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This post is not aimed at lawyers whose practice is sailing along exactly as they would hope it would. Who have ample work, quality work, with clients who pay on time or early, and who never, ever argue about a bill. Who find creative pursuits within and among their legal work. Who have found particularly effective ways to differentiate themselves in a field of talented competitors. Whose hair is always just so.

Those folks will benefit not a whit from a recent blog post (not mine) that touting blogging as one of the top three Internet marketing activities.

And why (once again) does blogging matter? Because the definition of business strategy can be summed up in that one word that starts with “D”—differentiation. And blogging may be uniquely suited to convey an attorney’s talents, approach, and world view.

Um, yes, your world view matters to potential clients. Not your take on politics (better left to yourself). But the way you align yourself amidst challenging and thorny legal issues. The way you think through things, convey your position, and remain focused on the client at all times (the most important thing, of course).

Websites can do some of that lifting, but that’s where clients typically find the milquetoast puffery that reminds the world you are “full-service” (whatever that is), or that you were in an Order that had to do with the Coif (I go to Supercuts myself). That kind of stuff? It’s the opposite of differentiation.

So read this helpful post that describes blogging and two other online activities you should consider.

And if you’re still on the cyberspace fence, read this piece to hear how referral networks—via blogging—may be helpful to you.

My opening #BLI15 communications slide. #itsnotatypo

My opening #BLI15 communications slide. #itsnotatypo

Yesterday, I promised to share my decision on whose tweets from the ABA Bar Leadership Institute communications session were the most splendiferous. Today, I honor that promise.

Ultimately, I come to praise four folks—and I end this post with our Big Winner. Each of them will receive a special audiocassette (why audiocassesttes? Read here and here.). Of course, to receive their prize, they have to contact me at arizona.attorney@azbar.org with their snail-mail address!

Here are photos of the audiocassettes; click them to biggify (I’m still not sure who gets which, except for The Big Winner):

And before I forget: If you go to the end of this post, you’ll also see that we had huge Twitter engagement during our session. So I’m pleased to name and thank many of those talented folks. (Want to see nearly everything? Here’s my Storify from the session.)

Every one of the people appearing in today’s post deserve a follow by you on Twitter. Get to it!

Without further ado, here are our four winners:

Whitney von Haam @wvonhaam

Whitney offered engagement, excitement, and even a suggestion that she will change her life’s mission statement—all in response to our presentations! Not to mention her use of the hashtag #notthesameoldkitchencabinet

Here are a few of her tweets:

John Trimble @IndyBarPres

Look at John’s tweets below and note a few things:

  • He’s concise and to the point.
  • He “gets it” on a very deep level.

His classic approach is appreciated by busy tweeters everywhere:

And this, not officially during our session, is still eloquently put:

Yvonne McGhee @Yvonne_McGhee

Yvonne has been a leader’s leader for years, and her tweets show how adept and generous she is as she offers praise and insights.

Plus, she used the hashtag #truth at an evocative moment. I think you’ll agree that Yvonne shares the love in wonderful ways:

… which refers to this slide:

A young Dustin Hoffman learns about mobile.

A young Dustin Hoffman learns about mobile.

Tom Prol @tprol

So if you’re paying attention, you’ll see that Tom Prol is our big Twitter winner (Twinner?). Therefore, he will receive the fantastic tape from the band Spinal Tap.

What did I love about Tom’s tweet-valanche? Only a few things. His:

  • Quick thinking
  • Art direction and composition
  • Overall excellence and willingness to engage
  • Entrepreneurship to immediately take a selfie with a colleague as I took one in the BLI audience

Wowser. Tom puts the “wit” in Twitter, as you’ll see below:

Other Talented People

Here are some other terrific tweeters from the session (but a guy only has so many cassettes):

As I mentioned, if you want to relive that morning (I know you do), traipse over to my Storify here.

Finally, what do I take away from this amazing roster of tweeters?

  1. It’s far larger than I had expected.
  2. Association folks are witty and quick.
  3. I am surrounded by generous and smart communicators.

All in all, a #winning month. Thank you to all my amazing colleagues!

Facebook knows its members may die or become incapacitated ... and is now offering solutions.

Facebook knows its members may die or become incapacitated … and is now offering solutions.

The other day I was informed by Linkedin of a friend’s “work anniversary.” That was jarring, as I know she died last spring.

Even more unfortunate, that kind of social media interaction happens quite a bit—and there’s rarely a systemic change that would reduce its occurrence.

For example, for a few years around 2010, Facebook would invite me to “connect with someone you might know.” Fair enough. The selection of options was good, including a lawyer friend whom I had known for years, and even written about in Arizona Attorney Magazine. Sadly, though, she had died the previous year. I tried to alert people whom I thought were closer friends, but they had no leads on who might have access to her social media accounts.

Those were simply more opportunities for social media to remind me of sad times—and to highlight the need for post-death decisions about social media accounts.

That’s why I was glad to see a story that attorney Michael Tucker shared. The article by Geoffrey Fowler is titled “Facebook Heir? Time to Choose Who Manages Your Account When You Die,” and it is a welcome read. It opens:

“You can finally decide what happens to your Facebook account when you die. In a change of heart, the world’s most popular social network will begin allowing its members to designate someone—what they call a ‘legacy contact’—to manage parts of their accounts posthumously. Members can also choose to have their presence deleted entirely.”

Is making this change to your Facebook account something you’ll consider?

I'm sorry to ask about social media on a Monday. Too soon? gecko facepalm

I’m sorry to ask about social media on a Monday. Too soon?

Does social media do anything for you and your law practice?

Ok, I don’t typically start a Monday with such a potentially depressing question. So let me rephrase it: For those of you attorneys who find some value (however little) in social media to your practice, could you let me know what it is?

What led me to ask was an online post last week that examined the question “Does social media really work as a marketing tool?” You can read the (law firm marketer) responses here.

Besides being perturbed by the unnecessary use of “really” in the question, I also braced myself for the answers. That’s because lawyers (and many other legal organizations) often proclaim that “social media has never gotten me a new client.”

Well, if that was your goal for social media, and it didn’t achieve that, I’m sorry.

But of course (1) there are many goals for social media besides landing a client, and (2) how do you know your blogging etc. did not play a role in changing how a potential client viewed you as a potential counselor—or speaker, or mentor?

And remember, social media are channels, nothing more. When I encounter a resistant attorney, I sometimes ask whether their fax machine alone has ever “gotten you a client.” Or if your telephone “got you a client.” Of course not; you got the client, by displaying your expertise and/or experience and/or competitive pricing and/or geographic flexibility and/or 100 other things that may set you apart and make you appealing to clients.

Social media is just another way (and not the last way) to show those qualities.

It is also a great way to develop leads, learn about the community you want to practice in, and more.

In any case, please read the responses (by marketing experts) and let me know if you agree. I’ll be standing by (and bracing myself for the opposite of social media love); contact me at arizona.attorney@azbar.org.

Facebook Like thumbs upI’ll admit I was surprised by a headline that recently crossed my desk: “Majority of Law Firm Managing Partners Embrace Social Media”

Really, I thought? So all of that fearful fretting I hear is not representative?

Reading deeper into the release and the survey on which it was based yielded some welcome nuance. No, the conversations I have heard from law firms are not atypical: Many still dislike the medium.

What “The 2014 Managing Partner Social Media Survey–Part 1” makes clear, though, is that managing partners are “overwhelmingly embracing social media, specifically the professional social network LinkedIn.”

Well, if we’re thinking of Linkedin as a social media channel, I guess I’d have to agree. It is a space in the cloud world in which wearing a belt and suspenders is still welcome. So it may surprise few that “more than 90 percent of managing partners have LinkedIn accounts.”

Dig down a bit and the useful survey also reveals that “while 39 percent felt social media is a ‘new and exciting way to interact with others,’ 35.6 percent saw the innovation as a ‘necessary evil’ but said that they would ‘learn to adapt.’”

Belt? Check. Suspenders? Check. Social Media? Um...

Belt? Check. Suspenders? Check. Social Media? Um…

A necessary evil. That’s more like it. Can you hear the kicking and screaming?

Read and download the report here.

And here are some useful takeaways:

  • While 39 percent of respondents overall had a favorable view of social media, this number was 75 percent for managing partners under 40.
  • All managing partners under 50 reported having a LinkedIn account, compared to 86 percent of those 50 and over.
  • The vast majority of managing partners set up their LinkedIn accounts on their own.
  • On average, most managing partners access LinkedIn once a week.
  • Of the few managing partners who reported not being on LinkedIn, the majority cited an inability to see the benefits of the network.
  • Most managing partners belong to four to five LinkedIn Groups.
  • However, 40 percent of managing partners are mainly observers in the Groups to which they belong.

(OK, I really tried to read that third bullet point without smirking. Good on them!)

Part 2 promises to cover “firm-wide social media policies and practices.”

Do you think ghost-blogging by lawyers is misleading, unethical?

Do you think ghost-blogging by lawyers is misleading, unethical?

Here is a simple question for you on a Monday morning. It involves ghost blogging, the practice of some lawyers to post blog content on their own blog that was written by someone other than themselves.

 

My question arises from a few sources. It’s related to conversations I had at a Scottsdale conference last week. And it’s connected to an exchange that is evolving in a Linkedin group in which I participate.

Yes, I have my own opinions. But I’d like to hear from others and then we’ll chat more.

Lawyer-Word-Cloud

Keep up with what’s happening at the State Bar Annual Convention by following us on Twitter! Get short, timely messages (including photos, speaker presentations and more) from Arizona Attorney Magazine’s staff. If you, your firm or employer are active on Twitter, just insert the hashtag #azbarcon into all of your Convention tweets to allow them to be read and searched by fellow attendees and the entire legal community.

The Twitter links will take you to updates in our Convention Daily—news items and photos that will appear on the magazine blog, Facebook and Tumblr pages, and in our News Center:

For more detail, click on the image below for gigantification.

Twitter at Convention flier 2014

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