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STARTING POINT: Lawyers Leverage Social Media to Get Potential Clients to Call - weingajx

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STARTING POINT: Lawyers Leverage Social Media to Get Potential Clients to Call

May 22, 2012 01:26 PM by
Jason Weingarten
Jason Weingarten
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The ways in which attorneys should interact via social media are different than for professionals in any other industry.  

Social media use is different for lawyers because the Rules of Professional Conduct define how lawyers can and can't market online. The American Bar Association's Commission on Ethics 20/20 recommended in 2011 that social networking should not be used for "real time electronic contact" to solicit clients and should be viewed as general communication to educate potential clients.[1] 

Basically, that makes social media the starting point for a dialog, and not the tool to initiate specific legal advice. In fact, most people would be reluctant to discuss a sensitive legal issue or enter into a dialog with a lawyer online. They are far more likely to want to pick up the phone for these types of private conversations. And besides, there are numerous State Bar restrictions on establishing a client relationship this way. 

Promote Your Legal Experience Where Potential Clients Can Find Them

Still, social networking can put a lawyer's credentials and personality on display for potential clients or prospects and inspire them to contact the firm. You can use platforms like Twitter® and Facebook® to get feedback from current clients, and use your tweets and posts to give potential clients a feel for what it's like to work with you. Personalized opinions and insights from your practice become your calling card.  That explains why two-thirds of solo practices and nearly 60 percent of firms with two to nine lawyers maintain a presence in online communities for professional purposes, according to a 2011 ABA survey.[2] 

Cast a Wide Net With Quality Content

The same holds true for blogging.  A new survey shows that three-quarters of corporate counsel review a lawyer's blog when deciding to retain them — but the blog is just one engagement tool, not the only basis for the decision.[3]  With a professionally designed blog that automatically shares practice-area specific content to multiple social media profiles (LinkedIn®, Twitter, Facebook), a law firm makes the best use of every blog post. It's not only how often you post that matters, but how widely you share that content.   

Spend time on social media as an observer. Use Twitter without tweeting, or join LinkedIn groups about particular topics related to your practice. Get the feel for who is there, then start giving them a feel for you. Post messages, send links to your blog or website. Using social networking this way as an outreach tool will get you noticed by real people who can become real clients.

And if you'd like to discuss a cohesive social media strategy for your firm, click to contact a LexisNexis Law Firm Marketing Specialist.

 

[1] American Bar Association's Commission on Ethics 20/20, "Initial Draft Proposals on Lawyers' Use of Technology and Client Development," 2011
[2] ABA 2011 Legal Technology Survey Report, "Web and Communication Technology," volume IV, p. xv., 2011
[3] InsideCounsel, "Social Media Use Among In-House Lawyers on the Upswing," 1/25/12


 

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