For anyone out there who says social network profile creation and maintenance is nothing more than a fad, look no further than Microsoft’s recent decision regarding integrating Facebook into its Outlook email information manager program. According to a recent article featured on informationweek.com, Microsoft’s recently updated Social Connector plug-in will allow users to connect with Facebook status updates, photo uploads, and wall posts via notification within Outlook itself. This is being done all in hopes of making Outlook more of a communication hub that users want to access on a more regular basis. This new update comes at the heels of updates already released for social networking platforms MySpace, LinkedIn, and Twitter.
Reportedly, a “People Pane” window will allow Outlook users to receive real-time Facebook updates. Furthermore, the new plug-in update will also connect Outlook user contacts with Facebook profile information. It should be noted, however, that while Outlook users will be able to access Facebook profile information, the process is limited. Specifically, Outlook users are not yet able to post and update information on Facebook from the confines of Outlook.
Other email platforms, such as Yahoo, have already enabled Facebook to connect with users via the email platform. Gmail, another online email platform, has even gone so far as to create its own social network called Google Buzz. Regardless of how users are being connected, the point should be clear throughout: social networking is ingrained in our society, so much so that its encroachment into other web experiences is advancing on what seems like a daily basis. For businesses, like law firms, having an established presence on social networks is becoming more and more vital in creating an even larger web presence and reaching out to as many potential clients as possible.
According to statistics put out by Nielsen, two-thirds of all Internet users visit social networks and blogs on a regular basis. Despite the common misconception that social networks are all fun and no work, the contrary couldn’t be more true. That is, law firms who properly utilize social networking into their legal marketing strategies not only create greater exposure regarding their services, but also enable themselves to connect with potential clients on a more human-to-human level. While a website alone will enable your law firm to get its message across, social networking for attorneys allows clients to find out more about the people behind the firm, gives a clearer picture as to what a law firm’s mission statement is really all about, and creates a more intimate setting to foster professional relationships – both present and future. So, like Microsoft, if you want to take advantage of the social networking train, you’d better hop onboard now before all the available seats are taken.