What Dr. Seuss Can Teach Us About Social Media

green-eggs-and-ham

In honor of Dr. Seuss‘ birthday, I’m recycling a commentary I made on a legal listserv where LinkedInTwitter were being heavily debated. This was originally penned 10/28/08 and aimed toward Legal Marketing Professionals.

If we can all agree that law is a relationship driven business then social media/networking tools can assist or hurt us with regard to developing or nurturing relationships. Remember it’s only one tool out of many & a hammer is not needed for every situation.If used correctly, there are numerous opportunities online to have a deep dive conversation – get to know the person’s business, current needs, & future risks. When someone is in pain, there are opportunities to help them find a solution & be of value. Online this process is accelerated because people are so candid.When one is contributing positively to the online conversation i.e. Q&As, forums, and/or blogs, then there is also a chance to improve your know, like, & trust stock. If one is ego or celebrity driven & clearly projecting that it’s ALL about them or doing ALL the talking (in many cases shouting), then one’s know, like, & trust stock will take the hit. Ideally, professionals should avoid random acts of marketing. So sit down & define what success looks like with the attorneys:
· Reconnect with X # of colleagues for the year
· Conduct competitive intelligence on X # of potential clients in advance of annual networking events
· Facilitate X # of introductions with your network quarterly
· Grow network by X # of new contacts a month
· Create/Reply to X # of provocative discussions a week to unearth hidden pain/potential opportunities
· Listen to X # of blogs or discussion boards dailyThen use a business plan to prioritize which potential & existing relationships are ready for client meetings, events, newsletters, blogs, etc…Evaluate your progress – Am I more known, more liked, more trusted? If not, perhaps it’s not the hammer’s fault perhaps it’s time to reevaluate the brand & positioning. Are you in the right places? Are you revealing too much or too little? Are your character & competency strong or weak? Like it or not, conversations are taking place through this new medium. If you can not improve the silence then listen because there is a ton of information being shared.Thanks to Twitter, I learned that Forrester recently reported that 75% of online adults now use social tools to connect vs. 56% in 2007. The momentum is building! Web 2.0 for professionals is started to remind me of Dr. Seuss’ Green Eggs & Ham. Just substitute Social Networking & Blogging for Green Eggs & Ham, eat for consume and Attorneys for Sam. Do you remember how that story ended???Ultimately, if you’re still not impressed with the cyber world then by all means Log Off & Meet Up with your attorneys, clients, & friends. I still encourage everyone to do this because there are conversations to be had anywhere. “…In the rain. And in the dark. And on a train. And in the car…”

Interview: Post Gravity Summit Panel at UCLA

Interviewed here:

Do You Trust Me?

 

sinkingship

Guest blogged here:

http://legalwatercoolerblog.com/2008/10/21/do-you-trust-me/

Jack asked this of Rose in Titanic. Deckard asked this of Rachael in Blade Runner. Aladdin asked this of Jasmine in Disney’s Aladdin. Trust is the ultimate litmus test for any relationship. It’s what happens after you’ve moved past the stages of know and like. In these tough economic times, what we really have is a crisis of trust. Employees don’t trust employers. Banks don’t trust creditors. Consumers don’t trust their advisers. Without trust, markets freeze, productivity goes down, and fear quickly takes over the business environment. Bad times quickly become a self fulfilling prophecy when trust is absent.

U.S. currency doesn’t have a lot of text on it but one sentence that is printed on every bill and coin is “IN GOD WE TRUST.” Many in this country don’t even trust in this concept anymore. So what happens as trust erodes all around us? As Thomas L. Friedman states in his book The World Is Flat, “…the very thing that keeps open society open, innovating, and flattening, (and that) is trust.” If we allow fear to take over then trust has little opportunity to grow. Instead of giving into this fear perhaps it is more productive to reflect on who you trust and why?

Stephen M.R. Covey in his book The Speed of Trust goes a step further and spells out the economics of trust.

“A cynic might ask, ‘So what? Is trust really more than a nice-to-have social virtue, a so-called hygiene factor? Can you measurably illustrate that trust is a hard-edged economic driver?’”

Throughout Mr. Covey’s book he demonstrates his “…simple formula that will enable you to take trust from an intangible and unquantifiable variable to an indispensable factor that is both tangible and quantifiable.” Basically, he concludes that when trust is low, speed is slow and costs are high. Conversely, when trust is high, speed is fast and costs are low.

How true is this when we look at life inside a law firm? Our primary goal when working with attorneys and clients should be to establish trust. As Mr. Covey believes “Trust is a function of two things: character and competence. Character includes your integrity, your motive, your intent with people. Competence includes your capabilities, your skills, your results, your track record. And both are vital.”

If you have consistently performed both to the satisfaction of your audience then you already know the answer to the “Do you trust me?” question. If you haven’t, then maybe it’s time to regroup and focus on improving your character and competence.