Fresh ideas, seasoned perspectives, and solid marketing strategies to keep you grounded and growing.
Several of us in a PR/marketing/legal marketing group on LinkedIn have enjoyed a lively — and entertaining — discussion this week about Social Media. It’s gratifying to be among seasoned professionals who recognize two simultaneous truths: Social Media is no magic bullet. And it is an unstoppable force to be addressed and incorporated.
One conversation began with “Are Social Media marketers drowning in the Kool Aid?” (initiated by Francis Moran, http://www.francis-moran.com). There were moans, jibes, and laughs about over-caffeinated Social Media zealots, frantic to override any marketing activity that doesn’t involve a 2.0 component.
I’ve got news for the fanatics: “Just do it!” is not a Social Media strategy (apologies to Nike). The consensus among the thoughtful practitioners was that Social Media does not replace traditional marketing, it enhances it. Social Media is a formidable, new tool. But it’s only powerful when guided by a well-established Social Media strategy.
A second conversation, initiated by Robert Algeri (http://www.greatjakes.com) involved an anonymous professional named “cranky attorney.” Cranky attorney still doesn’t “get” why his firm needs a website. You can imagine how cranky attorney feels about Social Media. As Robert and I traded comments, I shared a few of my “cranky professional” stories as well. I understand. It’s no fun attaining success in one’s profession, only to have Web 2.0 change many of the rules. From my end, it’s fantastic when a mature professional grasps what Social Media can do for his or her business.
A recent incident illustrates the push-pull between old and new. This Saint Patrick’s Day, I joined two other panelists who spoke before the Bar Association of North San Diego County (http://bansdc.org) about Social Media for attorneys. More than 120 attorneys attended. AVVO, which is somewhat like a LinkedIn for attorneys, was the subject of much debate. One attorney participant wrote us after the presentation, questioning AVVO’s ranking system and overall legitimacy. Attorney Kevin O’Keefe, CEO of LexBlog (http://www.lexblog.com) and one of the top legal marketing gurus in the United States, was kind enough to respond to the attorney’s letter, which I shared with him. I won’t include all of Kevin’s great insight, but here’s a snippet: “Everyone who gets the name of a lawyer from a trusted source, (which is) the leading way people find a lawyer, (will) Google the lawyer’s name. What they see will leave an impression on them. The AVVO profile, whether completed or not completed, is apt to show up high in a search and be looked at.”
Let’s be honest: “Cranky attorney” resides in a lot of us. Social Media has introduced unprecedented shifts in how we do business. Depending on our perspective, these changes may seem inconvenient, threatening, or distasteful. But Social Media also offers unprecedented opportunity. How we adapt and adjust to Social Media might make or break our professional viability, long term.
My solution? For now, I vote for a Goldilocks approach to Social Media: Not too much, not too little, but just right. How about you?
Communication begins here.
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I brought Leah on board to help my business grow to the next level. With her brilliant marketing techniques and drive, Leah has helped me transform my business into a thriving 1031 Exchange firm and allowed me to focus more on my clients. Leah has been instrumental in my PR, branding and marketing initiatives and I have come to depend on her extraordinary marketing contributions. She is a delight to work with and her tenacity is extremely motivating.
Bill Exeter, President and CEO
Swearingen Communications provided us with both solid marketing strategies and creative ideas and implementation. This spanned our branding, website, and more. Leah Swearingen helped us think differently and see our company from a client’s perspective. We thoroughly enjoyed our professional relationship with her and highly recommend her services.
Jack Shirley, CPA, CGMA, Friedman Brannen LLP
You are the epitome of professionalism, and your work is of the highest quality.
Patricia J. Lane, Director of Administrative Services, DENTONS, Past President, Association of Legal Administrators
One of the best marketing people I know is Leah Swearingen, of Swearingen Communications. She shines when it comes to professional services firms. I personally have seen the work that she has done on behalf of a wealth management firm and a law practice. Great stuff.
James E. Tenuto, CEO, Renaissance Executive Forums
I retained Leah in my role as Executive Director of a prominent San Diego law firm. Leah successfully led the firm in developing a firm-wide marketing culture, marketing plan, and guiding our attorneys. When I launched my own company, Leah was instrumental in helping me create my brand, communicate my services, and develop marketing collateral. My company continues to benefit from her outstanding work.
Nancy Thornton, Founder, Foster Thornton LLC
You make a huge difference in the way our company is perceived in the marketplace. From your good ideas to your execution and follow through, it is fortuitous to have you on board. We have great things to say about you and don't mind shouting them from the rooftops.
Craig Brown, President, Rancho Financial Mortgage