Coronavirus How Should Attorneys Use Social Media During This COVID-19 Crisis?

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Communication: How Should Attorneys and Staff Use Social Media During This Crisis?

Nancy Myrland Coronavirus Communications Center, Crisis Management, Social Media Leave a Comment

What you post on social media is public. Even when you set your post to private, there is no guarantee of privacy (hello screenshots).

A question came up today that revolved around how to communicate caution to attorneys and staff about how they use social media during this time.

There Is No Blueprint. Let’s Design One.

I get it. Emotions and reactions are, understandably, heightened right now. There is so much that is uncertain in our lives and in the world. We haven’t been confronted with a situation exactly like this before. There is no blueprint that has been written for how to handle everything there is to do with the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, but we can marry best practices and good business sense to guide you as you communicate with your people.

Allow me to help.

Best Practices To Help Guide Your Employees Social Media Use During This Coronavirus (COVID-19) PandemicCoronavirus Communications Blueprint

This can be a dicey situation because you don’t want to control your legal and business professionals’ speech on their individual profiles.

There are exceptions when situations get out of control, but even though I play one on TV, I am not a labor & employment lawyer. Consult your favorite lawyer to review your approach in these matters.

Here are my suggestions for how you can communicate with your people about their use of social media during this time. You will want to model it using your own personality, culture, and practices, but this language should help you get started.

Here you go:

“While you are the ultimate decision-maker when it comes to what you post on your personal social media accounts, you might be wondering what your approach should be during these challenging times.

Remember that every sense seems to be heightened right now. This means that even the most casual comment, perspective, or suggestion can be misunderstood. That even happens when there isn’t a virus to contend with because there are only so many characters, exclamation points, and Emoji to add to communicate sentiment and intent. People can interpret your words and meaning in a completely different manner than you intended, leaving you at a loss as to why this happened or how to repair a relationship that is valuable to you.

Even when others agree with thoughts and sentiments you might post about the Coronavirus during this trying time, or about the firm, or your work situation that we acknowledge might be a bit tense right now, this can invite a watercooler full of negativity that can exacerbate the anxiety and Coronavirus (COVID-19) How Should Attorneys and Staff Use Social Mediatension that is already rising among your friends, family, and followers. Be sure that your comments are the best use of your valuable space and resources.

Remember that clients are anxious and might be trying to decide what is the best direction to turn. The words you share publicly can have a large impact on their attitude toward you, the firm, the services we provide, their ability to stay in business, and their confidence that they can take care of their families in the long run. Sharing negative news about what is going on in the world can add to their anxiety. You want to instill trust and confidence in those we serve and care for, which is a good reason to be extra cautious about your words on social media.

Of course, we would love for you to share any firm content we are posting to social media from firm accounts that you feel your community could benefit from as they are trying to learn how to navigate through this messy middle part of the crisis. You know best if and when that is appropriate, but this would help us reach even more people we hope will hear the important messages we are distributing.

Again, these are your accounts and your decisions. Please don’t think we are trying to direct your use as that is not our intention. These suggestions are simply that…suggestions as to how you might approach social media during this time. In fact, it is probably more important than ever for you to stay in touch with others via social and digital media to help stay close to them while we are being asked to practice physical distancing.

If you have any questions at all about these suggestions, or if you receive any inquiries or see anything about the firm that concerns you while you are on social media that you think we need to pay attention to, we would love to hear from you.

Also, if you think you need any brief tutorials on how to put these and other best practices into place, we can provide that for you. Just let us know as we want to be here for you and to provide the resources you need.

Thank you for all you do for us.

Stay safe. Stay healthy.

[Managing Partner/Member]”

Your TurnCoronavirus Communications Blueprint

Feel free to use any or all of these suggestions. I am sure you will add your personality to what I’ve written. If so, I’d love to see what you write. Please share your version with me in the comments, or via email here.

I’m Here For You

If you find you need help with any of this, please know I am always close by to help you and your firm.

Nancy Myrland, Myrland Marketing & Social Media and LinkedIn Coach For LawyersNancy Myrland is a Marketing, Business Development, Content, Social & Digital Media Speaker, Trainer & Advisor, helping lawyers and legal marketers grow by integrating all marketing disciplines in order to maximize business development efforts to grow their practices. Known as the LinkedIn Coach For Lawyers, she is a frequent LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook for Business trainer, as well as a content marketing specialist. She helps lawyers, law firms, and legal marketers learn and implement marketing and business development efforts that are more relevant to their current and potential clients. As an early and constant adopter of social and digital media and technology, she also helps firms with blogging, podcastsvideo marketing, voice marketing, flash briefings, and livestreaming. She also helps lead law firms through their online social media strategy when dealing with high-stakes, visible cases.

If you would like to reserve an hour of Nancy’s time to begin talking strategy or think through an issue you are having, you can do that here.

 

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How Should You Communicate When Someone In Your Firm Tests Positive For Coronavirus (COVID-19)

How To Communicate When Someone In Your Firm Tests Positive For Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Nancy Myrland Coronavirus Communications Center, Crisis Management, Management Leave a Comment

Someone in your firm, or someone who has visited your firm, has tested positive for the Coronavirus, COVID-19.

Now what?

Even if you don’t have anyone infected yet, you might. The virus seems to be spreading geographically a bit quicker than many expected. We will probably discover a sharp rise in the number infected once the testing kits are available and easily accessible.

It is also quite possible you have people who are positive but don’t know it yet. When this virus visits your firm, you will need to communicate swiftly in order to minimize disruption and help everyone feel safe.

If you would like to listen to my podcast episode about this topic, you can listen to that here:

Internal and External Coronavirus CommunicationCoronavirus Communication

As I outlined in my last post about how Coronavirus will impact your firm, it is important to plan ahead for this likely scenario. In that post, I outlined a process you can take to prepare for the upheaval in your firm.

Today’s post will dive deeper into one part of that process, which is how to communicate with all who will be impacted, including internal and external audiences.

What To Say When Coronavirus Visits Your Firm

I want to make it easier and quicker for you to be prepared, so let’s get started, okay?

You will want to draft communication that can be sent immediately upon your discovery of one of your people testing positive. Word will get out on its own, so it is critical you are prepared so you can set the tone and communicate accurately and compassionately. If you aren’t prepared, panic, anxiety, and fear, not to mention the virus, will spread faster than you can ever imagine.

Although similar, if not identical in their intent, tone, and purpose, you will need to draft versions 3 primary versions of your communication for:

  1. Internal audiences in your offices
  2. Clients because they might have been in contact directly or indirectly with the infected person in your firm, and because the Coronavirus might have an impact on the work you are doing together
  3. External audiences such as alumni, media, referral sources, service providers and vendors, those who deliver meals and supplies, and others who are connected to your firm.

Your Goals For CommunicationCreate a Plan For Coronavirus

Your goals might be many, but a few of the most important revolve around:

  • Helping all feel safe and understood
  • Providing strength, leadership, and direction when all else seems to be falling apart around them

As you draft your communication, take into consideration you can use many tools. Here are several you should consider.

  • Email
  • Intranet
  • A dedicated Coronavirus resource and information page or section of your website
  • Video
  • Livestreaming
  • Audio recordings
  • Letters
  • Social Media
  • SMS / Mobile Messaging
  • Coronavirus Information Kits

I would consider choosing more than one because there are people who find comfort in reading, some in hearing your voice, some in seeing your face, and some who appreciate all of the above. The initial notification should probably be sent via email as that is the swiftest way to send your message, but I would incorporate other tools as soon as you can.

We can choose destinations after we decide what to say. Let’s first discuss what you need to include in your communication.

Details To Include When You Communicate About Coronavirus COVID-19 Infecting Someone In Your FirmCoronavirus COVID-19 Planning

You will think of additional details once you consider the following, but let me help you get started with those that should be addressed.

  • Let them know your first and highest priority is to keep everyone in your firm safe.
  • Make sure everyone understands exactly what is going on. Don’t beat around the bush. Make it known someone in your [xyz] office has tested positive for the Coronavirus.
  • Remind everyone that all who are ill in your firm need to feel safe while they are being treated, and that showing empathy toward them is important.
  • Let them know you and the management team will do whatever is within your power to offer an environment that is clean, safe, and protected.
  • Let them know if you are sending everyone home to work.
  • Let them know an initial time period for this work from home arrangement and that you will reassess that timeframe every day.
  • Communicate your plans to clean and disinfect the office now and on an ongoing basis.
  • Recommend that they, too, keep others around them safe by considering social distancing until they know they are safe and healthy.
  • Remind them that if they are worried about being sick, they should first call their doctor to make him/her aware someone in your firm or office has tested positive and to ask about testing. Not every doctor’s office or hospital wants us to just show up unannounced with symptoms because that can defeat the need for isolation and quarantine should you also test positive.
  • Discuss what your expectations are for continued work schedules, including the meeting, messaging, and webinar tools you will be using to carry on with co-workers as usual.
  • Provide a way to find directions and training for how to use those tools, as well as reminders for how to log-in to your system to access work product so they can continue working.
  • Clarify how this might impact those who already had this time scheduled for vacation, or who are out on sick leave already.
  • Give them the assurance they will be paid as usual, and that the normal payment process will continue (if this is accurate).
  • Should they be approached with questions about your firm’s situation, let them know who at the firm to refer all external inquiries to, including appropriate contact information.
  • Tell them who they can contact confidentially if they begin to experience logistical issues with securing the items they need to maintain a healthy life while working from home…not a guarantee you can help in all situations, but that you have empathy and will do your best to point them to a few external resources that might be able to help.

What Would You Add?Coronavirus COVID-19 Communication Plan

The list above should help you draft your initial communication.

Help me make this bulleted list of details the most useful tool possible for everyone who needs a little inspiration.

If you have suggestions to add to this list, please add them in the comments. If you would rather do so confidentially, you can find all of my contact information right here.

As always, I am closeby should you need help with your scenario and crisis planning, including communication I wrote about here today.

Nancy Myrland, Myrland Marketing & Social Media and LinkedIn Coach For LawyersNancy Myrland is a Marketing, Business Development, Content, Social & Digital Media Speaker, Trainer & Advisor, helping lawyers and legal marketers grow by integrating all marketing disciplines in order to maximize business development efforts to grow their practices. Known as the LinkedIn Coach For Lawyers, she is a frequent LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook for Business trainer, as well as a content marketing specialist. She helps lawyers, law firms, and legal marketers learn and implement marketing and business development efforts that are more relevant to their current and potential clients. As an early and constant adopter of social and digital media and technology, she also helps firms with blogging, podcastsvideo marketing, voice marketing, flash briefings, and livestreaming. She also helps lead law firms through their online social media strategy when dealing with high-stakes, visible cases.

If you would like to reserve an hour of Nancy’s time to begin talking strategy or think through an issue you are having, you can do that here.

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Coronavirus COVID-19 and Law Firms

How Will The Coronavirus (COVID-19) Impact Your Law Firm?

Nancy Myrland Coronavirus Communications Center, Crisis Management, Law Firms Leave a Comment

As the COVID-19 Virus begins to impact law firms and the legal profession, you might be wondering what to do next.

Lawyers From Two New York Law Firms Have Tested Positive For COVID-19

As of Sunday night, March 8, there have been reports of lawyers at two firms who have tested positive for the Coronavirus, COVID-19.

First, Lawrence Garbuz, partner with Lewis and Garbuz, tested positive. Per ABC7 in New York, his family and one of his neighbors are also infected. In the ABC7 article, his wife, Adina Garbuz, who is also a partner at the firm, indicated everyone at their firm has now been quarantined and is working remotely.

Also, an unnamed Quinn Emanuel partner has tested positive. The firm announced his illness Sunday and plans to close its New York office this week. Law.com reports that all lawyers and staff in the New York office of Quinn Emanuel are reported to be working remotely for the time being.

You Have Two ChoicesCoronavirus Crisis Communications 2 Choices

When a situation like the Coronavirus and COVID-19 are looming, you must ask two questions:

  1. Should you plan for an upheaval in your and your clients’ businesses?
  2. Should you sit back and wait for it to pass?

Coronavirus COVID-19 Is Unlike Any Other Crisis You’ve Experienced

It might make it easier to decide whether to follow #1 or #2 above by asking yourself these simple yet critical questions:

  • What is the worst possible thing that can happen if I choose #1? What about #2?
  • What are the advantages of choosing #1? How about #2?

Be Proactive 

I always advise my clients that proactively getting out in front of a situation by planning ahead for a potential crisis is the best approach.

At the very best, things will pass and you won’t need the solutions and messages you develop if you plan for this crisis. No harm done, right?

At the very worst, among other things, you are:

  • Caught off-guard with staff, clients, and media not knowing which direction to turn
  • Unsure how to continue business as usual
  • Unprepared to help minimize health risks, and
  • Confronted with inadequate resources that can help your lawyers, business professionals, and clients understand how to deal with the anxiety, fear, and panic they might experience.

Here’s Where You Should Start 

Allow me to provide a starting point for you and your firm so that you are better prepared for what appears to have already begun, which is the spread of a global disease that, at this time, has no vaccine.

Crisis Communications Begins With Scenario PlanningCoronavirus COVID19 Plan Ahead

Regarding crisis communications, I would start now before this crisis hits your firm.

Once testing for the virus ramps up, you might find you already have the virus at your firm.

Scenario planning is always the best precursor to effective community and public relations.

Here are some steps for you to follow:

  • Create a list of all of the what-if scenarios.
  • Who are all of the parties that we need to be worried about?
  • What if one of our lawyers tests positive?
  • What if one of our business professionals tests positive?
  • What if somebody in one of our global offices in a country that has been hit particularly hard tests positive?
  • What if any of our service providers test positive?
  • What if one of our clients tests positive?
  • What if one of our infected lawyers gives the virus to one of our clients before s/he was tested?
  • What if anyone in our firm feels s/he has symptoms?
  • What if any of our people are so concerned that they want to begin working remotely before we have officially rolled out our work-from-home policy?
  • Once you know all of the parties that you need and want to address communication to, which is the second bullet above, then sit down, whether in a war room with Post-it paper all over the walls, using one or more pages for each scenario and target audience, or on your computer at your desk, and brainstorm every message you would want each party to know. I would also make a list of the most expedient ways to communicate with each of these audiences. They will be different.
  • Not only do you need to define how to communicate, but you need to decide what you will do if any of the what-ifs happens.
  • I would also bring people from every part of your firm, let’s call it a task force, into a conversation right away to decide what it will take to most effectively work remotely. Ask them for every tool and every benefit that would make it necessary to continue to work as usual.
  • I would then create a plan for securing all of the supplies needed, including logistics and suppliers, so that you can act at a moment’s notice when you decide it is time to send someone home to work.

Keep Everyone In The Loop Starting Now

In the middle of all of this, if not before, I would message everyone in your firm to let them know this is the kind of planning and conversation you are having because their health is your number one priority. Include media in your markets because it is best to be open, honest, and inclusive. These are the times when those relationships become even more critical. I’ve prepared several details for you to include in that communication here in this post, “How Should You Communicate When Someone In Your Firm Tests Positive For Coronavirus (COVID-19?”

  • Invite everyone in your firm to respond or come talk to you or anyone else in a position of authority with suggestions and concerns.
  • Create channels to facilitate rapid and easy exchange of conversations like these.
  • I would also take into consideration that there is a lot of fear out there, so you might also think about making counselors available if people are feeling particularly anxious, vulnerable, and afraid about what is going on.
  • At this beginning stage, you might consider stocking your offices with gloves and hand sanitizer to help everyone do their part to keep this mysterious virus at arm’s length.

Don’t Forget Using Social and Digital Media To Discuss COVID-19 and Coronavirus

As part of the scenario planning discussed above, make sure you add external communication to your list of responsibilities. If you don’t, someone else might step up and tell your story, which you never want as you have no idea how it will come across, or if you will have to step up and protect those impacted. Awareness is heightened, so people will be watching you to see what you are doing.

Anti-Asian Discrimination Is Surfacing As Coronavirus Fears RiseCoronavirus COVID19 Crisis Planning Includes Everyone

I shouldn’t even have to talk about this because it is sad and unacceptable, but you need to be aware there are people in this world who are taking out the Coronavirus on Asians as if it is their fault.

Just tonight, I was incredulous as I watched a report of discrimination toward Asians in the US.

Reports such as this from KTVU2 in San Mateo County:

“We are seeing a global rise in anti Asian-American discrimination because of the virus,” said San Mateo County Supervisor David Canepa. KTVU reports “California Asian Americans have experienced 75 instances of documented hate, racism and discrimination.”

KATU2 in Portland, Oregon reports that the Multnomah County Health Department is warning people about discrimination, saying “It tells KATU News it received a number of calls from people concerned that people of Asian heritage could pass on the virus even if they aren’t sick. The health department stresses that this isn’t true, but Asian restaurants say they are feeling the impacts.”

I could link to story after story, including bullying of Asian children in school, but I think the point has been made.

Be aware that you might have people in your firm who are the objects of this type of heinous behavior and discrimination. Make sure you have conversations to address this early and often as it will not go away until every last Coronavirus germ is eradicated, and probably not even then as there are people in this world who seem to feed off of misinformation and hatred. Do whatever you can to protect your people.

There Is No Blueprint For Times Like These

Times like these amplify just about everything. Concerns are completely valid when it comes to our health, family, and lives.

Nothing is normal.

Nothing is tried and true.

There is no black and white blueprint, so furthering the discussion is critical.

The most important message I want you to glean from this post is to start now. Don’t wait.

You will find you are much better prepared for what comes your way, both now with this unpredictable Coronavirus, COVID-19, and also for every other crisis in your firm’s future.

Please let me know if you have any thoughts or questions.

As always, I am closeby should you need help with your scenario and crisis planning.

Nancy Myrland, Myrland Marketing & Social Media and LinkedIn Coach For LawyersNancy Myrland is a Marketing, Business Development, Content, Social & Digital Media Speaker, Trainer & Advisor, helping lawyers and legal marketers grow by integrating all marketing disciplines in order to maximize business development efforts to grow their practices. Known as the LinkedIn Coach For Lawyers, she is a frequent LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook for Business trainer, as well as a content marketing specialist. She helps lawyers, law firms, and legal marketers learn and implement marketing and business development efforts that are more relevant to their current and potential clients. As an early and constant adopter of social and digital media and technology, she also helps firms with blogging, podcastsvideo marketing, voice marketing, flash briefings, and livestreaming. She also helps lead law firms through their online social media strategy when dealing with high-stakes, visible cases.

If you would like to reserve an hour of Nancy’s time to begin talking strategy or think through an issue you are having, you can do that here.

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Do You Spend As Much Time On Your Clients As You Do On Your New Logo or Website?

Nancy Myrland All Posts, Branding, Client Service and Retention Leave a Comment

Do You Spend As Much Time On Your Clients As Your New Logo or Website

Sometimes we spend an enormous amount of time working on new logos, websites, and letterhead.

We fret over:

  • Whose name should go first on the letterhead?
  • Which shade of blue is right?
  • Should we use an ampersand or the word and?
  • What are the right graphics for every page of our website?
  • Should we build microsites?
  • Should we have video on our homepage?
  • How about videos on our attorneys’ bio pages? (yes)

Then we really have fun with these questions:

  • What size offices we should have at our firms?
  • Who gets to sit in which size offices?
  • Should we have offices at all, or should we try that (not so) newfangled open concept everyone is talking about?
  • What should our building look like?
  • What kind of artwork should we put inside our offices?

Some of these efforts take months, if not years, don’t they? I know they did when I was in-house. Some of them cost tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars.

How Much Do You Spend On Your Client Experience?

All of those decisions are important, but how often do you deliberately and methodically sit down and fret just as much over what your clients really care about?

All of those things I mentioned above certainly contribute to building your overall brand, and yes, you must do them, but do you spend that same amount of time every year on discovering what your clients really care about, which is how you solve their problems, and how you help them avoid those problems in the first place?

Do you spend time researching and discussing how your firm and your lawyers make your clients feel when you do business together tackling those problems? Do you ever ask them what it would take to keep them for the long haul?

Does working with you make them feel happy, frustrated, relieved, skeptical, confident, angry, comforted, fed up, nurtured, positive, or some combination of all of these? Do you know which of these emotions they would love to feel as a result of working with you, or are you just guessing?

Clients Care About User Experience

Even though this might not be a term clients use, they care about their user experience when dealing with you, your colleagues, and everyone in your firm. That experience determines how you are making them feel, which is why they need you in the first place.

Not only is there a situation that is causing them to seek legal advice, but there is always a feeling behind that situation that is driving their actions.

Your Challenge Is To Fret Over User ExperienceClient Experience with Nancy Myrland

I challenge you to think about client experience and what your clients really care about, and what is on their minds night and day. I’ll give you a to-do list in a moment to make this easier.

Once you are confident you have a grasp of all of that information, make sure the solutions you provide and the manner in which every single person in your firm interacts with your clients addresses their concerns, both expressed and those kept deep inside that are difficult for them to talk about.

Client Experience Is More Important Than Your Beautiful Office

The experience clients have with you is infinitely more important than the trappings that you surround yourself with every day. Again, I am not suggesting you shouldn’t worry about those things because you absolutely should. They contribute to your overall brand, which has impact inside and outside of the firm and contributes to the position you hold in your clients’ and prospects’ minds, which is called positioning.

What I am suggesting is that all of this must blend together to make sure you are answering the needs and the experience your clients and potential clients have when they come in contact with you.

What Should You Do Next?

Research and discover the answers to these questions:

  • How do your clients feel when they are searching for your help?
  • How are you making your clients feel when they interact with every person in your firm?
  • How are you listening?
  • How are you approaching the way you do business with them?
  • How are you minimizing their fears and oftentimes their feelings of inadequacy because of the misinformation and the firehose of opinions that come from a variety of sources?
  • What would cause them to say “wow” at different stages of your matter and your relationship?

Once you know the answers to these questions, and more, create a plan that lays out exactly how you can and will address their thoughts and experience.

Everyone In The Firm Is Responsible For Client Experience

Make sure you include legal and business professionals from every nook and cranny of your firm because this will result in a more informed plan.

I’d then like for you to make sure every person in the firm understands and receives training on how to deliver the stellar client experience you have come up with in your plan. Don’t assume people hear your new message and understand how it impacts them, or that they are equipped to deliver this new level of service. Sometimes they need a little help and guidance.

Also, don’t assume that delivering this message once to everyone in the firm will suffice. Just as with any training on any tool you have, your professionals, both legal and business, need to see and hear your message and your plan often. They need to be reminded how and why this is important to your firm, but even more important, they need to be reminded how and why this is important to your clients.

Take The TimeTake The Time & Be The One by Nancy Myrland

One of my mantras is take the time.

Take the time to work through a process that defines how you and your firm are going to deliver an amazing client experience that is as thoughtful, if not ten times more so, than the amount of time your spend on working on your new logo, your new artwork, your company party, your new custom imprinted item for your United Way campaign, what brand of coffee or water you serve in your office, what food you are going to serve at your next reception, and on and on.

Be The One

You will also hear me beat the drum to be the one. Be the one to figure out how to define and deliver an amazing client experience that leaves your clients thinking they are lucky to work with you, one that causes them to say “wow” even if results don’t go in their favor.

Be the one that cares about doing the research and asking the questions that will help figure out what experience will make your clients and potential clients feel happiest and safest, or whatever emotions you have uncovered in the research I outlined above.

Then I want you to incorporate answers to all of those questions in every single thing you do every day. If you don’t, then what is to keep them from going down the street to someone who will deliver the client experience they want, need, and deserve?

Yes, take the time and be the one. Your clients will thank you.

Nancy Myrland, Myrland Marketing & Social Media and LinkedIn Coach For LawyersNancy Myrland is a Marketing, Business Development, Content, Social & Digital Media Speaker, Trainer & Advisor, helping lawyers and legal marketers grow by integrating all marketing disciplines in order to maximize business development efforts to grow their practices. Known as the LinkedIn Coach For Lawyers, she is a frequent LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook for Business trainer, as well as a content marketing specialist. She helps lawyers, law firms, and legal marketers learn and implement marketing and business development efforts that are more relevant to their current and potential clients. She also helps lead law firms through their online social media strategy when dealing with high-stakes, visible cases. As an early and constant adopter of social and digital media and technology, she also helps firms with blogging, podcasts, video marketing, voice marketing, flash briefings, and livestreaming.

If you would like to reserve an hour of Nancy’s time to begin talking strategy or think through an issue you are having, you can do that here.

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Are Younger Lawyers Naturally Better At Social Media?

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Are Younger Lawyers Better At Using Social MediaAre digital natives, those who were born in an era when electronic devices were prevalent and in their hands from the moment they were old enough to hold them, better equipped in this current era of social and digital media?

Let’s take a few minutes and discuss that because I can shed a little light on the differences between digital natives and digital adopters.

(If you’d rather listen to this as a podcast, just click the link on the podcast player below. If you’re more of a reader, I have you covered below the player. If you’re reading this via email, you might need to click through to this post on my website to see the player. Whichever way you choose, I’m glad you’re here to discuss this topic.)

Younger People Were Born With Social Media

I have this discussion on a regular basis. Suffice to say this belief still exists. Digital adopters, those who adopted these digital skills a little bit later, are the ones I hear these concerns from most often.

They share different reasons, but these are the most common:

“I wasn’t born understanding how to use these tools. I wasn’t even born when email was alive. I have to learn all of this. It doesn’t come naturally.”

and…

“Those who’ve been using it for a long time, well, they get it. They didn’t have to ask questions. They can just hop online and do whatever it is they need to do. It comes naturally to them.”

What Do Digital Natives Think About Digital Adopters?

Not to leave them out, but I see equally interesting comments coming from digital natives, such as:

“You know what? The digital adopters, they’re old and they don’t understand how to deal with all of this technology.”

We Need To Stop

What we need to do is to stop this line of thinking from both camps because this is misguided and limiting age-related stereotyping, believing that someone who is younger and was born with these devices is so much better equipped to handle this era of social and digital media, or those who are older can’t handle it because they are older and didn’t grow up with it.

Social Media Aren’t Going Away

If we are expecting to ramp up our conversations and our ability to create and nurture relationships with people in this world, then we have to acknowledge a few things. First, we have to acknowledge that social and digital media are not going away. We are not suddenly going to pluck tablets, telephones, PCs, laptops, smart speakers, and every other smart device out of peoples’ hands, homes, offices, and desks and expect that they’re going to go back to communicating the way that everybody used to communicate before those devices were so commonplace.

Similar to email when it came out, social media can be scary and intimidating if you don’t understand how to use it. Email came and it made things a little bit more efficient, actually a lot more efficient, and it didn’t go away either. In fact, it’s stronger than most people realize as a marketing and communication tool, but that’s a topic for another day.

Age Doesn’t Determine Ability

The second thing we have to stop assuming is that one’s age is the sole determining factor in whether people are or aren’t equipped to deal with social and digital media because that’s just not true.

Knocking Down The Myths

Let’s tackle the first, those who are digital natives who were born with these devices and got to play with them from a very early age. They got mom’s or dad’s old iPhones and they got to play games on them. They couldn’t do much else on them because the phones weren’t enabled.

The assumption that these digital natives are the people who are going to be so much better at communicating via social media is way off base. It also doesn’t mean they won’t be good at using social media.

Using technology from an early age does not guarantee better comprehension of marketing and communication. People don’t just pick up electronic devices and naturally understand how to communicate with others, and how to instinctively know how to go through what I call “The Seven Stages of Social Media,” which we can talk about another time.

Early use of technology does not mean human beings are born with the communication skills needed to connect via social media.

Conversely, just because someone is a digital adopter does not mean they came with those same marketing and communications skills that are prerequisites for effective use of social media marketing. They had to learn them along the way and are probably still learning them.

To assume that if you are older (older does not mean old), you cannot handle learning how to use these devices is selling yourself short of your potential. Do I need to remind you how smart you are, and how you got to where you are today?

If you can go to law school, and you can do what you’ve done in your life, trust me, if you are interested, and I think that’s the key right there, if you are interested, you can learn how to use these tools faster than you can even imagine.

Stop Selling Yourselves Short

It has been 15-20 years since these tools were commonplace. They were around before that, but those were the days when they were being developed and discovered.

We are past the point where anyone should be assuming that someone young, a digital native, is going to be better or going to be worse at using social media, or being the gatekeeper of the brainpower needed to understand the technology needed to be a good or bad communicator. None of this should be assumed and none of this should be taken for granted.

The same goes for digital adopters. Just because you didn’t have these tools in front of you until you were 25, 35, 45, 55, or 65, does not mean you are ill-equipped, or that you cannot be equipped, to use them.

Don’t tell me that your brain doesn’t work that way. I know your brains. I work with you all the time. I network with you daily on social media.

I see how your brains work. Again, you’re pretty smart people, so stop selling yourselves short.

If You Are Interested, You Can Do This

Here’s what I want you to do.

Set aside a few minutes here and there to understand how all of this works. Learn the overarching basics of social media marketing and networking. Start with one platform. You can even have somebody help you who can say to you:

  • You know what? This is how you stay out of hot water.
  • This is how you stay out of trouble.
  • This is what you say.
  • These are the things you can say.
  • These are the things I wouldn’t say.

It’s Time

Let’s decide we are going to get past these stereotypes because, if not, then we are ignoring tools that can provide a wonderful complement to everything else you’re already doing in business development and marketing.

This is important because this means growing your practice, which is your business. It means filling the relationship pipeline that is critical to sustaining a profitable and successful career.

Are you ready?

Let me know what you think about this.

Remember, I’m here to discuss what’s on your mind that might either be limiting or enhancing the growth of your practice.

Nancy Myrland, Myrland Marketing & Social Media and LinkedIn Coach For LawyersNancy Myrland is a Marketing, Business Development, Content, Social & Digital Media Speaker, Trainer & Advisor, helping lawyers and legal marketers grow by integrating all marketing disciplines to grow their practices. She is a frequent LinkedIn and Twitter trainer, as well as a content marketing specialist. She helps lawyers, law firms, and legal marketers learn and implement business development practices that are more relevant to their current and potential clients. She also helps lead law firms through their online social media strategy when dealing with high-stakes, visible cases. As an early and constant adopter of social and digital media and technology, she also helps firms with blogging, podcastsvideo marketing, voice marketing, flash briefings, and livestreaming.

If you would like to reserve an hour of Nancy’s time to begin talking strategy or think through an issue you are having, you can do that here.

The 3 Main Reasons Lawyers Should Use LinkedIn

Nancy Myrland All Posts, LinkedIn, Social Media Leave a Comment

The 3 Main Reasons Lawyers Should Use LinkedIn

How many times have you gone to an event, maybe a conference or a business after hours, or even just a social event with friends, and a new acquaintance sends you an invitation to connect on LinkedIn? You might have seen the notice in a LinkedIn email or on the app itself.

Maybe you collected that person’s business card. I know, I know, business cards aren’t used as much as they used to be, but they do still exist.

What happens after that? What happens to those LinkedIn invitations to connect? Maybe you aren’t sure whether to accept or ignore, or whether you should personalize your responses (you should).

Maybe you’ve even turned off the notification emails in your LinkedIn settings so you have no idea you are receiving these invitations until weeks later when you decide to log in for a minute.

How about those business cards? What happens to them? Most of the time, absolutely nothing. I have to tell you; I have a few stacks of them on my desk. I throw them away every few years or so, the most recent being this morning. There are always a few I just can’t throw away because they were given to me by people who became very special friends to me. From a business card to a special friend…who knew?!

Is This A Hobby or Your Business?

Let’s say you get far enough to click accept when this person you met sends you that LinkedIn invitation to connect. Then what?

You’ve only just begun.

If you and I don’t do anything with these contacts after that acceptance to connect or that exchange of business cards, then all we have is a hobby of collecting contacts and that’s not good use of our time.

It helps to look back to a quote that Jeff Weiner said at a press event a long time ago. Jeff is the CEO of LinkedIn. He said:

“LinkedIn is about connecting talent with opportunity at massive scale. We’re not just talking about the tools to enable people to find their dream jobs. We’re also talking about tools that enable people to be great at the jobs that they already have.”

  • Connecting.
  • Opportunity.
  • Be great.

Yes, indeed. I chose this quote because part of being great at our jobs is connecting with people.

3 Main Reasons For Using LinkedIn

Jeff’s quote flows nicely into what I define as the three main reasons for using LinkedIn. When you think about it, his quote flows nicely into using any of the social networks, but it’s extremely important on LinkedIn.

The 3 Main Reasons To Use LinkedIn Are:

  1. To find those with whom you want to do business,
  2. To be found by the people you want to do business with, and
  3. The most important of them all is to turn contacts into connections.

Why Should You Turn Contacts Into Connections on LinkedIn?

As I mentioned above, a contact is just that, a contact. It’s like a name on a piece of paper thrown into a fishbowl or a basket just waiting to be picked.Know, Like and Trust

That name on that piece of paper could sit there for years, but it’s more likely it will be thrown away if it is not chosen.

It is when we take our contacts to the next step and even further that we have the opportunity to make true connections with those human beings.

  • When we connect, we begin to form relationships.
  • When we form relationships, we learn about one another.
  • When we learn about one another, we decide if we want to get to know them.
  • When we get to know them, we come to trust them.
  • When we come to trust them, we learn to like or respect them, and hopefully both.

All of this is what leads to more lasting business relationships. Knowing, liking, and trusting others are the stepping stones that turn our contacts into connections.

How Do You Turn Contacts Into Real Connections?

We have to remember a very important rule, which is that it takes proper care and feeding in order to create and grow a true connection. We can’t just join these networks. We have to actually use them.

When we use them effectively, we are giving people more of us.

  • A piece of us
  • Our helpful attitude
  • Our ability to talk about what they’re sharing on LinkedIn
  • Our ability to help give perspective to a conversation or situation being discussed on LinkedIn
  • Our ability to send them a private message every once in a while to say I’m thinking about you, how is this going, or maybe to let them know something is brewing
  • …or our desire to show we care by sharing their content on LinkedIn

The more we do that, the greater the chances are that we will turn these mere contacts into true connections.

Is It Possible? Is There Enough Time?

Yes, it is possible, but it is better to do it now while you have a manageable network because the day might come when you have hundreds and thousands of contacts and find this kind of personal interaction with all of your contacts difficult to scale. You might already have that many. If so, you need to make sure you are prioritizing these activities with those connections who are most important to you and your growth.

To be present on LinkedIn and to engage in the practices I am suggesting, you should plan on spending a little bit of time on LinkedIn on a regular basis. When you are active by doing what it takes to turn contacts into connections, this helps LinkedIn’s algorithms see you as a valuable member, which helps you and your content to be shown in the newsfeed. That’s a good thing because that algorithm is what helps surface your content to those people with whom you want to do business. In case you didn’t know this, all of the social media sites show our content to those we interact with the most. If we don’t interact with them, and vice versa, we might never see their content, and they might never see ours.

Faith-Based Strategy

When it comes to creating true relationships, you can’t have a faith-based strategy.

What does that mean? It means that you can’t just throw a bunch of stuff out there, meaning a bare-bones LinkedIn profile and a little bit of content, or brag about what you’ve done and what’s wonderful lately about your practice and your firm, and have faith that everybody’s going to be attracted to you. That’s not how it works.

It’s easy to sign up for LinkedIn or any social networking site. It just takes a minute. It’s what we do on LinkedIn after we sign up that determines whether it will help with business development. As I mentioned, you need to get in there and make comments on people’s content. Be helpful. Connect.

Is LinkedIn Networking Similar To In-Person Networking?

LinkedIn networking is very similar to what you do in person. When you meet someone face-to-face, you need to engage that person in conversation in order to develop a relationship, don’t you? Of course, if people aren’t ready for a certain level of discussion, you have to use your intuition and your gut feeling about what’s appropriate. It is the same for LinkedIn. You have to interact with others if you want them to interact with you.

Don’t Forget

Don’t forget your three reasons for being on LinkedIn:

  1. To find the people with whom you want to do business
  2. To be found by the people with whom you want to do business
  3. To turn contacts into connections.

Also, a reminder of a few of the ways we discussed that you can turn contacts into connections:

  • Share yourself with others
  • Have a helpful attitude in everything you do on LinkedIn
  • Comment on what others have shared on LinkedIn
  • Add your perspective to others’ comments, posts, and discussions
  • Send a private message every once in a while to let someone know you are thinking about them, or if there is something they need to know about. Wait for it, though. Most people on LinkedIn don’t care for private messages from people they barely know.

 

Nancy Myrland, Myrland Marketing & Social Media and LinkedIn Coach For LawyersNancy Myrland is a Marketing, Business Development, Content, Social & Digital Media Speaker, Trainer & Advisor, helping lawyers and legal marketers grow by integrating all marketing disciplines in order to maximize business development efforts to grow their practices. She is a frequent LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook for Business trainer, as well as a content marketing specialist. She helps lawyers, law firms, and legal marketers learn and implement business development efforts that are more relevant to their current and potential clients. She also helps lead law firms through their online social media strategy when dealing with high-stakes, visible cases. As an early and constant adopter of social and digital media and technology, she also helps firms with blogging, podcasts, video marketing, voice marketing, flash briefings, and livestreaming.

If you would like to reserve an hour of Nancy’s time to begin talking strategy or think through an issue you are having, you can do that here.

Lawyers, What Kind Of Content Should You Create?

Nancy Myrland All Posts, Content Marketing, Marketing Strategy Leave a Comment

Lawyers, Are You Ever Stuck When Trying To Create Content?

Have you ever gone through one of those times when you’re stuck trying to figure out what kind of content to create? Deep down, you know it’s not logical because you know so much about your area of expertise, but something is in the way.

Well, I go through this from time-to-time, so I imagine you have, too.

(Special Note: Don’t miss my checklist at the end of this post.)

Here’s How It Often Plays Out In Our Heads

You think:

You know, I really, really need to be producing content about [this certain topic] because I know one of the best ways that I have to demonstrate to people that I know what I’m talking about and that I can help them is to share what I know with others, but…

  • I can’t think of what to produce right now.
  • I’ve written so much about this in the past.
  • I’m too busy.
  • Everyone already knows about that so why should I write about it?
  • I’m not worthy of covering that topic because others much bigger in this space are already doing that.

Does any of that sound at all familiar? Come on, you can tell me. Let me know in the comments, okay?

Being In A Content Rut Is Very Common

It might make you feel better to know that this scenario is very common. I know because I see it with my clients on a regular basis. I’ll let you in on a little secret. I can go through these thoughts in my head with the best of you, trust me!!

I’ve even done this when my content calendar calls for a specific topic on a specific date! I have it all laid out for me so I don’t even have to think, yet I still play mind games with myself.

Then Our Logical Side Kicks In

If you and I are lucky, the logical side of our brains fights back to remind us this isn’t all that difficult. We tell ourselves that we know that some of the easiest ways to share our wisdom with others are to:

  • Record something
  • To write a blog post
  • To post on social media
  • To speak at a conference
  • To speak during a webinar
  • To use our voices to record audio
  • To go on camera and record our thoughts

There are so many ways we can create content, aren’t there?

One Small Conversation Can Inspire Content

Just today, I was nudged right back into the reality of how easy it is to come up with valuable content to share. Here’s what happened. I was on a prep phone call with a member of the ABA Antitrust section talking about a podcast I am getting ready to record with them. They invited me to talk about, big surprise, social and digital media and how lawyers can use social and digital media to demonstrate leadership. Interesting topic, isn’t it? I thought so, too. My friend and brilliant marketer, Mark Schaefer, gave them my name because he knows I work with lawyers. Thanks, Mark!

After our short podcast prep phone call, which only lasted about 20 minutes, I realized that, after questioning my next content creation project on my to-do list, which was a blog post and podcast episode, and related repurposing, for the past week or so, I actually had plenty to talk about with you!

One Easy Way I Got Unstuck

Why?

What helped me suddenly get unstuck?

Because I suddenly had an opportunity to talk about my craft to other people for a few minutes. In those few short minutes on that call, I had a chance to share my thoughts on one of my favorite topics, and I reminded myself I had knowledge I could create and share with you that might be helpful!

5 Easy Ways For You To Figure Out What Content To Create Next

If you have ever gone through this, and even if you haven’t yet, you might in the future. Just in case, I have come up with 5 quick and easy ways for you to get out of a content rut when:

  • You’re questioning yourself
  • You’re just not in the mood to write
  • You’re procrastinating
  • You are overwhelmed with the enormity of producing content so you don’t do anything

I’ve created this because it is very important for you to find ways to share what you know with the world. If they don’t see samples of you, if they don’t see and feel your approach to doing business or working together, and if you are absent from their radar, the chances of you coming to mind first when they need someone with your skills diminishes. We need to make it easy for them to choose you. Even when referred to you, people still Google you to check you out. Let’s help them find you, or help them reinforce the referral they received by showing them what you know. okay?

My Checklist Will Help Cure Your Content Rut

Just click the bright pink button below to download my checklist with 5 quick ideas and you will be creating new content in no time at all, I promise! Why am I so certain? I know these ideas will help you get unstuck because I use them all the time!

Lawyers, What Kind Of Content Should You Create?

You don’t have to use all 5. You can choose one or more that fit your style.

Again, just click the button above for me to send it to you, or go to this link right here.

Nancy Myrland, Myrland Marketing & Social Media and LinkedIn Coach For LawyersNancy Myrland is a Marketing, Business Development, Content, Social & Digital Media Speaker, Trainer & Advisor, helping lawyers and legal marketers grow by integrating all marketing disciplines in order to maximize business development efforts to grow their practices. She is a frequent LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook for Business trainer, as well as a content marketing specialist. She helps lawyers, law firms, and legal marketers learn and implement business development efforts that are more relevant to their current and potential clients. She also helps lead law firms through their online social media strategy when dealing with high-stakes, visible cases. As an early and constant adopter of social and digital media and technology, she also helps firms with bloggingpodcasts, video marketing, voice marketing, flash briefings, and livestreaming.

If you would like to reserve an hour of Nancy’s time to begin talking strategy or think through an issue you are having, you can do that here.

Lawyers, Does It Really Matter What Other Law Firms Do?

Nancy Myrland All Posts, Content Marketing, Law Firms, Lawyer Marketing, Lawyers, Legal Marketers, Legal Marketing, Marketing Strategy Leave a Comment

Lawyers, Does It Really Matter What Other Law Firms Do?

If you truly want your practice or your law firm to grow, there is one question you’re going to have to stop asking and three questions you’re going to need to start asking.

I hear this one question regularly. It takes various forms, which I’ll discuss in a bit. It tends to come up every year right about this time because we have budgets and planning on our minds.

What Are Other Firms Doing About This?

Recently a professional I respect a great deal shared that the firm is thinking about building out a room that will be equipped for podcasting and video, but the attorneys in the firm want to know if there are any other firms doing this and, if so, were those firms experiencing positive ROI as a result?

As I mentioned, this type of question surfaces in other ways, such as:

  • Should we sponsor X Y or Z event? Some firms will say I don’t know, let’s see what the others are doing.
  • Should we advertise in this space? I don’t know. Are the others doing it? Oh, the other firms are doing it? Yeah, then I think we’d better be there, too.
  • Are other firms and lawyers using social media? I don’t know, but I think we need to see if they are before we jump in and waste our time.

Or maybe…

  • They’re starting a podcast.
  • They’re doing video.
  • They’re writing a blog post on a specific hot topic.
  • They’re hosting their blogs on other platforms.
  • They’re curating them in other places.

Oftentimes the thought process is reduced to: “If we find out these other firms are doing these things we’re curious about then, by golly, we should, too!”

Is The Goal To Safely Fit In?

Stand Out or Fit InI just listened to an episode of GaryVeeTV on YouTube. As you may know, GaryVee is Gary Vaynerchuk, and the guest that Gary had on this show, Chase Jarvis, Co-Founder of Creative Live, put the answer to these questions so succinctly and so perfectly, much better than I could have, that I thought I needed to share this with you right after I heard it.

What he said is:

“You cannot stand out and fit in at the same time.”

That bears repeating.

“You cannot stand out and fit in at the same time.”

What Does This Have To Do With Legal Marketing?

 Let’s think about that in the context of legal marketing. If we continue to ask the questions:

  • What are others doing?
  • Have you experienced positive ROI as a result of this?
  • What is it doing for other firms?
  • Does this work in legal marketing?
  • We’ve seen somebody do it before and it doesn’t look like it was successful, so we won’t do it either.
  • We’ve seen somebody do it before and it looked pretty successful, so let’s do it, too!

But that word too, we’re going to do it or not do it, too, is what is going to get you in trouble because if you continue to copy and do what other lawyers and other firms are doing just because they are doing it then you are never going to stand out. You are only going to fit in.

What does fitting in do for any of us? It doesn’t help us stand out to our clients and our potential clients, our referral sources, or media we hope will write about what we’re doing, does it?

No, it doesn’t.

3 Questions You Need To Start Asking InsteadLawyers, I Have 3 Questions For You

I have three questions for you to start asking instead.

The first question is: How do I want to tell my story? I am a lawyer. I am with this firm. How do I want to tell that story? How do I talk about what I do?

The second question is: What do I want to do with this marketing effort? What is it I am trying to achieve? Who am I trying to talk to? What messages am I trying to convey? Who am I trying to help? What do I want to do?

The third question is: What makes me me? What makes me different? What is my personal brand all about and how am I going to uniquely convey what that brand is regardless of what other firms are doing?

It Doesn’t Matter

It doesn’t matter if another firm is putting out videos or creating podcasts, or you’re hearing stories about ROI or the lack thereof.

It doesn’t matter.

Let’s look at this from a different angle. Let’s use me as an example. If another legal marketing professional heard that I was doing an Alexa Flash Briefing on Amazon and said “Oh, then I need to do that, too!” that does absolutely nothing for that legal marketer.

But if that legal marketer said “You know what? I’m going to do this because I want to stand out and I want to send my message in my own way. I don’t care what Nancy Myrland is doing. I need to do what’s right for me and my law firm clients.”

The same example goes for you. It does not matter if another lawyer or another law firm is doing something. Sure, you can find case studies about how other firms are doing just about anything but it has nothing to do with how you are going to do it, or how you should do it because you need to tell your story with the tools that are best for you.

You don’t need to tell a story that looks just like theirs.

If you are trying to decide whether or not you should outfit a room in your office for podcasting and video, the answer is absolutely you should, but not because other firms are doing it.

You should do it because what matters is that the reality and the trends that speak to that practice tell you it is a smart idea. You don’t have to go very far to find out that the numbers of people listening via audio and watching via video are escalating at a very rapid pace. They’re also watching video with captions because they are consuming it in quiet places where their mobile device is on silent.

You Decide

In summary, what you need to do is:

  1. Decide how you want to tell your story.
  2. Decide what you want to do based on what you are trying to accomplish.
  3. Decide what makes you different.

What will help consumers of your content think…oh yes, this is characteristically him! I really value what he publishes and I look forward to reading, watching, or listening to it.

Then Go Do It

Once you have made those decisions, then you need to set about doing those things you were considering regardless of whether other firms are doing them or have done them. You don’t know their circumstances or their commitment to the long haul of that marketing tactic, or their willingness to try something a little outside the traditional law firm box.

You need to put these activities into your marketing and business development plans and stop asking what other firms are doing.

The only time it makes sense for you to ask those questions is if you ask if another firm is sponsoring an event that you’ve been approached to sponsor as well.

It has always been my contention that if you cannot stand out and you cannot be above or different in some way and negotiate a package that is a better marketing and promotions package for you at a higher level, do not just blend in. Do not melt into the rest of the logos in the program, banner, or website so that you look just like everybody else. Find a way to make your sponsorship stand out.

Don’t Forget

Don’t forget what Chase Jarvis said: You cannot stand out and fit in at the same time.

  • Be better than that.
  • Be more strategic.
  • Stop asking if other firms are doing it.
  • Don’t forget to trust your legal marketing professional’s opinion when making a recommendation.

Start asking the three questions discussed above:

  1. How do you want to tell your story?
  2. What do you want to do?
  3. What makes you different?

Please do me a favor and let me know your thoughts about this topic.

My Goal For You

My goal for you is that you will look at this comparison game differently going forward.

I want you to stand out. I don’t want you to just fit in.

My clients don’t just fit in, so I don’t want you to just fit in either.

Nancy Myrland, Myrland Marketing & Social Media and LinkedIn Coach For LawyersNancy Myrland is a Marketing, Business Development, Content, Social & Digital Media Speaker, Trainer & Advisor, helping lawyers and legal marketers grow by integrating all marketing disciplines in order to maximize business development efforts to grow their practices. Known as the LinkedIn Coach For Lawyers, she is a frequent LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook for Business trainer, as well as a content marketing specialist. She helps lawyers, law firms, and legal marketers learn and implement marketing and business development efforts that are more relevant to their current and potential clients. She also helps lead law firms through their online social media strategy when dealing with high-stakes, visible cases. As an early and constant adopter of social and digital media and technology, she also helps firms with blogging, podcasts, video marketing, voice marketing, flash briefings, and livestreaming.

If you would like to reserve an hour of Nancy’s time to begin talking strategy or think through an issue you are having, you can do that here.

6 Keys To A Successful Law Practice

Nancy Myrland All Posts, Business Development/Sales, Client Service and Retention, Content Marketing Leave a Comment

6 Keys To A Successful Law Practice with Nancy Myrland

In this blog post and podcast, I’ll discuss one way to tell if your practice is going to be successful, then I’ll offer 6 keys to building a successful law practice.

How To Tell If Your Practice Is Going To Be Successful

The success of your legal practice is going to depend on several things but one of the most important is how you show up in those moments when you are not getting ready to send a bill.

I got back from a conference called TRIBE in Toronto a few weeks ago and one of the speakers was Amy Porterfield. I know Amy well. I have purchased and taken a handful of her online courses on how to repurpose what I do in-person in my legal marketing consulting business, which is helping lawyers and legal marketers with marketing, business development, content, social and digital media, and to also offer that training online for lawyers and legal marketers.

Yesterday, Stu McLaren, who is the owner of the TRIBE brand, conference, and online course and community, sent out a replay of Amy’s session to everyone who attended. While listening, I was reminded how much I liked what she said.

It Is My Job To Translate For You

Before we start, I want to first remind you that just because someone teaches in a space that doesn’t sound like it is remotely connected to the legal profession, I always encourage you to keep an open mind. It is my job is to take concepts that are useful outside of legal marketing and help you apply them to your practice, and into growing your practice. [ctt template=”5″ link=”D0s0V” via=”yes” ]Just because someone teaches in a space that doesn’t appear to be remotely connected to the legal profession, I encourage you to keep an open mind because my job is to take concepts that are useful in every part of the marketing world and help you apply them to your practice.[/ctt]

How To Tell If Your Business Is Going To Be Successful

One of Amy’s most important quotes was:

“I can tell how successful someone’s business is going to be by how they show up when they’re not launching.”

Here I Am…Then Crickets

Let me provide a little bit of explanation. If you haven’t purchased online courses before, or if you’re not as familiar with this space as I am as I have been studying it for years, you might not know there are times during the year when online course creators will launch a course or a membership site, which causes a promotional flurry of online communication and activity around that time. We hear from those course creators a lot during these launches. When I launch my LinkedIn course, you will see a lot of that activity from me, too.

The unfortunate truth is that some of these course creators are known for only showing up online to put themselves in front of us when they are leading up to a launch. It’s crickets every other time of the year.

That’s not a good way to do business because this sends the wrong message. It can be interpreted to mean they don’t care about their clients and potential clients all the time, just when it’s good for them as course creators.

How To Do It Right

There are also some people in this online space who are very good at showing up all year. Amy Porterfield, the one whose quote I’m using and who inspired me to publish this, is one of those people. I am in a couple of Amy’s groups on Facebook. I’m on her email list, and I follow her on Instagram.

I follow her a lot because I want to soak up her knowledge, and because I like her. She’s a business professional I see all year. She shares her knowledge and her wisdom with her audiences regularly, so it’s not irritating when she comes close to an online course launch and we start to hear from her about a course she is going to be launching online.

That’s how it should be done.

How Does This Translate To The Legal Profession?

Here’s how this translates to you. Don’t let the only time that your clients hear from you be when you’re getting ready to send a bill or an invoice. [ctt template=”5″ link=”2aw3b” via=”yes” ]Don’t let the only time your clients hear from you be when you’re getting ready to send a bill or an invoice.[/ctt]

Don’t let it be when you know your project is on the line and you’re thinking “Oh, I haven’t been in touch with them lately. I better at least say something, and I need to be really pleasant because I don’t want them to be shocked when the invoice comes.”

What I don’t want to happen is for you to be that lawyer who shows up only at the most important times when you have a stake in the outcome.

What I want you to do is to rethink how you show up when it’s not time for you to sell, and it’s not time for business development, and definitely not only when it’s time to send a bill. [ctt template=”5″ link=”uS7wt” via=”yes” ]Rethink how you show up for your clients and potential clients when it’s not time for you to sell, and it’s not time for business development, and definitely not only when it’s time to send a bill.[/ctt]

6 Keys To A Successful Law Practice

How can you show up at the right times?

I’m so glad you asked!

I’m going to break it down into six C words. If you want to write this down or print this out, that would be great.

  1. Communicate: This entire discussion is about communicating and communicating regularly. Don’t be that lawyer that only comes around once every so often when it’s good for you.
  2. Content: Make sure you are publishing regular content. I have several blog posts on the Myrland Marketing Minute Blog about content if you’d like to get up to speed. Content is really just strategically spilling out the contents of your brain, your wisdom, and your brilliance in any number of ways.
      • It can be written.
      • It can be online.
      • It can be a blog.
      • It can be a podcast.
      • It can be video.
[ctt template=”5″ link=”Jqi3Y” via=”yes” ]Content can be published in many different ways but make sure you are publishing content on a regular basis so that it is in front of people when they need you, not just when you need them.[/ctt]
  1. Calls: Some might call this old school. I don’t care if calls are old school, they can be extremely effective. When you are making these calls make sure it is only because you’re checking in. Also, make sure you don’t do this at a time when you’re getting ready to bill or sell something. This is a call just to check in with somebody to see how they’re doing.

If you know something about them, put notes into your CRM, or maybe just on a piece of paper, or a sticky note, or in your Google or Outlook calendar. Make a note about something going on with that person, which can even be a wonderful memory you share with him/her. Use these notes as reminders to mention something unique to them when you make this call. Show you were and are paying attention.

If you’re thinking you don’t have time to do this, spread them out. These people are one of the most important parts of your business, and you need to make time for them. They are your clients or potential clients. Remember that if you can’t or won’t show these people how much you care, someone else will.

To make it easier, put one or two of these names and reminders in your calendar once a week to make two five-minute phone calls. Be specific with the name of the person, not just “call a client,” but “call Bill Gates.” Chances are he is not going to answer because he is busy, so you can just leave your kind words on voicemail, which means it won’t even take 5 minutes. You can do this!

  1. Caring: I always want you to show how much you care. What I described above in number 3 under Calls was that you’re just calling to say hello.

Show clients you care. Show them you have empathy. Ask them what’s going on in their business or their lives that you need to be aware of. Find out what they and their colleagues are finding the most challenging in their business right now.  [ctt template=”5″ link=”dxNvS” via=”yes” ]Show clients you care. Show them you have empathy. Ask them what’s going on in their business or their life that you need to be aware of. Find out what they and their colleagues are finding the most challenging in their business right now.[/ctt]

  1. Consistency: Do all of this with consistency. This is one of the biggest challenges for all of us who have businesses. Your law practice is your business. My company is my business.

When putting out content, or calling someone, or showing that we care, the consistency is absolutely critical because, in peoples’ minds, you are there, and when you are there regularly and the day comes when they need you, then hopefully you’ll be top of mind. Publishing content consistently puts you in front of people when they need you, not just when you need them.

  1. Connection: Find ways to make a connection. Don’t be so robotic or so programmed or so scheduled with your communication that people don’t feel like they’re able to connect with a real human being. Use inflection. Let them see and feel your personality.

Your Thoughts?

Do me a favor and let me know your thoughts about this topic and about these 6 Cs. If you have a moment, leave a comment below and share your keys to a successful law practice. I would love to hear from you. [ctt template=”5″ link=”41r5d” via=”yes” ]Please comment below. What are your keys to building a successful law practice?[/ctt]

Nancy Myrland, Myrland Marketing & Social Media and LinkedIn Coach For LawyersNancy Myrland is a Marketing, Business Development, Content, Social & Digital Media Speaker, Trainer & Advisor, helping lawyers and legal marketers grow by integrating all marketing disciplines in order to maximize business development efforts to grow their practices. She is a frequent LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook for Business trainer, as well as a content marketing specialist. She helps lawyers, law firms, and legal marketers learn and implement business development efforts that are more relevant to their current and potential clients. She also helps lead law firms through their online social media strategy when dealing with high-stakes, visible cases. As an early and constant adopter of social and digital media and technology, she also helps firms with blogging, podcasts, video marketing, voice marketing, flash briefings, and livestreaming.

If you would like to reserve an hour of Nancy’s time to begin talking strategy or think through an issue you are having, you can do that here

Lawyers, This Approach Can Backfire On You

Nancy Myrland All Posts, Podcasting, Video Marketing Leave a Comment

Lawyers, This Approach On Podcasts or Video Can Backfire On You

Be very careful. If this is not your style, then suddenly adapting it because you think everyone else is doing it is going to backfire on you.

Lately, I have seen some people produce content that has them jumping at the camera and using bigger sounds and more drama in their audio. I am all for adding one’s personality to whatever the content is, but doing it the wrong way can hurt more than help.

Let’s talk about a few examples.

More Inflection and Gestures

In writing, we have the added responsibility of putting our personality into our words so they punch a little bit and so that people can picture us when they’re reading our words. You want them to picture you when they read your words, don’t you?

You don’t want them to become bored when they read what you write. That is why you will continue to see so many suggestions about writing conversationally and to incorporate storytelling when writing or speaking. These practices help your words come to life, which is what you want.

In audio, we also have to use a little bit more personality, or what might be interpreted as inflection. Some are naturally a little bit more dramatic when they speak. Dramatic isn’t even a good word; rather they tend to use a little bit more personality when they speak. They don’t have to worry about adding that much additional inflection.

Then there’s video. What I’m seeing lately really concerns me. This isn’t with everybody, but I think this is happening with more people because they are watching Gary V., or Gary Vaynerchuk. You may have heard of him. Gary can be pretty animated. He can also be low key. He and other video marketers or video producers have a lot of high-energy practices they incorporate into their content. They jump at the camera, and they suddenly use elevated motions and sounds. Gary does this naturally and has done it so long that it is natural and effective…for him.

Come to think of it, I think Gary’s use of these motions has decreased over the years. Let me know in the comments if you have observed this, too. His style has evolved.

Some who are attempting to adapt his more animated style as their own make it appear as though they are saying “OH MY GOSH, everything is the BEST and the GREATEST, and I’m going to yell at the camera, or I am going to incorporate a jump cut here and a jump cut there.”

Jump cuts are very interesting. If you don’t know what a jump cut is, you see it all the sudden when you’re in the middle of a video and the video stops and jumps to the person’s next move or phrase. It deliberately cuts out space in between sentences. That is a jump cut.

Don’t Copy If It’s Not You 

I’ve seen a few people I know who use this very effectively, but I’m also seeing some people try to copy some of these practices and going a bit overboard. Do you know what the problem is? The problem is that this is not them at all. I click on one of their videos or one of their messages and I last about two or three seconds and I’m gone…if I even open it… because they’ve begun to get a reputation for being overly dramatic and over-the-top. I’m someone that finds it challenging to watch or listen to people who are not being themselves or not being authentic in their delivery.

This Is Why It Happens

I know when we’re producing something like audio or video and even writing, we get into the mode of thinking we have to deliver something a little bit more than what we normally would in regular conversation because we’re in a marketing mode. We know we need to stand out from others by not being the same.

Instead, what we need to do is to practice regularly so we get to the point where we are just being ourselves and letting our personalities shine, letting our personalities enter the conversation, and using inflection when we normally would. Of course, if you don’t use any inflection, find a way to work it in naturally, or work with someone who can help you do that.

My Suggestion To You

  • What I want you to do is to watch those people who are using these practices authentically and where it seems natural. That is the practice that is going to be most effective for you, not emulating actions that don’t match your personality or your brand.
  • Show your passion and excitement, but don’t stretch it to the point that it is unnatural or not in agreement with who you are when others meet you offline.
  • Don’t incorporate practices just because someone told you that was the latest and greatest editing practice, or because you think you have to jump out of the screen to get everyone’s attention.
  • Please don’t start raising your voice because you think I am going to listen to you because that is likely not going to happen…at least not a second time.

Bottom Line

This can really hurt you in the long run. If this is not your personality, then nobody’s going to listen, read, or watch. Then what have you accomplished?

Well, absolutely nothing but turning people away.

Nancy Myrland, Myrland Marketing & Social Media and LinkedIn Coach For LawyersNancy Myrland is a Marketing, Business Development, Content, Social & Digital Media Speaker, Trainer & Advisor, helping lawyers and legal marketers grow by integrating all marketing disciplines in order to maximize business development efforts to grow their practices. She is a frequent LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook for Business trainer, as well as a content marketing specialist. She helps lawyers, law firms, and legal marketers learn and implement business development efforts that are more relevant to their current and potential clients. She also helps lead law firms through their online social media strategy when dealing with high-stakes, visible cases. As an early and constant adopter of social and digital media and technology, she also helps firms with blogging, podcasts, video marketing, voice marketing, flash briefings, and livestreaming. If you would like to reserve an hour of Nancy’s time to begin talking strategy or think through an issue you are having, you can do that hereShe can also be reached via email here.