I will share my answer with you here in case you are working through the same thought process.
This is an interesting and important question. I’ve spent the past 2 years studying the Social Web in depth, even going through Certification last year because of my passion for this area.
I suspect many of my blog visitors will appreciate the following answer because of all the years you’ve spent in strategic marketing, sales and rainmaking.
My answer: “It depends.”
As with any marketing tactic, networking on the Social Web is just another set of tactics that either fit or don’t fit within a marketing plan. What does the answer depend on?
- It depends on the firm.
- It depends on the individual lawyer.
- It depends on the goals the firm and attorneys have identified because of going through a thorough process of strategic marketing planning.
- It depends on the target audiences that have been identified in that plan.
- It depends on the messages that need to be communicated to those audiences.
- It depends on where those target audiences spend their time.
- It depends on where lawyers as strategic business advisors anticipate these audiences will spend their time in the future.
- It depends on the personality of the lawyer and firm as to what media are the best fit.
- It depends on much more…..
I can go on, but I’m sure it’s obvious to you that these are same principles that go in to traditional strategic marketing and business planning. Once these factors are taken in to consideration, there will be different tools for different lawyers, even within the same firm, or even for the same lawyer from year to year as goals and tools change.
- Perhaps the Government Affairs Team decides to utilize mobile marketing in order to keep its clients abreast of critical developments while the legislature is in session.
- Perhaps there are certain lawyers or industry groups that would be great bloggers, and that are good educators, and great at replying to all comments on blogs, thus building relationships.
- Perhaps you have lawyers or marketers who are comfortable on video, or could be with some training.
- Perhaps you have lawyers who have searched and can find clients and referral sources on Twitter, and who are, or can become, comfortable with relationship-building that is critical in this medium.
- Perhaps the Firm decides it is innovative, interactive and educational enough to build and host an active Business (Fan) Page on Facebook.
- Perhaps the Firm’s goals call for every lawyer having a profile on LinkedIn.
- Perhaps these LinkedIn lawyers then decide to find, join or start LinkedIn groups that make sense to the marketing planning and identification process I mentioned before, and will then spend time interacting with others in these groups.
- Perhaps the Plan calls for all lawyers to have Martindale-Hubbell Connected profiles.
As you can see, there is no cookie-cutter approach, and no one medium I can honestly say is the “right” or “best” before knowing what the firm is up to.
I’m happy to help any way I can going forward.
Nancy Myrland, Certified Social Media Consultant, Speaker & Trainer
Professional Marketing Advisor