Swearingen Communications Insights

Fresh ideas, seasoned perspectives, and solid marketing strategies to keep you grounded and growing.


Three Guideposts for New Media, Circa 2012

As I prepare my remarks for next week’s monthly meeting of the San Diego chapter of the Association of Legal Administrators (ALA), I’ve been pondering: How can I provide the most valuable advice about Social Media in 50 short minutes?  If I get too tactical, we’ll get lost in the weeds; I could spend an hour alone on Linked In.   And, as a communicator, I know that charts, graphs, and statistics often fade away shortly after the presentation concludes.

Instead, I’m going to focus on three simple points that I believe will keep any social media strategist on the straight and narrow:

1) Social/Digital media for the legal industry is about building relationships, not about marketing;

2) You don’t have to do it all.  You don’t have to be blogging, tweeting, YouTubing, Facebooking, and Linking In simultaneously.  But if you do one or two things really well, it can make a significant difference; and

3) You must have a plan and a strategy.

Many lawyers and law firms have been slow adopters of new media.  It’s understandable.  Social/Digital media is a “monster” of an environment, rife with potential and peril.  This new territory presents unprecedented opportunity juxtaposed with ongoing risk.  Applied well, Social and Digital media can help the legal community make remarkable strides in client services, customer experience, and relationship building.

According to a 2011 executive summary by Forrester Research, in 2010 we left the Age of Information and entered the Age of the Customer.  As the report states, “Customers have more power than ever. With online reviews, social networks, and mobile web access, it’s easy for customers to know about your services, products, and competitors. Empowered buyers demand a new level of customer obsession.”

How well lawyers and legal firms manage the Age of the Customer may determine their future survival.