5/27/09

The False Argument: Social Media tools are either Marketing "Wins" or "Losses"

I am not a Law Firm Marketer... I don't play one on TV (or via Social Media). I do, however, recognize a weak argument when I read one. There's a certain consultant out there that has raised the hackles of a lot of Twitter fans by writing that "Twitter Not Effective for Legal Marketing." Immediately, there were rebuttal blogs being posted.
I thought I'd chime in with my non-marketing, but still somewhat knowledgeable take on this whole thing, and how it shouldn't be painted with a broad brush.
I was discussing these arguments with a good friend and she said:
I'll tell ya, I'm pretty fed up with all of these law firm marketers (especially the consultants!) who are self-proclaimed social media "experts" but who contribute little value, if any, to the community and the conversation. My CMO asked me "I don't understand twitter, what's the ROI?" and I could only answer, "Just your time. You get what you put in." And I think that's exactly what some people get. Nothin. No, you cannot make a quick buck doing this stuff - blogging, twittering, etc - but you can establish yourself as an expert, you can learn and share information, and, yes, you can connect with your clients. Is it an overnight, magic-bullet? No. Does it still work? Absolutely.
Let's be honest -- Twitter can be a time suck, and can be ineffective as a marketing tool. But, so can anything else -- whether it is traditional marketing or a social media effort. How much time and money have firms spent on traditional marketing effort that got zero or little ROI?? Probably more times than we'd like to admit. But, we learn, we adjust, and we move on to the next project. Trying to argue that Social Media tools are either "Wins" or "Losses" just seems to me to be a false argument.
It reminds me of a joke I was told a long time ago about how sometimes it is easier for some consultants to tell you what they "know" rather than them taking the time to learn something new and then tell you what you "can do."

All of the athletes of a Division 1 University took a "History of the Bible" course in the Fall semester of their Senior year. The course was pretty simple and the professor never took roll. But more importantly, the only grade in the class was from the final exam and the prof always gave the same question on the final exam. "Explain why Moses was chosen to lead Israel out of slavery and give them God's Law."

Unfortunately for a group of athletes, the professor decided to change the final exam this semester. This time the question was "Critique Jesus' Sermon on the Mount."

One very creative athlete found a way around this dilemma by giving the following answer:

"Who am I to criticize the Lord?? Therefore, let me explain why Moses was chosen to lead Israel out of slavery and give them God's law...."

Social Media Tools (blogs, FaceBook, Nings, etc) can be a good addition to your overall marketing resource kit. However, it can also be a drain on your resources if you're not careful. Now insert that same argument for all of those Law Firm Alerts that your firm sends out. (And, read this little article about what your clients think of those alerts.) As the old saying goes - "If your only tool is a hammer, then all problems look like a nail." You just can't have one tool in your marketing tool belt. Or, as Lisa puts it, "holistic marketing." The trick is to find understand how all of your marketing resources can help you achieve your goals. And, if you can't tell me what your marketing goal is, then using Social Media tools effectively isn't your only problem. (paraphrasing Dave Lorenzo.)

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3 comments:

Emily C. Rushing said...

"if you can't tell me what your marketing goal is, then using Social Media tools effectively isn't your only problem"

Here here!

Melita said...

Excellent point - tools are only as good as the projects to which they're applied. This was also helpful to consider - as with most things - social media isn't a zero sum game. Here's my favorite part: "If your only tool is a hammer, then all problems look like a nail," so true.

Edward Dizzys said...

Interesting!

I feel like there is a scarcity of good marketing today. Good marketing means which can convert the leads into sales. The only marketing that has moved me in the last couple of years is Search Engine Optimization.

 

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