Is social media REALLY worth the effort?


3742-5x7highThis past Friday we had a great conversation in my Weekly Voir Dire Conference Call. (CLICK the PLAY button above to listen to the recording of last week’s call) The title of the call was “Overcoming Objections to Social Media and the ‘Grumpy Old Man’ Syndrome.”  A young attorney, I believe it was Ilana Deutsch joined us on the call, and asked this question:

“I am a solo attorney, is it REALLY worth the effort to learn social media?”

It is a great question, one that I hear almost daily, and we had some great responses to that and other questions on our call. I have recorded the call, and posted it above, feel free to listen in and hear what the participants had to say.  What questions do you have about social media for lawyers?

Join the conversation!   We would love to have you join us on our call this coming Friday at 10:00 AM EST entitled, “Pick Your Poison: Choosing the Right Social Media Site”.

Click HERE to sign up for the next call.

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You Believe in Social Media, Now Convince the Managing Partner

So often on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIN I feel like I am preaching to the choir. The individuals that spend time using these platforms already believe in their power, they have seen it first hand. Unfortunately, so often the cantankerous managing partner that is just starting to buy into the hype of this whole “interweb” deal – seems a mile away from accepting social media.

You can’t create a shift in the thinking of your firm by yourself, especially if you don’t have buy-in from the highest levels. That’s not to say that everyone needs to be using Twitter, but you need to present a unified front for your firm to enter this space in a meaningful way.

Here are some of the biggest myths and misconceptions that I have heard over the last 6 months from upper level management, CMO’s, and partners in charge of marketing with regards to the use of social media for lawyers:

1. If our associates use social media they will post unsavory pictures, and get our firm in trouble.

2. Nobody we do business with is using social media.

3. We only market when there is a clear return on investment (ROI). There is no ROI for social media.

4. We don’t have time to LEARN how to use social media

5. We don’t have time to use social media

6. We can’t afford to make changes/ add blogs to our websites.

7. Our IT department handles our social media.

8. We will get in trouble for violating the solicitation rules if we market using social media.

You get the idea, maybe you have heard these same excuses and justifications for ignoring this powerful new tool.

To implement a meaningful social media strategy within your firm, you need to help your attorneys get over these issues. This Friday at 10:00 AM EST, I will be hosting a free conference call: Overcoming Common Objections to Social Media, and the “Grumpy Old Man” Syndrome Click HERE to receive details for this Friday’s conference call.

Please join us on the call for answers to these questions, and any others callers might have. The call will be just 30 minutes long.

Adrian Dayton, esq is an attorney and author of Social Media for Lawyers: Twitter Edition published by the ARK Group and available through Grab a free copy of the first chapter and intro here:

Turn off the alerts! & The 4-Hour Work Week

Is what I am doing now income producing or capacity building activity? -Paul Brown, CEO of Leadership Dynamics

We have created a world of constant distractions.  There are two types of distractions (1) distractions that make us money, and (2) distractions that cost us money.  The problem is, we waste so much time checking the #(2) type of distraction that it sucks away our time to engage in activities that actually make us money.  I’ve created a few easy steps that help those of us that use social media to cut down on the distractions. My inspiration?  The 4-Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss.


I don’t believe in the four hour work week.  While the book The 4-Hour Work Week is entertaining, the idea that you could make a difference in the world and live a fulfilling life working four hours per week is absurd.  Having said that, there are some time management tips in The 4-Hour Work Week that rocked my world (and ironically, may make a difference in my world).  I will explain the principle, and then show how you can apply it to your social media routine.


Tim Ferriss recommends to get started we only answer emails twice per day.  It is much more efficient to handle something like email in batches.  Just like its is easier to do your laundry once per week, rather than a shirt and pair of pants each day.  This makes sense, right?  If this would cause a major problem in your business, set up an auto-response email that requests people to call you if the mater is urgent.

The unintended consequence for Tim is that people stopped sending him pointless emails- because they knew he wouldn’t respond. Tim has calculated that this practice alone saves him at least 10 hours per week, sometimes even more. He has taken this to the extreme however, now he only answers emails once per week.

I recently spoke to a senior partner at a very large law firm.  He was complaining to me about how little paying work he had.  We went through some basic principles of social media, and I think he really got the message, he could start developing valuable relationships and eventually new clients with social media and these new tools.  Then the doubt surfaced like it does with all attorneys: “How am I going to find time to do this?  I already spend three hours per day answering emails.”

I wanted to say to him right then and there, “How is that working out for you?” (He obviously needed more work).  You see when we spend time all throughout the day responding to emails, it eats away small bits of time that become huge chunks of time. This distracts us from the activities that we can bill for, or activities that can help us develop business.  This attorney needed to figure out a better SYSTEM for handling his emails.  Those of us who use social media need to put together a system as well.

Batching and Social Media

Turn off the alerts.  Ok, so @guykawasaki just followed you on Twitter, did you really need to interrupt your work to find that out?  Your neighborhood garden club is having a yard sale- better put everything on hold to read the Facebook announcement.  Even if you don’t read it, it just popped up on the bottom right corner of your screen- distracting your from real work.  Social media like Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook create constant alerts that are in most cases useless and distracting.  So turn them off, or turn them down.  Here are a few “systems changes” I have implemented in the last week that are already yielding huge rewards in terms of freeing up time and keeping me more focused.

1. Opt-out of automated direct messages

This takes two seconds, just follow this link– follow the instructions, and you will stop receiving Twitter automated direct messages (at least from the major sender on Twitter).  This single change has saved me 15 minutes per day.

2. Change your Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn settings

Turn all real-time alerts off.  When someone sends you a message on any social media platform, it is sitting in your inbox on those platforms.  Show the discipline to check these before lunchtime or at the end of your work day.  You can’t afford to be distracted all day by these.  Every once in a while, somebody important or valuable will want to connect with you.  Think about it, if they are that important and busy, they won’t mind if you wait until the end of the day to respond to them.  (Believe me, 99% of your new connections will NOT be that important.)  20 minutes per day saved.

3.  Turn off real-time Email Notifications

I know this is difficult for those of you with Crackberry addictions, but turn off the buzzing of your phone for every email that arrives.  If I were to think of THE MOST distracting thing I could possibly invent- it would be a buzzer in your pocket that will just go off at random times.  I understand for some attorneys they need to have a line for urgent matters, so seperate those out, and use a different email address than the one used to announce left-over donuts in the break room.  This has saved me at least 30 minutes per day since I instituted it last week.

As an added bonus, now my battery life on my Palm Pre lasts well into the next day.  This way I guarantee I have battery power left when the important calls come in.

What is the real analytic we are most interested in?  Traffic to our website?  Number of followers or connections?  Comments on our blog posts?  Give me a break!  If you want to survive in this world of social media you need to MAKE MONEY.  Even if you are a non-profit, you need to bring in money.  So instead of tracking your emails, Facebook friends, and Tweets all day, start focusing on something that really matters, the bottom line.

Just ask the question Paul Brown has staring at him on his office wall: Is what I am doing now income producing or capacity building activity?

Who Do You Want to Be Today?

“What type of personality should I have online?” A client recently asked me.
“What makes you ask that question?” I responded.
“Well my neighbor is a big time computer guy, and he stressed that I need to be careful in deciding what type of an online persona I wanted to create.”
“The question isn’t really something you need to worry about.” I explained.
“Why not?” she asked curiously.
“Look, the only thing you can possibly be GREAT at online, is yourself.”

How are you perceived online? Do you tweet too much? Do your blog topics diverge from the site’s stated purpose? Are you constantly worrying, “what will people think if I take such a controversial stance?” We have a finite amount of creativity and personality, and our best shot at attracting long term clients is by being ourselves, and the like minded individuals will follow us. I’m not saying you have carte blanc to write anything you like, but you certainly shouldn’t lose sleep over it.

Conan O’brien was asked, when he was visiting the University at Buffalo, if he was going to tone down his comedy once he took over for Jay Leno. He basically responded by saying that being funny is really really hard. He explained there is a reason NBC hasn’t put together a really funny show since Seinfeld- it is very challenging. He ended by saying that he was going to keep being himself, because being funny was hard enough without adding restrictions. Blogging and tweeting are similar, creating good content isn’t easy- especially if you limit yourself.

I received a direct message on Twitter a few days ago that said basically the following:

“I follow you for law updates, but you don’t tweet about the law much. If u are going to tweet about football, u should create a different profile.”

I looked at this individual’s Twitter profile, and big surprise- they were only following 10 people total. He was obviously a new Twitter user that hadn’t discovered the Tweetdeck. More importantly though, he might NOT want to follow me. My tweets aren’t all law related. To help all my followers make an educated decision if the would like to follow me, I have created a breakdown informally of my tweets:

Law Related Tweets – 35 % terrell-owens-buffalo-bills
Conversations with Twitter Friends – 25%
Social Media Related Tweets – 15%
Tweets promoting my new posts – 10%
Football Related Tweets – 5%
Buffalo Related Tweets – 3%
Travel Twit pics – 2%
Palm Pre Tweets – 2%
Harrassing @ginidietrich and @sarahrobinson – 1%
Trying to get TO (terrellowens81) to respond — .5%
Retweeteing lolcats – .3%
Battlestar Galactica Tweets – .2%


You get the picture. If lolcats either offend or disturb you, you may not want to follow me. If reading a ten word football related message rubs you the wrong way, go ahead and unfollow me.
When the inspiration hits me, I write. When boredom hits me, I tweet. When I see something I think is awesome, I pass it along. Am I doing it right? I don’t know, but I don’t think I’d be much good at blogging or tweeting any other way besides simply being myself.

Adrian Dayton, esq is the author of Social Media for Lawyers: Twitter Edition, a step-by-step guide for professionals interested in using social media to bring in business.  You can get a free copy HERE.

What do Barack Obama, Perez Hilton, and the People of Iran have in common?

Week 1: Diving In

by David Derrico davidderrico

They all have cleverly used social media in promoting their objectives whether it was in organizing a presidential election, promoting a website, or trying to get the word out about political issues during a media lockdown. I used to think social media was something teenagers did to pass along high school gossip with their friends.  I recently read statistics by comScore that placed 45-54 year olds as the largest age group of users on Twitter. I guess the world has changed.  If countries, Presidents, and new media mavericks have all hopped on board, can the legal profession be far behind?
Allow me to share my insights.  I am an attorney by trade, and will be immersing myself in this new world of social media for the next three months. I am currently enrolled in a marketing course with a focus on the changing landscape of marketing.  Adrian has invited me to write occasionally on his blog, and has generously agreed to offer me weekly marketing guidance.  How does one use social networking?  Is Twitter better than Facebook? Who are the primary users of these networks? How can these new tools be leveraged to increase awareness, share ideas, and promote a business objective?

I invite everyone to follow me and as I learn I will share my experiences. In return I would like to learn from you, so please comment and offer suggestions.
It was Lao-tzu that said, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Well, this is my first step, the Twitter account is created, let the tweets begin!

David Derrico

My guest writer David Derrico, esq has decided to dive in to social media.  Every Monday his blog posts will illustrate what he has learned, and what he has to share.  Hopefully those of you new to social media will find his posts helpful.  In addition, I will be holding FREE weekly conference calls each Friday at 10:00 AM EST to help new professionals as they try to figure out social media.  This Friday’s call is titled, “3 Steps to Making a Great First Impression Online” and you can sign up for the call here.

Introducing: The Conference Call

Over the last 9 months I have had the opportunity to travel all over the country speaking to lawyers about social media.  We have often exchanged business cards, and kept the conversation going afterward through phone and email.  Suddenly I find myself swamped, because I want to talk to everyone, but it is hard to find time.

I've added this easy to understand diagragm for those new to the conference call concept.

I've added this easy to understand diagragm for those new to the conference call concept.

So, here’s the deal.  I am going to start holding free weekly conference calls, every Friday at 10:00 AM EST, to talk about social media for lawyers and other professionals.  There will be different topics and guests each week, but to start it out, the topic this week will be “3 Tips to Making A Great First Impression Online.”

There will be introductions and Q&A- so please come join us.  Simply click here and enter your name and email to receive all the details for the upcoming call.

Oh yeah, the best part is- it’s FREE.  But space is limited, so make sure to call in a few minutes early to guarantee your spot.  Look forward to talking with you OFFLINE.

Special thanks to @julito77 @econwriter5 and @freelancelaw for their kind recommendations of my new book Social Media for Lawyers: Twitter Edition you can get your free chapter HERE.

Which Social Networks do You Use?

On Martindale Hubble Connected the question  Priya Marwah Doornbos asked was basically, “What are the top 3 most effective social media sites for lawyers?”

This question immediately made me question, aren’t there about 100 of them?  There are so many “communities” online, that it can be impossible to decipher which to join.

Here was my answer to her:

I use only 3 social media sites (in any meaningful way)

Twitter– to generate traffic to my blog, spread my message, and build my brand.

LinkedIn– to connect with people too old to understand how to use Twitter.

Facebook– for friends and family to keep connected.

As for any social network, you only get out of it what you put into it.  You reap what you sew, so pick a couple of communities that work for your target market, and attack in a strategic way.

Oh yeah, it should also be fun.  I love Twitter and I get great results from it, so I spend most of my time there.

Just my thoughts.

The reason I didn’t recommend any Legal networks is because I believe in what Stephen Fairley calls “contrarian marketing” which means you should market where your competitors aren’t.  On a site full of lawyers, it may be harder to get attention.  Don’t get me wrong, I love some of the lawyer networks, we just need to be careful how much time we spend on them.

So what about Avvo, JDSupra, LegalOnramp, LawTweet, Lextweet, and Connected?  These are all great sites for lawyers.   They each have great possibilities for cross marketing opportunities for lawyers, sharing information, etc. They also have a lot in common with the Bar Association cocktail parties.  It is worth while to attend once in a while, but not at the risk of missing higher probability business development opportunities in the community at large.


Lawyers, just like any other professionals, have two finite resources: Time and Energy.  Choose carefully your online community.  Don’t stretch yourself to thin.  If you try to engage with EVERY site and community- you aren’t likely to get very far.

So which social networks do you use?

Adrian Dayton is a NY Attorney, and author of the book Social Media for Lawyers: Twitter Edition.  This is a step by step guide to creating your online strategy.  For free a chapter click here.

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