I met and started coaching Shawn Tuma in 2011. Shawn had found me using social media and had subscribed to my blog. After a three hour coaching session, Shawn posted one of my favorite blog posts: Are you like Clark Griswold or Ray Lewis? explaining how I convinced him to narrow his focus.

Shawn did just that and at the same time became my “go to” source for lawyer marketing using social media. Shawn is now a partner with Scheef & Stone, L.L.P. He is a cyber lawyer who helps businesses throughout the US with cutting-edge issues involving computer fraud, cybersecurity, privacy and intellectual property law.

Shawn has done a really great job writing and speaking on those issues and then getting his work to many others using Social Media. Over the last year, Shawn has given several presentations and webinars for lawyers I coach. Here is a link to a Social Media Webinar I know you will find valuable.

Last June, Shawn demonstrated how he could effectively use social media tools in less than an hour. I asked him to share his ideas with you. So, this is the first in a three part series.

This is the first  in a 3 part series that focuses on simple ways that you can use social media to market your law practice in less than one hour. The first post explains how social media can be a more efficient tool for marketing than traditional face-to-face networking.

The second post discusses the tools you will need to use to effectively market your practice using the techniques I discuss.

The third post provides an actual example of what I did on one particular day, in less than an hour, to market my practice and it has a list of 10 specific activities that you can easily adopt and try for yourself.

Why Social Media Can Be More Efficient Than Traditional Networking

“What can I do to market my law practice in less than an hour?”

If you are serious about trying to build your law practice then I hope you have asked yourself that question, or something similar. Time is precious and the last thing any of us want to do is waste it. But, there are also things we must do if we want to grow our law practices. Marketing is tops on that list and that is why all of us should constantly be asking ourselves how we can get the most marketing bang for our time-buck.

I have to market. You have to market. But what does it mean to market?

It took me a while but I finally realized that working hard to become a great lawyer was not enough to help me get the kind of clients I wanted and needed to build my law practice. I realized that in addition to striving to become a great lawyer, I would also have to market myself and my practice. Unfortunately, the word marketing was an amorphous term to me. I had no idea what it meant or how to do it.

Traditional “marketing” took too much time

So, I did what many others do: I started going to business networking events believing I could walk into the room and  be greeted with lots of eager clients who would immediately recognize the value I could provide to their businesses. Then, with the flip of a few business cards, I would reel in more work than I could handle and I would be set for life! That’s how it is supposed to work, right?

Maybe you have better luck, but it did not work for me.

I quickly learned

  • I was wasting at least an hour at the event meeting people who wanted to sell me their products and services to me,
  • 30 minutes driving time, to and from the event, and
  • heaven only knows how much time fielding follow-up telephone calls and responding to emails from the people I met there who had no interest (or ability to afford) my services but thought I was the ideal candidate for theirs.

There had to be a better way.

After a few frustrating months, I realized there was a better way.

Social media “marketing” was much better suited for me

I started to realize this when I started reading Cordell Parvin’s blog. In March, 2011 he posted: Social Media: One Tool to Become More Visible and Credible where he explained the benefits of using social media for networking and marketing.

I was immediately drawn to this because it was  efficient and gave me a very broad reach. There was no travel time, no cost to participate, no meals or drinks to buy.  And, the whole world was within my reach, not just the handful of networkers I met who were trying to sell something to me!

I jumped into it, found that I had a knack for social media marketing, and began having limited success. It was easy to get into because I was already used to using social media on a personal basis. What made it easy, however, also became a stumbling block. I was using social media in the way that I enjoyed it, not for a strategic purpose to grow my business. This changed when I began working with Cordell.

You must develop and follow a strategic plan to effectively market with social media

One of the most important lessons that Cordell taught me was that I had to stop doing things because I enjoyed them but, instead, I needed to do things that were strategically designed to accomplish my clearly defined marketing goals.

Here is how you can do it. Start by defining your marketing goals and then work backwards to develop a strategic plan to accomplish those goals. The plan must be specific and mine was. It addressed the “why,” had a specific amount of time allocated for each activity (to 2 minute increments), and had specific action items so that it was actionable and did not require a lot of time being indecisive and “mulling over things.”

I still have the original Plan on my credenza today and regularly refer to it though much of it has become habit and some has evolved as well.

If you are like me, you would rather see an example of how something is done than to be told how to do it. So instead of telling you more about my plan, in my second post I will explain what tools I use and why I use  them. In  my third post I will share how, on one particular Saturday morning, I spent less than one hour and did 10 specific activities to market myself and my law practice.

With this you will see just how much marketing “bang” you can get for less than an hour investment. Then, after you see how much you can accomplish in such a limited amount of time, you can work on preparing a plan of your own.

You can follow Shawn on Twitter @shawnetuma. After you read the three part series I am sure he would be happy to answer any questions.