I recently wrote about the Strength of Weak Ties. In that post I mentioned that in 1983, Congress enacted a provision in a Federal Highway funding statute that complicated matters for highway construction contractors. I wrote about the change and spoke at conferences across the country.

At the time I was a 12-year lawyer and didn’t have the Internet to help with research or to connect me with weak ties. What would I do now, if I were a 12-year lawyer? How would I use social media and other Internet tools?

My main strategy would be to use the Internet to find things going on that will create legal issues or opportunities for transportation construction contractors. I would also use the Social Media tools to become more visible and credible to my target market and to build relationships.

  1. I would have Google Alerts set up for each of my clients, their competitors, and highway construction, bridge construction, rail construction, airport construction and mass transit  construction.
  2. I would continue reading construction magazines like Engineering News Record, but I would also get their daily electronic updates.
  3. I would be on LinkedIn and I would start the Transportation Construction Law Group. I would invite all my contractor friends on LinkedIn to join the group. I would search for other groups that would likely have members interested in transportation construction and join those groups. Each month I would link to the column I wrote in Roads and Bridges magazine. When I did presentations I would mention them and offer to send the PowerPoint slides and handouts to anyone who was unable to attend the presentation.
  4. I would be on Facebook and likely use it to stay in touch with my friends, as I am using it now. I would consider setting up a Transportation Construction Law Fan Page where I would post what is going on in transportation construction. I would use this page instead of sending out email blasts of alerts I write.
  5. I would be on Twitter and I would use it to gather information, to build relationships with transportation construction leaders, influencers and writers who are on Twitter. I would also use it to post news and information contractors would find valuable and helpful. I would be seeking contractor friends to follow me on Twitter. I would also link to the monthly columns I wrote for Roads and Bridges magazine.
  6. I would update and make e-books of my books on Transportation Construction Claims, Design-Build for Transportation Construction Contractors and Linear Scheduling.
  7. I would do quarterly webinars at no charge for the transportation construction industry. I would record them and make them available to national construction associations and their state chapters. I would edit them and make several short podcasts.
  8. I would consider putting my PowerPoint slide presentations on Slide Share.

Some senior lawyers do not see the value of social media. Others believe there are ethical problems with lawyers using social media for marketing. Kevin O’Keefe of LexBlog has written about both points. I urge skeptical senior lawyers to read Kevin’s posts. In his November 8 post Kevin writes how social media has raised the bar for client development and in his December 30 post, Kevin includes a list of things to avoid doing that would raise ethical considerations.

Lawyers are increasingly using social media to market. It can be done efficiently, effectively and ethically. How are you using social media? How is your firm using it? How can you take some of my ideas above and use them for your practice?