Lawyers and CFOs appear to be laggards when it comes to using social media for marketing and promoting their expertise. Some think it is beneath them. Some think the leads and contacts they’ll get will be of little or no value. Most are just too busy to do the research and find out the truth: that marketing and presenting ideas in this way can generate strong leads and promote a professional as a subject matter expert in their field. Gone are the days when brand-building alone was the essential measure of marketing success. Thanks to the direct and dynamic nature of the internet and social media sales lead generation and reputation building have become important strategic marketing commodities.
Social media today embraces Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn primarily. Leading law firms have embraced social media if only to be in the sights of bright young graduates - the more sophisticated firm is adopting the latest in Social Networking in order to at least be seen to be a contemporary, relevant and a vital resource. Do you really believe that the 26-year old recent graduate in law will not look at a law firm and think “Do these guys understand about FaceBook, LinkedIn?” Or do they simply dismiss this firm as not relevant for them? This can be readily translated to the corporate world and the CFO office. A corporate executive today, in a similar fashion, wants his stakeholders to see them as ahead of the curve not as laggards or worse, Luddites.
Why consider social media?
Apart from being seen as the go-to firm or corporation, social media increases awareness of the organisation and the individual professional. It expands the reach of a CFO wishing to connect with like-minded professionals and can enhance their credibility. In internet marketing terminology it drives more traffic and can nurtures prospects. Social networking allows you to quickly and easily connect with the ‘right’ kinds of people; to have an objective for the kinds of people you want to meet or connect with.
Read any blog or forum involving lawyers or finance professionals and you will find concerns expressed about regulatory and compliance issues. Obviously you don’t want to be giving legal advice over, for example Twitter but you can be conversational, without losing your professionalism. After all, if the pollies are doing it all over the world, CFOs should not fear going public: they have much less to lose than a politician.
Social networks should not however be a knee jerk reaction. Consideration should be given to your goals. Is it to establish in a niche expertise? Meet centres of influence who can bring benefits to the corporation? Social networking like anything else needs a strategy to be effective. LinkedIn as a case in point, is good for linking lots of information about you as a professional and, when supplemented alongside a corporate website, a blog, a Twitter profile, and a Facebook page, is a way to take business and personal relationships to the next level.
There are few legal or CFO blogs written by Australian lawyers and CFOs compared to the thousands that are active in the USA. But Twitter holds more promise than other platforms. With 140 character updates to maintain, keeping active on Twitter can appear relatively straightforward, with few less associated risks. The true value of Twitter is that it is still very much an interactive medium. In theory at leas Twitter offers a whole new medium of interaction and conversation engagement.
As fas as Facebook, CFOs could use blogging as a first step. People can discover a blog off a search engine should they be exploring a particular interest. CFOs could join forums that are related to what they do. The more times you post the more links that are showing back to you. The search engines like this.
Lawyers and CFOs need to learn about social networking for the sake of their clients in the case of lawyers and stakeholders, in the case of CFOs. If you are troubled by the leap of faith, hire a high school kid to come in and teach you the basics.
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