Madwives and the Birthing Shed–A Reminder about Common Sense on Social Media

imageAnother week, another story about social media foot-in-mouth syndrome.

This time a group of Welsh doctors got into trouble for their online banter and use of “offensive” terms. One doctor tweeted about covering the “birthing shed” meaning maternity ward, then went on to say he would prefer to avoid the “madwives” and work on the “cabbage patch” (intensive care).

Every business has its humour and in-jokes, but exposing it to public scrutiny can be a risky thing. As we’ve said before, just apply a little common sense… If you tweet as if your grandmother was reading, you won’t go far wrong.

And if you do feel the need to keep records of the conversations your staff are having online, take a look at how CubeSocial tracks and logs all the conversations your staff have with clients and contacts. A great start on the road to good social media governance.

How and why Lawyers use Twitter

clip_image001This time last week the Corporate Counsel Forum Europe hastag #ccfe filled my screen. Tim Bratton, General Counsel of the Financial Times, was giving a talk about social media for lawyers and was tweeting live while on stage. Thanks to Twitter I felt like I was there…

As the event kicked off it seemed that Tim, who tweets as legalbrat, had a tough audience:

· kilroyt: Tim has just exposed some of us tweeting in the room. People look suspicious #ccfe

· strong_tim: Being watched curiously by colleagues… #ccfe

· toyboxstudio: I imagine there’s a combination of childlike excitement (@bazv / @legalbrat) and “plausible deniability” (the old guard) at #ccfe now

But was presenting a compelling case for social media:

· chrisdaleoxford: World has changed. @legabratshows video about news, its immediacy and effect on markets, politics etc #ccfe

· chrisdaleoxford: FT using social media channels as channel for subscribers, to create content, to source stories #ccfe

· kilroyt: Tim explaining tangible benefits of social media (legal romanettes here): (i) Network (ii) Know-how (iii) crowdsourcing (iv) blogs #ccfe

If you see value in networking, you should see value in social media:

· chrisdaleoxford: Everyone here sees value of personal networking at conferences. Social media, @legalbratimplies, is that value multiplied #ccfe

· kilroyt: If you turn up for 2 days here in person, why not listen to expertise from the same community on social media? #ccfe

· HelenJThomson: Sounds like @legalbrat is on the money at #ccfe – if you see the value in personal networking, surely social media is a logical extension?

Why lawyers use Twitter

Tweeted responses to Tim asking the question as legalbrat:

· New business opportunities
robertcumming: I picked up some instructions via Twitter for a global client last week #ccfe #smug
law4mumpreneurs: for me twitter is an essential business tool enabling me to gain 70+ clients in just over a year of working part time #ccfe
saysitstraight: I have written for The Lawyer, Estates Gazette and Daily T as a direct result #ccfe

· Network and community
bazv: greatly expanded network. Have met friends and colleagues in US & UK wld never have met otherwise. #ccfe
saysitstraight: it’s a community and the usual lawyer posturing not generally present #ccfe
chrisdaleoxford: Where else can you chat with a QC, journalist, partner, trainee [or] CG anywhere in the world #ccfe
in_house_lawyer: #ccfe It saves time. I’ve received helpful advice in minutes to my SOS tweets which would otherwise have taken hours of research

· Keeping in touch
jcasalmir: Critical legal developments are starting to break first on Twitter before other places
Oxfordlawyer: #ccfe good source of knowhow and good insight into clients
jon_bower: it’s the most effective way to keep up to date with breaking news across a number of areas both legal (and social!) #ccfe
dieterdelarue: because it’s fun, keeps us up to date, lets us keep clients and peers up to date, and because @allenovery encourages it #ccfe

Managing Confidentiality

Responses to kilroyt asking “do people observe the boundaries?”:

· _millymoo: if lawyers or other professionals are tweeting confidential info, the problem is in the chair, not the channel #ccfe

· HighlandLawyer: If the client could identify themself from what you’ve said, you’ve gone beyond the boundaries… #ccfe

· LegalBizzle: But how much genuinely confidential info can you fit in 140 chars? #ccfe
kilroyt: @LegalBizzle Less than on the phone and we’re not monitoring all their calls #ccfe

· rht73: don’t think lawyers are the concern for Tweeting confidential information, same rules as for any comms #ccfe

· danversbaillieu: Lawyers make good tweeters because we’re trained to be discreet and respect confidentiality #ccfe

Closing Remarks

· kilroyt: Tim summarizes benefits as “Network, Knowledge and Sharing” #ccfe

· LegalWeek: If just 5 percent of us started blogging think of all the expertise that would be out there available for free #ccfe

· robobooth: Is fact #ccfe has just moved to joke telling sign of just how varied use of social media can be? From serious to jokes in mins. No bad thing

And when I tweeted to ask “What do the colleagues who were watching on curiously at the beginning now think?”:
strong_tim: Mostly unconvinced… fun to try… some will have got the message… Anyway, don’t want everyone from my line of work on here just yet. I want to be a legal pioneer for a bit longer!

Can you buy social media influence?

By Linda Cheung

imageJillian’s recent guest blog Klout… and how it can be manipulated made me think of the phrase: “Lies, damned lies, and statistics”.

As social media use grows, so do measurements of its use.

In What makes a credible social media expert? Heather Townsend warns readers to “be very concerned if your social media expert has more friends than followers, or similar numbers of friends and followers” because it suggests automated following and low engagement.

I agree, and always steer clear of such “experts”. However, I’m also aware that wherever there is a measurement, there will be people who look to manipulate it, and it’s not quite so easy to steer clear of these individuals.

Buying “friends”

I’ve met many people who have bought followers. For £X they have purchased hundreds, in some cases thousands, of followers. While I get why they’ve thought to spend their money, I don’t really get why they bother.

In the same way you can’t buy genuine affection, you can’t buy genuine social media engagement.

Purchased followers won’t engage and will often unfollow… so your friends/followers ratio will falter, requiring you to buy more followers… who won’t engage…

Spending cold hard cash is obviously the most literal way that you can attempt to buy influence. Many others have tried softer approaches – awareness of how your friends/followers ratio may be perceived has resulted in hundreds of articles on how to gain more followers.

Using tools

In The ultimate guide to getting more Twitter followers Heather refers to passive and proactive means and automated following. I know these methods have been very successful for Heather, but I’ve not yet pre-scheduled/bulk uploaded tweets because for me it seems counter-culture to the real-time nature of Twitter. Nor have I used software to auto-follow because, as Heather points outs, the tools simply help you find followers, not engage with them.

I’d be interested to know what you’ve tried, what’s worked and what hasn’t.

As social media becomes more important, so will the measurements. It’s been fascinating to watch the growth of Klout, and I like that it tries to incorporate 35+ variables to measure “True Reach”. Similarly PeerIndex wants to be “the standard that identifies, ranks and scores [social web] authorities” and it was interesting to see how they ranked speakers at the GeeknRolla conference.

The right balance

Jillian has already illustrated how Klout can be manipulated. I’m also aware of people who have tens of accounts and re-tweet, mention, and generally provide link-love, all to increase how one main account is rated.

Will it be money, time, tools, or all of the above that are used to ensure the “right” influence?

We all want and need measurements… but no matter how many variables, measurements are statistics… and lies?!

Organise Around Your Clients

Reception Desk BellCustomer Service in a Social Media Age

If you’re like me, you’ve had more than one bad call centre experience. You know the ones… you have to repeat the same story three times, wait 20 minutes or more, get sent all over the place, and probably still don’t get the answer you need.

In the 1990s, driven by a push for ever more profit, companies focused on efficiency and built a huge machinery to serve customers at the lowest possible cost. A customer call was seen as a necessary evil. Customers had to gravitate around the whole company and find entry points, just like the sun was supposed to go around the earth a few centuries ago.

With social media, companies are just starting to realise that the opposite should happen.

Companies need to hang out where their customers are (i.e. social media) and then serve them in their channel of choice, and their mode of choice (real-time or asynchronous, online or offline).

In short, they need to gravitate around their customers.

If you can do this, not only will it help you retain customers, but this customer-centricity will help in reducing support costs (customers will begin to self-support), innovate better (instant feedback), and build customer advocacy (word of mouth).

A customer service revolution is just beginning, and a few leaders are blazing a trail. At CubeSocial, one of things we are busy figuring out, is how financial and professional services firms can best make use of these new channels. There are challenges, not least around privacy and confidentiality, but we are looking forward to playing our part in the change.

If you are curious about how you can use social media for customer service, get in touch with us via the contact form on our social media services page. Or, in the spirit of this post, just tweet us @cubesocial, and we’ll get right back to you!

How UK Lawyers Are Using Social Media

image

If you are a UK lawyer looking to grow your practice through social media then one of the best things you can do is learn from those trailblazers that have gone before you and successfully used social media in their law firms.

This article is a transcript of a web conference on the topic of social media for law firms hosted by Adrian Dayton (@adriandayton) with the UK’s two most prolific legal Twitter users, Brian Inkster (@brianinkster) and Chris Sherliker (@London_Law_Firm). Also on the call was social media marketer Rory Webber (@MrRX).

These are our notes. Enjoy…

Making Connections… Building Relationships

Chris: Twitter is a process in which you engage… It’s about building relationships… We have found clients from Twitter including a major client who then went on to became a supplier… They then also referred us to a large telecoms client

Adrian: It’s a giant cocktail party, and it requires you to step into the circle to engage

Brian: We haven’t received any direct client work, but I have been interviewed by the press several times as a result of being on Twitter, including today… Was interviewed by The Metro on topic of social media and property. This of course can raise the profile of the law firm, and it’s not impossible that tomorrow we could get enquiries after people read the Metro article

Adrian: Twitter is about instant real-time conversation… You can join any conversation internationally and make international connections

Chris: Our firm is active in the USA, but not Turkey, and through Twitter we have met @turkish_lawyer, got to know him, and as a consequence have referred work to him and received referrals from him

Adrian: This is the death of the cold call… There’s no reason to make them any more… You can build relationships first

Making Time for Twitter

Brian: It is called social media. I tend to do it in the evening or first thing in morning.

Chris: It fit it into my normal routine… 95% of tweets are from my iPhone… e.g. while waiting for taxi. It makes use of moments where I wouldn’t be able to do much else

What About ROI?

Chris: I think of Twitter as a way of finding people to provide services to, and people to provide services to me… It’s a very time efficient way to sell. We have benefited from that, but equally have met people who have since provided professional development services to our firm, and people who are building our blogs

Brian: Taking the relationship outside of Twitter is what really brings the benefits… But don’t forget it’s fun… It’s social media.. . It’s fun for me… If business comes out of it, great, but that’s not the key priority

Chris: When people talk ROI, one of the things they should also remember is that Twitter is completely free. And that effectively I have had something like 7,000 free adverts. The only investment you have to make is time and you don’t have to spend ages in Twitter

Adrian: I find it useful to organise meetings through Twitter ahead of conferences… So I have a jump start on other people attending

Getting the Mix Right

Adrian: Twitter is a great way to meet other fascinating people… But the perception in the US is that UK lawyers are more serious…

Brian: Not a huge number of UK lawyers using Twitter yet, and between those on the call, we probably know all of them. Firm accounts don’t work in the same way as personal ones, and you really need individuals or groups of individuals to make the interaction work on Twitter

Chris: I send out a mix of tweets from serious legal matters to how to make the perfect cocktail… and that seems to work well for me

Brian: We originally started with a company Twitter account, but switched to personal account… Going back to the cocktail party analogy, I realised you need to be a person to go to a cocktail party

Adrian: No one wants to hire a law firm; they want to hire a person they like

Getting Started

Chris: When you first register, it asks you the question what are you doing right now? I quickly realised no-one wants to know. People are more interested in getting to know people. There is a marketing adage that people only buy from people the know, like and trust. Otherwise they are not going to instruct you.

Rory:  People need to get connected then listen and learn. In the modern age listening is reading, and speaking is writing… When you first join you should spend more time listening than speaking… When I first joined Twitter i spent first couple of weeks ‘listening’ before joining the conversation

Chris: It takes a while to convince others to use social media. When I first started everyone thought I was mad. Now we have four partners using Twitter in the company

Adrian: It’s important to find right champions in your firm. Companies often leave it to juniors, and this isn’t always the right thing to do. Chris is using the tools better than many younger professionals… You need more experienced attorneys that add value… It’s about growing relationships and then taking them to the next level such as lunch or coffee

What Does the Future Hold?

Chris: With the upcoming Legal Services Act, and hence non-lawyers and institutions coming in, lawyers will need to use these tools to get work from elsewhere… It takes a while to build up followers so they had better get moving

Rory: Agreed. Growing competition means that people need to get involved

 

Footnote

These are our notes from the call, and focus on the things that grabbed our attention. Leave a comment below if there is something important you feel we missed.

And finally, Adrian has promised to make a recording available for on-demand playback for anyone that want to listen to the whole call.  Keep checking his website for that.