Injection Marketing Undermines Credibility

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If there’s one lesson lawyers really should learn about participating in online communities, it’s this: *how* you contribute to a conversation is at least as important as *what* you contribute. Those who don’t appreciate this guideline run the risk not just of seeing their comments ignored, but also of earning a bad reputation that’s hard to shake.

I’m thinking specifically of lawyers who engage in strafing an online conversation, scattering self-promotional marketing messages at each landing point. They’re newcomers with some credibility in the marketplace, but have little invested in any specific virtual community. So they charge in, market, and retreat. They demonstrate a repeated inability to provide views or opinions without shining a light on their own product or services.

To be clear, these are not spammers — they’re participants who could become welcome additions to the community with some substantive contribution. But the result of this practice, a real problem for most online communities, is serious damage to their reputation. There’s probably a great phrase for it that I haven’t heard, but I call it “injection marketing.”

And honestly, it’s tough to watch. Credible individuals, sometimes with years invested developing their professional reputations, succumbing to the temptation to “over plug”, and doing real damage to their online personas. An analogy could be drawn to the salesman-at-a-cocktail-party, but this isn’t nearly as isolated or short-term.

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Steve Matthews
Stem Legal Web Enterprises Inc.

Steve Matthews is the founder of Stem Legal, a company that helps law firms build online profile and... View Profile »


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