Turns out that you can say a lot in 140 characters or less. You can build a reputation in 140 characters or less. You can build a presence in 140 characters or less. You can build a network in 140 characters or less. And you can build a business in 140 characters or less. Yesterday I attended the LMA-LA program on social media, sponsored by Bame PR, moderated by Kevin O’Keefe and twittered live by yours truly over @heathermilligan. Social media is still very new, and most of us are learning as we are adapting to it, so there are no “experts” right now … just early adapters. If you weren’t following along yesterday, I’ve provided a scroll of my twitters at the end of this post. If you want it in English prose, check Ed Poll’s recap here. Ed is also hosting a FREE Webinar next week, “Social Networking to Enhance Your Practice”, and LMA-LA promises a follow up program in February, so stay tuned. Rather than make you scroll to the bottom of the page to make my points, I’m gonna give them to you up front:

  1. Social media is here, growing and not going away.
  2. We need to get over our aversions and adapt. And here’s why: I had 10 new people sign up to follow me on twitter yesterday. I have begun a personal dialogue with a few new people I didn’t know before the program began. And, my blog traffic yesterday directly correlated to my twitting.
  3. Social media can be adapted for the collective, as well as the individual.
  4. Social media is participatory. My job is to identify the “risk adverse” attorneys in my firm, bring them on board, and then allow SM to evolve.
  5. And, most importantly, Damn. If I was only selling something I’d be rich today or at least have a lot more business leads.

Twitting LMA LA. @kevinokeefe is moderating. LMA-LA panel “Meet the New Media” includes @kevinokeefe, Jonathan Handel from TroyGould and @sallyfalkow Kevin – we’re branding and marketing thought leaders. No PowerPoints today. Hurray. Law firms might be “risk adverse,” but individuals within the firms are not. (Ed note: find those risk adverse lawyers and work with them) Kevin beginning program asking what the audience wants to hear about. What a concept. Sally Falkow. Www.press-feed.com. New media Sally – Google now delivering dynamic results in their searches. You need broad content – web page, video, images for indexing on Google Marketer go from one law firm to the next doing the same thing. (ed note: do something different today) Anyone have a question on new media for kevin o’keefe or the panel? (I received 2 questions from my network.) Websites built as brochures. Don’t upgrade, just make sure that your content is on a publishing platform, something that is RSS enabled. Still in basics. Rss, subscribing by topic, name, etc. Jonathan talking how he went from 0 exposure to over 350 media hits in less than a year. How? Started a blog on entertainment and technology Take advantage of opportunities (such as the bail out, bank failure, mergers … Whatever is important to your practice) You need to lead people (reporters. Clients, readers) to your posts with a teaser (like Twitter, hello) Gotta have a niche, especially one that isn’t already being serviced How do you get average Joe lawyer to blog? 1) lawyers feel comfortable with what they do. 2) time constraints are minimal. It’s commentary It’s a conversation. It doesn’t have to be original content. 3) ethics issues aren’t hard. Use same rules of thumb as in a conversation 4) run conflict checks before naming names. 5) Daily Journal is desperate for content. 6) put on your blog before writing an article 6 or 7) include disclaimers What’s the ROI? If it’s getting to the WSJ, why not call and have them place it and avoid the blog. Because it gets picked up in the feeds Forget advertising. Blog, write, speak. If you want to become a brand and a thought leader, you need to blog. Get it syndicated. You can create an echo chamber around yourself Blogs need to be around the niche, they are searching for generic terms Q. What’s the biggest fear legal marketers have w/ sm? They don’t understand it. It is how we get our information. Twitter is breaking news. Sm takes off, builds and is viral. It moves quickly. (and we know lawyers don’t like quick). We need to read The Clue Train Manifesto. Marketing is a conversation. Kevin is showing tweet deck. Everyone say hi to us @kevinokeefe (Four hellos came in quickly.) Tweeting is small talk that leads to big business (I’ve seen a couple people retweet this comment.) If you have the knowledge, write something about it What are you “listening” to? Have it sent to a feeder and follow it. Then figure out how to add your content to the discussion. Get a Facebook page. Q. Are Twitter, Facebook and LI “selfish” as they are driven by individuals? Kevin: Relationships are built between individuals. Is it selfish for an individual to sit with a client at a ball game? Adapt Twitter, Facebook for the firm as well. Drive content to your firm with these tools. Standing here with friends

  • FYI. The picture is an original. “Portrait of Mommy,” by Piper Milligan. Age 5.

  • Fun post. While you were attending the pro-social media event, I was attending the LMA ethics in cyberspace webinar. It left me feeling apprehensive and frustrated. It was presented by staff counsel with the ABA, not a hip, non-practicing attorney who has built a successful legal blog publishing business 🙂 How do we practically address state ethics rules (for 52 states) as it relates to social media/networking? It seems so daunting and complicated.

  • From a PR perspective, social media is very exciting. It gives the individual the opportunity for more exposure, access to the media, and an opportunity to tell your story in your own words. No longer are you a slave to the traditional reporters who cut and paste your words to make them fit into the story. You control the message, the words, the quotes, and the information. I understand that it can be tough to wrap your arms around these concepts, how to implement it and use it for your firm’s advantage, but it truly is an exciting, innovative tools that are applicable to any industry and any professional.

  • There’s just so much time in a day. If you want to make the best of that time, how are you going to spend it?If you’re an attorney, you could spend most of it buried in your work. But — if you’re like most attorneys — you have to socialize (e.g., “it’s not what you know, but who you know”).How is your time best spent? Twittering? Probably not. You’re probably better off spending your time talking to someone — in person, on the phone, via emial — than reading where Kevin O’Keefe is, or what McCain or Obama or Greenspan just said.Sure, some attorney (i.e., a young attorney) is going to find a way to make good use of Twitter — or whatever the next hot thing is. But that’s not a good reason for the whole firm to spend too much time playing with Facebook and Linked In and Twitter, is it?

  • Agree with this post, Twitter is for all to use, allowing interaction with other people to a level never seen before. You can create a whole online brand (or at least brand awareness) using Twitter. Justin Beiber for example was only made famous via Twitter and FB, there was no other marketing. SM is definitely here to stay and needs to be used correctly and wisely, and not abused. Trust is important.