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Getting Connected – the Future of Networking

Stockwell Sievert Law Firm

As we the attorneys and staff at the Stockwell Sievert Law Firm unveil our new and improved website, we also found it appropriate to discuss the business and legal uses of some of the new technology we are employing.  As evidenced by the fact that, according to statistics, the number of social networking users has doubled since 2007 and now exceeds 55.6 million in the United States alone (or almost 1/3 of the US population), businesses must either get connected or get left behind.  We chose the former.

At the time of publication of this article, our Firm’s 27 lawyers will each have activated Facebook and LinkedIn accounts and our Firm’s newly revamped website will host blogging capabilities where different lawyers will contribute relevant legal articles each month.  In this age these changes are not merely technological indulgences, but have become marketing necessities.  The vast majority of our client representatives and colleagues in the legal and business communities have profiles on one or both of these sites (not to mention the numerous other sites we have chosen, for now, not to join).  While the days of meeting clients at a cocktail reception are not totally a thing of the past, they are certainly not the sole means for people to “network” anymore, nor are they most effective. 

This is not to suggest that traditional marketing tools like lunches, dinners, and cocktails are being replaced by social networking.  Instead social networks are enhancing traditional networking.  What is a thing of the past is talking shop at these events for a lack of anything else to discuss.  Now, having seen the latest “status update” of a client’s HR representative, the attorney is prepared to inquire about the client’s vacation to Tahoe or her son’s baseball game.  Unlike in decades past, people are spending less time at work – work ethics have simply changed as people have become more mobile and more connected.  With those changes has come an increase in the number of individuals who are both hardworking professionals and involved parents or passionate hobbyists of one sort or the other.  As suggested by its name, “social” networking allows the professional to learn more about the non-work life of his or her clients and connect with them on a much more personal level.  People want to do business with someone with whom they have a personal relationship – business isn’t just business anymore.

In addition to utilizing social media as a means of getting or staying connected with clientson a personal level, it is also a means of advertising upcoming events or recent accomplishments.  Employers can utilize social networking tools to advertise services, recruit potential employees, and even monitor existing workers.  The uses of social media in business cross industry lines and, while they do present some unique and mostly yet uncharted legal and ethical issues, the benefits far outweigh the negative. 

As with any networking, you get out of it what you put in.  If you go to the black tie event of the year and stand in a corner by yourself, you are unlikely to make a lasting impression on anyone or form any new (potential client) relationships.  The same is true with social media.  It is not enough to simply set up a profile and log on occasionally.  You must use the tools at your disposal – link your blog to your profile, update your status to invite people to an event you are hosting, or brag on yourself a little about the recent appellate court decision you got for your client.  The possibilities are endless – just log on!  We certainly hope you will stop by each of our profiles and continue to follow our blog at www.ssvcs.com.

by Somer G. Brown

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