of Allen Matkins, Adam Severson of Baker Donelson, and Mark Beese of Leadership for Lawyers

Their presentation was very interactive, and answered the questions I think we've all had on our minds about video, starting with the most important...

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Blogging Best Practices for Lawyers - A LexBlog Webinar Recap Part II

As the remnants of Hurricane Isaac are sweeping through my little town today (just a big thunderstorm, fortunately!), my mind is on blogging. So let's jump into the second half of LexBlog's Blogging Best Practices for Lawyers webinar! (Check out the first half here)

Effective Editorial Content

The next topic that Colin and Helen covered was effective editorial content. Colin said that he looks over every post that comes through the LexBlog network, and as he does, he's looking for people who write like people. So often, bloggers just take their firm's legal alerts and put them on their blog - but it would be more effective to add some personality instead, because it makes the posts more readable. 

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Blogging Best Practices for Lawyers - A LexBlog Webinar Recap Part I

I'm full of the recaps lately, and I promise I've got some more original commentary coming up for you all as we get into fall. I've mentioned before that I love September, and the feeling of a fresh start that it gives me. For that reason, now is as good a time as ever to take a look at what you're doing in your blogging - to see what's been successful for you and what you can tweak. 

With that in mind, I bring you some excellent tips from LexBlog's own Colin O'Keefe and Helen Pitlick - and I don't say that just because they so kindly mentioned this blog. It was a great refresher for me, and whether you're just thinking about getting into blogging, or you've been at it for a while, you'll find something of value in their comments. Since there are a lot of great tips here, and I want  you to think about them a bit, I'm splitting this into two posts - the next one will follow after the holiday weekend here in the States.

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Blogging for Clients: How Online Relationships Lead to Real-World Clients (A Re-cap) Part I

Recently, I had the chance to sit in on a webinar with Kevin McKeown of LexBlog and Lee Frederiksen of Hinge Marketing, as they discussed the topic of blogging for clients, focusing on how online relationships can lead to real-world clients. 

Since this is a meaty topic, I'll be breaking this up into multiple posts.

The speakers started by letting us know what the planned to cover in the webinar: 

  • The economic case for online marketing
  • How trust is developed online
  • Developing your strategy and tools
  • Implementing your plan
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Twitter for Lawyers - My LXBN Interview

This afternoon, I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Colin O'Keefe of LexBlog, the host of our blog here at Zen and the top legal blogging platform and network. 

Click below to watch the full interview! 

 

Facebook for Law Firms - A Recap of Sam Collier's LMA Webinar

I consider myself to be a fairly savvy social media user, though as I often like to tell people, "we're all still learning." And with a medium that changes SO quickly, there's certainly always something new to learn. That was reinforced for me yesterday when I sat in on Samantha Collier's webinar for the Legal Marketing Association's Social Media Special Interest Group on Facebook for Law Firms. Sam offers a post inspired by her webinar here

Sam's webinar covered personal Facebook profiles for lawyers, Facebook pages for law firms, some case studies, and resources. As you may or may not know, Facebook is the most prominent social network out there, with 845 million monthly active users. 

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Twitter: Effectively Leveraging Twitter as a Business Development and Marketing Tool - Part V

Who doesn't love a good five-part series on Twitter? Don't answer that. 

Today, we have the last installment from my presentation, which covers some frequently asked questions that I've gotten with regard to Twitter, as well as the questions that came in as I was preparing the presentation. 

What's in a username? Should I use my name, or some fun little moniker? 

Some people will argue that it's a good idea to have a keyword or subject as your Twitter name, but I (and many others) disagree. I think it should always be your real name. As we've talked about before, people want to connect and work with people they know, like and trust, and how can they really know you if you're not transparent with your name? It's also much easier for people to find you when your username is your real name. 

There can be some difficulties here, because Twitter only allows you fifteen characters. My full name has more than that, so I just chopped off the "s" at the end. You can work around this however you'd like. 

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Twitter: Effectively Leveraging Twitter as a Business Development and Marketing Tool - Part IV

We've now talked about a couple of uses of Twitter for law firms, but there was a third one that I snuck in there during my presentation, and that's finding intelligence. 

Social media in general is an excellent way to research clients and potential clients, as well as competitors. The information is current and constantly updated, and it's coming to you, rather than you having to go and find it. 

How would you do this on Twitter? 

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Twitter: Effectively Leveraging Twitter as a Business Development and Marketing Tool - Part III

In my last post, I talked about using Twitter as a broadcast tool, and Nancy Myrland added some valuable comments to the discussion about making sure to incorporate as much personality as possible.

Today, we're going to talk about what many people consider to be the most important use of Twitter - engagement. As Nancy always says "Twitter is a contact sport." 

So how do you engage with your Twitter followers? It's the same as you would in real life - share others' posts and tweets, comment on their tweets, start conversations and periodically reach out to them. Then, take these relationships offline - meet people for lunch who are in the same city as you are, or when you're traveling or at a conference. 

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Twitter: Effectively Leveraging Twitter as a Business Development and Marketing Tool - Part II

Now that we've gone over the basics, let's jump into the meat of Twitter for law firms. In my presentation, I went through what I consider to be the three uses of Twitter for law firms, beginning with the dreaded "broadcasting."

When I was initially using Twitter, I would have completely advised against this, but I've changed my mind. Twitter has become an excellent source of news, and pretty much every news source is using Twitter to share headlines these days, like CNN, Fox News, the NY Times, the Huffington Post, etc. If a law firm has individual attorneys and marketers who are using Twitter under their own account names and engaging with people, then I have no problem with the firm's branded account being used primarily as a news feed. There are many firms out there who have been using Twitter this way, and they've been very successful in getting journalists and other influencers to follow them. 

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Twitter: Effectively Leveraging Twitter as a Business Development and Marketing Tool - Part I

Last week, we gathered for another meeting of the NJ LMA city group...only this time, I was the presenter! I'd volunteered to talk to everyone about Twitter, and after accepting questions beforehand, I put together a presentation that tried to be as interactive as possible. 

I started with my background on Twitter - I joined Twitter in April of 2008. Although I initially joined for other reasons, I soon found a group of legal marketing colleagues that I could bounce ideas off of, find inspiration through, see what real concerns both marketers and attorneys have, and eventually become friends with. Using Twitter, I started to get real-time news from people in the know, both in and out of the legal industry. I connected with thought leaders in other industries and saw how they shared content, both theirs and others, to become considered go-to sources. I started to do the same. 

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How to Get Your Firm Blogging - A Webinar Re-cap

Today, while everyone is posting about the SCOTUS decision to uphold the PPACA, I thought I'd talk about Adrian Dayton's webinar to the Legal Marketing Association's Social Media Special Interest Group

Adrian's webinar focused on "how to get your firm blogging," and the invitation to the SIG members described the session as: 

Drawing from the bestselling book The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg and from over a dozen case studies within law firms, join us for 60 minutes on the 22nd of June as Adrian Dayton, author of Social Media for Lawyers: Twitter Edition (2012, 2nd printing) and LinkedIn & Blogs for Lawyers (West 2012, co-authored by Amy Knapp) shares three keys to moving lawyers from neophites to habitual bloggers and social media users.

Included in this webcast you will learn:

  • How to persuade your lawyers to start blogging
  • Helping overcome common objections to blogging
  • Three steps to forming habits
  • Internal implementation strategies
  • Case studies from medium to large law firms
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Social Media Tips

Amy Adams had some social media tips to report back to us following her attendance at the LMA's post conference social media session: 

  • Engage: It's not just about serenading people, it's about getting them to sing along.
     
  • Audience: Focus on your audience - what are clients interested in?
     
  • Post at roughly the same time every day, so people know when they can look for your posts and engage with you. 
     
  • Give people the opportunity to respond.
     
  • Include evergreen content. 
     
  • Use social media to build excitement in the lead up to a conference. 
     
  • If you comment on an article, cite the journalist. 

What tips for social media do you have to share? 

Think Like an Editor - A Webinar Recap

In Monday’s post recapping Adrian Lurssen & John Hellerman’s recent webinar, we talked about their advice to see the world from your audience’s point of view. Today, we’ll look at their next point, to think like an editor.

Adrian kicked off this section with a quote from Barger & Wolen’s Heather Morse:

What are your competitors writing about? What new cases have been decided? What news articles are trending? What are the other bloggers saying? Any new legislative actions? I subscribe to numerous RSS feeds and have them all categorized so I can quickly scan to see what's happening in our industry sectors. I can then relay story ideas to our team of bloggers.”

This is excellent, excellent advice. Heather is suggesting that you use various sources to stay on top of what’s happening in the marketplaces that your attorneys work in, and then filter through to them the story ideas that they can write about. You can then send them follow up topics.

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Use Editorial Focus & Insights to Create Content that Gets Noticed - A Webinar Recap

There are some truly brilliant people in our industry, and the week before last, I was fortunate to hear two of them present in a webinar:  JD Supra's Adrian Lurssen and Hellerman Baretz Communication's John Hellerman.  The webinar addressed the topic of using editorial focus and insights to create content that gets noticed. 

They kicked off the webinar with the advice that we should be looking at the world from our audience's point of view. Since there's a lot of meaty information in the webinar recap, I'll break the post up. 

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Let's Talk Twitter: An LMA Social Media SIG Webinar

Today, I had the pleasure of sitting in on a webinar presentation from my friends Nancy Myrland of Myrland Marketing and Lance Godard of JD Supra. The Social Media Special Interest Group for the Legal Marketing Association has been putting on monthly webinars, and this month's focused on Twitter. 

Since it is a member benefit, I won't give all the secrets away, but I did want to offer the highlights: 

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Let's Get Specific - On LinkedIn

Over the last couple of days, I've been working on developing a few sub-groups for our International Lawyers Group member group on LinkedIn.  These groups are online forums for our Specialty Groups, which member firm attorneys participate in throughout the year.

As I'm developing the groups, I'm going through my LinkedIn contacts to invite those who practice in those areas to participate. And I'm seeing a lot of this: 

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Social Media is Here to Stay - An LMA 2012 Re-cap Part II

Yesterday, we covered the first part of the social media session from the Legal Marketing Association's Annual Conference. Today, let's jump into part two! 

Next up, on the panel we had Melissa Croteau, the CMO of Nixon Peabody. Her role on the panel was to talk about how a large firm handles social media. Nixon Peabody started using social media in 2009, beginning with Twitter. They currently have 2,500 regular followers, with a majority of those being media.

Because I'm always trying to follow the tweet stream, as well as live tweet, when I'm at a conference, I also was keeping an eye on the tweets coming out of other sessions. From another session at the same time, Russell Lawson posted what turned out to be a timely suggestion for our group as well – he noted that journalists are using their Twitter stream to find interesting or out of the ordinary story ideas, so firms shouldn’t post the same old thing all the time. If Nixon Peabody has so many media followers, they must be adhering to this idea already!

 

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Social Media is Here to Stay - An LMA 2012 Re-cap Part I

You may have guessed that I have a certain fondness for social media. I’ve touted its benefits here before, so it should come as no surprise that I headed straight for the social media session while I was at the LMA Annual Conference in Dallas a couple of weeks ago.

Before I get into the nitty gritty of the presentation from the panelists and my thoughts, I’ll share what the CMO of Nixon Peabody said during the session – “The most significant thing a marketing department can do in 2012 is to develop a social media strategy.”

These are bold words from an industry that was still wondering whether social media had staying power only last year. And I couldn’t agree more. Although, I would go a step further than that and say that rather than creating a separate strategy, social media should instead be used to enhance and drive existing strategies and projects. If the tweets coming from the other breakout sessions were any indication, all of them were mentioning social media in conjunction with their topics – the possibilities for using it for law firms are exciting and valuable.

 

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LMA12 - It's About Being Social

As you know, I'm attending the Legal Marketing Association's Annual Conference this week, and it's so great to see those that I keep in touch with throughout the year in person! 

Social media is great - the tools help keep us in touch throughout the year, and help me meet new people.  But it's really about taking those relationships offline. This morning, we had the chance to do that when the Social Media Special Interest Group, which I'm fortunate to be on the leadership committee for with some wonderful colleagues, met for the second time. 

We had some great people there! To get to know them better, check out their twitter feeds! I've put an asterisk by those on the Social Media SIG's leadership committee: 

Nicole Anderson, Legal Marketing Association
Adam Stock, Allen Matkins, @AdamLStock
Andi Robinson, Bingham Greenbaum Doll LLP, @indylawmktr
Lydia Bednerik, Wendel, Rosen, Black & Dean LLP, @lydiabednerik
*Gail Lamarche, Henderson, Franklin, Starnes &Holt, @gaillamarche
Stacey Taylor, Hawley Troxell
Amy Adams, Wilentz Goldman & Spitzer PA, @ajamarketing
Caroline Letiecq, Quarles & Brady LLP
Billy Apostolou, Hodes, Pessin, & Katz, @billy_apostolou
Jenna O'Connor, Rosenberg | Martin | Greenberg, LLP @JennaKate413
Dawn Reimschussel, @DiscoInfiltrato
*Laura Gutierrez, Winthrop & Weinstine, @lalaland999
Russell Lawson, Sands Anderson, @sandsanderson & @sociallawyers
Rebecca Wissler, King, Krebs & Jurgens, PLLC, @rebeccawissler
Nicolas LoRe, Foley Hoag LLP
Laura Powers, Furia Rubel Communications, @LPPowers
Jessica Gagnon, Robinson Cole LLP, @Jessi_Gagnon
Crystale Wozniak, Robinson & Cole LLP, @CrystaleWoz
Lisa Woodford, Cooley Manion Jones LLP, @lisawoodford
Miki Hanlen, Steptoe & Johnson LLP, @mikihanlen
Amy Knapp, Knapp Marketing, @knappmarketing
Adrian Dayton, Author, Speaker and Social Media Strategies to law firms, @adriandayton
Gina Rubel, Furia Rubel Communications @ginarubel
Jon Holden, Bennett Jones LLP,  @holdencalgary
*Nancy Myrland, Myrland Marketing, @nancymyrland
Adrian Lurssen, JD Supra, @adrianlurssen
Jay Pinkert, Shatterbox, @Shatterbox
Kevin O'Keefe, LexBlog, @kevinokeefe
*Lindsay Griffiths, International Lawyers Network, @LindsayGriffith

So far, we've had a great keynote session this morning, and we're enjoying a session on change leaders right now - more re-caps to follow!

ILN Marketing Roundtable: Connecting with Clients and Prospects

Recently, we've been looking more in-depth at the ILN Marketing Specialty Group roundtable, which focuses on what mid-sized firms are doing in social media.  Today, we look at question four, which asks "How do you and your firm connect with your firm’s top clients and top prospects via social media?"

Do Kim Dung: Leadco, as a firm, does not have connection to our firm’s top clients and top prospects via social media. Certain partners and associates within the firm do use Facebook and LinkedIn in their professional capacities to connect and communicate with clients and colleagues.

Simone Fell: As with Leadco, lawyers connect with clients and prospects individually through LinkedIn and their personal Twitter accounts. We have not done much to advertise our social media presence. This will likely only change once we have a policy in place and have determined a better way to generate timely and interesting information that top clients (who already get our newsletters) will want to read. 

 

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My Favorite Blogs

Earlier this week, I had the pleasure of co-presenting a webinar with Kevin O'Keefe on Blogging Basics.  During the call, I mentioned a couple of blogs that I recommend, and I thought I'd share my full list here, as well as my notes about each!

  • Corcoran's Business of Law Blog: Tim's blog makes me a better marketer, because he's always making me think and challenging me to keep an open mind.
     
  • The Legal Shakeup: Rebecca Wissler and Laura Gutierrez author this blog, which offers stories and advice from two rising stars in the legal marketing industry. 
     
  • Myrland Marketing: This is Nancy Myrland's blog, where she offers marketing advice to the legal community, with a social media focus.
     
  • The Legal Watercooler: This is one of the first legal blogs I followed, and it's still my go-to source for inspiration. Heather Morse does an excellent job of balancing blog voice and personality with the issues that lawyers and legal marketers face.
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ILN Marketing Roundtable: Social Media Policies

The last two weeks, we've been looking more in-depth at the ILN Marketing Specialty Group roundtable, which focuses on what mid-sized firms are doing in social media.  Today, we look at question three, which asks "Do you have a social media policy in place? If so, how are you handling training on both policies and proactive use of social media and tracking of results?" 

Do Kim Dung: Leadco does not yet have a social media policy.

Simone Fell: Not yet, but it’s in development. We already have policies regarding employees' use of technology and some of the issues would be covered under that. We used to track social media as a firm but we now have a number of lawyers with individual accounts who tweet/blog about a combination of personal and work-related issues, which why it’s even more critical that there be a formal policy in place. We have done some training on how to use social networking tools, which highlighted best practices (eg be conscious of who's in your audience and don't broadcast every thought you have without considering the impact) and have offered pointers at our business law and litigation department meetings. We expect lawyers to take a common-sense approach to their online business development activities and consider the same Law Society guidelines that govern other mediums. 

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Let's Be Social - A Look at the 2012 In-House Counsel New Media Engagement Survey

There are still people out there who think social media is not for professionals.

C'mon, admit it. 

All right, so the likelihood is that those people aren't reading this blog, because, after all, it's part of that "social media stuff." But how many of you who have dipped your toe in the water (i.e. joined Facebook, staked your claim on your Twitter name, filled out your LinkedIn profile) are using social media? And how many of you are blogging...regularly? 

I'm sure more than one of you mentally raised your hand as you read that. 

And I'm sure some of you who did are still wondering why the heck you would want to use social media anyway.  So let's talk about that for a little while. 

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ILN Marketing Roundtable: What has been your greatest social media challenge thus far, and how did your firm tackle it?

Last week, we looked at the question of firms' biggest social media successes, but this week, it's time to look at the other side of the coin - challenges.

The question we posed was "What has been your greatest social media challenge thus far, and how did your firm tackle it?"

 

Do Kim Dung: The greatest challenge for Leadco is to get agreement within the firm as to what should be posted online.

Simone Fell: Agreement within the firm with regard to what should be posted online and who should be responsible for drafting and managing content. Truly meaningful content is usually generated at the individual and practice/industry level, where ‘experts’ in those areas update topic-specific postings and seek out useful information for their target audience. This is much trickier to do at the firm level as the audience is so broad and our marketing team does not have the time to seek out keywords associated with the firm’s brand and reach out to everyone talking about those topics with a personally crafted tweet, track the activities of our clients in the media and post items of interest to them (which would definitely require vetting by a group of lawyers), nor do they have the expertise to generate legal commentary. As a result, our general firm accounts repost articles and news items that can already be found on our website. 

 

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Week of January 30, 2012 on ILN Today - Roundup!

Once again, we're at the end of another week and here for a content roundup! So without further ado...

  • PETERKA & PARTNERS Newsletter: Our colleagues in the Czech Republic bring us the latest news on the amendments to the Commercial and Labor Code, to the Act on Transformation of Companies and Cooperatives, to the Code of Administrative Justice, and to the Employment Act, along with new legislation on corporate criminal liability and increased fees for entries in the Land Register.
     
  • ILN Social Media Roundtable: This isn't legal content, but it comes straight from the marketers at ILN member firms - if you're wondering what the mid-sized firms in our Network are doing with social media, some of their challenges and triumphs, this is worth a read. 
     
  • Not only is it reasonable but it is now obligatory: dilapidations from Fladgate LLP: Alison Mould of Fladgate discusses the courts recent adoption of the pre-action protocol for terminal schedules of dilapidation, thanks to ten years of efforts by the Property Litigation Association.

 

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ILN Marketing Roundtable: What has been your greatest social media success?

This afternoon, we released the publication of our ILN Marketing Specialty Group's Social Media Roundtable.  If you'd like to read the roundtable in full, you can find it here.  However, I thought it might be interesting to examine each of the questions and their responses through Zen, and invite our readers to contribute their own thoughts to the discussion!

The first question we posed was "What has been your greatest social media success?" 

Simone Fell: Our lawyers operate Megawatt (a Renewable Energy blog), The Legalist (a blog hosted on BC Business’s site and focused on employment issues), the Canadian Trademark law blog (IP issues) and BCBlawg (business and IP litigation, run by one of our associates). We are also starting up an Estates & Trusts blog within the next few weeks. The firm has LinkedIn, TwitterFacebook and Google Plus accounts. We still have a long way to go in building our social media presence, but a number of bloggers and journalists are connected to us through these vehicles and have approached us for commentary or republished our posts/tweets. Links to some of our blogs are featured as ‘resources’ on different industry sites. This has definitely raised the profile of certain individuals, increased the number of subscribers to our newsletters and improved SEO by driving traffic to our main website. 
 
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LMA Attendees - the Twitter Edition!

It's that time of year again - the LMA Annual Conference is coming up in March! It's a great opportunity to make new friends and renew relationships, so I thought I'd keep a list of those attending as I'm advised, as well as their Twitter names (so anyone interested in the conference who can't attend can follow along). Also, don't forget to follow #LMA12 for more information on the conference and during the sessions. 


If you'd like to follow along with a twitter list, check out my list of LMA attendees!


Lindsay Griffiths (@lindsaygriffith)
Kate Lutes (@kklutes)
Laura Gutierrez (@lalaland999)
Jill Clark Rako (@JillRako)
Gina Rubel (@GinaRubel)
Laura Powers (@lppowers)
Gail Lamarche (@gaillamarche)
Heather Morse (@heather_morse)
Megan McKeon (@meganmckeon)
Stacey McGuire (@smcguire13)
Jonathan Groner (@jgronerpr)
Kathryn Whitaker (@KBWhit)

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Week of January 16, 2012 on ILN Today - Roundup!

Happy Friday everyone, and happy Chinese New Year to our colleagues in Asia! 

It's that time again - time for a weekly roundup of some of the great content we're seeing over on ILNToday. And even though it was a short week for some, there is no shortage of material coming from our attorneys! 

Since we did have so many interesting pieces come out this week, I'm going to give you a top ten instead of a top five (aren't you lucky?).

  • An Olympic Headache for employers? from Fladgate LLP: While Londerners are excited for the Olympic games to start this summer, there are some legitimate concerns that employers need to be aware of. Fladgate investigates some of those here. 
     
  • Vodafone Triumphs – SC Holds Tax Authority Has No Jurisdiction Over Overseas Transaction from LexCounsel: LexCounsel discusses the Supreme Court of India's landmark judgment, which set aside the Bombay High Court's decision that Indian tax authorities were right to assess Vodafone for Indian tax liabilities in their $11 billion acquisition of Hutchinson's 67% equity share in the Cayman Islands. 

  • Gaga about the FLSA from McDonald Hopkins: Who can resist a post that references Lady Gaga? Here, Miriam Rosen of McDonald Hopkins examines the lawsuit filed by Lady Gaga's personal assistant, Jennifer O'Neill, in the light of the Fair Labor Standards Act. 

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Rainmaking Recommendation from Jaimie Field: Put the Social in Social Media

Today, I'm bringing you another excellent rainmaking recommendation from expert Jaimie Field - put the social in social media.

Are you using Twitter? Facebook? Linked In? Google +? Or any of the hundreds of websites that are considered “social media?”

Great!

If you haven’t gotten on board yet with Social Media sites, understand this – Social media is not a fad. It is not going away. It continues to evolve as a method of meeting new people whom you may have never gotten a chance to meet any other way. I have personally become friendly with people from all over the world because of social media. I have also gotten new clients because of this medium.

Social Media can be very only useful when you learn these two basic rules first:

  1. People do business with people they know like and trust: This means that you must be authentic and real even when you are behind a computer screen.
  2. You must learn to interact with people while on Social Media: it’s not about just
    pushing your agenda and information out for the masses. That is called advertising.
    Use social media to engage with the people whom you follow/friend/”link-in”. You
    have the opportunity to get advice, information and leads from people who may
    know more than you. Additionally, you have the chance to show what you know.

Finally, getting “social on social media” also means taking it offline. Believe it or not, a lot of people pretend to be something they are not online (please read that last line with heavy sarcasm). Once you think you have a connection with someone online ask them to meet
for a cup of coffee (if they are local) or call them on the phone to hear their voice. Use social
media to invite others to events to meet you. Only then will you have the opportunity to
turn these people into prospects, referral sources or clients because only then you will
have the opportunity to find out if they really are who they say they are.

While there is much more to using social media effectively to obtain new clients, referral
sources or prospects, following these first two rules will help you get started with using social media
as a Rainmaking Method.

__________

Rainmaking Recommendations are sent the first and third Wednesdays of the month. They are bite size tips that when implemented will cause you to make rain. To learn more about Rainmaking, Goal Setting and Achieving the Life you want as an Attorney please contact Jaimie B. Field, Esq. If you have missed any of the previous Rainmaking Recommendations you can find them at www.jaimiefield.com The Enlightened Rainmaker Blog

 

Tips for Tuesday - LinkedIn

This afternoon, I had the pleasure of sitting in on the Legal Marketing Association's Social Media Special Interest Group's (a long name, so we shorten it to LMA Social Media SIG) first webinar.  Our presenters today were my friends Gail Lamarche, the Director of Marketing for Henderson Franklin and Laura Gutierrez, Marketing Multimedia Communications Coordinator with Winthrop & Weinstine.

Their focus? One of my favorite social media topics - LinkedIn! 

I won't recap the entire webinar, since participation in the SIG, and as a result, access to the webinars, is a benefit of membership in the Legal Marketing Association. But I did learn some great tips from Laura and Gail, which I wanted to share with you. 

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Twitter Tutorials - Anatomy of the Home Page Part III

We have looked at a LOT of information about Twitter this week, and we'll finish out the week with our final post on the anatomy of the home page.  

Yesterday, we continued our conversation about the left hand column, which focuses on the tweets in your stream, replies, retweets, searches, and lists (which I'll cover in a later post). So today, we're going to take a look at the right hand column.  

The right hand column serves as a sort of Twitter snapshot for the day, from your perspective. 

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Twitter Tutorials - Anatomy of the Home Page Part II

Today, we continue with examining the anatomy of the Twitter home page. Yesterday, we focused on the tweet stream, and how to post a tweet. 

Now, we'll look at the other tabs in the left column. 

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Twitter Tutorials - Anatomy of the Home Page Part I

So now we've got our profiles set, and we're building our followers.  I'd like to talk about engagement as we did during the LinkedIn series, but first, I think it's important to understand the Twitter home page.  Because Twitter does seem to have a strange language all of it's own, I want to make sure that it's all understandable as we move through the tutorials.  One of the best recommendations I can give you though, is to play around with Twitter as much as possible - with all of the various social media platforms out there, I've found that diving in is one of the best ways to learn what Twitter is all about. 

But along with testing out Twitter on your own, let's check out the home page now that we have some people we're following. 

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Twitter Tutorials - Follow and Be Followed

Now that we've got our Twitter profile ready for it's debut, it's time to start following people.  Yes, this sounds a bit stalker-ish, and it is, a little, because you're subscribing to whatever someone else wants to tweet.

But although there are people out there tweeting about everything they ate for breakfast, you don't have to do this - there can be some use in tweeting if you've eaten out at a great restaurant, but we'll cover subjects to tweet on in a future post! 

So let's begin by logging into our home page again.  If you left the box checked yesterday to keep you signed in on Twitter, going to twitter.com will automatically take you to your home page. Otherwise, you may need to sign in again. 

Because we didn't follow anyone yesterday, we've still got a lot of options listed for getting started, thanks to Twitter. 

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Twitter Tutorials - Creating Your Profile

Happy Halloween everyone! Since Halloween is my second favorite holiday (after Christmas), I had to take a time out to say "enjoy!" and share a photo of my little "spooks." 

But back to the task at hand - let's get started with Twitter. To create your profile, we're going to start by going to Twitter.com

As you can see, Twitter says that using their service, will give you "instant updates from your friends, industry experts, favorite celebrities, and what's happening around the world."  

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Twitter Tutorials - Getting Started

Don't worry - I know I haven't finished my Facebook series yet, or even gotten very far underway.  But because we're expecting some major changes with Facebook with the rolling out of the new "timeline," it makes sense to wait until it's out before moving forward.

So in the meantime, I thought I'd get started with our Twitter tutorials, particularly since I had a request from a non-legal family member on behalf of a colleague for some assistance!

Before we get started, I'm sure there are many of you who will roll your eyes at my recommendation to use Twitter.  I mean, what can you really get across in 140-character bursts? 

So very much.

I'll give you my background on Twitter - several years ago, I launched a very small gifts company, selling designs on tee shirts, etc. through Cafe Press.  As a marketer, I was looking for ways to build buzz around my designs without having to spend any money.  I found a list of suggested ways to do this, which included signing up for Twitter - something I'd never heard of.

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Facebook Tutorials - Creating a Profile Part II

So now we've created a very basic Facebook profile, and just as we did with LinkedIn, it's time to expand on that. 

When Facebook welcomes you, they want you to fill in your profile information, activate your mobile phone, find people you know and control what information you share.  We'll go through each of these steps, as well as the "why" behind them, in the coming days.  Today, we're going to focus on step one - filling out your profile information.  

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Facebook Tutorials - Creating a Profile Part I

Now we are on to a new set of tutorials - Facebook! 

You may be wondering why I would choose Facebook as the next social media tool to delve into - isn't that for kids?

No!

Also, during our LinkedIn tutorial, you may remember that I posed a question in LinkedIn's Answers feature to illustrate how to do it - and people answered.  My question was whether Facebook or Twitter was more valuable for lawyers.  Of course, the answer is - it depends.  But overwhelmingly, the responses of the group were "Facebook."  So Facebook it is! 

One of the most valuable things on Facebook is pages (and groups), but since we have to have a personal profile in order to use those, we're going to start there. 

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LinkedIn Tutorials - The Wrap Up

And here we are - with the exception of possibly one more post on My Travel from TripIt (which is still acting a bit wonky), we are at the end of our series on LinkedIn! I hope that you've gotten some useful tips, and you feel as though you're starting to use LinkedIn to its full potential.

This morning, Cordell Parvin asked me to share with him what my top LinkedIn tips would be, and I think these would be a good starting point for our final how-to.  They are: 

  • Have a full and complete profile so that people can get to know you. 
  • Make LinkedIn one of the pages that automatically opens when you open your browser - then you don't have to remember to check it.
  • Reach out to someone in some way every day - comment on a status, recommend an article, "like" someone's post. 
  • Participate actively in groups - ask questions, post relevant articles (not just your own), engage with other participants.
  • Take the relationships offline - offer to meet someone in your network who is local for coffee or lunch and look to meet up with those in other cities when you're traveling. 
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LinkedIn Tutorials - Companies - How to Create a Profile

Last week, we talked about how you can follow companies on LinkedIn (and why you would want to!). Today, we'll chat about creating and maintaining a company page. Attorneys, your firm may already have a company page, so make sure to check this out first - this may be something that your marketing department is handling.

We already have a company page for the ILN, so I won't be creating a new one of those.  But I am in the process of launching a new website for my photographic services, so now is a good time to start a company page for that. 

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LinkedIn Tutorials - Companies

We're nearing the very end of our series on LinkedIn tutorials - so please let me know if you have any questions that you think haven't been addressed, and I'll answer them in our last LinkedIn post next week! 

Today, we're going to talk about the Company feature on LinkedIn.  There are a few different ways you can use this:

  • Create and edit your own company page.
  • Follow other company's pages.

Today, we're going to focus on how to follow other company's pages, and tomorrow we'll look at creating and editing your own company page. 

Let's see what LinkedIn has to say about it in their Learning Center

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LinkedIn Tutorials - Answers

Another one of LinkedIn's features is their "Answers" section.  This is a place where you can share business knowledge with others on LinkedIn - you can ask your question to get fast, accurate answers from your network and other experts, showcase your knowledge by answering questions, and stay up on the latest information in your industry.

I'll point out a caution here - One of our attorneys mentioned to me yesterday with respect to recommendations that attorneys need to be careful of the rules about endorsements within their respective jurisdictions.  This is similarly the case for answering questions on LinkedIn.

I liken answering questions on LinkedIn to answering questions after a panel discussion or at a cocktail party.  Most questions you can answer in an academic way, that makes it clear you're not creating an attorney-client relationship.  Other questions cross into a grey area, so you need to make it clear that you're not offering advice.

With LinkedIn questions, since it's optional, you don't have to answer questions that you think enter into that grey area, or you can suggest to the person asking that they retain counsel.  So let's go into this discussion of Answers bearing in mind this caution. 

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LinkedIn Tutorials - Recommendations

And I'm back. It was a rather eventful week off for me here on the east coast, with a mild earthquake as I was staining my deck, and then having to evacuate because of Hurricane Irene over the weekend.  My thoughts go out to everyone still dealing with flooding, power outages and damage - I was fortunate that my house near the bay never lost power (the yard floods on a good day, so a sump pump is a necessity) and that the damage wasn't at all severe.  

Today, we're back to talking LinkedIn, and I'd like to focus on recommendations.  Before we get into the how, let's talk about about the why. 

 

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LinkedIn Tutorials - Creating Your Own Groups

Yesterday, we talked about how to get involved with groups.  The only thing left for us to do with groups is to create our own! 

You might not be sure if you want to, but perhaps you want to re-think that.  What if you want to start a group for those interested in legal issues in the construction industry in New Jersey? Check first to make sure there isn't a group out there like that already, but then start your own - guess who's going to join a group like that? 

That's right, potential clients.

And you don't want to be using your group to just promote yourself, but offer items of value to those people, and they'll come to see you as the go-to resource for information that they need.  And THAT'S when they'll start to think that you'd make a good attorney for them.  Plus, if you're getting access through your group to the decision makers that you want to be meeting at potential clients' companies, use the platform to send out invitations to an event - host a cocktail party for the group, get together at a local bar for some beer, invite them to a presentation you'll be doing on a topic that's of use to them. Take the relationships OFFLINE to cement them. The possibilities here are endless. 

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LinkedIn Tutorials - Groups

When groups were introduced on LinkedIn, it really revolutionized the way a lot of us used the site.  LinkedIn went from being a very one-dimensional platform to being a place where you could regularly engage with people who were interested in the same things that you are.

The first group I joined was one of the first groups created - my alumni group, Hamilton College.  Dan Nye, the former CEO of LinkedIn was a Hamilton grad, so he created this group and invited all of the alums to join.  They really took off from there.  The latest number I found is that there are over 871,000 groups on LinkedIn, which is just incredible.

But don't worry, you don't have to browse through all of them.

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LinkedIn Tutorials - Is there an App for That? Part IV

I promise that at some point, we'll be done with applications and move right into looking at some other features of LinkedIn! (Like tomorrow) There sure are a lot, aren't there? That just shows me what a valuable tool we have here - you can really customize it, make it your own, and put it to work for you so that with a little bit of investment here and there, it can really assist you in your networking efforts. 

Moving right along, we'll jump into some more applications today.

 

Events

We talked a little bit about events when we talked about how you could better engage with your network.  Events is an application from LinkedIn that is incredibly useful, particularly for attorneys - again, it's another one of those applications that will involve a little time investment and will then do the work for you. 

So let's add the application as we normally would.  It seems to have been added as a default on my new profile, so this may be the case for you as well.  If it appears in the list when you mouseover "More" in the menu on your homepage, then you've got it installed!

 

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LinkedIn Tutorials - Is there an App for That? Part III

Who thought there would be so much to say on LinkedIn Applications? (Truthfully, not me when I started to talk about them - I thought I'd do just one post!).  But there's a lot of utility in these applications, particularly if you're looking to make the most out of your LinkedIn experience. 

So today we'll talk about a few more apps, starting with Huddle Workspaces.  

Huddle Workspaces

Huddle Workspaces is an application that allows you to create "workspaces" for different groups of connections, and you decide who sees what. Your documents are kept private and secure, and you can access them from anywhere at anytime. 

This is another situation where you can start with a free account, but Huddle.net also has an upgrade if you're interested.  

 

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LinkedIn Tutorials - Is there an App for That? Part II

Following yesterday's interlude about settings, we're back to Part II of LinkedIn's applications! I'll focus on a few important ones, and briefly talk about the ones that might not be as meaningful for you. 

We'll start with Company Buzz.

Company Buzz

We're going to be talking more about Twitter in a later series of posts, but I'll give you a very quick overview. Since Twitter says it best, here's what they say about themselves: 

Twitter is a "real-time information network that connects you to the latest information about what you find interesting." You "simply find the public streams you find most compelling and follow the conversations." 

"At the heart of Twitter are small bursts of information called Tweets. Each Tweet is 140 characters in length, but don't let the small size fool you - you can share a lot with a little space. Connected to each Tweet is a rich details pane that provides additional information, deeper context, and embedded media.  You can tell your story within your Tweet, or you can think of a Tweet as the headline, and use the details pane to tell the rest with photos, videos, and other media content." 

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LinkedIn Tutorials - Some Important Settings

Although today's post should be our Part II about applications, I'm going to take a bit of a break to talk instead about some settings.  I know we're all concerned about (and should be) the settings that we have in these various social platforms, and one came to the forefront today - which I'll get to in a minute.

First, I want to make a comment about privacy - the short version is that nothing on the internet is private.  That's right, I said it - nothing.  Whatever you write, post, tweet, tag, etc. lives somewhere online forever.  Even if you have the strictest of privacy settings, what you say can become public.  So just bear that in mind whenever you're using social media - if it's not something you'd say to your grandmother or show to your grandmother, you probably shouldn't post it. 

I also recently heard someone suggest you ask yourself these questions - "is it nice? is it necessary?" when posting.  Or do as my friend Heather suggests and ask yourself - "Does this need to be said? Does this need to be said right now? Does this need to be said by me?"  Most companies' social media policies will boil down to "Don't be an idiot" and I think that's good advice. 

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LinkedIn Tutorials - Is there an App for That? Part I

We've got our LinkedIn profile, and we're connecting and engaging with people, so what's left? Plenty.

LinkedIn used to be very one-dimensional - you would have a profile and could connect with people, but that was mostly it.  Then, they began to develop more tools for engagement and to enhance your LinkedIn experience - this is where applications come in. 

Let's start with apps for LinkedIn - the kind for your smart phone. Do you have a BlackBerry, iPhone or Droid? Well then, there's a LinkedIn app for you.  This will allow you to have access to your LinkedIn account while you're on the go, instead of always having to be at your computer.  

But LinkedIn itself offers applications within its framework that can enhance your experience - some are directly from LinkedIn while others are from third parties. I'm going to break this into multiple installments, since there is a LOT of information to be shared about applications! Today's post will cover SlideShare, JD Supra's Legal Update and Lawyer Ratings. 

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LinkedIn Tutorials - You're Connected...Now What?

So you've got your profile almost complete and you've started to connect with people in your network...now what? 

There's so much more you can do with LinkedIn, but we're going to start with what I think is the most important - engaging.  There are a few ways you can do this, including answering questions and joining and participating in groups, but today, we're just going to focus on how you can engage with people through your home page and profile.

I recently suggested to some of our lawyers at our Annual Conference that they set LinkedIn to open when they log into their web browser, so that they can spend five minutes a day connecting to someone.  A number of them thought this wasn't reasonable, but even five minutes a week can make a difference.

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LinkedIn Tutorials - Let's Get Connected! Part II

Yesterday's tutorial covered how to export your contacts from Outlook and upload them into LinkedIn.  But this is limiting - although it cuts down on the investment of time you need to make in order to connect with people, it doesn't give you the flexibility of personalizing the invitations to make engaging more likely - and that's the goal with social media: engagement!

So today, we're going to go into more depth about adding contacts manually.  I'm the first to admit that manually adding contacts is a pain, and can be time consuming.  But if you take the time to send a personal note to those you add, they'll be more willing to accept your invitation and subsequently engage with you.  You don't have to take a whole afternoon to work on this - I know everyone is busy!  Instead, when you first come in to the office in the morning and are having your cup of coffee, log into LinkedIn and add five people.  It won't take you very long at all, and soon you'll have a nice list of connections built up.  Even if you do this once a week, it will make a difference.

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LinkedIn Tutorials - Let's Get Connected! Part I

Now that you've created a complete profile, it's time to start connecting and engaging with people you might know on LinkedIn.  Let's start with the basics - connecting with people in your Outlook contacts.  

Start by logging in to your home page.  Since you're a new member and still building your LinkedIn base, you will likely see this box:

 

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LinkedIn Tutorials - How to Set up a Profile Part II

Yesterday, we went through the basics of setting up an account and profile on LinkedIn.  Today, we're going to look much more in-depth at the LinkedIn profile and get ourselves to 100% profile completeness (or just about)!

You may be wondering why you need to bother with completing your profile - isn't the bare minimum enough?

Well, according to LinkedIn, "Users with complete profiles are 40 times more likely to receive opportunities through LinkedIn."  Your profile becomes complete when you have:

  • Your current position
  • Two past positions
  • Your education
  • Your profile summary
  • A profile photo
  • Your specialties
  • At least three recommendations
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LinkedIn Tutorials - How to Set up a Profile Part I

 

Here on Zen, I talk a lot about why I love social media, and how I think it can be useful to lawyers and law firms.  Now that I've got you all convinced, I realize that not everyone knows how or where to start.  I've talked about some of the basic principles of using these tools - engage, don't broadcast; give yourself a small window of time to use them each day, etc - but not the how-to of using them.  So I'm going to be doing a series of social media tutorials over the next several weeks to get you started, and I'm beginning with LinkedIn.

To me, LinkedIn is the most useful social media platform for lawyers, if for no other reason than it's considered the most professional.  Because of that, most of your clients will be there, so you should be too.  

Here's a quick note - there is a LOT of information in this post, but don't be alarmed. It will take you less time to complete your profile than it will to read through this post!

 

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Ask Friday! The Social Media Tracking Edition

This week's Ask Friday! takes a bit of a turn - I'm asking the questions this time!  Check out my video below to see what it is I want to know...

 

Social Media - What Are Mid-Sized Firms Doing?

Last week's post covered the questions of what the panelists discussing social media are doing at their firms, and the challenges they've faced.  This week's looks at their social media policies and the effect of the approval process in blogging. 

Social Media Policies

We next covered the question of social media policies, and whether firms are looking only at what their attorneys and staff are doing professionally, or also at their personal social networking habits.

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Beyond Blogging: Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn - A Re-Cap of LexBlog's Webinar

This afternoon, I had the good fortune to sit in on Kevin O'Keefe's webinar on "Beyond Blogging: Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn." I'm already sold on the benefits of all three for law firms, but I love hearing Kevin's stories which I can relate to our attorneys to win them over. The five most important things I heard Kevin say in his webinar were:

  1. Starting to use these tools isn't a strategy - it's a tactic. Saying that the strategy is to get on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook is like saying you're going to have the lawyers drive red cars. It doesn't make sense. Use them as relationship-building tools and tools that frame your identity.
     
  2. Because media is more social, and a shared experience, you need to be doing those things that will cause your information to be shared by others who have people trusting them. 
     
  3. Just because another law firm is doing something doesn't mean you have to do it. 
     
  4. It doesn't matter if your clients or perspective clients ever see your information being shared or if they read your blog - influencers and amplifiers are seeing it and connecting you to the right people. 
     
  5. Empower the lawyers at your firm to use social media to build relationships.
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Social Media - What Are Mid-Sized Firms Doing? Activities & Challenges

Following my LinkedIn presentation at our Annual Meeting, we had a panel discussion about what some of our law firms are doing with social media.  I was joined by Charles Wander of Fladgate LLP in London, David Ellenhorn of Ogden Murphy Wallace, PLLC in Seattle, and Bill Holder of Clark Wilson LLP in Vancouver.

Because we had a rather in-depth discussion which I think raises some interesting points and questions I'd like to get your feedback on, I'll be breaking the post up into two - part one focuses on the social media activities that the firms represented on the panel are engaging in, and some of the challenges they've been faced with. 

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LinkedIn - Making the Most out of Groups

I've spent the last two days talking about how to make improvements to your LinkedIn profile, and getting the most out of your LinkedIn home page.  Today, I want to cover LinkedIn Groups.

On LinkedIn, there are groups for everything, from business networking to animal lovers.  Groups are an excellent way to connect with people outside of your immediate network in areas where you share an interest.

I'm going to focus on the ILN's group, because I'm the moderator and have the most familiarity with it, but most of this advice can be applicable to any business networking group for lawyers. During my presentation, I started with the "why" - why should the lawyers in the room have any interest in joining the ILN Group on LinkedIn? 

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"Hitting the (Other) Links to Develop Your Rainmaking Game - Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About LinkedIn" - Part II

Yesterday, I talked about what improvements you  might want to make to your LinkedIn profile to get the best results from it.  Today, I'll talk about the home page screen and why it's useful to be logging in to LinkedIn periodically - I have LinkedIn set to open as one of the tabs on my browser, so every morning, I open Outlook and Chrome, go through my emails, and check on my browser tabs.  This includes taking a quick look (no more than five minutes) at my LinkedIn home page screen.  Lawyers, I know you're busy, but if you make this part of your morning routine, you'll only have to spend a few minutes looking at LinkedIn, you'll stay up to date on what your network is doing, and you won't have to try to remember to visit LinkedIn.

There are four things I find of particular importance on your home page screen (which looks like this):

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"Hitting the (Other) Links to Develop Your Rainmaking Game - Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About LinkedIn"

If you read my posts regularly, you'll know that I have a passion for social media.  I don't think it's the be all and end all of business development tools, of course, but I do have a fondness for it and an interest in sharing that fondness with my attorneys.

So I jumped at the chance to present a more in-depth look at LinkedIn to our group at the 2011 23rd ILN Annual Meeting on Saturday morning.  I wanted to stick to what I thought were the most relevant points about LinkedIn, and what would give our attorneys the greatest impact - and for me, there was no greater joy than sitting with one of our attorneys during the subsequent breakout session and helping him fill out his profile, as he repeated back to me snippets of what I'd said. 

Last week, I mentioned a few best practices for LinkedIn, but I'd like to add in a bit more about our session in Lisbon.

 

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Social Media Policy - Where to Start? Here's A Sample

One of the things that came out of the social media panel I did with a few of our lawyers in Lisbon (more on that in a later post) was that our firms are all at different stages of development with social media.  I think that's true for most firms. 

A question that comes up frequently is whether firms have a social media, and how they should start crafting one.  The ILN's founding firm, Epstein Becker & Green, has drafted a great social media policy that they've graciously allowed me to share here.  It's a good starting point for your own firm's social media policy, and can also be a tool for tweaking an existing policy.  

Please click here to access the PDF of the policy.

It's Here! The ILN Launches its New Site - ILNToday

Today's the big day! The International Lawyers Network is unveiling our new content-driven website at http://www.ilntoday.com. We gave our member firms a sneak peek at last week's 23rd Annual Conference, and this week we're revealing it to you! 

The redesigned site embodies the latest technology to best serve the growing needs of ILN members and their clients, and provides a variety of benefits, including:

  • Up-to-the-minute legal content and news from law firms in 66 countries around the world.
  • RSS feeds to deliver content directly to your desktop.
  • Direct connections to ILN members and Administration through a member Tweet stream, Facebook and LinkedIn.

 

 

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LinkedIn Best Practices

I'm just back from our 2011 23rd Annual Meeting in Lisbon, and I'll have lots to share with you over the next week or so.  But what's fresh in my mind this morning is our session on LinkedIn from Saturday morning - I'd like to share some best practices for LinkedIn, which can be particularly useful when you're just returning from any conference:

  • Review the attendee list, or the stack of business cards you returned with and make note of the people you met and chatted to at the conference. Search for, and connect to, these people on LinkedIn, making sure to send a personal note with your invitation that refers to your conversations.
     
  • Set your browser to open to the LinkedIn home page when you start it up.  I use Chrome on my desktop, and have set it to open several tabs when I start it up each morning, including LinkedIn - that way I never have to remember to visit LinkedIn and check the latest status updates.  Then, each morning, I scroll through my news feed and comment on or like updates and news, or connect to anyone I might know.  It doesn't take a lot of time, and it keeps me plugged into what my network is doing.
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Are You Ready?

The ILN's new website will be launched on June 14, 2011 and I can't wait! It's no longer going to be your typical law firm website, and both the ILN and our web designer/host, LexBlog are so excited for you to see the results.

Stay tuned...

 

What Do You Commonly Hear from Attorneys Regarding Their Social Media Philosophies? A Just Engage Interview

A couple of weeks ago, I was fortunate to have the opportunity for an interview with Natalie Huha, of Just Engage, "a company dedicated to servicing the Legal and Professional Services markets promoting and educating on how social media is redefining current and future client communications."  She wanted to talk to me about my thoughts on social media in the legal profession, and in part one of the five-part interview, we discussed the question "What do you commonly hear from attorneys regarding their social media philosophies?"

Natalie's comments and the interview can be found here and here, and I've embedded the video below if you'd like to see the interview.  
 

 

Effectively Leveraging Social Media as a Business Development & Marketing Tool - An LMA Recap

You may not be surprised to learn that during the 2011 Legal Marketing Association Annual Conference, I attended the session on Effectively Leveraging Social Media as a Business Development & Marketing Tool. And it was definitely a valuable session.  

The panel was moderated by Josh Fruchter, Principal at eLawMarketing, and featured Melanie Green, Director of Business Development & Marketing at Baker Daniels, Andrea Stimmel, Business Development Director, Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle, and Russell Thomas, Director of Media & Public Relations at Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice.

The panel began by asking who in the room worked at a firm that was tweeting, had a Facebook page, a LinkedIn profile, or blogs - the majority of the room was in this category.  Law firms lean more towards LinkedIn than Facebook based on the show of hands in the room, though a few of those on Twitter said they felt Facebook had value as well.  

The panel had crowdsourced questions from the attendees in advance of the session through the LMA Conference's LinkedIn group, and the panel was built around this.  

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How I love Twitter, Let me Count the Ways

Dear Twitter, how I love you.

Okay, you all know that I love social media, and I fully support people using it, blah, blah, blah.

But it's not just some new tool that I'm excited about using and have jumped on the bandwagon for. It can be incredibly useful professionally. That was particularly clear to me this week.

I started in my current position six and a half years ago, and went to my first LMA conference in 2005. I was a shy young thing because I knew NOBODY and I hadn't even participated in any of the local chapter's events. I was terrified I'd end up just wandering to and from conference sessions like a ghost and not meeting anyone.

Of course, that didn't happen. I met some lovely ladies, had dinner and lunch with them a couple of times, and enjoyed their company. But other than a few sporadic emails after that which eventually died off, that was it.

Fast forward to 2011, when I attended my 6th LMA conference - what a difference! For the first time, I was actually looking forward to conference - not that the sessions aren't always valuable, but I've been so intimidated over the years by the networking side of things that I had trouble enjoying myself. Not so this year.

Over the last three years, I've developed a network of LMA friends and colleagues through Twitter - our online conversations happen on a regular basis throughout the year, both about professional and personal topics. Many of those I've met through Twitter have subsequently become friends on Facebook, where we share much more of our personal lives and deepen our relationships.

As a result, we're talking before the conference and making plans, we're talking during the conference - about the sessions, about meeting for meals, about meeting those on Twitter we don't know in person yet, about where we're sitting, what we're thinking, the questions we might have - and we're talking after the conference - sharing posts, sharing articles, continuing the new and old relationships and friendships we've found in LMA. Even those who weren't able to attend the conference got the most valuable tidbits via the tweetstream and will share in the blog posts that re-cap the event.

How valuable is that?

Through Twitter, I've met marketing professionals at all different levels - some new to legal marketing, some with years of marketing experience - and they inspire me, introduce me to other people in the industry, help me on projects, ask and answer questions, and make me feel cherished and supported. For the first time at an LMA conference, I didn't eat alone once - and many of you know that some of the best networking happens during mealtime.

So I'm grateful to Twitter for enriching my conference experience - I've gained professional colleagues (as someone who works alone most of the time, that is invaluable), but I've also gained lifelong friends. Some people may still not understand Twitter or think it valuable, but it can really enrich a conference experience, and make your membership in an organization incredibly worthwhile and rewarding.

Highlights of the ILN's Social Media Member Survey

With social media gaining in popularity and importance, the ILN felt that investigating the usage and interest in social media among its mid-sized member firms would be a useful exercise.  

In October through December 2010, the ILN distributed the Mid-Sized Firm Social Media Survey via email to member firm attorney around the world. Respondents included managing partners, equity partners, shareholders, associates, and marketing professionals.

Overall, the research revealed that while some firms have jumped on the social media bandwagon, others are still questioning its usefulness as a professional tool for business development.  

Notably, the majority of firms were not using social media, and use of social media tools for professional reasons and as a source of news and information was fairly limited.

The results of this survey are particularly interesting when viewed in light of Greentarget, ALM and Zeughauser Group's survey of corporate counsel in the Corporate Counsel New Media Engagement Survey

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Social Media - Why Are We Still Afraid of it?

Sometimes, I read someone else's posts and am so inspired by them, I just can't keep my mouth shut.

Such is the case this morning with Nancy Myrland's latest post, "Social Media: It's Time...Embrace it Already!"

As Nancy said:

Social Media are being used by employees of all ages and interests. You can no longer keep these communication tools out of their lives during the work day just as you can’t keep email, telephone and face-to-face communication away from people. These are tools that are here to stay, and will become a large part of every business around you, so it’s time to:

  • Become familiar with them.
  • Frame them.
  • Train people on them.
  • Monitor them.
  • Integrate them in to your business and marketing plans.
  • Then repeat all of these steps regularly.

 

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Are Social Media Consultants Really Necessary for Law Firms?

The short answer?

Yes.

The slightly longer answer? It depends - on the firm and its strategy, and on the consultant.

Let's talk about firms and lawyers first - some people have claimed that lawyers need consultants to explain social media tools and how to use them, while others have claimed that lawyers can figure out these tools themselves.

And that's where the "it depends" comes in.  Lawyers are well-educated, intelligent individuals - they've graduated law school and passed the bar, haven't they? So they can certainly figure out these social media tools. It's not rocket science.

The better question is, should they spend the time doing so?

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LMA Attendees

It's that time of year again - the LMA Annual Conference is coming up in April!  It's a great opportunity to make new friends and renew relationships, so I thought I'd keep a list of those attending as I'm advised, as well as their Twitter names (so anyone interested in the conference who can't attend can follow along).  Also, don't forget to follow #LMA11 for more information on the conference and during the sessions.  

If you'd like to follow along with a twitter list, check out Laura Gutierrez's list of LMA attendees!

Lindsay Griffiths (@lindsaygriffith)
Heather Morse (@heather_morse)
Nancy Myrland (@nancymyrland)
Gail LaMarche (@gaillamarche)
Laura Gutierrez (@lalaland999)
Megan McKeon (@meganmckeon)
Karen Cariello (@karencariello)
Lydia Bednerik (@lydiabednerik)
Sally Schmidt (@sallyschmidt)
Nuno Lapirdo (@nlapirdo)
Matt Fankhauser (@mattfankhauser)
Amy Knapp (@knappmarketing)
Jonathan Groner (@jgronerpr)
Jasmine Decarie (@jasminedecarie)
Kristin Tyhurst (@ktyhurst)
Nat Slavin (@natslavin)

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Webinar Re-cap: Facebook & Twitter for Lawyers with Dave Kerpen of Likeable Media and Nancy Myrland of Myrland Marketing Part II

The ILN has offered a webinar series to our members for the past two years, and in 2010/2011, we offered a three-part series on social networking. In October, we started with, "Social Networking Strategy & Blogging," with Kevin O'Keefe of LexBlog and in December, we had Freesource's Nathan Egan discuss "LinkedIn for Lawyers." January's webinar with Dave Kerpen of Likeable Media and Nancy Myrland of Myrland Marketing focused on Facebook and Twitter for Lawyers.

Part II with Dave focused on Using Facebook to Grow Your Law Firm.  As I mentioned in my first post, due to some technical difficulties, our webinar didn't record any sound, so I'll be re-capping the presentations based on my (hopefully) excellent memory, and the slide decks of our presenters. 

As we mentioned in the webinar introduction, Dave is the CEO of Likeable Media, a social media and word of mouth marketing firm. Dave is one of the leading experts on social media and Facebook marketing, and he and his work have been featured on CNBC's "On the Money," ABC World News Tonight, the CBS Early Show, the New York Times, and countless blogs.

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Webinar Re-cap: Facebook & Twitter for Lawyers with Dave Kerpen of Likeable Media and Nancy Myrland of Myrland Marketing Part I

The ILN has offered a webinar series to our members for the past two years, and in 2010/2011, we offered a three-part series on social networking. In October, we started with, "Social Networking Strategy & Blogging," with Kevin O'Keefe of LexBlog and in December, we had Freesource's Nathan Egan discuss "LinkedIn for Lawyers." January's webinar with Dave Kerpen of Likeable Media and Nancy Myrland of Myrland Marketing focused on Facebook and Twitter for Lawyers.

Nancy kicked off the session with some fantastic information for our audience about Twitter.  I'll be splitting my posts into two with Part I focused on Twitter and Part II dealing with Dave's comments on Facebook.

Due to some technical difficulties, our webinar didn't record any sound, so I'll be re-capping the presentations based on my (hopefully) excellent memory, and the slide decks of our presenters.

 

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What Do You Want to Know About Social Media? Ask the Experts

As a part of the ILN's Administrative team, I've been fortunate to have the experience of working with some incredible legal marketers at our member firms. They've supported me in my role in the Network and I've learned from them time and time again.

Periodically, we draw on them for assistance in answering member firms' marketing queries and they've even put together roundtables on various subjects.  The time has come to draw on them again as we develop our comments for a social media roundtable.

So here's your chance - what social media questions do you have for our marketing experts? Please add them in the comments and I'll include them in the questions to the group.  We'll be answering the questions in virtual roundtable format, but I'll also share them with the blogosphere here.

Webinar Re-cap: LinkedIn for Lawyers with Nathan Egan Part III

On Wednesday, December 8th, the ILN offered a webinar with Freesource's Nathan Egan on "LinkedIn for Lawyers." Because of all the great information in the webinar, I have broken this up into a few posts, with Part I and Part II being published last week.

If You Build it, They Will Come

Nathan said that one of the common objections for lawyers using LinkedIn is that they're too busy to do any of this, let alone "build a network."  But he assured the audience that they already have a network, built over their careers. They don't need to build a new network on LinkedIn, just capture the existing network.

He said that LinkedIn does their best to automate this process, allowing users to upload their contacts from an email program. Users can have very few connections and in as little as an hour, send out 100 meaningful connection requests to their network. In the next day or so, those people will connect with you and you'll have a nice network.

Nathan said that once users have built the network of people they know, continuing to develop it becomes a case of management over time. It should integrate with your work flow, if you've set LinkedIn as your home page, and as you see new connection opportunities, you can pick them off one at a time.

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Webinar Re-cap: LinkedIn for Lawyers with Nathan Egan Part II

On Wednesday, December 8h, the ILN offered a webinar with Freesource's Nathan Egan on "LinkedIn for Lawyers." Because of all the great information in the webinar, I'm breaking this up into a couple of posts, with Part I being published yesterday.

Now let's jump right into Part II

Your External Profile - A Brand Beacon

Nathan then took the audience through an individual LinkedIn profile, saying that it can be a beacon for your brand.  He said that in social media, we talk a lot about "inbound marketing" - creating the context for people to come to you - and the profile is really where it all starts in terms of positioning.

Most firms have put lots of money into their corporate websites, which are the umbrella marketing portal for the firm.  Nathan said that they're looking to help people understand that the LinkedIn profile, the social assets of the firm (which are the people), are now sub-domains of the corporate website.

They have the potential to drive search engine optimization activity back to the corporate website.  Nathan said that by hard linking and key wording the profile in a meaningful way, with the keywords that the firm would want to be found for, they create a tremendous lift in their marketing efforts very naturally and passively.

Nathan said that the idea is to make LinkedIn work for the attorneys in a way that doesn't take a lot of time. It does involve some upfront work to get it going, but he said the investment is well worth it.  Once the profile is up, running and polished, it becomes a passive part of your professional world.

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Webinar Re-cap: LinkedIn for Lawyers with Nathan Egan Part I

The ILN has offered a webinar series to our members for the past two years, and in 2010, we're offering a three-part series on social networking.  In October, we started with, "Social Networking Strategy & Blogging," with Kevin O'Keefe of LexBlog.  December's webinar with Freesource's Nathan Egan focused on "LinkedIn for Lawyers."  

There's a lot of great information in here from Nathan, so I'll break this up into a couple of posts.

After a short introduction from ILN's Executive Director, Alan Griffiths, Nathan jumped into his presentation.  Due to some technical difficulties, Nathan wasn't able to share his PowerPoint, but instead offered a fabulous demonstration of the most useful features of LinkedIn and how attorneys can make it work for them.

He started by saying that the ILN had informally interviewed a few of the attorneys before the webinar, and learned that their business objectives for 2011 centered around finding new clients, having better access to & visibility in the marketplace, being able to collaborate and share, and positioning the firm and its lawyers to be top of mind for clients.  Nathan said that these new tools, like LinkedIn, offer a way to help meet these business objectives.

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Questions About Social Media?

With social media being such a new phenomenon, and social media tools a new technology, it's reasonable to expect that there are a lot of questions surrounding them. 

During the ILN's 2010 Regional Meeting of the Americas, I got a question from an audience member that I thought I'd repost here.  One of our attorneys wanted to know if a distinction is made between blogging and social media, and also, how it's possible to keep employees from using social networking tools at work.

I explained that some people do make a distinction between blogs and social media, but I consider them to be the same thing - my reason for this is that the main idea behind social networking (effective social networking, in my opinion), is that it's supposed to be social. So when people are commenting on a blog post you've written, it's important to be paying attention to these comments and interacting with the posters.

As my ILN audience knows, and this blog audience may have guessed, I believe that social networking CAN be a professional, as well as social, tool.  I've said before, if people are using social networking tools at work, for personal purposes only, that's a human resources problem - those people looking for something else to do during work time are going to be the same people making personal phone calls or emailing joke forwards.

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ILN Conference Re-Cap: Social Networking - Why it May Matter to You

I had the good fortune of presenting to our members at the 2010 ILN Regional Meeting of the Americas on Social Networking and why it may matter to our attorneys.  I began by taking an informal poll of the room to see how many in the audience were regularly using social networking sites (I clarified that by "regularly," I meant logging in once a week and connecting with someone in their network in some way).  It was a fairly small number - about 15-20% of the audience.

Though social networking is a hot topic, there are still many attorneys who question how it can be useful to them in business development at all, so I gave them a few reasons why, starting with American Lawyer Media, Zeughauser Group & Greentarget's recent survey of in-house counsel.  I mentioned two important points for them that came out of the survey:

  • Blogs are an increasingly preferred mechanism for obtaining business and legal related industry information.
  • Corporate counsel are getting more of their business and legal related industry information online than from traditional print sources.

I also mentioned that the survey showed that in-house counsel are using blogs, Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook to get their information and judge law firms.

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Conference Review: ALM's Social Media: Risks & Rewards - E-Discovery & Social Media

The third session of ALM's Social Media: Risks and Rewards conference focused on social media's impact on e-discovery, and was presented by Michael Lackey, Jr. a partner at Mayer Brown LLP. 

Lackey started with an overview of his presentation, saying it would discuss how social is coming up in litigation and the roadblocks to be aware of. He commented that there are a couple of high profile cases that are defining the limits of what you can get and how you can get it.  For organizations that have social media content that becomes relevant in litigation, there are obligations for preserving this information.  Often, it is being hosted by someone else, so that creates challenges.  

As many of us involved with social media would agree, Lackey said that there's no doubt that social media is not a fad - it's here to stay.  He mentioned some of the more traditional platforms for social media, but also included lawyer rating agencies and other kinds of technology, such as FourSquare, for consideration in litigation.  

He said that consumers have a lot of trust out there and like the interactivity, especially in terms of connecting with corporations. Lackey added that digital word of mouth marketing would top $3 billion by 2013. 

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Conference Review: ALM's Social Media: Risks & Rewards - Privacy and Security in Social Media

The second session of ALM's Social Media: Risks & Rewards also focused on the risks of social media.  Orrie Dinstein, the Chief Privacy Leader and Senior IP Counsel for GE Capital spoke on Privacy and Security in Social Media.  

He started by saying that there had been a global conference of data commissioners the previous week in Jerusalem, and the most interesting thing about the conference had been its theme - a new generation (of users, laws and technology), which all converges in the social media space.

It was clear from the comments at the conference that there's so much interest in the social media space, but no one knows what to do with it and it's constantly evolving.  

Dinstein focused on privacy and security in social media - or a lack of privacy and insecurity. He didn't offer any solutions, but instead raised a number of points about this complicated space, beginning with security. 

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Conference Review: ALM's Social Media: Risks & Rewards - Beyond Terms of Use: From Handcuffs to Handshake?

On Wednesday, I had the opportunity to attend American Lawyer Media's Social Media: Risks & Rewards conference as an ILN Marketing Partner.  As evidence of the popularity of the conference's content, the room was almost standing room only by the end of the morning.  (For tweets from the conference, see the #LSMC hashtag results)

The first two sessions focused more on the "risks" portion of the conference, discussing a lot of concerns about social media.  The first speaker was Joel Reidenberg, Professor of Law and Director of the Center on Law and Information Policy at Fordham University School of Law. His presentation was "Beyond Terms of Use: From Handcuffs to Handshake?" 

Professor Reidenberg began by saying that it's important to think about Terms of Service as an effort by social media sites to bring some certainty to their own environment where the law is lacking and vague. Terms of Service typically consist of two sets of documents:

  1. Basic user agreement
  2. Privacy Policy, which is normally incorporated by reference, so the two work hand in hand.
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Webinar Re-cap: Social Networking Strategy & Blogging with Kevin O'Keefe, LexBlog

The ILN has offered a webinar series to our members for the past two years, and in 2010, we're offering a three-part series on social networking.  Wednesday kicked off our first webinar in the series, "Social Networking Strategy & Blogging," with Kevin O'Keefe of LexBlog.  

After a short introduction from ILN's Executive Director, Alan Griffiths, Kevin treated the audience to an overview of social networking strategy and blogging.  He shared his experience with getting involved with the internet and what it has meant for him, in order to give the audience some context for the presentation and the benefit of his experience.

The bulk of Kevin's presentation focused on how lawyers can be successful using social networking tools and why good lawyers tend to gravitate towards using these types of tools.  He began by talking about how few people trust advertising - only 14% - and most law firms on the internet are advertising with their websites.  

He added that a website is necessary for law firms as one point of contact, but said that it doesn't do much for the firm's word of mouth reputation.  He likened it to bringing potential clients to see a billboard and expecting that to encourage them to hire their law firm.  For this reason, Kevin said that using social networking tools to drive traffic to the firm's website is not an effective use of the tools.  

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Social Media Policies - Where do we Start?

Last week, one of our firm's marketing directors emailed me to see if I had a list of law firm social media policies. Though I've seen a few floating around, and know that Doug Cornelius includes law firm policies in his list, I haven't seen a strictly law firm-based listing.  

Yesterday, in a post called "Social Media Policies for Legal Types," Above the Law mentioned Fast Company's series of policies, including the guidelines from Harvard Law.  Obviously, a law school's social media guidelines would be different to that of a law firm, so they offer Adrian Dayton's (who advises firms on social media strategy) suggestions for law firms, which can be summed up by his opening thought "Don't say stupid things." I know Kevin O'Keefe would shorten that further and say "Don't be an idiot." 

But if your firm is looking for something more comprehensive, I'll pass along the links I gathered for our legal marketer, with thanks to my friends on Twitter who passed some of these along.

 

Please feel free to add your own firm's in the comments as well, and check back to Above the Law's post, where they've invited commenters to do the same.

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Getting Back to Basics: Networking Through the Internet - A Webinar from Kevin O'Keefe

This afternoon, I had the good fortune to sit in on a webinar put on by Kevin O'Keefe & LexBlog, focused on getting back to basics. The topic was on networking through the internet  (I'll post the link to the recording when it's up on Kevin's blog) and since I've seen Kevin speak before, I knew the audience was in for some valuable information, which I'd like to pass along to you.

Since we've already talked about why social media should matter to lawyers, the next step is to talk about "well, here I am, now what?" Kevin did a great job of addressing that question and more in his webinar and focusing on the concepts that mean the difference between success and failure.

He started by talking about advertising, and that's something we've gotten a lot of requests from our members about. Without fail, every six months or so, I'll get an email or see someone in person who says "shouldn't we be advertising as a Network?" As a marketer, I love advertising - I watch tv for the commercials, enjoy a really snappy, slick print ad, and even like to see how some television commercials translate to radio.  

But for our group, it's not the right fit - to do it successfully would require a major campaign and lots of money, which is generally what I tell our attorneys. But now I can also tell them this - Kevin said that only 14% of people trust advertising. He reasoned that the percentage who trust lawyer advertising is even lower, and said that essentially, websites are advertising too.

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Social Media - Why It May Matter to Lawyers - A Re-cap from the ILN Annual Conference

During our Annual Conference, I had the opportunity to present on the topic that's near and dear to my heart - social media. An informal survey of the room revealed that about fifteen attorneys were regularly using social media (I defined "regularly" as logging in once a week and connecting with someone in their network in some way). That still left the majority uninvolved, so I endeavored to convince them why social media might matter to them.

I began with some statistics on social media usage from the AmLaw 100 and 200 firms, adding the caveat that I understand that social media differs from region to region and that it isn't commonly used in business in many countries. However, I still felt the topic had broad applicability because many firms around the world have American clients and I believe that social media will soon become important for businesses around the world.  

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Social Media: Should it be Restricted in the Workplace?

MGD Enterprises, a consulting company I follow on Facebook presents a business question or piece of advice daily.  Today's comment was "Fact for Friday...Is access to social media critical to employee satisfaction? A global survey of workplace attitudes & behaviors by Clearswift shows that 21% of young adults say they would turn down a job if it didn't allow them access to social network sites or their person[al] email. What is the situation where you work?"

The first commenter said "That will be the same 21% that will complain about their raise because their lack of focus will lead to their lack of production."  Those of you who know me well or follow this blog will know how I feel about that - to me, social media is not about wasting time and being unproductive.  Which is why I responded to him that "I'd include myself in that 21%, but social media makes me more effective because I use it for my job - I network with people in my field through Twitter and publicize my firms and their accomplishments, and use LinkedIn and Facebook for the same reasons. I think when you have people abusing social media, it's a human resources issues, not a tools issue. The same people who will waste time on social media would be on the phone making personal calls if they were restricted from it."

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LinkedIn - It's Not a Directory

Last week, a marketing manager posted a question to the Legal Marketing Association’s internal listserv – she wanted to know if there was a way to upload her attorneys’ bios to LinkedIn without them having to do it themselves.  I was both surprised and disappointed to see someone in legal marketing ask this, because she’s missing the point of social media and as a result, not able to help the lawyers at her firm understand and use it for their benefit. 

My response to her was the following:

Unfortunately, I'm not going to give you the answer you're probably looking for.  Because LinkedIn is not just a directory of attorneys, I don't think posting all of the members of your firm is a great idea.  The key to social networking is engagement, whether you're using LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook or Martindale-Hubbell Connected.  For LinkedIn to be effective for your firm, the attorneys need to be involved directly - posting their own information on their profiles, and then staying actively engaged by linking up with colleagues, former classmates, clients and friends and then sharing information with them like articles/blog posts they're writing, seeing what those people are up to and commenting on it, joining relevant groups and participating in them by answering questions, posting articles they think are useful, etc.  

 

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Recap of Social Fresh Portland: Branding within Social Media

 

I finished my Twitter coverage of Social Fresh Portland (because I was locked out by too many tweets!) with the Branding within Social Media Panel, with Kim Brater of Ant Hill Marketing, Steve Parker of Levelwing Media, Matt Singley of M80im, Kristy Bolsinger of RealNetworks, and Andrew Sinkov of Evernote.  Fortunately, although Singley threatened to liven up the panel by making it "pants optional," the whole panel staye fully clothed as they gave the audience some great advice.


The first question was about how branding is defined in each of the panelists' organizations and translated to social media. Sinkov said at Evernote, they ask themselves, "what is the impression we want to give people?"  Their answer is that they want to be a company that people trust and believe in.  In Brater's mind, your brand is your business.  Bolsinger said that she considers social media channels to be a way to strengthen their brand and make it something "living."  She encourages using the same brand and message across all channels in marketing, including social media.  Social media can also help to define your brand, because through engagement, you can learn what your customers think your brand is.  Singley said that while he promised not to use these buzzwords for the remainder of the panel, it's true that branding is about consistency and engagement.  To make sure everyone was listening, he suggesting using liquor to transition the Old Guard to this new media.  More seriously, he said that one of the main questions he gets about using social media is how you can effectively measure it.  He said that he responds by asking how you can measure the effectiveness of a conversation or a relationship - you can't.  Social media requires a leap of faith.  For bigger brands, this can be a little bit easier because they're used to being sued for being transparent.  For smaller brands, this might be more difficult.  But Singley pointed out that it's more about opportunities lost because of not being a part of a conversation, and those brands that ignore social media will lose.  He did agree that at some point, it's necessary to show the value of social media and Bolsinger said that ROI can be more about what you save the company than what you bring in.  Singley added that persistence and education is how you get people on board.  An audience member asked if there was value in trying to measure the effectiveness of social media. Singley said yes, but he has yet to figure out how.  "Metrics are a necessary evil of agency life," he commented.  Bolsinger commented that if there isn't a lot of differentiation between your company and your competitors, social media can be a way to differentiate.  Depending on your brant/product, you can show how social media has a better return on investment than traditional channels.  For showing how pervasive social media channels are, the panel recommended Do You Know 4.0.  Brater also recommended looking at Olivier Blanchard's presentation on ROI in social media.

 

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Re-Cap From Social Fresh Portland: Corporate Blogging Panel

Another great session at Social Fresh Portland was the afternoon panel on Corporate Blogging with Mike Volpe of Hubspot, Kristy Bolsinger of RealNetworks, and Andrew Sinkov from Evernote.  Starting the panel off with a bang, their first question was "should you, as a business, be blogging?"  The short answer was "yes."  The long answer was "you're an idiot if you don't."  Sinkov said that blogging is an incredibly important part of getting your company's voice out there.  The panel discussed whether blogging should be considered a part of social media, or in its own category, and Sinkov commented that it's a "long form of social media."  Volpe agreed, saying that a blog should be the first step in social media, before Twitter or Facebook, because you're not that interesting without it - it's your social media home base.  They took an informal poll of the room showing that pretty much everyone in the audience had a corporate blog. 

Volpe pointed out that blogging is not about you or your company, it's about your customers.  And if they segregate, you should similarly have separate blogs.  Bolsinger cautioned that from an SEO perspective though, they should all be on the same site.  Sinkov added that the more content you put on the blog, the more you see spikes of people coming to it.  So as soon as you have good content, put it out there, don't wait for it to stack up. Bolsinger said that in her case, she does have a calendar of certain types of posts, which helps to get people coming back and set audience expectations.  She suggested Outspokenmedia.com/blog as a great blog to be reading to help audience members learn how to blog better. 

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Re-Cap from Social Fresh: Keynote: It's Not Social Media - It's Simply Life with Peter Shankman

 

One of the sessions I was most excited about at Social Fresh Portland was the keynote speech by Peter Shankman of HARO - "It's Not Social Media - It's Simply Life."  Shankman's speech had a lot of great takeaways, and focused on the four rules he follows in business and in his life: 1) Transparency 2) Relevance 3) Brevity 4) Top of Mind.  He started by saying that the smart ones are all saying the same thing - social media isn't going away; it's entering the lexicon. 

Shankman learned some valuable lessons at the start of his career, which he shared with the audience.  In 1995, when AOL was "the internet," Shankman was working with them and helped to found the AOL newsroom by asking "is there a better way to solve this problem?"  He said that they would go into work every day and try something new - if it worked, they did it again. If it didn't work, they didn't do it again - a lesson that's applicable now in social media. Shankman commented that learning to constantly ask - "is there a better way to solve this?" - has served him well. He said that one of the best things you can ever do is to find a better solution to a problem, because if the solutions that everyone already had already worked, it wouldn't be a problem anymore. 

 

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Recap of Social Fresh Portland: Social Media for Small Business - A Fresh Conversation

The third session of the day for me was "Social Media for Small Business - A Fresh Conversation" moderated by Ryan Lewis of Bonfire Social Media.  He took an informal poll of the room, which was made up of mostly small businesses, with some agencies.  Since the format of the session was a roundtable, we went right into questions from the room.  An audience member asked, for a small business strapped for time, how do you find a balance between hiring an outside consultant to handle social media versus doing it in-house.  Another audience member responded with a success story of how doing social media in-house has really worked for them, with their preferred medium being Twitter.  There has been a lot of debate recently about this very issue, and I also fall on the side of doing social media in-house - when people engage with someone on Twitter, Facebook or other social media channels, even when they are engaging with a brand, they want to be talking to someone who represents the voice of that company, and knows the company well.  There's an implied sense of trust that comes along with following or becoming a "fan" of something, and if those clients/customers find out that they're dealing with a consultant and not someone from the company, that trust can be broken with serious consequences.  I talked about this issue in a little more depth with respect to ghostblogging.

Another audience member asked about who is using Facebook applications, adding that there's huge success there for those who are.  Someone commented that Facebook adds a layer of demographic targeting that can be extremely useful, though it's sometimes necessary to test different advertisements to find success.  Another audience member wanted to know if there was an average price point for the products that are selling, using tools like Facebook. He's found that social media tools are better for branding, because he sells an expensive product.  He wanted to know if a company would be throwing money away if their product is expensive and so they're only using social media for branding.  The room seemed to agree that the answer was no - even if the sales process is not happening through these tools, developing a reputation for a certain expertise is useful in leading to an offline sales process.  (*Applicable to law firms)

The group then talked a bit about whether Facebook or Twitter was a more useful tool for companies.  Someone commented that Twitter is a great tool for communications, but for indexing and critical mass, Facebook will become a much bigger player.  It was suggested that companies incentivize their fans to join their Facebook pages, which we'd heard in the previous panel.  Incentivizing them to become a "fan" of your company and product is one step, but leveraging this group to build a database is what's really important.  HubSpot was mentioned again as a company who does this very well.  To get "fans" to sign up their email addresses and information with a company, an audience member suggested reserving some content for release when they give you this data.  Another audience member cautioned that some small businesses think you go right from getting someone to become a "fan" to getting a sale, and said that it's important to remember to build the relationships further first.  (*Great lesson for law firms)

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Recap of Social Fresh Portland: Social Media B2B Panel

The second session that I attended while at Social Fresh Portland was the "Social Media B2B Panel," with Greg Cangialosi of Blue Sky Factory, Jason Peck of eWayDirect, Adam Holden-Bache of Mass Transmit, and Schneider Mike of Allen and Gerristen.  A lot of great information came out of the panel, starting with the first comment that "social media doesn't just happen."  The panelists agreed that companies need to put a smart person behind the tools, and get buy-in from everyone in the company, not just the executives.

For B2B companies, their goal is to make their customers more successful than their competitor's customers.  To identify what they want from a specific social media strategy, they need to start with the bottom line in mind.  Cangialosi commented that social media is just an extension of every other area of the company, but that it's largely happening out of marketing departments.  The panel advised that the marketing department should lead with their messages, but customer service should be involved as well, and whoever is responsible for CRM, for a more complete strategy.  Peck added that B2B companies need to have communication skills and subject matter expertise to effectively deploy a social media strategy.

Cangialosi said that the true promise of social media is when you can engage with people, which the legal marketers I know in social media would agree with.  When engaging, it's important to be transparent in social media channels about why you're there. If you're not planning to use it for customer service, let them know, but expect people to ask questions anyway.  The panel also suggested working with a public relations team in advance to forecast out what prickly issues could come up.

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Recap of Social Fresh Portland: Real Facebook and Twitter Results Panel

The first session of Social Fresh, Portland that I attended was "Real Facebook and Twitter Results Panel."  Since I know many law firms are hesitant to get involved with Facebook and Twitter, the comments from this panel might be especially useful for you in evaluating whether these platforms will work for your firm.  The panel featured Justin Kistner of Webtrends, Carri Bugbee of Big Deal PR, Kevin Tate of StepChange, and moderator and panelist Shauna Causey from Comcast

After each of the panelists introduced themselves, they focused on their experiences using Facebook and Twitter for themselves and their clients.  Tate said, about starting a Facebook page, that a company can often learn as much from its failures as its successes.  Kistner agreed with this, saying that his company had thought about starting a new blog, separate from their original one, and quickly realized that it would make more sense to leverage their existing web presence and audience, because they already have put their trust in you.  But in addition to thinking about the external audience, when deploying a social media strategy, it's just as important to bring your internal audience in and show them the value. 

Tate used the Travelocity gnome campaign on Facebook as an example of a successful use of social media to engage the audience (the panelists agreed that audience engagement should be a key goal when using a social media tool like Facebook or Twitter).  Facebook users could become a "Fan" of the Travelocity gnome, and were able to interact by voting on where he would go next.  This was very successful and continues to see fan engagement.  Tate pointed out that once people feel that they have ownership of something, you have to be careful about taking it away - an example of this from my own experience was when a Facebook user created a Fan page for the Norwegian curling team's pants.  The page was not endorsed or created by the team, but during the Olympics, it suddenly grew very popular and attracted a lot of fans and activity.  Facebook realized that the page wasn't created by the team (even though they had contacted the user who started it and invited him to their next match) and they took it down, citing their fan page rules.  But because so many fans were attached to the page, they launched a campaign to get Facebook to bring it back.  After a few hours, Facebook relented because of the outcry. So even though the Norwegian curling team didn't start the page, the fans were invested in it and didn't want to lose it.  Tate also pointed out that even when a brand creates the Facebook page, the fans really own it and define the content and interaction. 

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Social Fresh - What Did I Learn About Social Media?

Today, I attended one of the Social Fresh conferences, which took place here in Portland, Oregon - for those of you wondering what Social Fresh is, it's a conference about social media, focused around case studies, and it takes place in some "underserved cities," as the conference website describes them.  Although it's not a conference focused around the legal field, I felt that broadening my social media education to find out what other companies are doing and what works for them would be useful in my own professional social media efforts, as well as for the law firms we work with.  


Like LMA 2010, I'll be posting re-caps of the valuable sessions that I attended today over the next few days, but I wanted to get a quick post up about my thoughts and the key takeaways from today's conference.  

The theme that I took away from today's panels and presentations was two-fold - 1) know your social media objectives and 2) know your audience.  In terms of the former - it's not just enough to jump into social media, to create a Twitter profile or a Facebook fan page (in terms of your company or firm's brand - I still think there's utility in experimenting for yourself to learn about the tools).  You have to ask yourself why you're on there, what you want to get out of it, and what you're prepared to do with it - have a strategy.  There were a lot of comments that although marketers may be handling a company or firm's social media efforts, customer service is still a large part of the job.  So even if you enter into social media for the purpose of getting content out there, you must be prepared to answer questions and deal with customer service-type issues.  This is true even in the legal industry - for law firms getting involved in social media, you have to be prepared to deal with questions coming up that border on a client-attorney privileged relationship, possible issues with complaints against the firm, etc.  The overwhelming answer on how to deal with these issues today was "have a plan."  Before entering into social media, decide who will be behind the efforts, what happens if a person or group starts flaming your Facebook page, what steps are taken if a crisis arises - think about the possible issues that may arise before they happen.  Everyone agrees that social media is just another channel for the same types of marketing that companies and firms have always been doing, so some of this will just be an extension of an existing crisis communications plan your firms have, but it's essential to discuss strategy and possible roadblocks before releasing a corporate social media strategy.

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Social Media in Asia: Where are the Emerging Opportunities?

Last night, I had the opportunity to attend a socialmediatoday webinar on "Social Media in Asia: Where are the Emerging Opportunities?" (For the webcast and slides, visit: http://www.socialmediatoday.com/webcasts/184500) What follows is a re-cap of the highlights, but the key takeaways that came out of the webinar are the following:

- Culture is hugely important - In order to succeed in Asia, you must have people on the ground who understand the social meda ecosystem for that country and can help you to navigate it.

- Mobile devices will be the primary source of access for a lot of people because broadband access is not always available.  So compatibility with mobile devices is hugely important.

- Face-to-face interactions are still paramount.

The speakers for the webinar were Thomas Crampton, Asia Pacific Director of 360 Digital Influence for Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide, Peter Auditore, head of SAP's Business Influencer Program and a Senior Fellow at the Society for New Communications Research, and Robin Carey, CEO of socialmediatoday.  They began with comments from Crampton on scale - he said there are 338 million "netizens" (citizens of the net) in China versus only 62 million in France (as of a report from 2009) and also greater than the population of the United States.  However, the top social networks in China are not the familiar ones in the West - Qzone has 183 million users, Xiaonei has 40 million, kaixin001 has 30 million, while Facebook only has 0.4 million.  Crampton observed that the government is very savvy in China - Twitter is blocked, but Google Wave is not.  He also noted that Friendster used to rule Asia, but now Facebook is "romping across the nation."

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Ghostblogging - The Death of Social Media?

One of the important messages in terms of social media that came out of this year's LMA Annual Conference is that "you cannot be a proxy for someone else's relationship - the lawyers have to do it themselves."  But in the busy world of attorneys, where time is quite literally money, what about ghostblogging? 

For the uninitiated, ghostblogging is much like ghostwriting, where someone else is paid to blog posing as you or your company.  Aside from the usual concerns about liability, which I would say are magnified when discussing the idea of having someone else pose as an attorney, it seems to go against the very idea behind social media, which is to use these new technologies to form personal relationships with people, sometimes for business and sometimes not.

Reading "The Death of Social Media" this morning, I had to agree with Mitch Joel when he asked "Can we stop the madness?"  He says:
"I'm being naive (I know), people will say, 'someone writes the speech for the President' or 'if people like it and connect to the content, who cares who writes it?' I dunno, I do. People have lost faith in marketing (just like they have lost faith in those who serve the public office and celebrities). We allow things that shouldn't be... to be. Saying that ghostwriters have been around for years doesn't make it right or authentic. Times have changed, and these platforms are (or should be) celebrated for the human and real side. Can you imagine that some Blogs, Twitter and Facebook feeds that you follow are not the real person, but the musings of someone else who simply interviewed the person you thought that you were following? Sure, there's a place for ghostwriters, but maybe Social Media isn't one of them? If we keep heading down this road, doesn't Social Media become nothing more than a boring, traditional mass media channel?"
I'm curious to hear what those in the legal community think about ghost blogging, and how lawyers can manage the balance between their valuable time and pursusing social media (Disclaimer: I'm a strong believer that lawyers spending time creating relationships through social media and then taking these offline is a valuable use of their time.)

LMA 2010 - Social Media Strategies for Small to Mid-sized Law Firms

The second social media panel of the day was one that we tweeters had been waiting for, since our friends and fellow "tweeps" (as people who tweet are often referred to) Heather Milligan, the Director of Marketing for Barger & Wolan LLP, Jayne Navarre, the Director of Law Gravity LLC, and Russell Lawson, the Marketing Director at Sands Anderson Marks & Miller, P.C. would be presenting.  The topic was Social Media Strategies for Small to Mid-sized Law Firms.  Jayne began by introducing the attendees to the term "social web" as a catchall for technologies like Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and blogging.  Russell commented that entering social media is "like drinking from a fire hose," echoing sentiments from the earlier panel.  Because of this, he said that he did research before engaging online.  Jayne asked them what their greatest challenge in social media has been - Russell said that it is getting people to engage frequently and Heather answered that it was finding champions in her firm who are willing to speak up in and about social media.  She added that legal marketers would be surprised at who the champions at their firms can be.  Laura Gutierrez commented via Twitter that educating attorneys about social media and time are her biggest challenges. 

In terms of strategy, Jayne advised that social media should be part of your day - it's important to integrate it into your work flow and carve out the time needed to make it effective.  She said that social media tools are things that lawyers are already using, just reinterpreted through technology.  The role of the legal marketer is to help them transform what they're doing into the 2010 version.  At the heart of it, social media is about engaging people, and if you're not doing that, you're wasting your time.  The panel pointed out that social media doesn't require that lawyers stop other kinds of business development, like attending alumni events, only that they consider it as another tool they can use.  Russell talked about his firm's use of social media, saying that he is having a tool built that will allow him to feed attorneys topics daily, which they can then write about on the social web in blog posts.  He already sends a social media tip out twice a month to his attorneys, and his firm has started @sociallawyers to help educate other lawyers as to what his firm thinks works in social media.  To get buy-in from the attorneys within his own firm, they write an internal document called "Look Who's Famous Now," which shows the exposure that  lawyers are garnering online.  He said, "We think clients want firms who understand social media." 

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LMA 2010 - Leveraging Social Networking - Real World Applications of Web 2.0 That Have Led to New Business

One of the most well-attended panels of the conference was "Leveraging Social Networking - Real World Applications of Web 2.0 That Have Led to New Business."  On the panel were John M. Byrne, Director of Communications at Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP and John J. Buchanan, Chief Marketing Officer at ILN member firm Howard Rice Nemerovski Canady Falk & Rabkin.  The panel was moderated by Darryl Cross, Vice President of Client Profitability at LexisNexis. 

Though the irony of attending a panel on social media at a conference without any wifi for the attendees was not lost on those there, we made do Tweeting from mobile devices and using internet cards on laptops.  The panel started by saying that social media is a way to collaborate, and firms should do it to serve their clients and get closer to them.  Cross gave some statistics that lend credence to the idea that social media is a "trend" that is not going away: there are currently 400 million people on Facebook, 60 million on LinkedIn, and 50 millions Tweets per day.  91% of the users of social media connect through their mobile devices.  Though many lawyers are reticent to join social networks for privacy concerns, Cross pointed out that there is Sermo, an online community of 130,000 physicians who share and deal with highly sensitive medical information thorugh social media.  The message was that if doctors can do this, surely lawyers can figure out how to engage with social media. Cross also mentioned Martindale-Hubbell Connected, which is an online network for legal professionals (If you'd like to connect with me there, you can do so here). 

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LMA Attendees

It's that time of year again - the LMA Annual Conference rolls around in just a few short weeks!  It's a great opportunity to make new friends and renew relationships, so I thought I'd keep a list of those attending as I'm advised, as well as their Twitter names (so anyone interested in the conference who can't attend can follow along).  Also, don't forget to follow #LMA2010 and #LMA10.  Heather Milligan will be posting information about a tweetup only on Twitter:

Lindsay Griffiths (@lindsaygriffith)
Nancy Myrland (@nancymyrland)
Heather Milligan (@heathermilligan)
Nat Slavin (@natslavin)
Gail Lamarche (@gaillamarche)
Lance Godard (@lancegodard)
Jennifer Schaller (@natlawreview)
Nathan Darling (@nathandarling)
Megan McKeon (@meganmckeon)
Leigh George (@leighgeorge)
Caroline Baynes (@senyab)
Andre Mazerolle (@redbeardandre)
Russell Lawson (@Russ23229)
Jayne Navarre (@jaynenavarre)
Larry Bodine (@larrybodine)
Gina Rubel (@ginarubel)
John Byrne (@johnmbyrne)
Jeff Yerkey (@JeffBob)
Rebecca Wissler (@rebeccawissler)
Felice Wagner (@felicewagner)
Stephanie Thum (@stephaniethum)
Jennifer Johnson (@jjohnsonnyc)
Jonathan Groner (@jgronerpr)
Brian Pitts (@chicagoprpro)
Lydia Bednerik (@lydiabednerik)
Jill Clark Rako (@aceismyname)
Jon Holden (@holdencalgary)
Sally Schmidt (@sallyschmidt)
Ritchenya Dodd
Josephine Pope (@popejosephine)
Sonny Cohen (@SonnyCohen)
Marc Hollander (@marcthollander)
Nancy Slome (@nancyslome)
Alli Gerkman (@gerkmana)
Lisa Simon (@legalmediagirl)
Adrian Lurssen (@jdtwitt, @jdsupra)
Bill Ferdinand (@zunpartners)
Meghan Freeman (@meghanefreeman)
Corey Garver (@coreygarver)
Betsi Roach (@betsiroach)
Melanie Green (@melaniegreen)
Denise Dewling (@ddewling)
Kate Scoptur (@katescoptur)
Mark Elliott (@elliottmarkc)
Kevin Houchin (@kevinhouchin)
Jamie B. Field (@jaimiefield) *Not attending, but would like to get to know LMA members better!
Susannah BG (@susannahBG)
Alin Wagner-Lahmy (@alinwagnerlahmy)
Craig Levinson (@craiglevinson)
Mike O'Horo (@salescoach)
Patrick DiDomenico (@lawyerkm)
Caitlin Fisher (@caitlinmfisher)
Lindsay Weber (@lindsayweb)
John Stanley (@johnlstanley)
Patrick Fuller (@pjfuller)
Steve Bell (@stevembell)
Tim Corcoran (@tcorcoran)
Paramjit Mahli (@scglprnetwork)
Jeff Roberts (@jeffreymroberts)
Laura Gutierrez (@duetsblog)
Chris Fritsch (@crmsuccess)
Kate Haueisen (@kateh32)
Rachael Loper (@rachaeldc)
Chris Whitmore (@chris_whitmore)
Jenn Bullett (@hubbardone)
Tamara Bigford (@bsocialllc)

I'll add other attendees and their Twitter names as I'm advised of them!

Thought Leaders Forum - What's Next in Internet Marketing Part II

In Part I of this two-part series, I introduced my thoughts on the first half of the Ten Golden Rules' webinar - "Thought Leaders Forum - What's Next in Internet Marketing." Presenters on the panel included Ten Golden Rules CEO, Jay Berkowitz, semantics expert and Bintro.com CEO, Richard Stanton, Facebook Goddess and Relationship Marketing Specialist, Mari Smith, Biz Web Coach, Jim Kukral, iClarity Founder, Maria Harrison, PeoplePond Founder, David McInnis, and author Rohit Bhargava. The following is Part II of my thoughts on the session:

5) Maria Harrison: Video is changing online advertising. In November of 2008, there were 12.7 million views of videos on YouTube, up a third from the same period in the previous year. The current use of video is mainly for entertainment, but this focus is changing as Generation X catches up. The reason this has taken so long is broadband access, but now that this is becoming less of an issue, video is becoming more important and useful. Maria noted that successful video advertisers will look to engage their audience, instead of interrupting their experience, so users will see things like in-page ads and self-service ad platforms, such as Google Video. She cautioned that return on investment is still key.

** Legal industry takeaway: With such strict advertising rules, I don't think there will be too many law firms using online video for advertising purposes. However, there may be opportunities for educational videos produced by law firms. Firms should also think about innovative ways to introduce the use of online video, similar to Holland & Hart's use of video on in their five-minute television shows featuring innovative clients, which aired on Frontier Airline's Wild Blue Yonder network and online in 2007.

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Thought Leaders forum - What's Next in Internet Marketing Part I

Last week, I had the pleasure of attending the Ten Golden Rules' webinar - Thought Leaders Forum - What's Next in Internet Marketing. Presenters on the panel included Ten Golden Rules CEO, Jay Berkowitz, semantics expert and Bintro.com CEO, Richard Stanton, Facebook Goddess and Relationship Marketing Specialist, Mari Smith, Biz Web Coach, Jim Kukral, iClarity Founder, Maria Harrison, PeoplePond Founder, David McInnis, and author Rohit Bhargava. In a fast-paced webinar, chock-full of valuable information, I was able to glean a number of tips from these passionate industry experts, which can be of use in the legal industry. Following is Part 1 of 2 of my thoughts on this session.

1) Jay Berkowitz: The internet is becoming a place of microcommunications, where we get our news in bits and bytes. Jay used Twitter as a great example of this, a place where people can get sound bites of what other people and companies are saying. He gave us his three "E's" for using Twitter:

  • "Educate:" Use Twitter to teach people something, both by providing valuable content and re-tweeting (essentially re-broadcasting another Twitter user's tweet to your own Twitter followers) useful information.
  • "Entertain:" Jay used @the_real_shaq as an example of someone who effectively entertains his audience through his tweets, which keeps them interested and increases his number of followers.
  • "Engage:" Reply to tweets you find interesting or thought-provoking and listen to what other Twitter users are saying. Jay mentioned @ChrisBrogan as a great example of someone who engages on Twitter.

** Legal industry takeaway: Twitter can be used to educate current and potential clients about your law firm or legal service, with links to relevant articles, comments on changes to laws or high profile cases, and retweets of valuable information from your colleagues in the field. Letting your personality come through on Twitter and engaging others helps to build your network. For more of my thoughts on Twitter, take a look at my post, "To Tweet or Not to Tweet: Why Lawyers Should Pay Attention to Twitter."

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Live From the LMA...

During last week's LMA conference, I had the chance to sit down with Pat France, VP of Marketing at Incisive Media.
 
 

To Tweet or Not to Tweet? Why Lawyers Should Pay Attention to Twitter

Last week, Tanya Prinz, a legal marketer on Twitter, wondered whether an attorney's time is better spent on current client development than on exploring social media. With thirty to forty percent of law firms blocking social networking sites, it's a question I was interested in exploring further. First, I posted it to my Twitter followers. The general consensus is one I support as well, that you can and should do both. Professional Marketing Advisor, Nancy Myrland said "If you believe in marketing, then both." She later commented that "as time goes by & usage grows, we WILL be spending time with current clients when we spend time on Social Media." Lawyer and Vice President of Exemplar Law Partners, Steven Shapiro agreed, saying "are the two mutually exclusive? You can do customer development through social media."

Relationship building and communication are key to successful business development, both in terms of working with current clients and attracting new ones. Social networking is simply another tool that can be used to build and maintain relationships. While it will never replace face to face contact, social media, such as Twitter, is worth exploring for lawyers. But why?

- People hire lawyers they know and like: Social networking is another way for lawyers to show clients and potential clients who they are and to highlight their professional accomplishments in a way that is accessible. Along these lines, as Bob Ambrogi comments in his "Tweet 16" on why lawyers should use Twitter, social media allows you to:

"Mold your image: Those who post regularly to Twitter provide others a glimpse of their daily lives. That glimpse can help shape your public image. Do your posts paint you as a high-powered professional -- now writing an appellate brief, now preparing for a deposition -- or as a trivia-obsessed slacker, now breaking for lunch, now off for drinks? By thinking before you post, you can shape how others see you."
Posting on a site like Twitter, or making your professional background transparent on LinkedIn, can make you approachable to clients and potential clients, making them more comfortable coming to you when they need help solving a problem.

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