Luckily it's not an either-or proposition (you can be a source of useful content online and build meaningful relationships), but the question is still an important one for legal professionals.
Whether you're a solo practitioner trying to grow your new business or a marketing director trying to build a 2011 plan for the firm, you do need to decide where to allocate time and finite resources. More time on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn? Or more time developing an editorial schedule and writing, for an example, an article or blog post a week? And if you don't know where to focus, how on earth could you possibly measure the value of what you are doing?
Content and conversation - what's the right blend to make your online efforts a responsible and worthwhile use of time?
In A contrarian view of social media for lawyers: You don't need to be social, GreatJakes' Robert Algeri says it's all about content:
"So what is the most important thing? Content. Insightful, carefully-conceived, well-written 'thought leadership' content that is aimed at a well-defined market niche. This includes articles, blog posts, podcasts and case studies, among other things. With these elements in place will you be able to leverage social media -- not for socializing but as a distribution tool to get your content into the right hands and to grow your practice."
In short: "Without good content, you will have difficulty generating business, no matter how 'engaging' you are on Twitter or LinkedIn."
In Brian Solis' The Three C's of Social Content: Consumption, Curation, Creation, the answer is not quite so cut-and-dry. Read Solis' long and wide-ranging piece for a complete picture of what he is saying; you'll find eloquent insight and interesting research. A couple of standout paragraphs:
"Businesses must join the elite and integrate the creation of compelling content into the social marketing mix. Doing so gives consumers reason to share, expanding the role of curator within the 3C's of Content and earning authority and influence in the process..."
"The 5th P of the marketing mix is crystal clear. People account for everything here and businesses must recognize the channels for influence as well as identify the influential voices leading conversations and steering decisions. The next step is to develop engagement programs that activate the various roles of the social consumers and empower them with useful and beneficial content and incentives to convert conversations into clicks to action."[Italics mine.]
We see this type of sharing, curation, and authority building daily. Our readers have readers of their own.
As meaningful legal content passes through JD Supra, and as we deliver it to people who've opted to receive it (on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, elsewhere), we see viral sharing within, as Solis put it, an audience with an audience with an audience.
For my part, I value many of the friendships (a better word than 'relationship') I have formed online - and, without question, I understand that some of those friendships have helped business. But - and this is the editor in my DNA speaking - Content remains King.
Without it, you're likely to remain invisible online.
How do you spend your time online? Content? Connections? Both? What balance? What has worked best for you?
- Law Firm Marketing in the Age of Curation
- Social media delivers law firm content to people who want it
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