I am a NY Jets fan … and yes, for most of my life I have been disappointed. All of that changed this weekend with the Jets crushing defeat of the Cincinnati Bengals, rocketing them into a NFL Wild Card Playoff spot. With a rookie star quarterback (Mark Sanchez), a key new receiver (Braylon Edwards), and a brand new coach it is easy to be excited about all of the change. That alone would hardly be enough to win football games. The Jets needed to put numbers on the board, and playing well meant converting red zone opportunities (being within 10 yards of the end zone) into touchdowns. Lawyers need to do this with social media: turn participation into new relationships and new business.
Kevin O’Keefe wrote a fantastic blog post on this topic today, Can Social Media Kill Your Law Practice? He gives some great practical tips for lawyers who want to use social media without getting swallowed up by new tools, or what David Allen calls, “the shiny red ball.” The point that resonated most strongly with me was the need for lawyers to take their client development efforts beyond just the “red zone” of social media content creation and interactions. I left this comment on his blog:
Too many companies want to jump onto Twitter, build a 1,000,000 person following and hope that the traditional 2% marketing rule applies. My experience has also been that a tool like Twitter is good for meeting new people and searching for real-time information, but if I want to convert that into something lasting the next step is taking the conversation to a new communication medium, whether that is email, phone, or in-person. For law firms the same principle applies, converting your social media contacts and efforts into new business requires an initial effort of building your presence, a continued and consistent effort of having conversations, and then the next step that Kevin describes of “deploying real-world client development skills.” Just like the NY Jets getting to the red zone won’t mean much unless they convert to a touchdown, a lawyer’s social media efforts come up short unless they are turning them into new contacts, thought leadership opportunities, and clients.
Participation is just the first step. Building the relationship comes next. With the relationship comes the trust, and with the trust usually a referral or direct business. It works the same way online as it does in the real world, the only difference being you have greater scale online. With social media activities your messaging and branding can reach more people with less effort, conserving resources to share firm thought leadership.
What are some of the ways you are converting social media activities into real world business?