Thoughts on Solocon 2010

I recently had the great good fortune to participate with Ed Poll and Renee Barrett on a social marketing panel organized and moderated by the estimable Heather Milligan for the L.A. County Bar Association’s Small and Solo Conference — SoloCon.

Entitled “What Happens in Vegas Stays on Facebook” (and incorporating subliminal “follow the yellow brick road” visual imagery), the discussion covered strategies for building a social media footprint, using the panelists’ own journeys in social networking and marketing as illustrations, tips — and warnings.

While all of us on the panel work in legal marketing, our relationship with and use of social media differ widely — and that was the whole point. The effectiveness and choice of social media tools depend on the interests, intent and bandwidth of the user. So-called “best practices” are directional, not prescriptive.

Having said that, certain commonalities and recurring themes did emerge:

  • Start slowly and build organically. Initially focus on and optimize a few platforms that a) you have interest in and bandwidth to sustain over time and b) that show results.  For example, Renee does not blog, and I don’t do Facebook for business — yet. Once you’re comfortably on top of those critical few platforms you can more effectively and more confidently extend into new ones.
  • Seek quality of contacts and connections, not quantity (though if you can pull off both — good on ya!)
  • There are no “secrets” in social media. Social media communities are large and generous with their insights and assistance. LinkedIn groups can be invaluable technical support desks.
  • Expect the unexpected and embrace serendipity
  • Give yourself permission fail — and move on quickly. Don’t tether yourself to something that becomes burdensome or unenjoyable.

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