Tag Archives: LinkedIn

Law Firm Success in Social Media: Streaming Law Content?

One of my favorite destinations on the web, Real Lawyers Have Blogs, by social media master Kevin O’Keefe, posted about law firms streaming law content onto social media sites.  Check out Kevin’s post, where he takes the position that doing so is awkward and goes against social media etiquette.  In my comment to his post, I take the opposite approach, saying that I think it is perfectly acceptable for law firms to stream law content to social media sites, provided what they are streaming adds value to that target audience.  Different content will have different usefulness in different communities.

Here is my comment:

You definitely get social media Kevin!  I’m not sure I agree with you about there being no value in a law firm distributing content on social media sites.  While the party analogy is a good one to describe etiquette on social sites, generally, it under-describes the use of social media as a communication tool.

For law firms looking to build relationships on social sites like Facebook and Linkedin, sharing generously from the content they offer that can solve a need for a potential client on those sites is the essence of social media.  It is when they pepper these sites with any crap they have lying around that it becomes social spam.  To be successful in this space a law firm needs to know who they are reaching in which area and provide content that can solve a problem for that target client.

For example, streaming a pleading or court filing to a consumer facing Facebook group might not resonate as well as an FAQ or basics of practice area article.  More in depth materials might strike a cord with a group frequented by corporate counsel clients, where you are sharing resources such as forms or memorandums.  It all depends on the context and usefulness to your audience.

The tone in which it is shared can say a lot too.  Are you sharing this content so someone can adapt it for their practice or so a client can ask intelligent questions when they come to you for advice (or not need to come to you at all for a simple matter)?  Are you asking for feedback, trying to start a sharing wave (I’ve shown you mine, now you show me yours), or stir up a conversation with something spicy like firm newsletter on a controversial topic?

Social media has no rules.  We are at the beginning of a revolution.  Think of what it would be like to have been around in 1463, just 5-years after Guttenberg invented the printing press as we know it.  At that time, people were just figuring out that printing existed let alone how to use it commercially and socially.  Law firms who jump into the social media game now, define the rules, and lead with useful participation will be in a great position to develop business in the new online world.

As Kevin asked, what do people think of this?  Unique questions to answer here: in what context do you think it best for a law firm to stream content from their site to a place like Facebook?  Should it be on the Law Firm’s group or fan page?  What about to a group about a certain subject matter, such as litigation?

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Filed under Legal, social media

Aardvark – Social Media Q&A (this ain’t your sister’s Magic 8-Ball)

Remember the ’80’s?  Of course you do: big hair, the start of MTV, Coke v. Pepsi, Back to the Future, and glam rock (even if you didn’t live through these wonderful times you can “relive” them with I Love the ’80’s).  One of the things I fondly remember was my sister’s Magic 8-ball, a little toy invented by the son of a clairvoyant in 1946, which made a big retro-come back in the ’80’s.  This was a plastic 8-ball filled with water with a little window at the top.  You would ask the 8-Ball a question, shake it up, and then see which sagely phrase came through on a blue icosahedral die (20-sides) inside.  It had phrases like, “As I see it, yes,” “Better not tell you now,”and “Outlook not so good.”  We made lots of decisions as kids based on what the 8-Ball said.

In today’s world, 20-vague answers just won’t do.  The social media and information overload of 2010 requires millions of answers to satisfy our hive mind.  My newest mobile obsession is a little social Q&A network called Aardvark.  It works like this:

  1. Create an Aardvark Account
  2. Ask questions about anything
  3. Answer questions that the system sends you based on your profile data

It’s that simple.  You can get into the business of “friending” people, but even as a lone-wolf on the network you can receive answer requests and ask anything (I only have one friend on there so far – hi Wade – but would love more: go join!).  Also, registration links Aardvark to your Facebook profile, so details can be filled in from your existing profile of what you may want to answer.  You can add other tags as well so that the system will send you additional topics  as well.
This is a far cry from shaking the 8-ball.  It gets addicting answering questions – you become an expert in everything!  Just to give you some examples of interesting questions I have answered in the past week (click the links to see my answers):

  • Hobby – “I’ve been bored lately.  Does anyone have some good hobby ideas to start up?”
  • Witness – “How do you cope with things as you witness your parent getting older and time getting shorter over the years..?”
  • DJ Qilk and Gift of Gab – “I am trying to contact the artists DJ Quik and Gift Of Gab to request to use a song for background music for a couple of storyboards. This is nothing that I won’t be selling just storyboards. I can’t seem to find an email address any where. Can anyone advise?”

As you can see from the list above, Aardvark keeps your history of questions asked and answered along with links.  It also gives you the option of posting the thread to Twitter, Facebook, or keeping it private.  Still not satisfied?  There is an Aardvark mobile app for iPhone that lets you ask and answer on the go.  You can also receive text messages or emails when activity happens in your Aardvark profile.

And now for my constructive feedback:

  • Sometimes Aardvark tells you it is sleeping (huh?) and doesn’t send out your questions or let you answer.  I am not sure if this means a human being has to push all those messages through?  Their FAQ says that sometimes the system is unavailable b/c the team is making upgrades, but in the 1-week of my being a Varker it has been down quite a bit.
  • The mobile app can be a bit … here it comes (the corporate speak) “kludgy” – sometimes repeatedly asking for my login credentials and then not working.
  • Profile – while I love the simplicity it is a bit oversimplified.  I’d like to be able to have some other data populate in the main profile field as well (like links to this blog!).

Overall, I think Aardvark brings something novel to the SM scene.  More than just another network it creates a personal knowledge base and facilitates meeting new people.  Yes – Linkedin has a Q&A function, but there is just something so streamlined about Aardvark’s approach that makes me want to engage.  Should this community hit a critical mass and do a good job at being a ready-made API for other community sites (something it seems to be doing well) then it can really be something else.  Will it tell you your future like a Magic 8-ball?  I don’t know: why don’t you try asking it?

What are your thoughts about Social Media Q&A?  Is it useful?  Are you an asker or an answerer?

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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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