My Picks for Notable Posts of the Week 11/12/2010

Twitter is like a Dremel tool: Either it sits on your workbench unused, or it’s indispensable for every project. It all comes down to:

  1. Having a clear use case
  2. Keeping your tool in good working order,  and
  3. Looking for new ways to use it.

The Social Media Examiner nailed the use case issue with “8 Simple Steps to Grow a Quality Twitter Following,” including considerations like targeting, frequency, format and keywords.

Franck Robert posted one of the most comprehensive and useful Twitter resource lists I’ve ever encountered. Following are just a few of the links he’s assembled:

Mashable Twitter Tips:

 It is all about facilitating conversations, so learning how to build your community is vital to getting the most from your experience.

 Twitter for Business

It’s not all play on Twitter — there’s serious business being done as well, and this guide will teach you how to put Twitter to work.

Last but not least, since so much of Twitter’s value derives from retweets, Hubspot backs into some actionable tips through interesting and helpful graphics illustrating “8 Ways to Not Get Retweeted.”

My Picks for Notable Posts of the Week 11/5/2010

Technically, my posts of the week are tweets. Specifically, the Twitter-driven call to arms and online mobilization in defense of social media for legal marketing. The issue involved is the ABA’s announcement in its Issues Paper Concerning Lawyers’ Use of Internet Based Client Development Tools memo of its intention to promulgate new standards affecting:

  • Online social networking (Facebook, LinkedIn & Twitter)
  • Blogging
  • Facebook and Linkedin profiles
  • Pay per click advertising
  • Gathering information through networking websites
  • Discussion forums
  • JD Supra document uploads
  • Lawyer websites
  • Use of case histories on law firm websites

I’m not sure who first sounded the alarm, but I’ll credit Heather Morse because hers was the first #LMA hashtag tweet on the subject (and I know, like and trust her :) ). Heather’s message was retweeted over the next few days by, among others,  Nicole Carrubba, Auctorilaw, Jesse Wilkins, Nancy Myrland, Lindsay Griffith, Gail LamarcheDeb Cochran, Melanie Green Rebecca Wissler and The Great Jakes.

Larry Bodine amplified the issue with a “RED ALERT” blog post, a CMO Forum LinkedIn group discussion thread and the #ABAREGS Twitter hashtag.

The social media buzz on the topic picked up so much volume and momentum that it inspired the Voldemort-cum-Andy-Rooney of legal blogging (who I never mention by name or link to) to puke his trademark self-righteous bile on it in his “22,500 Tears” post.

I applaud and commend the clarion calls for thoughtful attention and advocacy on the issue, but I also net out with Adrian Dayton on the “silver lining” of this kerfuffle:

“Thousands of lawyers are waiting in the wings afraid to use social media because they aren’t sure how to use the tools – and there is such little guidance from state bar associations and the ABA that many are simply staying away.

“It is about time the ABA took look at online marketing and helped provide some assurances to so many attorneys that look to these governing bodies for advice.  As lawyers it is our responsibility to let the ABA know our opinions on the topic.  The ABA is accepting comments until December 15, 2010 to guide them in their decisions - feel free to make your voice heard.”

My Picks for Notable Posts of the Week 10/29/10

As any of my profiles (Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.) will tell you, at my personal and professional core I am a storyteller. As such, I look for ideas and inspiration in a lot of places. This week I found it in Judith Newman’s New York Times account of her experience with a juice-based “cleanse” diet. Informative and hilarious, it struck me as a metaphor for legal social media marketing:

  1. A simple premise for achieving important, difficult objectives.
  2. Low barriers to entry.
  3. Celebrity adherents and preternaturally cheery partisans (who also happen to sell the simple stuff required).
  4. Options to spend as much or as little as you choose, uncorrelated with probability of success.
  5. More effort, discomfort and discomfiture than anticipated.
  6. Combines sound, verifiable claims with outlandish, wishful ones.

Music business and technology blog Hypebot discussed the findings of a new report that found a brand’s Twitter followers were twice as likely as Facebookers who “liked” them to say they might make a purchase. In other words, you might have fewer Twitter followers than Facebook friends, but your tweeps could be more valuable.

Finally, today while researching a future post on the anatomy of successful niche practices — in this case, biking law — I came across an item about a 4-year-old-girl being sued for negligence in the death of an 87-year-old woman the child ran into with a bike. Several questions came to mind:

  1. Is there any way to sue a child without appearing despicable?
  2. How does one find a firm that will take such a suit?
  3. What do such cases do for the  personal/professional brand of the plaintiff attorney/firm?

My Picks for Notable Posts of the Week 10/22/10

It’s hard to pinpoint the tipping point between awareness and trust. My sense, though, is that 1:1 connections accelerate the process. As I’ve blogged in the past,  lawyers were the original kings (and queens) of networking and referrals — what we today call word-of-mouth marketing. It’s in your professional DNA — cultivating connections through clubs, civic organizations, alumni groups, local/state/national bar associations. So moving those practices and skills into online communities and networking sites is not much of a stretch.

A short meditation by Chris Fritsch on the power of referrals (“the gift that keeps on giving”) reminded me of a recent tweet by Texas appellate lawyer D. Todd Smith, who noted that he had just referred a case to a Twitter connection in another state who referred one to him earlier this year.

As I’ve discussed before, Facebook is problematic for professional firms on several fronts, and a Wall Street Journal article this week noted that small business-to-business marketers are finding the path to Facebook fandom slower and more challenging than it is for their consumer-oriented counterparts.

However, that same WSJ article noted that many professionals prefer LinkedIn to Facebook, because the former was purpose-built for professional networking. To me it’s a no-brainer. It’s a one-stop search shop, identifying potential connections based on schools, jobs and organizations listed in you online profile. Once connected, you can cultivate those connections through automated updates and group conversations.

If you’re having troubled figuring out how to make LinkedIn networking pay dividends for you, Neal Schaffer of Windmills Marketing takes on “5 Common LinkedIn Fallacies and Why You Shouldn’t Believe Them” on Social Media Today.

My Picks for Notable Posts of the Week 10/15/10

How would you — or the partners — react if your firm were featured in a blog post entitled “Four Law Firms That Don’t Suck With Social Media”? A post about financial services firms on the Bazzarvoice blog this week — an organization that usually evangelizes about understanding customers and speaking their language in social media — was notable for its tone deafness. After the snarky headline, the post is somewhat complimentary (in a backhanded sort of way), but I couldn’t get past the cringe factor. The author actually exacerbated the situation in the comments section by sharing that the headline choice was made because 1) it mirrors the title of the CEO’s upcoming book and a previous blog post by its outgoing CMO and 2) he was more interested in easy linkbaiting than in crafting a catchy headline that “doesn’t suck.”

If he’s genuinely interested in learning about how professional services organizations react to variance from expected and normative behaviors, he’d do well to read Heather Morse’s post “The Banana Story and Lawyers” on The Legal Watercooler.

For most small and solo lawyers — especially those just starting out — LinkedIn is a much more cost- and time-effective social media marketing strategy than blogging (I’ll go into that in greater detail in an upcoming post). This week Samantha Collier provides an interesting and useful tutorial on LinkedIn’s new “add sections” profile option.