Last Friday in Washington D.C., I had the pleasure of joining four other CMOs for an LMA Capital Chapter panel on “How Leading Law Firm Marketers Are Positioning Their Firms and People to Succeed.” Among the luminaries on the panel were Milbank’s Ellen Musante, Waller’s Mark Greene, Beveridge & Diamond’s Nathan Darling and Wilmer Hale’s Tim Delaney.

Each of us had five minutes to discuss an assigned topic, and I drew Social Media.  With only five minutes to cover a topic that easily could take five hours, I elected to address my Top 5 Thoughts About Social Media.  Here are the topics I briefly discussed in reverse order.

5.  Social media is well-constructed for attorneys, even though they don’t use it much….yet.  Read Gary Vaynerchuk’s “The Thank You Economy” to see how social media is re-constructing and scaling relationships and community, both of which are critical to the legal profession and both of which have been significantly eroded in the last 30 years.

4.  We are landing clients as a direct result of the utilization of social media.

3.  THAT one utilizes digital media is about as important as WHAT one communicates.  While content is important, so is “search engine findability.”  Being active in social media helps one be found for that which one wants to be found.  As to content, view the world as a reporter and observer until you can become a producer of valuable content.

2.  Social media communicates when nothing else will.  Social media is an effective communications channel even when traditional channels are inoperable due to natural disaster, coups, and censorship.  I experienced this firsthand when, in the wake of the devastating May 22, 2011 Joplin tornado, the Twitter feed was the best way to get information, and the information was very detailed, down to the neighborhood level.

1.   Within the next 3 years, social media will overtake e-mail as the preferred digital communications channel for business, in the same way that e-mail overtook USPS mail.

Again, this list just begins to scratch the surface on the subject of social media. What are your top thoughts about social media and its usage in legal marketing and business development?