By Michael Hammond
and Mark Powersi
Dolan Media Newswires
While there’s no question that marketing through social media offers another avenue to sell yourself and build relationships, it continues to perplex many lawyers and law firms.
They know they need to move in that direction, but the “how” escapes them.
The way to succeed with social media is to embrace the simple but effective rules of relationship-based, word-of-mouth marketing. As we noted in a previous column, sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter provide ongoing streams of cyber conversation that you can — and should — step in and out of at will, much like a 24/7 cocktail party.
Let’s break it down.
There are some people who love parties and thrive on social interaction, and there are those who don’t. For those wondering how to navigate this new social scene — and do a little marketing at the same time — the territory can seem foreign and fraught with problems.
For one thing, everything you “say” at an online party (think posted comments) is written and recorded, and some words, once written, are very hard to retrieve.
Use the same conversational strategies and follow the same rules you would use at a cocktail party, and you’ll be fine.
For example, you wouldn’t go to a party spewing one long commercial message about how great you and your firm are, and you shouldn’t do it online either. In a real social situation, surrounded by people you don’t know, you’d start with small talk, share a little about yourself personally, ask questions of your fellow partygoers, tell a funny story or two, and only then mention something about your firm.
Or, you might be introduced as an attorney, say a little about what you do, and then spend some time finding out what everyone else does. There’s give and take. You might talk of business mixed with conversation about your family, your hobbies, or maybe the sports you follow or the last trip you took.
Attorney and blogger Nicole Black offers some instructive guidelines on this subject. She recommends using the “50-30-10-10 rule” when operating in an online forum.
While nothing will ever replace live human contact for real marketing effectiveness, adhering to the cocktail party rules and following the applicable conversational guidelines will help you navigate the world of social media successfully.
Just remember: Don’t make it all about you. Be sociable — it’s a party.
Michael Hammond is a “founding father” of consulting company Atticus Inc. and a certified practice advisor. Mark Powers is the president of Atticus.