Tag Archives: social media

3-ways to get started in social media

I speak to a lot of people who are interested in social media.  As this is rapidly just becoming the way we use the Internet getting “into the game” is a lot easier than you think.  For those looking to incorporate social media into their business strategy, here are a few easy to follow steps help you take the plunge (many books have been written on this subject so these quick tips are just the tip of the iceberg – pardon the pun):
  1. Identify your target buyer – create a buyer persona, a biography of the person you want to sell to.  Give them a name and write a few paragraphs about them focusing on (a) the problem they have that needs solving, (b) what would be appealing to this buyer and how we can find them online, and (c) the solution you have for them.  This can be done on paper with pen or Word.  We’ll use this to craft our marketing strategies.
  2. Brainstorm ideas for your blog categories (ex/ body work, medicine, posture, etc.).  These are like chapters of a book and you will usually choose 1 of them to categorize your posts.  Categories are also helpful to navigation and give depth to your blog.
  3. Start drafting your first 10 posts.  It may be helpful to think of them as a theme – so for example, start with the theme of posture.  You can easily come up with 5 posts about posture: (a) importance of posture (worst cast scenario if not fixed, benefits, etc.), (b) how to have good posture, (c) ways of paying attention to your posture (20 minute reminder, etc.), (d) what to do when your posture is terrible (extreme measures), (e) how good posture improves health, work, etc.  This is only an example, but the point is you can think of a single theme that fits in a category, come up with a bunch of posts about that theme, and then just start writing.  The beauty of a blog is you can have these posts as drafts for weeks as you develop others and work through your ideas.

Like I said above, these are three quick and easy strategies that I use whenever starting or rethinking about one of my blogs.  There are much more qualified people than me talking about this stuff at sites like CopyBlogger and ProBlogger (both EXCELLENT resources).

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Filed under social media, Uncategorized

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

Social Media Success for Small Business

This is a presentation about social media success for small business.  It focuses on three areas (1) brand (2) community, and (3) passion. Focusing on the video Social Media in Plain English by Common Craft, we take the ice cream analogy to the next level and look at the behaviors that work for jumping into the social media game.

The slides are very visual and work best when used with the notes page or my live presentation.  I’m hoping to get audio, at least, up for these in a week or two.   Thanks to everyone who showed up to the presentation today at Nefesh B’Nefesh, and I am so impressed by all of you.  Remember, it is easy to get into social media.  Anyone can do it.  You just need to find your passion, bring that to your business, and get cranking.  Feel free to reach out if you need me.

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Seth Godin’s Linchpin and Mastering the Art of Social Media Policy

Daniel A. Schwartz, author of the Connecticut Employment Law Blog posted about one of the presentations from Legal Tech last week.  His post, Social Media Policies and Practices Developing as Companies Begin to Embrace It, gave some details from the panel discussion by the following in-house lawyers: Lesley Rosenthal (Lincoln Center), Ted Banks (former in-house at Kraft), and Mark Bisard (American Express).  Check out Daniels post here.
The panelists basically discussed how social media policy is becoming a more recognized form of policy for a company to have.  Ted Banks spoke up as say that employees can become disheartened and resentful of too restrictive a policy.  I left this comment in response:
I am most in agreement with Ted about social media presenting an opportunity to companies to engage their creative employees and let them flourish.  This requires clear guidelines that are flexible enough to allow for employees to be artists in what they do.
Seth Godin describes this really well in his new book Linchpin (if you haven’t checked it out yet, it is a must read).  His general point is that corporate work trains obedience, being just good enough, and waiting for orders.  To thrive in today’s world we need employees who are artists.  They contribute value, connect to customers in ways that are human, and can make a real impact that propels the company.  These people are linchpins.
Rigid guidelines choke the life out of such employees.  Demanding metrics over artistry mechanizes the processes, makes it sub par, and outsourceable.  It’s why companies like Apple and Google, the leaders in business, thrive and are adored.  Other companies say they want to be like Apple or Google, but this just means they want to be loved while producing mediocre results.
Any social media policy should be a guideline.  Your employees are smart enough to know what they should and shouldn’t do (if not – get new employees).  A good legal department balances the need of the company to have a policy in place they can point to if something goes wrong, with the need for employees to be free enough to create without fear of censorship, backlash, or worse.  It is a risky game, but one with great rewards if done right.

A social media policy is not some revolutionary mysterious thing.  It is a policy.  Likely a policy no one will read anyway.  Where companies experience mastery is when they do things that are risky, things that ordinary policy making would cry “NO! Don’t do that!”

Notice I said risky.  Not stupid.  As a member of the  legal department it is your job to protect the company, but realize that your employees are likely smarter than you think they are.  Also, they are more creative than most of us realize.

If your management creates a linchpin culture where employees take risk, reach for greatness, and share their gifts then your policies at best should be guidelines to help amplify that.  If you have an assembly line amassing Twitter followers than perhaps you want something more rigid that will meet the CYA standard.  All I’m saying is that in a world where everybody is on Facebook, the winners are those who can connect with customers in ways that automation cannot.

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Filed under Legal, social media

Building An Employee Community

Employee communities, internal social media platforms built for employee engagement by the employer, can be a wild success and source of innovation or an incredible flop. I have seen examples of both first hand. So how do you make your employee community an engaging place that workers will care about?

There are three primary tactics for building a powerful employee community:

1. Usefulness and relevance to day to day work, and a genuine value placed on engagement by senior leadership

2. Incentives

3. Passion for community and real opportunities to make a difference through it

Usefulness, Relevance, and Value

Leaders must make participation in the community useful to achieve the day-to-day work of the employee.  This may mean diverting conversations away from email and onto message boards.  Really progressive companies may want to get rid of email ENTIRELY and use only their internal social networking platform for messaging.  To do this of course, your system would need to have the functionality to tag, sort, and archive in-mail messages, but the key to abandoning email for community discussion platforms is changing the behavior of employees to have primary discussions on public or private threads rather than on fragmented email chains.

Expectations in business today are not always reasonable.  We’ve all heard that “build it and they will come” doesn’t apply to online communities.  Fostering true engagement and participation means making what goes on in the community relevant.  To be relevant, the conversations, content, and other activity within the community need to translate to real-world objectives, action, and results.  Any community platform you build for your workers is a tool – just like putting in a phone system didn’t start making employees innovate, putting in a community with fancy tools is just the first step; it will not cure your innovation problem.  What a community platform can do, however, is level the playing field for ideas to be heard.  That is what we mean by relevance.

Beyond the day-to-day behaviors moving to new tools, is the work product on your system valued?  When people put out ideas on the community who champions them?  Do you have a way of measuring the best contributions (not just the most)?  All these questions hint at the value placed on what goes up in the community and the value extracted from it.  Again, these are just tools.  Let me say that one more time: these are just tools.  They have the potential to change the way we work and add incredible value, but only if we first see how our old tools can be replaced.

Incentives

Money is one of the last on this list.  The most powerful incentive is when someone believes what they are doing is important.  Without this our efforts in a community or the very work we do just seems aimless.  How can you make what is going on in your community important?  This is the million dollar question, but a good place to start, what is important about the work you are doing now?  What are the goals of your company?  How you better reach them by using your community to communicate the mission, objectives, steps, and progress?  These questions all go to making the work you do on your community focused and important.

Beyond this, the community is a place where senior leaders can become real to employees, much the way celebrities have used social media to interact with fans.  Try having an executive write a regular blog where he solicits feedback and responds to comments received.  Another tactic is to create an innovation lab forum, where employees are invited to submit ideas for new directions the company can take the business in.  The highest rated ideas can be green lighted and those individuals or teams chosen to work directly with top level people to make them happen.  These are just some examples of non-tangible incentives that resonate with employees.  Give them a stage.

Passion and Making a Difference

Find your cheerleaders early.  Even better if they are people others in the company already respect.  Create a team of superusers, not just in name.  Make it part of their work to meet regularly, grow the group, and lay out a clear path for others to join their ranks (this is not so much an exclusive club as it is a milestone).  These users are the ones along with senior leadership who should be listening and fostering engagement in the community.  Hiring a dedicated community manager is also a good idea.

Passion that doesn’t translate to change is just enthusiasm.  An organization needs to commit to the new course that the group conscience of the company begins to plot.  Your community is worthless if it can’t change things in your company.  If you are “the decider” ask yourself: am I just going to do what I want anyway?  If so, your community exists to give the illusion of progress.  And what a shame, because it will be a missed opportunity to take your business to the next level that you know it needs to hit.

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Filed under Productivity, Technology

Tech Talks (New Video Series): Social Media Governance

Check out this new video series I started on our Martindale-Hubbell YouTube channel.  Tech Talks (working title) are video chats with some of the top names in law, social media, and technology.  We have a laid back, 20-minute video chat over Skype discussing your work and anything you want to highlight about what you are doing now.  Future plans include creating two versions of the video: an unedited, basic version posted on YouTube and a premium, directors cut (edited, with music, chapter navigation, and other features), which will only be available in Connected.

If anyone reading this is interested in participating in Tech Talks, please comment below or email my work address at michael.mintz@lexisnexis.com.

Here is the first video I did with Chris Boudreaux from Social Media Governance.  Chris is an interesting guy.  A non-lawyer, he developed a site that houses over 130 social media policies from different companies, a report analyzing the trends in these policies, and a forth-coming publication on the subject.  We spoke about his work, and are going to be working together to get it seen by more lawyers, who I’m sure will benefit from what he has been doing.  Here’s the unedited video:

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Filed under Legal, social media

Going Green: How Your Facebook Profile Saves the World

Cartoon by Thomas A. Boldt "Tab"

You probably didn’t know that Facebook, Linkedin, and Martindale-Hubbell Connected are saving the world.  Think about it.  You used to go places to network.  Now you do it in your pajamas.  Going to those places used gas, jet fuel, created additional trash (travel size bottles and food wrappers galore), and excess (don’t we all take longer showers at hotels and indulge in liberties like leaving the lights on?).

But it’s not just conferences.  I used to print out photos for relatives and send them to everyone (okay, maybe I didn’t exactly do this – but people do).  Now you share those same photos on Facebook or Flickr.  If people want to print them out they can choose which ones they like and do so.  Printing at home saves a drive to Target, which saves on exhaust used.  This same rule applies to birthday greetings, announcements, and other one-to-many items that used to be shared via mail or phone call (think of the energy you save posting it once rather than calling each person when something happens).

Now you might be saying to yourself, “but Mike, isn’t it impersonal to do everything via Facebook broadcast?  No cards, no phone calls?”

I say to you, “do you hate the environment?  Are your trying to kill your planet? 2010 must be the year where we all wake up and start doing everything digital because it is a matter of life and death for our earth!”  Okay, I’m kidding about this last part, but think about it – the more we can consolidate the means for doing something while reaching broader audiences the less energy we will need to consume, which results in conservation of resources.  And not just environmental resources, but perhaps the most precious resource of all: time.

As for me, I am going to join Brighter Planet’s 350 Challenge. For every blogger who signs up and displays their badge  they will remove 350 lbs of CO2 from the air (don’t ask me how they are doing this).  From their site:

To join in, post the badge to your site, let us know, and we’ll offset 350 pounds of carbon in your name. That’s like flicking off 100 lightbulbs for a day. Or going two full weeks without your car!

So that explains the badge to the right.  Also, you may notice that the design of Mintz’s Wordz has always been simple, with a white background, and thin layout.  This helps with server bandwidth and usage which conserves energy also.  So just by reading this blog you are helping the environment.  Mashable has a great article with 10-ways to green your website.  Tell me how you’re cutting down on your carbon footprint using technology?  How are you using social media to foster relationships and conserve?

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