Monthly Archives: May 2009

How Much Are Your Social Media Efforts Worth?

Everyone’s on Facebook (even my parents).  You’ve got to have blog (even if no one reads it).  How many tweets did you send today (3-so far, but I’ve had meetings all morning)?  Social media is a buzzin’ (still) and will be for the foreseable future.  Businesses all know that they’ve got to be in this space, but many do not know why?  Furthermore, most businesses do not know whether they are succeeding.

Heather Holdrige posted a great blog on Frogloop.com about the return on investment in social media for businesses.  Her post went   into an overview of social media growth (“(NYT reported last week that time spent on social networks has exceeded that of email)”  and then discussed the metrics for social media success developed at the Women Who Tech TeleSummit, where she was a recent panel speaker on the topic. 

This chart that she posted shows a great quick reference guide to whether your social media efforts are working: 

How are you measuring your social media success?

 

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Best Practices: Building Online Communities (intro of sorts)

Ever since creation man has built communities.  Our first communities were tribal and used for survival, but in today’s wired world the online community is all about finding common interests and opportunities to connect that compell us to spend time sifting through the profiles and prattling of others (call it our “snooping instinct”).  But how do these communities even get started and how can businesses benefit from leveraging the natural instinct of the herd to click together?

 As the Manager of Academic Content Development for LexisNexis I have built mini-communities with my employees and partnership teams on our Share Point, and have partnered with Martindale Hubbell Connected (think “Linkedin for lawyers”) to find ways of integrating content into the growing community there, (I also manage the Nefesh B’Nefesh (aliyah/Israel) group on Linkedin).  The best resource I have found on building communities is a site called “Community Spark,” written by community guru Martin Reed.  Martin’s tips have helped to refocus my approach from one of content dictator to content facilitator.  A primer that I suggest for any community devleloper is 95 things I have learnt in 9 years of community building.  This is a list of short suggestions for building and managing a community.  Here are my favorites from the list:

23. Don’t be fooled into thinking members will use features even if they requested those features.

24. Keep features down to a minimum …

27. Change your community rarely …

38. You need to highlight the best content and give strong calls to action …

47. Asking questions is the single most effective way of generating activity in an online community.

48. You need to share information about yourself …

64. You need to act as a matchmaker by introducing members to other members …

71. You need to cater to your members – not your own wants or needs.

72. Trust is critical.

73. You need to give out a lot of ego strokes and compliments …

80. Do not edit or delete negative comments about your brand. Respond to them openly.

81. The more you moderate or intervene, the less active your community will be.

82. You need to delegate some tasks to trusted members.

83. You should give trusted members additional responsibilities and powers …

88. You can’t be afraid to experiment …

91. It can be easy to forget that a real person sits behind every member name.

92. You need to be passionate about your online community.

 

Group dynamics depend on creating a place where people can shine, bring what they do best to the table, and feel a part of something greater than anyone of the members.   Aliza Sherman of Webworkers Daily said:

Bottom line: Online community building is about the people first, the shared interests or experiences next, and the tools are the means of bringing people together in new ways.

What has been your experience with community building?

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Virtual Law Firms

During an economic slump all businesses look for ways to save. The law firms are no exception. This article from Legal Technology shows that a mix of in-house counsel and virtual law firms, (using attorneys from off-shore operations or homebased offices) can be a cost saver. But at what cost? Is it harder to manage your legal team when they are homebased?  Following best practices for virtual teams is one step, but what other challenges are presented when your in-house counsel is virtual?

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Delicious – Getting Web Cred as a Yummy Bookmarker

This post is a confession: I am a nOOb when it comes to Delicious – the social bookmarking site.  For the uninitiated, this is the description of Delicious on their Help page:

Delicious is a social bookmarking service that allows users to tag, save, manage and share web pages from a centralized source. With emphasis on the power of the community, Delicious greatly improves how people discover, remember and share on the Internet.

What I like about the site is that my bookmarks show up on any machine I work on.  The tool bar is installed on my home and work computers, so everything is centralized.  It works a lot like Twitter in the sense that you find interesting people who tag things that you find interesting too and follow thiem.  As you discover things of interest people follow.

That’s the formula, but what is the reality?  What is your experience as a web tagger?  This is the promise of Web 3.0 and beyond: our search results will be more relevant and the web will learn about us from the identities we establish.  Can sites like Delicious be the pre-cursor to it all?

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Relevant and Reliable: Why Martindale-Hubbell Still Matters

Martindale-Hubbell is a LexisNexis company that serves as an attorney and law firm search, branding, and rating service.  Similar to traditional, premiere search listing services like Yellow Pages and Google, customers of Martindale (attorneys and law firms) can pay for a priority listing, which syndicates their information across other consumer facing search resources (see below for more details).  Two weeks ago, the blog What About Clients put up a post, Martindale-Hubbell: Should we all “just say no?” in which they questioned whether the service was worth the cost and questioned what attorneys really got for listing there.  Dave Danielson, VP LexisNexis Client Devlopment for Martindale-Hubbell commented on the post, giving reasons for Martindale’s legitimacy.  This prompted What About Clients to post a blog today titled,  Towards a Reinvented Martindale-Hubbell, where they featured Dave’s comment and highlighted the new direction of Martindale. 

What follows  here is my comment to the second post.  I do not know if it will be approved by the editors at What About Clients, but thought it made for an interesting blog post here:

This will be a biased comment; I work for LexisNexis (albeit in a separate division), but I will try to comment here as an attorney and a blogger interested in technology, rather than an employee plugging his company (i.e., this is not LexisNexis talking here).  With the disclaimer out of the way, let me comment: I too had similar questions about Martindale’s relevance in a Web 2.0 world.  We all have access to free marketing tools (blog, twitter, social networks, etc.), so why would anyone need to pay for a listing in Martindale?  The answer is two-fold: (1) consistent brand syndication (aggregated on MH & Lawyers.com), and (2) legitimacy. 

On point (1) Dave Danielson said it above, (regarding a paid listing on Martindale) “that listing puts them in Martindale.com as well as Lawyers.com and also syndicates their profile/contact information to many alliance partners like Google, Yahoo, CitySearch, MSN, superpages, and many others.”  This is repurposing at its finest – the effort that would go into an individual managing such syndication efforts so that their brand can aggregate consistently across multiple consumer platforms would cost more than the fee to list with Martindale, both in time and money.  In today’s fast paced world, people want to see your name whereever they look.  The word “search” in online life has a strained meaning at best; most of us do not look beyond the first page of Google results. 

On point (2), ratings and feedback matter to the consumer.  Creating a legitimate snapshot via AV ratings gains legitimacy and credibility among both colleagues and potential clients; this translates into more business.  Martindale presents an opportunity to be the more relevant than others in a client’s search results. 

Along these lines, a feature that is on Lawyers.com (and would be great to see on Martindale) is client feedback.  An enhancement to this feature, and something very useful for Martindale would be the ability of clients to enter a net promoter score (scale of 1-10 measuring whether they would recommend this lawyer to a friend).  When choosing a service or product I find such ratings helpful in deciding whether to put my hard earned money there. 

In sum, Martindale provides many existing benefits (syndication, search and profile, legitimacy), and has the potential to do so much more, especially with M-H Connected (think Linkedin for lawyers).        

What are your thoughts about Martindale’s legitimacy?  What about the new, attorney networking service Martindale Hubbell Connected?   Are you a member?

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I Stand Corrected: Personal Contact Lens (The transparent OLED done one better)

I posted a blog last week titled, “Hey Time Magazine: Where’ My Active Contact Lens,” which questioned certain predictions made by Time Magazine in 1998 about what technology for the next 50 years would look like. One ambitious projection was an “active contact lens” that connected to the Internet and allowed for HUD (heads up display). While we can’t expect Lenscrafter to start selling these babies anytime soon, an interesting article from Geek.com discusses. “an integrated, autonomous system designed to augment your visual experience with information relevant to your personal surroundings and immediate circumstances.”  Check it out – this may just be cool enough to get me over that icky feeling I get when I think of putting a lens directly on my eye (I’m a glasses man)..

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