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March 23, 2012 / Steve Hennigs

How Social Media benefits my Business Development efforts

Russ Lawson of Sands Anderson PC

To be on social media or not to be on social media, that is the question.

OK, so maybe that is not how the old Shakespearean line really goes but it is a question that everyone in the world of business must answer and I hope you will find the answer to be a resounding yes.

I am in sales and have been for my entire (4 year) professional career. I cold call, attend sales conferences, rely on email marketing and all other manners of prospecting activities to help me drive business.

About nine months ago I decided that I wanted to become active on a few social media platforms to see what all they hype was. I started this blog, updated my LinkedIn Profile, and opened a Twitter Account (I am also on Google+ but just do not use it that much, any advice is appreciated)

I do not think I spend an enormous amount of time on social media as I write one – two blog posts per week and try to commit and average of 30 minutes a day to the task. I have to say that this small time commitment is really beginning to make a difference. How you may ask? Here is my answer:

  • Visibility – When I attend Legal Marketing seminars and events there is a very good chance that someone who has never spoken to me before will approach me and say “Don’t I know you from somewhere?” which can lead (and has led) to a meeting.
  • Credibility – By taking the time to create content that is valuable to my target audience (that’s you Legal Marketers!) I have developed more and more credibility within the industry. This makes a huge difference in how I am perceived in sales calls.
  • A better network – Devoting resources to social media has allowed me to create new opportunities and nurture existing ones more effectively. This is not to be confused with a bigger network which depending on your goals can be a bad thing.
  • I learn a lot – Social media to me is not just about me putting content out there. It is equally about listening to thought leaders and learning from what they have to say. This has been a huge benefit for me.
  • Actual sales! – I can honestly track a few of my sales directly to social media. I do not count on this to be the norm but it is certainly icing on the cake.

It was a great coincidence that I started writing this post on Tuesday and got to attend a Legal Marketing Association Minnesota Chapter luncheon on Wednesday featuring Russell Lawson speaking on the topic of Social Media. Kudos to Russell for a job well done and here are a few interesting tidbits from his presentation:

  • Start with a plan
    • Do not just get into social media “just because” determine what value you can bring to your law firm and how much time/money you are willing to commit.
  • Look at each channel (Twitter, LinkedIn, et al) to determine where your clients are
    • Once you figure that out make sure you have a presence on the appropriate channels.
  • Provide consistent and valuable content that is written by your attorneys and easy to share
    • At Russell’s firm Sands Anderson PC he has a policy that all social media content must be written by an attorney. He also makes sure that there are share icons (for the channels he is committed to). This means that the information is credible and has the ability to spread quickly.
  • Measure success
    • Benchmark and record your impact, track your progress and compare the data over time to determine whether or not your efforts are paying off
    • Ask your clients where they first heard of your firm. If they say from social media you can directly tie that business to your effort!

If you would like further details you should reach out to Russell. I have briefly met him twice and really enjoyed both conversations. He is on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Overall committing time and effort to social media has been worth it for me. How has your law firm benefited from social media? How do you measure success?

As always, thanks for reading.



  1. Russell Lawson (@Russ23229) / Mar 23 2012 4:40 PM

    Steve –
    You’ve got it right and I appreciate that you think I do, too. I can only speak from experience. I, personally, may be an early adopter, but my firm most decidedly was not. I have had some fortunate questions from lawyers since 2008 that I have been able to answer with social media tactics. Now, as the use of these channels rises, the ones who got out in front just a little (like you) are being pushed ahead by the large momentum of mass entry. The benefits in reputation and visibility are becoming more apparent every day. Thanks for coming to the show. Hope to see you again soon! Keep up with my blog Someday, I might post as frequently as you do. Good to have a goal.

    • Steve Hennigs / Mar 26 2012 8:16 AM

      Thank you for your comment Russell! I was pleased to see that the benefits I perceived I was receiving were confirmed in your presentation. It really helped me see that I am on the right track but can of course continue to improve.

      I look forward to keeping up with your blog and hope that I can continue to provide value to you if you keep up with me.

      Best of luck and take care.

  2. Ruth Carter / Mar 26 2012 3:59 PM

    I agree that blogging is a good way to build a network and to show your expertise in an area. This lends itself well to being selected or asked to contribute information or a quote to bigger publications.

    • Steve Hennigs / Mar 26 2012 6:35 PM

      That is some really great insight Ruth. Blogging is a key cog in the social media machine because you can really share both your knowledge and personality which as you said, can lead to even more visibility. I read a few posts on your firm’s website and certainly learned a few things so keep up the great work!

  3. mistysheffield / Mar 28 2012 6:36 AM

    Hi Steve,
    I was a little skeptical when I started my paralegal blog. I really enjoy writing so I figured if all the hype about blogging was false, I was at least doing something I enjoyed. Blogging turned out to be much more powerful than I ever imagined. My best attorney clients and my most valuable connections have come through using my blog and Twitter. It is also a lot of fun and inexpensive. Yes, it takes time, but all relationship building takes time and the beauty of social media is in the relationships. Thanks for the great article.

    • Steve Hennigs / Mar 28 2012 12:40 PM

      Misty that is funny you mention that you decided to blog partly because you enjoy writing. I must confess that I felt a bit skeptical myself when I got started with all this but my love for writing was a factor in my decision as well!

      That is very encouraging to hear you have gotten high quality work from your social media efforts and I am happy you enjoyed the post. Could you share a link to your blog?

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