Social Media May Help Your Business, but It’s No Silver Bullet

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On Real Lawyers Have Blogs, Kevin O’Keefe highlights a FindLaw survey on social media and potential clients:

According to a new survey from Findlaw, 54 percent of consumers say they would likely hire an attorney who is active on social media, including Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. This is particularly true for younger Americans – 69 percent between the ages of 18 and 44 would hire attorneys who are active on social media.

So is the survey a resounding endorsement of social media marketing for lawyers? Let’s consider what the survey doesn’t say.

  • It doesn’t quite say consumers actually hire lawyers who are active on social media—although 34% of those who responded did say they used social media to help them select a service provider “such [as] a lawyer, plumber or doctor.”
  • It doesn’t say consumers hire lawyers because they are active on social media.
  • It really doesn’t say that having a Facebook page for your law firm will magically turn into a potential-client magnet.

I really can’t emphasize that last point enough. You can’t just go out and “do some social media.” As Kevin points out:

Most lawyers and law firms look at Internet marketing as a passive sport. Hire someone to build a website, do some SEO to gain attention and get a marketing person “to create” a social media presence for you.

Just look at all the lame law-firm Facebook pages out there. Or the ridiculous way some lawyers use social media. And oh fer chrissakes, law blogs.

When social media works, it works because the lawyer who is using it is just networking. Not Networking with wine and cheese and a stack of business cards, but actually getting to know people. If you are just interesting and engaging, and you are those things on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, your bar association email list, your favorite comedy forum, or an ancient BBS, you’ve got a good chance of bringing in clients.

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