Committing to Social Media for the Long Haul

long haulI must confess that I’ve been a reluctant participant in social media.

You might say that this law firm and I were shocked into joining social media about two years ago when my law partner and I were strolling through an Amish farmers’ market on our lunch break.  In front of one of the produce vendor’s stalls was a sign which asked, quite amazingly, to “Please ‘Like’ Us on Facebook”!  I figured that if even the Amish farmers had joined Facebook, we would ignore this new- fangled trend at our peril.

Having practiced law for over 36 years now, I guess you can fairly classify me (along with the Amish) as being Old School.   New to social media in this, the late summer of my career, I’ve gamely done my share of Facebook posts, Tweets and blogs and have wondered whether anyone actually cares about who I am, where I’ve gone, what I’ve done and how I feel or think about anything.  Like a nervous junior high schooler asking for a date to the dance, I post and then revisit to see whether anyone one actually “likes” it (which means to me, of course, that they “like” me).  So, here I am, trying to gain attention, collect “likes” and, if I’m particularly witty, learned, interesting or catchy, to gather “followers.”

I’ve blogged here before that I’m still not used to this type of communication, being more of the relationship-oriented, conversational, visual, touchy-feely type.  And, feeling awkward about putting my words (and myself) into cyberspace, I’ve wondered more than once whether this relatively foreign brand of communication has any value.

Then, almost overnight, the world changed for me.

It came when I was reviewing my appointments and saw that my book for the upcoming week was virtually full.   I asked my assistant where all these new potential clients had come from and was surprised to learn that each and every one had found us online.

I should have not been surprised.  After all, every marketing speaker or online service has been telling me for years now that social media IS the future of marketing and advertising,—in short, the engine of how clients will find us.

And as I thought about the history of our firm, I remembered that everything worthwhile about our firm for the past 27 years of our existence has taken discipline and time—time to nurture, develop, attract, sustain and just plain grow.  You might say we’ve spent 27 years becoming an “overnight success.”

Maybe it’s just me, but my present feeling of impatience and unease is about much more than social media—it’s about Change and our ability to accept and adapt to it.  Trust me, at this stage of my career, the last thing I had in mind was adapting to a Brave New World in communication, relationship building or marketing, but here I am, nonetheless, faced with a simple choice:  either we adapt–or fold our tent and steal away into the darkness of anonymity.  Since I still am passionate about serving the needs of those with estate planning or elder law challenges, I will find a way to adapt, because it matters.

In the meantime (and to borrow from my friends, the Amish):

“Please ‘Like’ Us on Facebook.”