11 August 2010

If You Are Making Rain, Don't Carry An Umbrella (or, No Impression Is Better Than A Bad One)

I'm a member of the Association of Corporate Counsel. And every day into my in-box flies an update called the ACC Daily Docket or something like that. It has a list by topic of articles on topics of interest. Almost all by lawyers as big law firms. You know, updates about what the OFCCP's enforcement agenda is, what the latest SEC deal is or why you should worry about the Interstate Rafting Liability Act. I skim it every day. Sometimes I actually click through to read an article.

On this particular day, I read an article that was great. About the EEOC, pay equity and affirmative action. Short. Insightful. To the point. Great stuff. So great that I made the effort to find out the author. Find his email on the firm website. And send him an email saying "This was really great..."
    What do you suppose happened as a result of this email I sent?
    1. I got a call within a few hours trying to chat me up for business;
    2. I got an email within a few minutes trying to arrange a time to chat me up for business;
    3. I got an email sending me more information on the topic and asking me to chat sometime about the topic; or,
    4. I got an email a day later than said, simply: "thanks."
    If you guessed 4, you are correct (I was actually hoping for 3). That's it? No follow-up? No more sharing of knowledge? No more interaction?  Nada. Nothing. For god's sake I didn't even get put on the firm's mailing list!

    Really? You go to all that trouble to use social media as a rainmaking tool and then when you feel a drop of rain you open your umbrella?

    Seems to me that if you are out there on social media, you should really be out there on social media. No dilly dallying. No "I'm too busy" to respond to people who react to my social media. No "this is a bad" time to deal with social media. 

    If you're out there, you need to commit. Because if you're out there and you don't follow through... it's worse then if you'd never been on social media at all.  

    After all, no impression is better than a bad one.

    Thanks for reading.

    Richard Russeth


    1. I'm curious if it was only "Thanks", or did the author at least include a throw away "If I can ever do anything for you" or "If you have any questions about it" etc ? The reason I ask is that I know outside counsel (including me) worry about being too much of a pest to in house counsel.

      He probably thought something like--"Now that he knows I know my stuff, he'll keep me in mind for future needs." I agree it was not the best marketing practice, but I'd love to see a post about how to follow up on those social media opportunities with in house counsel w/o becoming a pest.

    2. Excellent observation. My experience is similar to yours, unfortunately. I often email journalists or authors of articles or posts to compliment them, and almost invariably all I receive in return is "thanks, I appreciate your kind words," or something similar.

      I realize print journalists may be in a different position than those of us who do not -- at least technically -- write for a living, but I am surprised that people don't demonstrate some follow through (or follow up) when someone responds positively to an article or blog post.

    3. Excellent piece - I've sent it around at my firm and to some of my networking partners. Hard to believe some people just don't get it - especially when a good relationship with a GC is the brass ring of being outside counsel.