Social Media Abroad–Reaching Clients Globally

By now, many lawyers are using (or considering using) social media sources like Facebook and Twitter.  In her helpful article “Social Media 101” for a recent issue of the Texas Bar Journal, lawyer coach Debra Bruce sets forth the pros and cons of various professionally-focused networking sites for specifically for lawyers like Legal OnRamp, Martindale-Hubbell ConnectedJD Supra, and LawLink.

But what about lawyers who wants to start networking internationally?

Facebook is a good, general place to begin international social networking expansion, especially with the 2008 launch of Facebook en español (with French and German versions expected next). In South America, Orkut, Sónico, and Fotolog are also very popular, with 54% of Orkut’s users being Portuguese speakers from Brazil. (Americas Quarterly reports that asking a Brazilian for his/her “Orkut name” is as common as requesting a telephone number or email.)

The Google-owned Orkut remains popular in India, although Facebook recently unseated it as the most popular social networking site. Friendster continues to be popular in Singapore, Philippines, Malaysia, and Indonesia, although its influence in the region is slipping–coinciding with Facebook’s rollout of sites for Malaysia, the Phillipines and Vietnam. China boasts a number of popular social media sites. According to ReadWriteWeb, while China’s Renren.com may have the most members, but Kaixin001.com claims to have more educated members.

Lawyers wanting to reach European clients should consider joining European social networking sites in addition to Facebook. According to Bas van den Beld, owner of stateofsearch.com, Facebook leads the way in 11 out of 17 European countries, but Skyrock (France), Tuenti (Spain), StudiVZ Group (Germany), Hyves (Netherlands), all have hold in their respective country. The social networking site  Xing (founded in Germany) markets to all European professionals.

Creating a social media presence abroad can be an effective and inexpensive way to start relationships globally. Why not extend your social media reach abroad into your prospective clients’ backyards?

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