Why Social Media, Why This Blog?

I am a Motoring Lawyer by day and run Motoring Lawyers Online. As the name suggests all of the marketing and advertising is done online. I started this firm in 2009, my passion was to run an law firm taking advantage of Social Media. By that I mean places like Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Ecademy etc. All of these are places where you can share ideas, learn and from a marketing point of view, be seen.

Traditional lawyers were/are against any form of social media, in the firm where I was a partner before setting up my own practice Facebook was banned and most people hadn’t heard of twitter or if they had they didn’t ‘get it’

I was convinced that there was a place for social media for lawyers and the last 18 months have proved that to be correct. I have met with some fascinating lawyers who use social media very well, learnt a lot and even gained clients from social media. I have also come across some awful examples of people jumping on the social media band wagon and just not getting it at all.

I want to use this place to give my own views on social media and how it can work for lawyers.

For me Social Media for Lawyers, or anyone else is not about advertising, yes it can be about marketing but not advertising. Social media is not about broadcasting, it is not about spamming messages offering services nor is it about auto tweeting the same message throughout the day.

Advertising is one sided, the advertiser advertises and the reader reads, except they don’t, not any more. No one reads or listens to adverts. At the moment there is a very good TV advert showing a flash mob at an airport singing to passengers as they exit. The 2 sings I have seen are ‘return of the mac’ and ‘ the boys are back in town’. I love watching the expressions of the ‘victims’, they are cool adverts well designed, except for one thing…… I couldn’t tell you who they are advertising.

I get around 150 emails a day, mainly spam, I assume the majority are spam and  I read the first line of the ones that make it past my spam detector. Normally that is enough to be send to the trash folder. Obviously the ones that tear at my heart strings with a plea to help them release $15,000,000 in return for 10% I read more carefully, after all who would turn down an offer like that?!

The point is there is so much noise, so much crap that we have stopped listening, stopped reading and the only people that advertising works for is the people getting paid to sell advertising.

Done properly Social media is not advertising, it is not one sided. That simply doesn’t work. If your aim in social media is to tell and sell you are not doing it properly and are wasting your time.

Social Media is about interaction, it is two sided, it is about building a relationship where the aim is no more than that. Simply building a relationship, one day you may be able to help that person, one day they may be able to help you, but if you start off with the aim of creating a business deal you will fail, people will see through that and you will be added to the noise or worse still the spam.

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21 Comments

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21 responses to “Why Social Media, Why This Blog?

  1. Hi Steve

    Nice post. It’s really great to know that you can do an “online firm” and do it well, because thats excatly what I’m planning to do and use social media in the right way not how most law firms do it. Coincidentally, i blogged today about how poorly other lawyers use twitter.

    Perhaps I can have a chat with you about things when I’m back in the UK?

    Thanks

    Steven Mather
    @smather21

  2. Hi Steve,
    A very well put together first plunge! I agree entirely with everything you have said.
    Regards
    Paul

  3. Is this you, David Barton? What about a profile and, crucially, a link to your website?

  4. Hi Steve, well done on starting a well named and nice looking blog. And a great first post too!

    Social media seems to be moving all the time. We are just getting used to something when along comes another new service. Will it be another twitter or just an inferior Google wave?

    Only yesterday I joined a new service called Quora and I’m not sure yet whether it will be good for me or not. Time will see. Of the older media, I love blogging, and enjoy using twitter. Linkedin is useful and I have a slowly growing facebook page for my online service.

    I look forward to reading your views on all of these Steve, particularly twitter where you are the master! All the best for a successful future with your new blog.

  5. Pingback: Tweets that mention Why Social Media, Why This Blog? | thesocialmediasolicitor -- Topsy.com

  6. Excellent blog Steve, and a great business model. I hope it works out. You’re already on Defero but feel free to use to your advantage 😉

  7. Steve

    A good niche blog. Don’t think any other lawyers in the UK are blogging just about this area of practice – although there seems to be plenty being written about it at the moment! Will be good to see relevant points being made by a lawyer who uses social media and that on their own blog.

    I have added you to the blog roll at The Time Blawg

    One thing I keep getting asked by other lawyers and by legal publications is what is the ROI. Many lawyers are simply not interested unless this point is clear to them in pounds, shillings and pence. I don’t believe you can easily measure it or that it is necessary to attempt to do so. Your last paragraph is spot on. Just join in and you will be constantly surprised by what comes out of the relationships you make through social media.

    All the best with the Blog and, as Jon Bolch, said to me after I set up The Time Blawg: “You do know what you’re letting yourself in for, don’t you?”

    • Thank you for your comment Brian, it is funny that lawyers etc want to know the ROI. How many know the ROI on traditional advertising? Previously in a marketing role in other firms we have advertised on the back of buses, doctors receptions etc with no way of knowing what returns we got. I suspect I knew very often the answer was nil!

      • I think it may be the time commitment that worries them. Using time for anything other than fee earning work can be a concern to some lawyers. They will not have the same time commitment to place an advertisement in their local newspaper etc. But there again they will probably be quite happy to regularly spend an entire day on the golf course with one or two clients/contacts! There is a good chance, I would suggest, that the ROI from social media could be greater than from those good walks spoiled.

  8. Steve
    Congratulations on the new blog, which I’ll be following.
    I recently started a blog on commercial property and environmental law, called Digging the Dirt (www.jondickins.com). I am freelance, so I am using the blog partly to help me keep up to date in law and as a platform for writing, and also to experiment with and to learn more about using social media, which is still quite new to me. I suppose also in a vague sense I see it as an opportunity to “sell” myself, which as a freelance is all about building contacts and being seen to have a particular expertise.

    I don’t know how using social media will develop for me, as I will have to see whether I can build a readership that makes it worthwhile. I look forward to reading your future posts and have added you to my blogroll.

    Best wishes.
    Jon

    • Thanks Jon, I think a blog is a really good idea for a freelancer. It helps build your brand and positions you as, I hesitate to use the word expert because it’s over used but certainly as someone who knows his stuff. Also a great way to keep up with the law, nothing like having to write about it to help you learn it!

  9. “Done properly Social media is not advertising, it is not one sided. That simply doesn’t work. If your aim in social media is to tell and sell you are not doing it properly and are wasting your time.”

    Sound advice, Steve. All the best with the blog!

    Best wishes
    Gavin

  10. Well done; another one up and running.

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