Numerous articles have addressed social media. They all seem to convey the same idea – we live in a world where social media engagement is an absolute necessity.
Recently, a UK based friend who had been working with axiclaim.co.uk, decided to start his own law firm. He asked me what I thought about LinkedIn, Avvo and Quora. I thought, “that seems like a lot of social networks to handle, where do you find time?” Having said that, dedicating at least 30 minutes in a day to client outreach will help grow your network. The best part is, you don’t even have to be at the office during those 30 minutes!
(Remember to understand the ethical issues that might arise prior to participating in social media.)
1. LinkedIn: Sending A Message A Day
I made a New Years Resolution (yes, people still make those!) to myself to send a LinkedIn Message to one person a day. I initially targeted only attorneys but later decided to tap into my alumni spirit and message non-attorneys from my alma mater. I was overwhelmed by how many people actually responded. I had a 100% track record when it came to responses. I usually introduced myself, mentioned my areas of practice (if it was an attorney), and proposed the idea of a friendship (possibly even a drinking buddy). After the exchange of a few messages early on, I never heard back from most of my new contacts. Until one day when someone I contacted via LinkedIn needed me to help them with a client in my home state. And just like that, I made some $$$, a lasting relationship, and a renewed sense of belief in the power of LinkedIn. As the old adage goes, “What a difference one person can make”.
Estimated Time Spent on LinkedIn: 15 minutes
2. Avvo & Quora: Humanizing Your Answers
It irks me everything I see an attorney on Avvo or Quora provide the following answer: “Your case seems interesting but I don’t foresee any credible attorney being able to answer your question without reviewing your documents first. I am available @xxx-xxx.” And then a half page disclaimer on how no attorney-client relationship exists and how their advice does not amount to legal advice, yada yada yada. We all get it – you don’t want to commit to an answer and a twenty line disclaimer is a must, but why even participate in these forums if all your response really reads is: “sorry dude, I am not looking at this until you pay me.” No potential client in his or her right mind would want to contact you at any time in the future.
My recommendation is to give some form of practical guidance. For example, a question once asked for tips on drafting a terms and conditions policy for a new website. In this situation, the attorney answered with links to copyright free terms and condition templates and suggested the use of affordable websites such as legal zoom. Of course this attorney backed everything up with a simple “it is advised to contact an attorney for assistance with your task… I am available @xxx-xxx.” He might have lost on a new client but there is a possibility that someone reading his answer might think he is a nice guy for taking time to provide real advice and approach him for his or her own legal questions.
Estimated Time Spent on Avvo or Quora: 15 Minutes