Can social media save solicitors?

10 09 2009

In my last post on this topic I argued that the introduction of Alternative Business Structures (ABSs) does not have to entail the destruction of the smaller firms in the legal profession, although it undoubtedly poses a very severe challenge. 

High Street firms without a recognised “brand” of their own haven’t got the financial resources to compete with the massive advertising budgets of the banks and supermarkets.  Firms or, more particularly, individual solicitors themselves, have only their own skills and personality to sell.  Word of mouth recommendation is well recognised as the best form of business development and that will never change.  What will change is that social media will allow firms and individuals to promote themselves beyond the confines of the spoken word of mouth networks.  In particular it is likely that websites will develop which will allow users to rate their solicitor; think TripAdvisor, but for lawyers.  It must only be a matter of time before such a site develops.

Alternatively networks will (and are) appear which act as umbrellas for “quality-checked” firms – we’re seeing that with, Contact Law (who are “badging” their service via the Daily Telegraph) and to name three.

It will then be very important for lawyers to control their online identities and to promote themselves in the virtual world.  We all know how “googling” has become a verb and not just a proper noun.  This trend will continue as the general population becomes more tech-savvy.  All practitioners will require a digital media strategy (Tesco law will have one).  Anyone reading this blog probably has a pretty good idea of web 2.0 and social media but, for the sake of completeness, this is what I think a digital media strategy is;

  1.  A good website, properly designed, utilising SEO techniques.
  2. A blog – probably a personal rather than a corporate one displaying wisdom and personality (like this one really!)
  3. Use of Facebook et al.  Facebook has “Pages” that allow businesses to promote themselves.  It also has about 245 million users worldwide.  Facebook has overtaken MySpace in importance.
  4. Twitter!  Play with it for a while and you will see its uses.
  5.  Linked-In et al – of most use to recruitment consultants at the moment but that will change.

None of this will replace good old-fashioned networking in the real world or will surpass the joys of an old-fashioned lengthy lunch (some of us still do it and I’m always open to invitations) but it will complement it. 

As usual, all comments welcome.


Alex says it best …

11 06 2009

Following on from my recent post about the usefulness of Twitter, today’s cartoon by Alex in The Daily Telegraph provides his usual incision and wit into the subject of whether Twitter is any use at all.  I’m converted to it, albeit I don’t find nearly enough time to “tweet”. 

The recent poll I ran on this subject has given a resounding answer; most of you think Twitter is a waste of time. 


Do you Twitter?

30 04 2009

And if you do, do you find it useful?  I’ve been “twittering” recently, getting up to speed on tweeting, retweeting and have installed tweetdeck and twitterberry on various bits of kit.  Like most people, I initially thought it was a waste of time but I’m slowly becoming converted to it. I can see that it is a very useful way of passing on snippets of information about what’s going on elsewhere, and some of the tweets are very amusing.  For instance check out @charonqc and his recent tweets on swineflu and wine flu.  Stephen Fry’s tweets, on the other hand, are a little disappointing.  I came across a tweet from @ukemploymentlaw today and she was of the view that twitter was, with the exception of her, completely uninteresting.  What do you think? I haven’t had a poll for a while, so here is one to make up for the absence;