New York lawyer, author and social media expert Adrian Dayton demonstrates how Australian lawyers can create opportunities if they jump on the Twitter bandwagon. Briana Everett reports
Still a relatively young social networking phenomenon, Twitter has been dismissed by many as a waste of time. But its value as a marketing and business development tool is increasingly being recognised by many industry sectors and according to Adrian Dayton, author of Social Media for Lawyers: Twitter Edition, lawyers have some catching up to do when it comes to Twitter.
In Australia this week to present a workshop called Social Media Boot Camp, Dayton recognises the fears and reasons for resistance against social media amongst law firms - which include assumptions that no-one else is doing business on Twitter, that it's a waste of time, and that it's not all that useful - but he says the value these tools can provide, in terms of building relationships and business development, is too big to miss. "It's like a tidal wave. [Social media] is growing and there's no stopping it. You need to be positioned so you're not just the followers," he warns.
To delve into the social media sphere, Dayton suggests lawyers begin by signing-on to the "safe" social media site - LinkedIn - and go from there. By simply importing email contacts, Dayton says 10 per cent of users will create new business. "It's about building relationships...it's another point of contact."
After that, achieving business success on Twitter is quite simple, according to Dayton, who has over 50,000 followers. Dayton emphasises the importance of choosing who, within a firm, should be the one to get the ball rolling. Although some firms have realised the value and importance of social media, they still face the challenge of deciding who should have responsibility.
"You need to pick very carefully who your champions are going to be. You want the leaders who are already hungry for business," he says. A firm's best lawyers in terms of business development, says Dayton, are great because of their personal brand and their personal network.
For those lawyers who fear they can't control the message that goes out and are reluctant to embrace Twitter as a marketing tool, Dayton points out that the message could never be controlled - even before Twitter and before email. Like always, firms have to hire lawyers with a great personal brand and ensure they attract these people.
And Dayton reminds us that "the billable hour is still king" and that Twitter is "just another tool" that can be employed to build relationships and bring in business.
To learn more about social media see this week's edition of Lawyers Weekly for Dayton's advice on how to build relationships and generate more business using Twitter.
Adrian Dayton will be running all-day workshops to help law firms bring in business through social media. "Social Media Boot Camp" will be held in Sydney on Tuesday 23rd March 2010 and in Melbourne on Thursday 25th March 2010. At the workshop, firms can learn to design a 12-month plan to increase revenue and increase profitability using social media.
To find out more about Adrian Dayton's Australia visit see http://adriandayton.com/australia/