Category Archives: Social Media

Lawyers Attracting Twitter Followers

Kevin O’Keefe has some good ideas about lawyer use of Twitter, including:

  1. Your Twitter account should be in your own name. Not your law firm’s name, not your blog’s name, and not in a pseudonym. People trust people. As a lawyer you need all the trust you can get.
  2. Focus on a niche. Random tweeting about various legal, business, and social news and information can end up just being noise among all the other tweets. Tweeting on a niche, ie, legal ethics, will become a clear signal to relevant users. As others with an Interest in legal ethics start re-tweeting what you are sharing you’ll pick up a following. You’ll also find Twitter recommending that others with an interest in legal ethics follow you.
  3. A RSS news reader is a must. Follow sources of interest (blogs and news sites) and keywords and phrases of Interest. Feedly is a good one to use. I use Mr. Reader hooked up to Feedly on my iPad. Your reader will collect news and info leaving you with plenty of items to Tweet.
  4. Use a news reader that enables sharing to Twitter. Most readers, ala Feedly or Mr. Reader, allow you to share items directly from the reader with the push of a button or two. It’s too hard copying and pasting items into Twitter.
  5. Give attribution to the source in your tweet. Leave the Twitter handle of the source of the blog post or news story you are sharing. That way the source, often influential, will see you. They’ll often thank you.
  6. Leave enough characters for a retweet. A tweet can only be 140 characters. A retweet includes “RT” and your twitter handle, ie, @kevinokeefe. A retweet of my tweet takes 15 characters, “RT @kevinokeefe:,” so I try to limit my tweets to 125 characters. That way they’re easy to retweet.

via Getting followers on Twitter : What’s a lawyer to do?.

“Unreliable” Social Media Not So Unreliable?

Kevin O’Keefe makes a great point about the powerful self-corrective nature of social media:

Traditional legal publishers are quick to question the reliability of information from blogs and Twitter.

How do you know if the blog post is correct? Is the blogger authoritative? Anyone can jump on Twitter and start to Tweet. Look at all the false information that’s tweeted during breaking news.

There’s almost a smugness I get when I discuss the value of social media with traditional publishers. They’re just blogs. It’s just Twitter. It can be be just a lot of noise coming at you.

As Bailey points out, many overlook the fact that the aggregate data can often give the most accurate lens by which information can be confirmed.

What’s more reliable? One legal reporter calling a source or two and getting out a story the next day or five or ten lawyers blogging on the legal development that day with comments and Tweets commenting on the blog posts.

via Legal social media trumps traditional reporting and peer review.

Beverly Michaelis On Coping with Gmail Outages

Oregon Law Practice Management notes:

According to Business Insider, Google’s own redundant backups ensure that you will eventually reclaim all your data.  You can rely on this or implement your own recovery plan. [Hint: implement your own plan].

Pretty good hint! Beverly Michaelis goes on to explain exactly what to do and how to do it.

Lots of things to like about the Oregon Law Practice Management blog, including the elegant and effective “About” page, which has given me some ideas for upgrading mine. My favorite part is the use of Flickr photos showing the natural beauty of that wonderful state. 

 

When Cutting Edge Ideas Go Mainstream, Part I

When I published Blogs as a Disruptive Technology in Law Practice magazine a decade ago, my thesis that many law firms would be better off building their websites with blog software than with conventional website design technology was considered by many to be sort of nutty.

I’m pleased to see that an article in Law Practice Today (the online version of Law Practice) shows that the idea has now become conventional wisdom:

Quickly Making a Professional-Looking Website

Primer on Building Professional Relationships Online

Columnists Ken Chan and David Kemp join Tim Stanley, CEO of Justia, in How to Build Great Professional Relationships Online, an introductory article for Law Practice Today about social media for lawyers. Here are the trio’s comments about Google+:

Google+ is Google’s foray into the social networking space. Like the other networks, Google+ allows you to create a public profile, post and view updates and photos, and connect with people you know. Google+ is similar to a combination of Facebook and Twitter. It is like Facebook in that you can view others’ posts as a news stream with graphics and text, and like Twitter in that people can unilaterally choose to follow the updates of others on the network (in Google+ this is called adding someone to a circle).

While Google+ does not attract as many active users as Facebook, the network offers other important benefits. Setting up a Google+ profile can impact how Google presents your Web pages or blog posts in its search results. This is a compelling reason to be on Google+.  For example, if you publish an article online with the appropriate authorship markup, Google will display your Google+ profile picture and name next to the article in its search results. Associating your Google+ profile with your blog or Website can distinguish the appearance of your content from other search results, leading to more attention and visitor traffic.

As with LinkedIn and Facebook, be sure to completely fill out your Google+ profile, and make sure that at least your name, location, work, and education can be seen by anyone by setting it to “public.” Also make sure to include links to all of your other individual online profiles, as well as other online media properties to which you contribute.

Similarly to LinkedIn, Google+ sees the highest use by employees and executives in the technology sector, and thus technology- and IP-focused law firms stand to benefit most from this network. However, attorneys in all practice areas should take advantage of Google+ for its authorship and search benefits.

Finally, Google is also integrating Google+ with Google Places and Maps. It is important that you claim and fill out your Google+ business page with information about your practice.  You should also associate your Google+ business page with your website to share “+1s” between the two.

Blogs v. Social Media

My friend Kevin O’Keefe’s Real Lawyers Have Blogs is a consistent source of good ideas about lawyer use of the Internet, with a post comparing the impact of social media and blogging a recent highlight. One anecdote in particular rings true:

One law firm marketing professional told me today that when he suggests Twitter with lawyers in his firm he gets a look like he is suggesting MySpace. In a presentation yesterday I asked an audience of about fifty lawyers how many use Twitter. One sheepishly raised his hand to shoulder height.

Some might discount Kevin’s perspective because his business supports blogs for lawyers. That would be a mistake. Kevin is right on target, as usual. Social media can have a big impact, but blogs provide advantages not possible through social media alone.

[A] blog is the only way you can demonstrate your knowledge, experience, and care. A blog establishes trust based on your empathy for your audience knowing what’s of value of to them.

A blog builds your influence in niche areas. First in the way we’ve always looked at influence, in a subjective way, ie, she’s an influence lawyer in the patent litigation arena. Second, and perhaps more importantly, influence for high rankings on Google, with its Hummingbird update.

There are any number of other advantages of blogging over other social media. Where do I go to find a record of your insight over the last three years without a blog? How do you share your ‘social media’ with a client via an email? I can strategically share a blog post by email. How do others cite you without a blog? How do people share your content without a blog?

In may last two trips to New York City I am seeing a growing trend in large law to focus on blogging at the expense of other social media/networks such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Google+.

Firms are seeing value in blogging. Blogging makes total sense to them. Leading lawyers have always written and spoken. Blogging feels like a natural extension of this form of business development.

Other forms of social media, though very effective as an adjunct to blogging, feel a little beneath a ‘lawyer’ to many firms. Right or wrong, they don’t want to jump into other social media right now.

Social media and blogs should complement and reinforce each other, but if you could only have one, most lawyers would probably be better off with blogs.

Create a LinkedIn Action Plan

There are good reasons why LinkedIn has become the overwhelming favorite social media tool for lawyers. Nobody understands this better than Dennis Kennedy and Allison C. Shields. The first edition of their LinkedIn book by was one of the better legal technology books I’ve read in years.

The Second Edition of LinkedIn in One Hour for Lawyers promises to be even better. For a taste of the benefits, check out the Law Technology Today excerpt, Create a LinkedIn Action Plan.

The New “Word of Mouth” Marketing

At the estimable Attorney at Work site, Mike Ramsey gives some great tips for monitoring your reputation in online media, but first, he explains why it is absolutely necessary:

A June 2013 study by BrightLocal found that almost 80 percent of consumers trusted online reviews as much as personal recommendations. With those numbers trending up each year, and the understanding that Google alone could be 10 times the size of the entire yellow pages industry, it is clear that online reviews have become the new word-of-mouth marketing. It is more important than ever to have clients spreading good news about you on review sites. If they aren’t, the haters will be.

Social Media vs. Client Confidentiality

Michael Downey’s article in the most recent issue of the ABA Law Practice Management’s Law Practice magazine raises an issue concerning the effects of social media on client confidentiality:

[T]he constant push for lawyers to post Internet content—blogging, tweeting and the like—substantially increases the risks to client information.

A great illustration of a lawyer generating Internet content to attract clients is Hunter v. Virginia State Bar, No. 121472 (Va. Feb. 28, 2013). In Hunter, a lawyer blogged about criminal cases he handled for clients without the clients’ permission.

A hearing panel found this unethical, but the Virginia Supreme Court reversed, concluding that a lawyer could report on publicly disclosed information at a client’s criminal proceeding without client consent. “To the extent [this] information is aired in a public forum,” the Hunter court explained, “privacy considerations must yield to First Amendment protections.”

Sign of the future? Hunter’s holding may be rejected as unpersuasive by other courts. Yet Hunter serves as a powerful reminder that lawyers and law firms may be inclined to promote their firms by revealing client confidences.

No doubt, social media create new ways in which lawyers can commit ethics violations, and new opportunities for them to do so. However, these pressures are not qualitatively different from those of years past. Unethical lawyers could always breach client confidences in articles, speeches, or even informal marketing pitches. Ethical lawyers didn’t then and won’t now.

Awareness of any intensified risks is great, and I commend Mr. Downey, but let’s be careful to avoid letting welcome conscience-raising descend into what Kevin O’Keefe has correctly described as “lawyers scaring lawyers from using social media.”

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