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Birmingham Bar Associations Bulletin Summer 2015

Social Media Vincent J. (V.J.) Graff eo, Burr & Forman LLP Embracing Social Media in Your Law Practice I am a lawyer, and counterintuitive to some, I manage an active LinkedIn profi le, Twitter account and Facebook page. And, I contribute to my fi rm’s Securities Litigation Blog. Although the use of social media is becoming more mainstream in the legal community, some lawyers and their fifi fi rms remain hesitant to fully embrace the potential of social media. However, a smart social media plan is an essential and powerful tool to have as an attorney’s overall marketing strategy. Social media enhances your online presence by increasing potential clients’ ability to fi nd you, and it establishes your credibility and thought leadership by building a brand identity. Th is article explores the key features of today’s most popular social media platforms, introduces blogging, and examines the challenges and ethical considerations unique to lawyers. Why Should I Engage in Social Media? As more and more of our clients and prospects use social media to search for and research lawyers, lawyers should include social media as a complement to their existing web presence. According to a 2014 FindLaw survey, 38 percent of legal services purchasers rated the Internet as the most popular method to fi nd and research lawyers, surpassing the 29 percent who “ask a friend vey,or relative” for a referral, and well above a dismal four percent who still rely on traditional yellow pages. Contrary to popular belief, a welldesigned website is not enough when it comes to search engine optimization, or being found online. Social media platforms boast growing audiences, and are an easy way to make new connections while enhancing one’s online footprint. At the end of 2014, Facebook alone saw nearly 1.4 billion users, Twitter had 288 million users and LinkedIn came in at 347 million members. Like any business development effort, social media requires regular usage to reap benefi ts. Lawyers should use these sites to create and foster relationships, as well as to drive traffi c to websites and blogs. Lawyers savvy with social media skills readily demonstrate awareness of current legal issues, and establish themselves as thought leaders online by creating content and sharing information. Additionally, the members of your social media network will feel like they already have a relationship with you through online interaction, and are therefore more likely to contact you should a legal issue arise in your area of expertise. LinkedIn for Lawyers For the social media newcomer, building and maintaining a LinkedIn profi le is a great fi rst step into the social 10 Birmingham Bar Association


Birmingham Bar Associations Bulletin Summer 2015
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