Archive for the ‘ Building your network ’ Category

Is live-Tweeting overrated?

Is live-Tweeting overrated?

That’s the question my friend Ben Greenzweig, Momentum Event Group, asked the LME group this morning. And, with multiple people live-tweeting the same sessions at a conference, I can understand why he’s raised the question.

Not too shockingly, many of us have an opinion, and a conversation has begun so head over to the Facebook group to participate fully.

I think many people look at Twitter as a disruptor or distracting from the speaker, as opposed to a tool. They find it rude that someone is tap, tap, tapping away and not listening.

I’ll argue that those people 1) have never tried it, and 2) are not following the conversations on Twitter.

So what are those of us who live-tweet getting out of it?

LMA president Tim Corcoran‘s reasons began as personal, and then evolved:

When I began tweeting from events. It wasn’t to serve the masses or generate a following, it was a convenient way to take permanent notes. The short tweets mirrored what I had been capturing, with my head down, on my notepad for years. I tend now to tweet things others may also find interesting and in return I hope others do the same for events I cannot attend live.*

My answer, obviously, is no. I don’t find it to be overrated.

In addition to being how I take my notes, I find I am more engaged when I am tweeting. Meeting new people. And usually end up meeting the speakers (if they check the twitter feed) and having deeper conversations on the topic.

As a conference organizer, live-tweeting, to me, is not just about today’s event, but it is a marketing opportunity for the next event.

With an active and engaged Twitterverse the energy carries on for days, and not just about the sessions, but about the networking. From your computer you are seeing people connect and engage, as well as highlighting the educational opportunities. From your desktop or mobile device, you can’t help but realize that you are missing out on something.

As a speaker I find it to be an immediate feedback tool:

It’s also an honest/live evaluation. No tweets. They found you boring and with nothing to say. If you suck they will say so. Lots of tweets = good information to pass along.

As a moderator I am able to engage the audience, both live and online, during the Q&A, and also to help me pose a question to the panel during the session:

As a moderator, or panelist, I watch the Twitter feed. Great way to manage questions from the audience. And I always try and pull one from the Twitterverse.

But a conversation is no fun without a debate. John Byrne, co-chair of the 2014 LMA Annual Conference, challenges us as conference attendees:

… whatever happened to an audience member simply raising his/her hand to ask a question? If you’re “virtually” attending, then Twitter is a great way to engage speakers (and maybe the only way). But if you’re in the room, then participate the old-fashioned way. It’s just better and, I daresay, more respectful. And even potentially more disruptive than any other way.

As a moderator, you need to do both.

But when 8 hands go up, the moderator has no control over what those people might ask. This way, your question rises up out of the crowd.

And, let’s face it, how many times has a “question” turned into someone wanting to be the fourth panelist?

Ann Lee Gibson, a leading consultant to law firms and legal marketers, also touches on human nature, and how Twitter is a great buffer:

… adult education research addresses that and related questions. Webinars used in distance-learning have been found to elicit more questions from adults (young or old ones) than classroom IRL does. For various reasons, e.g., feeling intimidated, shy, or “stupid,” or fear of group politics and peer or teacher reprisals, personality typing, etc. many simply won’t ask their questions or volunteer much IRL. Fact of life.

Personally, I have found my conference experience so much more rewarding since the advent of Twitter. Who can forget my brilliant post recapping the 2010 LMA Annual Conference, Me, Twitter, LMA and Laura (Gutierrez) Toledo? It’s still true today.

Social media made my conference. I was part of a community within a community via Twitter. In 140 characters or less, I was connecting with people I really didn’t know too well. We were having a “conference within a conference” and we were growing as the hours went by. The absolutely incredible part is that the Twitter community wasn’t limited to those in Denver, people were joining in from their desktops across cyberspace.

I think the best thing a conference organizer can do is use social media to capture and engage attendees. By doing so, you introduce people, and provide them a platform to engage. They in turn engage their followers, creating more opportunities – via the conference CONTENT – for conversations.

So a few tips for those live-tweeting:

  1. Let the speaker know that you are live-tweeting prior to the program beginning.
  2. Use the conference hashtag on every tweet.
  3. Sit at the blogger/social media table (if provided). Or to the side as to not distract the speakers.
  4. Follow the conference hashtag while tweeting, retweeting or commenting on other perspectives.
  5. Take the time to follow everyone who is using and engaging with the conference hashtag. You are networking, here.
  6. Don’t use this time to battle with trolls, or bash speakers.
  7. Use this time to provide thanks and praise.
  8. If the stream is full, bow out and let others lead. Retweet their content, or take the opportunity to write a short blog post instead.

So, we’ll see you at #LMA14 in a few weeks, live and local in Orlando or on Twitter. And please join us over on the conference LinkedIn group as well.

* All quotes with permission from the Legal Marketers Extraordinaire Group on Facebook.

Three great take aways from today’s GC Panel at LMA-LA

Kudos to the Legal Marketing Association – Los Angeles Chapter program team on today’s Corporate Counsel Panel.

I have to say, I always love me a GC panel. Sure we hear the same ol’ same ol’, but there are always a few new nuggets of information in there.

GC panel

Corporate Counsel Panel

Three things popped out at me:

  1. The importance of LinkedIn. I have never at a panel heard GC after GC rave about LinkedIn. Okay. Four out of six. But they were vocal in their enthusiasm. The connections.The groups. They are using it to vet outside counsel. Learn information. Stay informed of trends. I’ve hyper-linked the LinkedIn profiles below where found.
  2. ACC Daily Newsletter. For those who don’t know what this is, the Association of Corporate Counsel uses Lexology to feed a daily newsletter for ACC members. The members can customize it by industry, practice, region, etc. Where does Lexology get the content? Law firm blogs. Corporate counsel are reading with their eyes and clicking on things that are of importance.
  3. Headlines Count. Whether it’s coming from an e-newsletter, scrolling through a LinkedIn group’s latest postings, or the Lexology daily newsletter, corporate counsel are clicking on the headlines that resonate with them on the issues they are facing today. Harkening back to this post, Why, yes, Amy. I did learn two new things, it’s not WHAT they are about to read, but WHY they need to read it that counts.

I tweeted at #lmamkt some other little tidbits. But those are the biggies that I walked away with,

Oh, Yeah. One more:

4. It’s all about relationships. Don’t ever forget that.

In Photo: L-R. Deborah Greaves, Secretary & General Counsel, True Religion Brand Jeans; Camilla M. Eng, General Counsel, JM Eagle; Joanne E. Caruso, Vice President, Global Litigation, Jacobs Engineering Group Inc.; Jennifer Fisher, Senior Counsel, Intellectual Property, The Boeing Company, Boeing; Sheri Eisner, Associate General Counsel, JAMS; Tammy Brandt, Vice President and General Counsel, ServiceMesh, Inc.

It’s Electrifyin’!

Heather Morse LMAWell, they listened. Last week I encouraged LMA members to not leave their passion behind, and so far, they haven’t disappointed.

To quote Danny Zuko: “It’s electrifyin’!”

The conference is packed. We’re at about 1200 registrants.

The venue is beautiful, and the layout is conducive to getting to the sessions, networking. We even have some fresh daylight.

The coffee sucks, but a Starbucks is about to open any moment.

From the Twitter feed, the pre-conference sessions went well.

The First Timers reception was packed.

They turned the lights off to get us to leave the opening reception.

I’m seeing sweaty people from Darryl Cross‘ workout walking around.

People can’t wait to hear Prof. David Wilkins, Director, Program on the Legal Profession, Harvard Law School.

I am so torn between the four sessions at the first break out. Great topics and great friends speaking.

It really is electrifyin’! and the conference officially hasn’t even begun.

Lucky for us, what happens in Vegas won’t be staying in Vegas. If you’re not here, follow along on Twitter.

Oh, and registration is already open for the 2014 conference. I’ll be there!

Don’t forget to bring your passion to LMA’s Annual Conference

I know. I haven’t been blogging. I’ve been really busy and I am trying to clear my plate at work, at home, with the Girl Scout troop so I can really enjoy my time at the Legal Marketing Association’s annual conference, in Las Vegas!!

I’m starting to go over the conference schedule, and one thing that is jumping out at me is that our personal passions are coming out, and we’re sharing them with our fellow LMA members:

Side note: The Mob Museum in downtown is AWESOME. Give yourself several hours in there. Catch up with me at LMA and I’ll even tell you about my family’s Vegas mob connections.

  • The Sports Dude is tagging along, and you’ll be able to find him at any given poker tournament.
  • There will be a Tweet-Up to meet your favorite LMA Tweeters (and lurkers): You can join in on the fun Monday night at 6:30 p.m. at the Gold Lounge at the Aria.
  • Oh, if you get in on Saturday, they’ll be a bunch of us hanging out by the pool. Tweet a message to #LMA13. We’ll save you a lounge chair.

(FYI – I do have a few extra boxes of Girl Scout cookies. I’ll bring some with me … Tweet a message to @heather_morse. No Thin Mints. Sorry.)

Looking forward to seeing everyone next week.

Which came first? The content or the promotion, or is it the engagement?

Kevin O'Keefe & Me at the Clipper's Game.

Kevin O’Keefe & Me at the Clipper’s Game.

I’m lucky to know some really cool and smart people out “there.”

These really cool and smart people have individual thoughts and opinions, sometimes contrary to what the other really smart and cool people think, believe, and hold dear.

I like hanging out and around people who get social marketing. They don’t all agree what that means, how to do it, and what the best practices are, but we have really great conversations.

Some will say that social marketing is about the content.

Others will say that it’s about the promotion.

And others about the opportunity for engagement.

I say that it’s a cycle: Content > Promotion > Engagement > Content > Promotion > Engagement.

And not necessarily in that order.

I got to spend some time with Kevin O’Keefe last week and we talked about using social tools for engagement. And how you identify and build relationships.

Yesterday I got to spend time with Adrian Lurssen in my office and we discussed creating content.

He wrote a blog piece, What Does Marketing Mean Anyway (Maybe the Opposite of What You First Think …), that was inspired by our meeting, which had great bullet point actions for lawyers to take:

  • Look at your analytics. They’ll take the guesswork out of what interests your market. Technology can tell you exactly what interests these people.
  • Once a month, look closely at which of your articles did well, and which did not. Look for patterns and trends. Try to figure out why (lots of shares? Means it struck a common chord. Pick-up by another blog or press outlet? etc.)
  • Escalate the content that does well. Write another post on the topic. Turn it into a series, a webinar, a video, a stand-alone blog of its own. (All of these are options, depending on how big the reception, and how much you want to be known for this topic.)
  • Look at the searches that drove people to your content. Why are you being found? These keywords are, among other things, a pretty clear expression of what interests your readers right now.
  • Look at who is coming to your work – which companies? which subscribers? which networks? All of it valuable insight into the current interests swirling through your marketplace.
  • Ask your clients what they want to know about. Think how pleased they’ll be to a) see you care, and b) read your thoughtful response.
  • Read industry periodicals with an eye to how editors frame the issues.
  • Rely on your own insights. You know your clients and what makes them tick. Don’t go looking for something else to write about; write what you know.
  • Join active LinkedIn groups populated by professionals in the industries you serve. Listen to their conversations in those groups.
  • Once a month, measure who socially shares your written work. What are they saying? If a share leads to conversation, be pleased with the compliments. Use the negative comments as fodder for your next writing assignment – you know what your audience cares about…

The cool thing is, I don’t have to agree with all or any of these bullet points, or any of his article, really (although I do). I just get to be inspired by his inspiration that was inspired by an engagement which was inspired by some content.

And Adrian’s blog post inspired me to write this, which makes him a valuable asset in my arsenal of doing a good job. And Kevin reminds me again and again about engagement.

What I have found, over these years, is that content, promotion and engagement are one activity. Rinsed and repeated over and over again.

I cannot promote what’s in someone’s head (mine or anyone else), so I need that content (a blog post, an article, a tweet).

My formula for successful content marketing and business development:

  • Create content of value (determined through trial and error, measured by analytics).
  • Promote content via social media tools (blogging, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube).
  • Engage with other people out there (retweet, @, hyperlinks, LinkedIn connections).
  • Build network of value (Twitter Lists, Facebook Groups, LinkedIn Groups, etc).
  • Engage some more.
  • Rinse and repeat.

Over time, and not a long amount of time, you will attract and meet people you didn’t otherwise know. Your social marketing will convert these strangers into people you do know.

(I picked that up from a nifty slide Adrian had yesterday).

And it is with these people that you now know, with whom you will develop relationships, where you will find new business opportunities (direct or referred).

Increasing that pipeline, baby.

Some more really cool and smart people

It’s a symbiotic relationship: content + promotion + engagement.

As are our personal relationships.

Alone, none of them mean a thing, or can be successful. Together, they can be magical.

Adrian was worried that my big leave behind from yesterday’s meeting was that Google Reader is being retired (don’t get me started again).

But it wasn’t.

The leave behind for me was this: To get a lawyer to open up his or her mind and to pour their thoughts out so that I can turn that intellectual capital into content, that can then be promoted, and eventually used to engage new people and build trusting relationships, that will lead to new business opportunities, they have to be inspired.

And for the lawyers in my firm to be inspired, I have to be inspired.

And I get inspired by really smart and cool people.

Thank you Kevin and Adrian. You inspire me. You really do.

(as do Gail, Gina, Laura, Tim, Laura, Lindsay, Rebecca and Nancy, and so many, many others).

Viva Las Vegas!

I broke out of legal marketing, and it feels GREAT!!

(Image:Matthias Clamer/Stone+/Getty)

I broke out of my legal marketing industry bubble this week and have been attending the Chief Marketing Officer Institute in Vegas. For fun and comfort, I dragged along Adam Stock and Jonathan Fitzgarrald.

The CMO Institute has been a small and intimate, yet high-level and well-crafted event. Sure, there have been some misses from the podium, but, for the most part, my Curious George has been satisfied.

It’s been amazing, invigorating, eduational, and fun.

It’s encouraging,validating, and a bit frightening to realize we laugh at the same jokes: “Who’s department is seen as a cost center,” hahaha.

It’s been rewarding as I sat and brainstormed a challenge I had with CMOs from different industries and sectors and realized they had fresh solutions for me, and at other times validated my assumptions.

It’s been eye-opening to speak with my counterparts in the companies that my firm represents. Hello? Bueller? Bueller??? Makes sense. Right?? Enough GC Roundtables. I want to see CMO Rountables.

Not only did I make some new friends (Steve, Heather, you know I am talking about you), I found a new blog to follow Common Sense of Business.

Along with a couple products that I think could migrate easily into legal, Domo and Marketo, I also have some great content swirling around my head just waiting to be turned into blog posts, (must.write.before.I.forget).

I still have a few more sessions today before heading out to Chicago for the LMA Board meeting, where it’s supposed to be a high of 61* today, and a high of 19* on Thursday. What the hell is THAT??

I think I will bring a better me to Chicago (still bitching about the weather). A more passionate me (you guys are warned, lol). A more engaged me.

For my personal “marketing me,” I will continue to add non-legal marketing programs like the Chief Marketing Officer Institute, to my mix.

The intimacy of the event allowed me to quickly meet new colleagues, and have some insightful, funny and memorable conversations and experiences, bring back new ideas to help me do my job better, and some new friends.

Can’t beat that. Except for the LMA Annual Conference coming up in April.

Jonathan and I have been tweeting at #CMOInstitute if you’d like to follow along today, or get an idea of what we’ve been experiencing and capturing over the past couple days.

Making the most of your conference attendance

circle of networkingAs I make the rounds of speaking to my partners about their 2013 plans the topic of “What conferences and industry events are you looking at attending?” will definitely be a key point of conversation.

Once I get their list, I’ll follow up with, “Have you attended this event in the past?”

And then, “Can you talk to me about why this conference is on your radar? What makes it important for your networking and business development?”

And the kicker: “Can you point to any new business opportunities or leads that have come out of your participation in this conference?”

I want to know and understand why the attorney is taking time out of their week to attend the conference, losing all those billable hours.

If the answer to the final question is no, I want to know why. I need to understand why the firm should continue to underwrite their attendance if nothing is coming of it.

Sometimes a conference has lost it’s mojo. Perhaps it has become too vendor heavy? Perhaps the attendees have shifted and the decision makers are no longer there? If so, it’s time to let it go and move on.

However, if it’s still a great event, we need to understand why they are not converting their attendance into new relationships, which can then be converting into new business.

Thom Singer had a great post this week: Networking Mistakes Being Made At Almost Every Conference. His seven mistakes are:

  1. Spending too much time with coworkers and other friends.
  2. Seeking time with celebrity speakers, industry gurus and other VIPs.
  3. Talking too much.
  4. Paying attention to electronics.
  5. Skipping keynotes and other sessions.
  6. Expecting a short conversation to make someone part of a network.
  7. Arriving late, leaving early, or skipping the networking time altogether.

I’ll add a couple of my own:

  1. Avoiding the exhibitors in the exhibit hall. Sure, they are there to sell a product. But they can be great conduits to further introductions. Think “referral network.”
  2. Not participating in the social media surrounding a conference. Go to the conference website. How many have Twitter accounts? Follow. What’s the hashtag? Learn it. Use it. Tweet it.  Start communicating with and following others going to the conference. Same thing with Facebook and LinkedIn. You’ll be amazed at the conference within the conference. I wrote about my experience in this post, Me, Twitter, LMA and Laura Gutierrez.
  3. Identify connections to make before leaving your office. Who is going to the conference besides you? Many conferences will pre-publish an attendee list. If not, check last year’s conference. Who do you know who regularly attends? Call and make those lunch and dinner plans weeks in advance. If they’re too busy, plan to meet for coffee, or attend one of the sessions together.
  4. Not following up AFTER the conference. Collect every business card you can. Grab the conference attendee list (usually in one of the handouts). Start connecting with everyone who has a LinkedIn account, including the speakers and keynotes. I have yet to have someone NOT connect after an event. Just make sure to send a personalized message.
  5. Continuing to develop those new relationships. It’s just not enough to connect with someone on LinkedIn. Now you need to establish that relationship. You do so by keeping your LinkedIn account alive. Post your recent article and achievements to your profile (this blog post will automatically be added to my profile, with a customized message, when I hit publish). I just had a former colleague contact me to have lunch because she saw an update of mine on her LinkedIn updates.
  6. Is it time to upgrade your investment? Some conferences are fine to attend and network. But is this conference a great opportunity where the firm should be a sponsor? What about hosting a client/prospect dinner?
  7. Double down on your involvement. If the organization or conference is a great fit for you and your practice/business, volunteer to get involved. The 2014 conference committee will be hard at work immediately after the 2013 conference ends. See how you can get more involved. If a trade group, volunteer for a committee, and work your way up the leadership ladder. If a stand-alone conference, start to develop relationships with the conference organizers so you can get on next year’s dais, or 2015 if need be.

With any type of networking opportunity, you will never get anything out of it if you don’t invest your time and effort. I am fond of saying, “The answer is always no if you don’t ask.” When it comes to networking, the business opportunities are always nothing if you don’t make the investment.

If you have great conference attendance tips, please feel free to add them to the comments section below.


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