Networking Sites... When and How?

Networking Sites... When and How?

Sam Glover, over at Lawyerist had an interesting post on LinkedIn that brought up some good questions. (video attached below)

This brings up the question about what are the social networking sitesout there, and what is the best way to use them for your business.Taking a quick look around we can find a wide variety of socialnetworking sites: FacebookTwitter, LinkedIn, MyPractice, Orkut, and many many others. (Wikipedia list)

Now after reviewing the Wikipedia list, it's obvious that many of theseare not intended for the business setting.  (match.com, Adult FriendFinder, ect.)  The following is based simply on my perceptions, Iwelcome your insights.



Facebook:
This social networking site is almost in a league of it's own.  It
seems to have grown from the random computer nerd to everybody and
their mother (yep, even my mom).  I've seen nephews and nieces that are
still in elementary school, to someone's 90-year-old grandmother.

This is not lost on the business community, you can find fan pages, and
groups of every type out there.  Many businesses find this a great way
to keep in contact with potential clients.  While most people use
Facebook for interacting and staying in touch with friends and family,
this allows the company to occasionally send out a reminder to everyone
that "Hey, remember we're here."

Beyond advertising, it can also be useful to keep in contact with business
professionals.  I still remember being the 2L at William Mitchell,
studying for finals at Nina's.

While I'm trying to remember which tax code goes with which tax break
I over hear the two elderly gentlemen sitting next to me (ok, they were
probably only 60).  They were trying to close a business deal, but
needed to know if so-and-so would go for it.  Neither of them had his
contact information on hand.  The simple response was "Pull up his
Facebook."

LinkedIn and the Ilk: These sites can very from place to place, such as MyPractice (primarily seems to be MN Lawyers), Xing (Europe and Asia market),
Talkbiznow, Ryze, PartnerUp, ect...  These can be great ideas for
social networking sites, but their application seems a little weak.
This may be due to the fact that the clients that most people are
looking for are not on the site.I do like the fact that, for a small
firm like ours, the LinkedIn account can be essentially a resume/ad to
potential clients, and can be easily viewed by people outside the
network. It also seems to come near the top on google searches.

But for the most part, I'm not sure it extends to networking as much as it
could. Say you were looking for a CPA or private investigator among
your contacts. Unless you have been diligent at keeping up your
"Profile Organizer," chances are, you will be searching in the dark.

Summation: nice for advertising your business resume, not so great for networking.

Twitter:
These “micro-blogging” sites seem to be less focused on keeping people
interacting, and more about allowing you to tell everyone what your
doing.  Sometimes this seems to be a valuable resource, say when a new blog just came out that you really liked and want to spread the word.  Or maybe when you made the decision to go to Buffalo Wild Wings instead of the YWCA.

As you can see, the usefulness is only there if the reader actually cares. Personally, one of the biggest uses of Twitter for Ascheman & Smith, is their willingness and ability to integrate with Facebook and LinkedIn to
essentially “RT” our status updates.

Conclusion: As I mentioned, this is only my perception of how the social networking sites can be used for businesses.  I know that many of you have different opinions.  Leora Maccabee also has some great insights into social networking for lawyers. Please let me know what you think.



Thank you,
Landon J. Ascheman, Esq.

Landon@AschemanSmith.com

(B) 612.217.0077 (F) 651.344.0700


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