Shortly after the Total Attorney’s Get a Life Conference in Chicago, a firestorm started in the legal blogosphere around the question: “Is Twitter the legal marketing tool it’s cracked up to be?”

This firestorm was ignited by legal marketing consultant Larry Bodine when he contended during a Get a Life panel discussion that Twitter is not what it’s cracked up to be that sparked brushfires among scores of legal marketing Twitter Defenders/Twitter Detractors.

Most recently LinkedIn Lawyer David Barrett jumped into the fire with a very thorough and thought provoking discussion of Larry’s contention in Barrett’s blogpost: “Twitter for Law Firm Business Development: A Conversation Among Legal Marketing Brands.”

Such healthy, robust debate is what social media was meant to promulgate. And it is what is very much needed, as we in the legal marketing community try to find a place in our law firm marketing plans (or not) for these new media tools.

Keep in mind: social media is a only tool, not a final solution.

Like any tool it can be wielded with strength and power in the hands of an expert craftsman or it can be ineffectual in the hand of a novice. It’s all in how you use it.


Can Twitter be a distraction?
Of course it can be. And so can email and the telephone and endless meetings….


Bottom Line:
Anything can become a distraction if you don’t harness it properly.

Many businesses and lawyers are still trying to figure out if social media is a fad or a trend.

The true test as to it’s long term viability as a legal marketing tool is NOT how many people register on Twitter or how many drop off after 30 days (about 40% according to recent stats quoted in the above blog posts).

The real test will be found in the answer to this question: “If I effectively use social media platforms, will it generate new business, new clients, new referrals and/or new relationships for my business?”

To some people that question has already been asnwered in the affirmative. I spent some time with Kevin OKeefe of LexBlog fame. When I posed this question to him, he immediately responded, “All I know is that since I started using Twitter our business has increased by 20-25%.”

Wow!


Bottom Line:
In the right hands, almost anything can be an effective tool that can drive new business.

Clearly, we can’t forget the tried-and-true techniques of building relationships with referral sources, giving seminars and presentations, building an online presence, and the like. But I don’t hear the Twitter defenders saying that at all. I do hear some of the Twitter detractors saying the reverse. 


Bottom Line:
A powerful law firm marketing plan does not rely on one “magic bullet” to solve every problem and overcome every challenge.

Top Rainmakers use a variety of online and offline marketing strategies. They test the results and fine tune their marketing tool.

The exact legal marketing tools they use depends on:

  • Their target market
  • Their geographical location
  • Their practice area
  • Their personality
  • Their level of comfort

It is this bigger picture discussion that both David Barrett and I embarked upon shortly after the Get a Life Conference. We are exploring how legal marketing in 2009 needs to bring together proven techniques from both traditional and new social media marketing in creative, intelligent ways. (Toward the end of Barrett’s post he mentions our discussion.)

From this discussion will spring new educational products and legal marketing services. Stay tuned . . .

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