How do we really know what goes on internally at a law firm and how do we really know what our attorneys are doing in social media?  As an administrator or a director of marketing the responsibility of helping someone become successful in their business development practice is really not that far out of your reach.

The goal is to make the attorney successful by providing them with the necessary tools.  Some are in the form of education while some are technology based.  Some are designed to protect our attorneys against malpractice or help our attorneys’ families with health insurance needs.  We ask that our attorneys embark on marketing practices – some of which they are uncomfortable performing.

We ask them to join groups and become members of prominent organizations to make them known in their communities.  Sometimes our attorneys are great public speakers and enjoy articulating to the masses and some are wordsmiths in the true sense, manipulating words and publishing an article in a trade publication to stimulate their client’s interests.  Our attorneys attend conferences to educate themselves on their practice area and network with their peers to share experiences that make them successful.

Our attorneys entertain in the hopes that when a client or prospect requires a legal service, there is no question who that client should turn to.  All of these activites – continuous actions are ones that are considered to be the traditional way of building one’s business, establishing the community or generating leads that may turn into business.

OK.  How are your attorneys creating their communities on LinkedIn?  What audience are they trying to attract through Twitter?  How often are your attorneys providing blog content and spreading the news to stimulate the folks interested in being educated?  How are your attorneys actually using social media?  Do they know how to use it for business development?

Your job is to know, to understand and to guide.  Where can you start?  How can you evaluate?  There’s a simple way to find out.

Start with a social media survey.  You want this survey to be comprehensive so your results can yield conclusions on how your firm’s attorneys execute their social business development practices.  The goal is to generate useful data from this survey so the information you are about to request should be relevant to the individual taking it.  Understand your audience.  Use logic in your survey to direct an attorney to only the questions that will be pertinent.  And don’t forget that when you have results and action items, you want to be able to quantify future direction.

Your survey should be one that allows you to sort on demographics for example, you would want to evaluate associate versus partner responses.  You may want to filter by a practice area to compare results from another practice area.  Remember that an attorney has an analytical mind, so the wording of the question is just as important as the idea behind the question.

Lastly, don’t keep the results to yourself.  Share the results — educate your attorneys on what you found.  Compliment where necessary, create the appropriate action items, review on a regular basis and visit your survey a couple more times during the year.  Understanding what makes someone productive is just as important as realizing a person’s misplaced practices.  Remember that the key to success is understanding what makes a person effective and prosperous.