Kevin O’Keefe

facebook_logoWhen we founded LexBlog, blog posts were delivered directly to readers by way of RSS feeds, email subscription, search results and bookmarks.

Fast forward 11 years and Facebook, with Google, dominates media distribution. Readers are no longer receiving blogs directly. Blog posts are being distributed socially.

From Frédéric Filloux (@filloux), general manager of the French ePresse consortium:

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How does your law firm measure return on investment on social media? Likes, comments, followers, traffic, or analytics? Big mistake.

Good lawyers get their work from relationships and word of mouth. When measuring return on social media, measure with reputation and relationships in mind.

Kristin Andree (@andreemedia), a marketing strategist and former director in the financial services industry, writes in Investment News this week that relationships are the real social media ROI.

Andree is like most people when buying services:

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An artist’s visualization of the recent Clio Cloud Conference.

Big used to matter in companies providing legal support, research, and services solutions to law firms.

Lots of money, broad distribution networks, seasoned executives, big conference booths, and fancy branding collateral.

Big was the safe choice. You didn’t get fired for buying from the big company from which every other law firm was buying.

No longer. Small startups are becoming the providers of choice for law firms across the country — and the world.

First, larger legal companies are struggling. They are laying off people. They’re have trouble bringing innovation to the market. Will they be around for the long haul?

Second, law firms like small, for a lot of reasons:

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Lawyers and law firms need to measure their return on blogging. Too much time and money time is put into blogging to do it on a lark.

The ROI, or blog success, is not measured by traffic to your blog or increased traffic to your law firm website from your blog.

Blog ROI should be measured by five milestones. Look at the milestones at six months, a year, and again at two years. Business development success online is a marathon, not a sprint…

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When lawyers hear blogging they think marketing. Raising their visibility. Getting web traffic. Enhancing their reputation.

That’s all good, but blogging by lawyers can mean a heck of a lot more to our society. At the same time, lawyers can realize their business development goals through such blogging.

Take a couple cases. One is blogging on legal stories in the news. The second is blogging on current affairs.

Look at both cases, highlighted by developments in the last couple weeks:

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Michael Brown, age 18 and a high school graduate, was scheduled to begin college classes on Monday.

He won’t be. He was shot, unarmed with his hands in the air, by police near his apartment on Saturday afternoon. The shooting in Ferguson, Missouri, a mostly black working-class St. Louis suburb of 20,000, has ignited outrage and skepticism of the police’s explanation for the shooting.

As Brown’s mother, Lesley McSpadden, told Steve Giegerich of the St. Louis Post Dispatch, the shooting took place as her son was walking to his grandmother’s residence.

One witness, Piaget Crenshaw, gave this account to Giegerich:

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Social media is an excellent way for you to nurture relationships with your largest clients. But if you are like 99% of lawyers, you don’t do it.

Some of you have unfounded fears that engaging clients via social media could be unethical, some of you don’t know how to do it, and some of you lack the ambition to try.

Here are nine steps to engaging your top twenty clients via Twitter:

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My first reaction when I heard of the Facebook mood study (PDF) was that it’s totally unethical and it’s going to set Facebook back a ways. I couldn’t figure out why Facebook couldn’t see it that way and wasn’t responding accordingly.

In a nutshell, the study, which was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and conducted by Facebook researcher Adam Kramer, Jeffrey Hancock of Cornell University, and Jamie Guillory of the University of California at San Francisco, revealed that Facebook had manipulated it’s Newsfeed in order to gauge how users’ moods and subsequent posts were affected.

After realizing that advertisers and marketers test our moods in response to color, sounds, pictures, and more each and every day — and that it’s been common practice for decades — I see Facebook as no better nor worse…

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Having personally experienced the lows of depression and the positive energy that comes from blogging and social media, I have to believe the effective use of social media could prevent depression for many lawyers.

In a story outside of law, AP sportswriter John Marshall (@jmarshallap) reported Monday on the positive impact social media is having on a six-time Olympic gold medal winner, Amy Van Dyken (@amyvandyken), just a few weeks after she suffered a life-threatening spinal injury.

Not long after Van Dyken’s first surgery, her husband Tom Rouen, a former punter for the Denver Broncos, placed a cellphone in her hands:

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A blog post represents our entry into a conversation. Nothing could be more true when it comes to blogging by lawyers and other professionals.

Dave Winer, an American software developer, entrepreneur and writer who is widely known for his contributions to blogging, established over a decade ago that a blog represents the unedited voice of a person.

Law firms and other organizations don’t edit what their professionals are saying when engaging others face-to-face. Nor should they do so with blog posts.

During last week’s Business Development Institute’s Social Media Summit for Law Firms, I asked the members of the panel I was moderating: do your firms vet or edit lawyers’ blog posts before publishing?

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