LAW firms and other professional services firms must have a policy in place before they enter the social media pool of Twitter and the like, said legal and social media experts in Sydney this morning.
The suggestion was made at an Asia Pacific Professional Services Marketing Association (APSMA) event, held at law firm Sparke Helmore this morning, which brought together marketing and other senior professionals from within law firms.
Robert Beerworth, the managing director of web design and development company Willam, said firms need to develop a policy around social media in order to benefit from the full extent of its possibilities, as well as lessen risk.
He said Telstra's social media policy, which comprehensively outlines how social media can benefit the company and how it can be used, is a good basis for law firms to also follow.
The APSMA event aimed to highlight what social media is, it's pros and cons for business, and what business intelligence can be gained from social media.
Australian law firms are increasingly engaging in social media. Deacons now has the most followers of any Australian firm on Twitter, but is successful also in engaging other users in dialogue about the legal profession, new laws, comments made by the firm's partners in the media, and current editorial that affects the profession and law firms.
Other firms, Allens Arthur Robinson and Blake Dawson among them, use Twitter primarily as a means to push legal updates and firm news through a different medium. At the APSMA event this morning, members of the audience asked panel members how they could take Twitter and sites like it a step further.
Panel members, including Nick Holmes a Court from Buzz Numbers and Suresh Sood from UTS, as well as Kate Gibbs, the editor of The New Lawyer, agreed firms should attempt to point the Twitter community to online articles in which the firm has been mentioned.
The various panel members also suggested professional services firms point to new legislation that may affect their clients, republish "tweets", or "retweet", relevant business-related comments made elsewhere on Twitter.
Deacons also notifies its Twitter population of followers when it is appointed to a new legal panel.
The panel discussion was moderated by Boardroom Radio's David Bushby, who said many law firms have dipped their toes into the social media world. Others have dived in, he said, but many more could take further steps and even become knee deep in their waters.
The author of this article was a panel member on the APSMA event this morning.
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