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Social Media Update


									                                         Social Media Update
Welcome to the first edition of our new Social Media
Update, a monthly e-summary of the best press articles
and online discussions about digital and social media as they
apply to the professions.

Some of the topics discussed here are specific to the professions;
some detail developments in other sectors, included because they
have a particular relevance to the professions.

We hope you find this monthly summary helpful in keeping track of a
fast-changing area of communications. As ever, we welcome your

Best regards,
Clare Rodway
Managing Director
0207 323 3230

Monthly press summary
Issue 01: July 2010


This month...

Power to the People

BT makes social media central to internal communication

„Aspirational‟ brands adopting social media

Social media becoming increasingly important for IFAs‟ business development

Law firms embrace social media as graduate recruitment tool

Leading law firms spill the beans on their Twitter success stories

Social Networking is a valuable professional tool

LinkedIn discussion: Facebook- serious concerns regarding privacy, where would all the
„facebook‟ users go?

LinkedIn discussion: What do you think are the Golden Rules for Tweeters in the
LinkedIn discussion: How important, really, is social media?

This month...

Outside the professions, BT launches new internal communications channel based on
Facebook; the FT looks at how luxury brands are finally adopting social media, having
previously held themselves rather aloof from this medium; and press reports of the
„Climategate‟ inquiry reveal how the increasing power of the „blogosphere‟ impacts the very
nature of how learned experts communicate with their audiences.

Within the professions, Fidelity produces a White Paper examining the importance of social
media for independent financial advisors; law firms discuss their use of social media for
business development as well as graduate recruitment; and Kysen launches a LinkedIn
discussion asking experienced tweeters to share their golden rules for success with this

Power to the People

The verdict of the University of East Anglia‟s Inquiry into „Climategate‟, (the row over
deleted emails showing alleged manipulation of climate change data), raises interesting
issue about the power of the blogosphere – reaching far beyond the scientific community.
The verdict talks in detail about the impacts of digital and social media, not just on
reputation management but, more fundamentally, on the very patterns of communication
required between expert and public. Points here for professional advisors to reflect on too.

The context here is the scientific community and how its experts disseminate information to
the Government and the public at large, but the principles raised have far wider
applications. For example, the inquiry said „a failure to respond positively to the
blogosphere‟s demands for openness ... can lead to immense reputational damage by
feeding allegations of cover-up‟. According to The Times, the inquiry also underlined that it
was „no longer acceptable for groups of scientists to debate theories among themselves and
then make “papal-style pronouncements” that people will be expected to accept‟.

This cultural shift has implications for lawyers and the other expert advisers too. Food for

Information Source: The Times, 8 July 2010

BT makes social media central to internal communication

BT is to harness the real-time communication capability of social media to improve
knowledge of who does what in the 100,000-employee organisation and to encourage
greater cross-company project collaboration. Facebook-style profile pages are to be created
for each employee providing an easy view of personal expertise, what the projects people
are working on and access to relevant shared documents. BT‟s chief technology officer Peter
Scott spoke of the development saying „It brings some of the social networking elements
into our business‟, with the hope that it will help the projects team find the relevant people
more effectively.

The move comes against the backcloth of a survey by recruitment company, Robert Half,
noting growing awareness among employers of the benefits of social media. Phil Sheridan,
managing director of Robert Half said that now is the time to „set out clear social media
guidelines‟, he notes „social media can be very beneficial in raising a company‟s profile,
brand championing, for professional networking and internal communications‟.

Information Source: Personnel Today, 2 July 2010

‘Aspirational’ brands adopting social media

David Gelles from The Financial Times looks at the foray of luxury brands into the social
media space and considers whether this is a sensible move for high-end consumer brands
that want to maintain an „aspirational air‟. Luxury brands are managing online communities
of tens of thousands of fans but to what end? Only a small portion of these may be actual
customers. But Samir Balwani, an internet marketing strategist, believes that it is important
to start interacting with these aspirational consumers as early as possible to increase the
chances of turning them into customers in a few years time. Opinion is unanimous: luxury
brands should maximise the opportunity to create a dialogue with consumers through social
networking, yet luxury brands have been slow adopters and consequently a number of them
have a „clunky‟ and unsophisticated social networking strategy in the early stages of its
development. Pundits advise luxury brands to take a minimalistic approach in terms of the
appearance and amount of information they are putting out on social networking sites.

Information Source: Financial Times 14 June 2010

Social media becoming increasingly important for IFAs’ business development

According to a White Paper by Fidelity (‘Social Media - the next big wave for financial
advisors?‟) social media is becoming a key business development tool for independent
financial advisors (IFAs), with 40% of IFAs under 50 years old reporting that social
networking had already generated new business, and 85% predicting it will be central in a
„big shift‟ in business development practices over the next five years. The personal
connection that can be achieved through social media makes it a useful medium for IFAs in
particular, for whom „each personal connection is a significant business building block‟. The
„referral power‟ of social networking sites is also not to be under-estimated.

Although regulatory and compliance issues prevent IFAs from using social media to provide
advice to clients, sites such as LinkedIn, Twitter and even Facebook are proving to be an
effective way of engaging with clients - and also re-engaging with former clients. In a
separate survey, conducted by Charles Schwab, 71% of IFAs said that they focused new
media activity on existing clients.

It is also warned that embracing social media will impact performance in the years ahead,
using the term „generation gap‟ to describe how the generation under 50 see social media as
much more important for business development than those aged 50 and above.
Information Source: IFA Online, 10 June 2010

Law firms embrace social media as graduate recruitment tool

Although traditionally social media has been used a personal networking platform, Law firms
are embracing it as a useful tool for engaging potential recruits.

Graduate recruitment executive at DLA Piper, Claire Evans, speaks of the firm using social
media to interact with prospective candidates. Claire noted that „becoming a fan‟ of DLA
Piper on Facebook will not result in the recruitment team looking at your profile, (they would
not have the time to do so); however it will allow candidates to post questions or comments
for the firm. DLA Piper also has their own social networking platform, similar to Facebook,
where members can interact and the recruitment team can post regular updates and news
about the firm.

Freshfields Bruckhaus has also launched its own social networking site as part of the alumni
programme which has over 3,000 members, and has created a social media platform for
incoming employees as well as for alumni. The extranet site was created for trainees to
interact prior to starting contracts with the firm allowing them to look for flatmates, buy and
sell possessions and become familiar with everything before joining the firm.

Other firms such as Addleshaw Goddard adopt a less personal approach to social media with
regards to recruiting graduates. Graduate manager Brett Galloway explained why they have
chosen „Twitter‟ as the media type to interact with graduates, „We think it‟s much less
intrusive if candidates have the choice to follow us and that way get to find out about us,
rather than the other way round‟. Pinsent Mason‟s graduate recruitment manager Edward
Walker said that for social media to be used successfully firms must be continuously active,
whilst Allen and Overy take the view that it is better to use a completely different platform
for interacting with graduates and not to use social media methods which often blur the line
between professional and personal.

Information Source: The Lawyer 8 June 2010

Leading law firms spill the beans on their Twitter success stories

Allen & Overy LLP, DLA Piper LLP and Eversheds LLP have discussed how they make Twitter
work for them, including where they see it adding value, objectives behind its use and how
successful they see it as a marketing and communications tool.

The firms are in agreement when it comes to reasons for starting Twitter accounts and all
claim their key objective is to „promote their brands and promote their dialogue about key
legal issues‟. Although all three firms use the tool for different outputs, common content
includes links to relevant articles, legal developments, firm news, lawyer appointments and
community updates.

DLA Piper and Allen & Overy generally agree with the notion that Twitter should be used to
update contacts on legal news only, rather than pushing out promotional announcements.
Gareth Pezzack, head of marketing operations at Eversheds believes that it is difficult to
place strict rules on how people use Twitter. He says there is an element of „karma‟ to the
system, stating „If we loaded our tweets with content people didn‟t find interesting, that
would be reflected by the number of our followers, retweets and so on.‟

Allen & Overy and Eversheds highlight Twitter as a good communications tool to have within
their marketing and business development armoury and as an effective channel to reach
new and existing audiences. DLA Piper regards the use of Twitter less as a direct business
development tool and more as playing a key role in their communications strategy.

Information source: PLC, 26 May 2010

Social Networking is a valuable professional tool

Legal practitioners „cannot afford to miss the boat‟ when it comes to social networking sites,
according to Nicola Laver, journalist at The Times. Whilst many IT student and trainee
solicitors are IT-literate, the profession is still proving to be „surprisingly conservative with
their use of websites and social media‟. There are, however, a number of advantages to
using such mediums used to interact with clients, potential clients and others in the legal
sector. For example, the brief, selective nature of Twitter can be a clear benefit for those
already being inundated with emails and news feeds. According to Charles Christian, a legal
IT expert, the 140 character limit on Twitter postings „does encourage people to be prompt
and to the point‟. Blogging, despite not implementing character limits, provides similar
benefits such as the ease and speed at which one can share information.

Facebook and LinkedIn also offer the opportunity to connect with like-minded individuals in
the sector via a channel that, according to Anna Mitchell, head of communications at
Freshfields, is „quickly and easily accessible‟. Facebook, in particular, offers opportunities to
network with students and potential future trainees. However, adds Paul Harris, co-founder
of, whilst interaction is „very important‟ when it comes to social
networking, the emphasis should always be on „good quality content‟, as it is this that will
ensure that the audience remains both engaged and connected.

Information Source: The Times, 20 May 2010

LinkedIn discussion: Facebook- serious concerns regarding privacy, where would
all the ‘facebook’ users go?

With growing concern over privacy issues and selling of personal data to advertisers by
social networking sites such as MySpace and Facebook, online commentators have been
discussing the shelf-life of such networks and debating „Where would all the Facebook users
go?‟ if the site were to lose its popularity as a result. Clare Rodway, Managing Director of
Kysen PR, says „Whether Facebook, LinkedIn or some new variant of a social network yet to
be dreamt up, this new form of communication is here to stay…Where will these
Facebookers go? That‟s an interesting question because these communities initially
developed through the social networks will continue to exist, whatever glue it is that holds
them together in the future. It‟s the community that has the value, not the branded
packaging. The point is, just ENGAGE! Once you are linked to a community, these are
networks you can enjoy long into the future, however they evolve and morph.‟

Information source: LinkedIn, June 2010

LinkedIn discussion: What do you think are the Golden Rules for Tweeters in the

Kysen PR posed this question to the LinkedIn community. The overwhelming response from
experienced tweeters was to keep it short and sweet, make sure what you tweet has value
to your followers and work on engaging them as much as possible.

If your tweets have no benefit to your followers, this does your reputation more harm than
good. „If you don‟t have anything to say that will be of value to your followers, don‟t tweet
it‟ says Tom Howe, Managing Partner at the Identica Group. „However, tell the world about a
relevant point of view or build a poignant debate and get others to engage and you are half
way to achieving relevant status. Plus you then have a network that you can engage with, in
which everyone benefits from each other‟s knowledge and insight.‟ Maria Ivy from Covington
& Burling added that some of the most useful tweets are ones that gather views or produce
a straw poll of interest to your audience. Janiad Subhan, Co-founder of, also
thinks that interacting with your followers is just as important as providing information, by
answering and posing questions and suggesting useful links.

A number of respondents advised separating personal and business matters e.g onto
separate Twitter streams, and to be selective and careful in what you say (surely a rule for
any form of communication!).

A last word from former Gazette journalist now at Legal Support Network: „Be useful. Be
engaging. Be rude only if you want a reputation for being rude.‟ Quite!

Information source: LinkedIn, June 2010

LinkedIn discussion: How important, really, is social media?

This discussion topic was posted by Andrew Woolley, a divorce and family law specialist on
The Law Society Gazette group who asked: „How important, really, is social media?‟

Gary Cousins, Business solicitor at Cousins Business Law highlighted that although it is
important now, in the future it will be even more so. He wrote „for the teenagers of today,
social networking is second nature and they will bring this into the workplace with them.‟

Steve Kuncewicz, an IP, media and entertainment lawyer talked about how he has won new
clients through his active approach on social media platforms. Steve believes that whether
you appreciate the importance or not, it does not stop the fact that it is becoming integral to
the professional world.

Information Source: LinkedIn, June 2010
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