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Pros and Cons of Social Media For Lawyers

social media for lawyersA well-known UK business coach said to me recently, “Social Media is too big to ignore even for lawyers.” The coach in question is like me, 40 something, and has finally grasped the fact that SM is not going anywhere. Given the fact that boomers have now reached 65 and the younger generations are more tech savvy and are incorporating SM in some aspects of their lives, I thought it would be helpful to put together a quick pros and cons list so that if you are engaging with social media for your company,  you can go in with eyes wide open.

Pros:

  • Considerably low-cost compared to traditional marketing like print, television, outdoor, etc.
  • Relatively quick feedback from clients.
  • Allows for deeper engagements with customers/strategic alliances/prospects.
  • Similar to great brand marketing and customer service, the benefits of doing social media right can last for years.
  • Every client/employee is a potential media outlet: social media is word of mouth on digital endorphins.
  • Previously, businesses that had the most money to spend on marketing often won. Today,  it’s the business that produces great products and experiences for their clients.
  • Social media takes time and effort similar to getting business in Asia. In China, business people think of long-term relationships rather than a one-night stands.  Many businesses aren’t willing to do this, hence those companies that put forth the extra effort will stand out.
  • If you are a progressive forward-thinking innovative practice, you can use social media tools to effectively recruit new talent.

Cons:

  • Often, the many benefits of social media are seen in the months to come rather than immediately. It shouldn’t be viewed like Google AdWords, which has a quick return. It should be viewed more like brand marketing and good customer service, which reaps dividends in the long-term.
  • Tools can quickly change. One day it is MySpace, Orkut, Friendster, and Bebo; the next day it’s Facebook and Mixi.
  • There’s a lot of hidden soft costs; it takes time to develop relationships with customers. In the offline world, developing relationships takes time and effort – the same holds true within social media.
  • May reduce the amount of face-to-face communication we have with one another, diminishing  interpersonal communication skills.
  • If the client feels they haven’t been treated appropriately, they have powerful tools at their disposal (YouTube, Twitter, etc.) to express their side of the story and negatively impact the firm.

Like anything in marketing , there are pros and cons to using social media. However, the advantages outweigh the disadvantages and even if they didn’t, we don’t have a choice on whether to do social media. The question is how well we do it. The worst thing to do is to do nothing.

 

Let’s Get Social

Since we are on the topic of social media, we’d like to ask you to help us grow our communities on Facebook and Twitter. Like our Facebook fan page, Connect Legal Experts As Sources With Journalists, and follow us on Twitter @scglprnetwork. We regularly post legal PR, productivity, and business development tips on these two social networks. Hope to see you there!

 

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6 Responses to "Pros and Cons of Social Media For Lawyers"

  1. Julie Halsey says:

    Excellent article. I agree. Social Media in some form is here to stay. If you look at the younger generations who grew up with social media – they are our future. Many large companies are driving fans to their fan page. During the Superbowl – JC Pennys advertised and followed up their adversing with link to their Facebook fan page. JC Pennys is re-inventing themselves to appeal to younger generations. Watching what many large companies are doing, how the younger generations are utilizing the web and social media – is a clear sign that SM is not going away. People go to the web and ‘google’ for everything these days. So the more exposure law firms, professional firms, and all business have on the web – the easier they will be found. Also, given that companies now need to develop relationships with their customers – social media is an excellent way to build that relationships. Books like “Thank You Economy” describe this trend quite nicely. While many may not understand how the web and social media can generate business growth – it’s time for folks to gain the education in this area or they will be left behind.

    • Paramjit L. Mahli says:

      Hello Julie,

      Dead on on the money. I couldn’t agree with you more about social media. You also bought up a key point that the younger generation are a lot more familiar with SM and utilize it in every facet of their career/life. Thank you for your fab feedback.

  2. Good article. Even if law firms don’t use social media platforms to truly ‘engage’ just yet then they should at least have a presence on the major sites for SEO purposes. I’m still not convinced that LinkedIn is the future for lawyers. At present, they seem to think that it is, mainly because the perception is that it’s the grown up Facebook. But it simply isn’t as good a platform.

  3. Donny Kratt says:

    Hi,this article is great,I found it on yahoo and I love it very much,I agree with what you have said, it help me a lot in decision,but I am not follw well with the last part,can you explain it for me ?I will appreciate your answer,and I will keep on watching your blog

  4. Interestingly, the younger generation didn’t grow up with Social Media the way they grew up with computers and VCRs. Yes, Facebook was created for young people, but it came well after most of them were born.

    Everyone can com to these tools at the same pace because they aren’t difficult to use. The creators have made them easy to use. What is difficult for many, including all ages, is grasping how to use them to truly listen, discuss, share and develop relationships.

    This can all be learned if people are interested in doing so. It’s time to figure out what’s going on. If attorneys, service providers, marketers and CEOs haven’t done so yet, they need to.

  5. Michael Rosenberg says:

    Super, Paramjit! The challenge I see with law firms is that we’re selling a service that’s intangible, not a consumer product. It seems so far, the SM marketing successes have been in the consumer product arena. Posting wins, accolades, etc. to SM is a start for law firms. But, how do you truly engage with a potential client, for instance, in the way PepsiCo does with its customers by inviting them to take ownership of the brand as in their Mountain Dew campaign?

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