June/July 2009 • Vol. 29 No. 6 | An E-Publication of the Los Angeles County Bar Association

Marketing Yourself Effectively through Online Networking

Once upon a time, Ajax was a well-known household cleanser. Today, AJAX refers to a broad group of technologies used to create interactive Web applications.

These new applications have changed marketing and the world as we know it. You can use different social media applications—each with its own specific use—for developing awareness about the legal services that you provide.

Unlike traditional advertising, social media applications can help develop durable relationships, even community, among colleagues and clients. The challenge arises in how to deploy them effectively. Here are ways LACBA can help.

ONLINE FORUM: For several years, LACBA has provided an e-mail forum for each of its twenty-odd sections, enabling attorneys to exchange advice, tips, experience, and news among their colleagues within their practice area, thus building a collaborative community of professionals developing their skills.

BLOG: Last summer, LACBA launched its EnBanc blog, encouraging attorneys to write brief articles that are less formal than those found in Los Angeles Lawyer magazine. Bloggers can write about any aspect of law practice and thus begin a discussion among colleagues on particular topics. EnBanc enjoys an increasing popularity among attorneys who are not only writing their own posts but commenting on those written by others. By posting comments to articles, readers participate in discussions that delve into every angle of a case decision or any aspect of the law and the legal profession, strengthening and enriching their understanding. The more prolific bloggers on EnBanc enjoy name recognition and can use their names as links viewing all their articles, thus creating their own professional blogs. EnBanc is a great way to develop a community of discussion and debate and to build a reputation as an expert in legal specialties.

TWITTER: Unlike a blog, Twitter is a “microblog” that allows attorneys to interact in group conversations. LACBA provides a Twitter network for up-to-the-minute news regarding all types of events such as CLE classes, conferences, or section symposia as they take place. For example, during the recent Crocker Symposium, LACBA members used Twitter on their mobile phones to post comments and news of what they were learning, providing feedback in real time on the workshops and the people they met. Other participants at the symposium coordinated a carpool ride for the post-symposium reception.

FACEBOOK: This application enables LACBA to post its new products and programs on the “wall.” Once inside LACBA’s Facebook page, the visitor first sees the wall where microblog announcements are posted and sent to all those connected to the LACBA Facebook Group. The group members receive these announcements on their own Facebook home page. At LACBA’s Facebook page, visitors can select any one of the tabs to view a “profile” or “events” or other information. Facebook is a less formal, popular networking application, allowing people to join other networks and, once connected, to exchange information and announcements. LACBA also provides a Facebook for Law Students.

LINKED IN: Compared to Facebook, LinkedIn is designed for professional networking. LACBA has created its presence on LinkedIn, using a new feature—the company presentation, currently in beta version—so that its members can “link in” and benefit from easy access to more than 23,000 attorneys. A member of LACBA’s Group can search and find other members and request to link to a selected colleague, thus enabling contact and communication. Members also can choose to display the LACBA logo, indicating membership in the Group network. Members can send an endorsement to a colleague, and the receiver can opt to display it as part of his or her professional profile. Like Facebook, LinkedIn is moderated to avoid any misrepresentations or fraud.

What are your thoughts? What would you like to see on LACBA.org? Send feedback to webmaster@lacba.org or call Mark Biskeborn at 213-896-6401.

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