Kevin O’Keefe asked a great question today on his blog:  Does a lawyer need to blog to make effective use of social media?

Is it prudent for a lawyer or law firm rely on third parties to maintain and protect their brand? A brand as a professional service provider that labels you as a trusted and reliable authority in a niche area of the law. I’m not sure that’s a responsible course of action.

In addition to the inherent difficulties of establishing yourself as a thought leader and an expert through Twitter, Facebook, and the like, what if those services decline in popularity or go away? Unlikely, but law firms approaching social media worry about things of lesser risk.

What if your brand is hitched to some third party social media tool when that happens? What happens to all of the content you shared? At best, no one is one looking at the content anymore if there is a decline in popularity in the social media tool you used. At worst, your content is gone.

If a lawyer is really going to network through the Internet and engage their target audience through social media, don’t they need to blog?

Obviously, I think that there is profound value in blogging for individual attorneys.

In a crowded marketplace, whether it is within an AMLAW 100 firm, or a popular practice area, blogging can help establish your presence, brand, and credibility.

I constantly encourage younger associates to blog as it can help establish their points of knowledge, and fill out those empty looking bios.

A blog, in my opinion, can be a key point of differentiation between you and your competitor.

I also like Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook for their ability to expand your reach to new contacts (current and potential customers/clients), build relationships with referral sources and influencers, and its use as a distribution channel for content.

I, however, hadn’t thought about the “risks” involved in hitching your brand to a third party application until reading this post. But Kevin’s right.  There will always be the next Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, etc. However, your blog is your own. You are not dependent on a third party application for your positioning and branding.

So, to answer Kevin’s questions. Is it necessary to blog to make effective use of social media? As an overall strategic component, I’m going to have to vote “yes.”

Great question, Kevin.

What say you??

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