How Should Law Firms Approach Social Media

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“You should set up Google Alerts or RSS feeds to summarize your firm’s activities on social media sites. Occasionally, it might happen that clients become concerned about what’s being said, and in that case you should be prepared when the call comes in.


Develop a regular schedule for each type of media you’re using. For example, group blog schedules are enforced more strictly than personal efforts, given the need for constant publication. A team of 10 lawyers might publish an 800-1200 word commentary every weekday morning, such that each contributor is responsible for something biweekly. Or the same team might prefer to publish snapshot summaries, each contributor being responsible for something every week. You should assign your lawyers soft deadlines to have written or solicited a post, and allow them to swap dates if they find themselves overloaded. Have pieces in the can so that you have content to post in emergencies.


Brainstorm creative ways to generate a readership for your blog. Consider point-counterpoint features or articles commemorating special events. Try publishing a weekly blog-roll of content you’ve read elsewhere on the net—other editors appreciate it and will remember by cross-linking back.


No matter what the medium, firms should offer real incentives to lawyers who help with these new initiatives. Within your firm, regard the social media committee the same as other work in management, or count non-billable hours docketed as if it were billable time. Appreciation for the lawyers’ effort should be reflected in their reward.


And remember that your social media policy will need to be tweaked as the firm gathers experience and as the tools and opportunities evolve. Who knows? In six months, your firm might develop in areas well-suited to social media—privacy, marketing and advertising, copyright, entertainment, and communications, to name a few—and a practice group Twitter account might seem like the easy and obvious fit. And by then will Google+ have surged in growth or gone the way of the dodo? Your firm should be alive to recent trends and adapt its policy accordingly.


Be creative. Be flexible. Have fun with social media. The benefit to your firm is great if you use the tools wisely.”

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