I noticed the change when my friends, who do not read newspapers or watch TV news, subscribed to news outlets on Facebook. Their main source for news today is Facebook and Twitter -- as social media has turned into the news media.
This is a major shift in consumer behavior that attorneys, and the experts who market, them must be aware of.
According to the New York Times:
- Facebook has a 28-page set of internal editorial guidelines.
- Snapchat has around 75 people who produce content and annotate videos.
- Twitter employs just under a dozen people to collect postings about notable topics for Twitter Vine has five to 10 people to highlight videos.
- Snapchat has six journalists on staff.
Call them curators, content creators or editors -- social media has news reporters. Their staffs may be tiny compared to traditional news organizations, but their impact is outsized. “Most major social media platforms have, in recent years, amassed editorial teams of their own, groups that select, tame and fill gaps in the material produced by users and media companies," the NYT says.
These changes call for radical changes for attorneys who market their services and seek consumers as clients.
- Social media is no longer a backwater that law firms think they can neglect. Many law firms have semi-abandoned social media pages that are irregularly updated with self-promotional stories. This is a mistake.
- Tech-savvy lawyers like Duncan Garnett, a trial lawyer with 30 years of experience in Newport News, VA, sends social media updates throughout the day on @HDuncanGarnett and Facebook. He has more than 3,000 followers on Twitter.
- The National Trial Lawyers, whose social media I manage, has 7,700 followers for @. I have sent more than 8,000 updates for the association. The NTL's Facebook page is similarly updated throughout the day with news of verdicts, settlements and trials.
- It is time for attorneys to take social media seriously.