As a member of the Media Board of this great organisation, the topic of social media had been raised a number of times at recent meetings. So I was asked to lead a short (2.5 hour) session on social media in the legal profession generally, how lawyers as individuals can use social media effectively and the extent to which SCL as an organisation might extend its use of social media for the benefit of its members.

You can imagine my surprise (and pleasure) that in my audience on Monday were not only my fellow Media Board members but most of the trustees – and these were private practice solicitors and barristers as well as in-house counsel.

I tried to provide an introduction to blogging, SEO, LinkedIn and Twitter for those who have not engaged with social media so far – as well as some more advanced tips for those who are already enthusiastic users. And we also took a peek at some of the social media developments appearing on the horizon.

The topics that generated the most interest included:

Segmentation – We considered the Forrester social technographics tool and how this might apply to SCL members – recognising that many in the legal profession were still in the inactive or spectator modes rather than at the critic and creator stages. This provided some reassurance for those concerned at the occasional lack of comments on important blog topics.

Video – With the growing importance of video content for SEO and amongst the younger audience, we explored how some of the current excellent SCL content in numerous blogs, on online CPD sessions and at events, could be provided in this medium.

Twitter – Whilst most people understand the value of Twitter as a quick and easy way to broadcast and catch up on news, we spent quite a bit of time considering how to structure Twitter accounts, how to promote dialogue and interaction and use lists to stream information on particular topics. Twitter etiquette was also a topic of keen debate.

LinkedIn – As I find with many of the conversations that I have, while most lawyers understand the importance of having a comprehensive profile and the value of regular contact, many were surprised at the extensive range of other features and facilities within LinkedIn that help promote awareness, sharing and real conversations.

Measurement – We touched on the methods and systems for monitoring reputation as part of a digital PR programme as well as looking at a range of possible measures so that objectives could be set and progress measured.

It was encouraging to be able to share the strong Twitter and Blog grader scores – and the Klout score which suggested areas where we could improve. But as with all use of social media, the need to have a really clear strategy – integrating with all other elements of the marketing and communications programme – was stressed – as well as the issues relating to how additional social media activity might be resourced.

I am delighted that I received a couple of LinkedIn recommendations as a result of the presentation (Thank you! – although I’m still waiting for some comments and dialogue on the discussion on the SCL LinkedIn group!) and a good number of emails – including one that said “my head is still spinning”.