In keeping with the social media for lawyers theme, I continue to uncover new online opportunities.
Today’s blog is about HubSTREET – a newly launched networking site for attorneys, accountants and lenders/bankers – which is still in the BETA testing phase.
Since I started the “Social Media for Lawyers” series on The Legal Intelligencer blog, I have seen hundreds of articles published and courses led on how to unleash the secrets of social media. What’s also important to understand is that online networking needs to have a purpose and can serve as an effective business development tool for lawyers.
Just recently, I served on a CLE panel for thePennsylvania Bar Institute, where I delivered a marketing and public relations primer for lawyers. I continue to be amazed at the reluctance of attorneys to get on board with what I consider to be the future (at least for now) of communications. In fact, Nielsen issued its latest social media report for May 2009 and reported that the national average time people spend engaging in social media has increased 67 percent since May 2008. Nielsen also reported that Twitter remains the fastest-growing Web brand, having increased 1,444 percent in one year from 1.2 million unique visitors to 18.2 million unique visitors. And Facebook remains the number one social networking site with 75.4 million unique visitors.
I’ve already addressed sites and tools such asLinkedIn for lawyers, Facebook for lawyers, blogging for lawyers, YouTube for lawyers, Martindale Hubbell Connected, Twitter for lawyers and JD Supra. These sites have attracted thousands of legal professionals in search of increased visibility, referrals and new business.
While each site does has advantages for the legal practitioner and other professionals (which I have outlined in previous posts), the new HubSTREET online community is targeted to the specific needs and interests of lawyers and other professionals. It provides relevant connections and potential for referrals, while also being user-friendly.
HubSTREET.com is an online community designed to “take the work out of networking for lawyers, accountants and lenders.” Why these three groups? Because, according to site founder Nancy Fox, “It is these very groups that regularly and naturally refer business to each other.” Of course, this is not an inclusive list of the industries that regularly refer business and having interviewed the Fox, she said the list of industries is likely to evolve over time.
One of the features I like about HubSTREET is that it is a vetted site. Lawyers, accountants and lenders/bankers must be approved for membership. According to Fox, it is their mission to grow a high quality, relevant, thriving community.
So here’s how it works. HubSTREET members identify their areas of professional focus and specialization so fellow members can easily decide with whom they’d like to connect. Members specify who their ideal clients and referral sources are to further develop the right contacts.
Fox, a seasoned business development coach and trainer in networking and rainmaking for professionals, personally assists members as they navigate the site. She will recommend connections, and host “Virtual Meet & Greets,” so members can be introduced to one another and learn more about the benefits of the site. These meet and greets are designed to be brief and focused for busy lawyers and other professionals.
Marcia Nelson, senior vice president business development for FMV Opinions Inc., in New York, and HubSTREET member said, “I am a big fan of HubSTREET. In my business, I primarily focus on attorneys and accountants. This tool helps me to productively keep in touch with my clients, post events I am hosting, get introduced to new contacts, and see what is happening and the trends being discussed in the industry.” She said, “All this and I don’t have to worry about being inundated with connection requests from members of unrelated industries.”
Some of the features touted by HubSTREET are that you can:Connect with other professionals based on their relevance to your business.
- Share your articles, photos and videos.
- Post a presentation or class you are leading or register for a course at the HubSTREET University.
- Attend Virtual Meet and Greets led by Nancy Fox, the “HubSTREET Coach.”
- Get personalized guidance on navigating the site by asking the HubSTREET Coach.
- List and register for events.
- Participate in discussion via “Business Forums.”
- Advance your career or learn about new career opportunities by building a high quality network, not just a bigger network.
Tell the community what you are working on through status updates, and chat live with other members.
I don’t believe social networking was ever intended to replace the special connection and bond that is built face-to-face. However, as an early adopter, I do believe HubSTREET has the potential to provide quality connections between lawyers and other industry professionals as an adjunct to in person networking. It could also serve as yet another excellent social networking tool for lawyers, perhaps one those who tend to be more conservative will be inclined to embrace.
Gina F. Rubel, Esq.
Furia Rubel Communications, Inc.