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Dialing Social Media

23 February 2012

The whole topic of Social Media is both topical and important for Professional Service firms.

I’ve been trying to get my head around it so I was very pleased to discover the definitive book on the subject dedicated to PS firms. Firstly let me recommend the book – its called – not very originally “Social Media Strategies for Professionals and their Firms” and its written by an American consultant called Michelle Golden.

It’s well worth a read so I’ve included a link and you can also find it on the library section of my website. I actually haven’t even finished it yet myself but a couple of interesting points that I have taken out of it include:

  • Social Media itself is not a strategy. Its a communication tool like the phone. You just need to understand it and then decide how to use it.
  • US law firms have embraced it faster than accountants but accountants are starting to catch up.
  • Engaging in conversations online builds profile and allows individual professionals to demonstrate their knowledge in their specialist field. So its the perfect medium for the sales shy professional.
  • LinkedIn is the first place to start – with blogs, Twitter and Facebook coming next.
  • One way blogging or publishing without engaging in discussion is seen as self promotion – so engage with other people ie comment on their blogs and in their discussions. Its actually obvious – you don’t go to a dinner party and just talk.
  • Social media should not be delegated to the marketing department or to some central techie person. The whole idea is that it allows individuals to express themselves, give opinions and thereby demonstrate expertise.
  • One partner engaging in social media effectively will reflect well on the firm – 20 partners or team members engaging will reflect really well on the firm. “A firm’s presence is less personal and far less interesting than the presence of practitioners as individual humans”.
  • Getting younger professionals involved is both practical and motivating.
  • In terms of security there have been very few actions taken against Professional Service bloggers in the US in over 10 years. The cases that have been taken have been as a result of really bad behaviour ie they deserved to get sued. The only policy worth having is “Be Professional” and you’ll be fine. If the security conscious US army have embraced social media maybe its safe for an Irish Professional Service firm !
  • Controlling drugs just pushes them underground – controlling social media is equally futile – better to engage. Just ask Michael Dell.
  • Think how people buy first. Most PS firms’ web sites lead with the services they provide and not the customer’s needs. Good practice puts the customer first.  Getting customer centric offline, online and in social media will deliver better results.
  • Yes social media is time consuming so its important to think it through.
  • Is it worth it ? Is the phone worth it ?  If used appropriately – Yes would seem to be the obvious answer.