Tag Archives: blogs

Law firms & social media – hand in hand or claw to throat?

15 Apr

The agency I work for does quite a lot of marketing for law firms in NSW and Victoria. In the six months I’ve been here I’ve learned a lot about what you can and can’t do when marketing or advertising for a law firm – and let me tell you, it is very complicated!

This is why I read with a certain amount of interest Laurel Papworth’s blog on a law firm called CG Lawyers, who are running a ‘social media campaign’. Since my passion is in social media, I’ve been looking for a way to utilize this medium with some of our law firm clients – and struggling because of the complexities of the law combined with the inherently uncontrollable nature of the medium.

But this competition by CG Lawyers is an outright and blatant example of a law firm trying boost their profile and SEO (your website will rank higher in Google if there are more places that link back to you) through social media.

Here is an excerpt from their newsletter where they announce the competition:

I really like the way online social networking is gaining strength in the business world. We’ve all realised that something as simple as regular blogging on relevant topics can attract more traffic to our websites – and also build exposure for our brands.

So, we’re looking for a great online social networking effort from you. Something that links our two businesses using social networking as the medium.

It should be part of your own attempt at using social networking for business purposes.

Do you write regular blogs and articles online? Are Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn working for you as a business tool? Do you know of a website where people in your profession discuss issues and problems? Have you been exposed to creative online methods that provide information flow and initiate conversation?

Find creative ways to include CG Lawyers in your regular online networking, then enter your efforts in our competition. You will be in the running for a 2 night escape at Bundle Hill Cottages at Bawley Point. (www.bundlehill.com.au)

Fundamentally I disagree with this campaign – in my eyes (and I know there will be many who disagree with this) it goes back to the issue of paying for coverage in blogs, where ignorant PR and marketing agencies offer to pay an influential blogger to write positive things about their product/company. While in a competition format I suppose it isn’t so bad, but something in me just doesn’t like it.

But as Laurel said on her blog, it is also very smart on the part of CG Lawyers. The essential idea behind a lot of work that happens in digital and social areas on the internet, is to create a web of interlinked and connected sites (but not so many that you can’t maintain) and drive all the people who are your fans on Facebook to also read your blog posts and follow you on Twitter. It’s something I advised Taronga Zoo to do while I interned there last year, and it was extremely successful in driving up their overall views of Flickr photos, driving up followers on Twitter and building a solid community on Facebook for their Chimpanzee family.

Now that I’ve seen another law firm be brave enough to enter into social media I think it is an area something I can now realistically and practically explore for our clients. And this is really exciting.

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Inching down that horrible ‘Unread’ number

16 Sep

I’m now sitting down in the evenings and dedicating an hour to slowly inching down the ‘unread’ number that always mounts so quickly on Google Reader. Mashable is the biggest offender, and when I started reading blogs using Google Reader, I would always avoid reading Mashable because the number was so daunting! I’ve realised now that this was a huge mistake, as the majority of the posts that I find interesting come from the amazing dedicated team at Mashable, who consistently bring an intelligent mix of social media news and humour. A perfect example is the Top 10 Kanye West Interruption Parodies – of which my absolute favourite has to be the video embedded below. Update – the video has since been made private – go to the Mashable link above to find other genius versions).

On a more serious note, David Meerman Scott (who I was lucky enough to hear speak at the last Social Media Club in Sydney) has posted a very interesting blog – Social Media and the Cotton On baby T-Shirt Crisis – about how essential it is for companies to maintain an active as well as interactive presence on social media sites. The outrage about inappropriate baby T-Shirts started off on social media sites like Twitter, but quickly made traditional media papers such as the Sydney Morning Herald. In situations like this, I have always believed that it is important for the companies involved to respond to the criticisms in the same medium, and to do this effectively you need to have an existing and ongoing communication in these mediums. While Cotton On does have a Twitter account (@CottonOn), as David pointed out it is mainly used to convey marketing and advertising messages. I made this point myself a few months ago in a presentation about Online PR, using the example of Domino’s pizza’s crisis ‘Disgusting Domino’s People’. While they had the right idea, and responded using YouTube, the same medium that the the original video was posted in, they didn’t have an existing presence and conversation on social networking sites, and it took a long time for their responding message to get through and calm the crisis down.

Finally, I was drawn to a conversation/debate on Twitter this afternoon between two people that I follow and respect, @trib & @sammutimer, centered around the video embedded below.

If you work in digital, or just even have an interest in social media, you have probably seen that video. When I watched it, my thoughts were “Wow! That is an amazing video that I will show to anyone who believes my passion for social media is silly.” Truth be told I haven’t shown it to anyone yet (because I forgot about it… oops) but now I’ve had it brought to my attention again I can definitely think of a few people who have said “Ohhh Tash, you’re not on Twitter are you?” in a very condescending tone 😛 they’d definitely benefit from watching it – I think. That is the issue that was the core of the discussion on Twitter today, and @trib brought to my attention some very interesting points. Firstly, in his blog post Right Revolution, Wrong Revolutionary he points out that the focus of the video is very much about how much money all these mediums can be worth to companies – and I agree with him that the focus should be more about who we can connect with using these mediums, and the relationships that we can create, rather than just the profit. Yes there are opportunities to make some hard, fast cash, but I fully believe that social media should, and eventually will, be about long term goals and relationships (even in instant mediums like Twitter). Secondly, he points out that the video is very much geared towards people who are already interested in social media – see his Tweet. So maybe I won’t be showing it to those doubting friends after all!

Phew, that took me a while to put together. Meanwhile, an essay about the Federal Lobbying Register is still unwritten – why oh why can’t I be this passionate about Lobbying!

Social Media

30 Mar

Today we had a great lecture by the ex CSU student, Paull Young. Beyond interesting, Paul did a great job of overviewing social media, and his case studies grabbed the classes interest. It’s even more impressive when a lecturer can keep students’ riveted when not even there in person!

Have a look at the link below (update: the embed code doesn’t seem to work now that I’ve moved this post to WordPress)

Paull Young on Social Media from Paull Young on Vimeo.

Thanks so much to Paull for such an inspiring presentation, and it also makes me hopeful for my future as a graduate of Charles Sturt in a few months time! Uni at this point is rushing by at top speed, it’s hard to believe we get a break at the end of next week! Oh, and in exciting news, I managed to pick up an opportunity to help out at the Bluesfest up in Byron Bay over the Easter weekend, helping organise media and interviews with the artists! I thought there was no chance there would be anything left this close to the festival, but on a whim emailed the publicity director. Just goes to show that you should always take a chance and try! You never know.

I’ve also started to contact PR agencies in Melbourne and Sydney, enquiring about longer internships. Just a bit nerve racking, but lets hope all goes well. At least my course is preparing me well, with mock interviews and applications last week. My course coordinator Donald and tutor Sharon had nothing bad to say about my interview, which is a huge confidence boost, since they’re both very experienced in the public relations industry. We’re also heading out to Sydney on Thursday for a two day tour of public relations companies in the city, including Cox Inall , Ogilvy and Burson-Marsteller . Should be really interesting!