In previous blogs I’ve talked about the benefits of using social media, and perhaps you are finally convinced of the importance of this form of outreach. But before you start using it, you need a plan – a law firm social media strategy.
Your law firm social media strategy is a guide for your attorneys and executives in crafting and targeting their outbound marketing activities, including authored articles and posts. The strategy document defines the key messaging and core benefits that the firm wishes to communicate to clients, prospects and the press.
The first step is to know your audience, and to do this you need to consider your existing clientele. Equally important is to assess how you can reach beyond your current circle of clients. A great way to start is by engaging in online discussions on topics related to your firm’s practice areas. By knowing what problems potential clients are having, and what issues your peers are discussing, you can better tailor your social media content. LinkedIn is one of several forums rich with opportunities for attorneys to contribute to online conversations and to assess and refine messaging and content focus; several professional organizations for attorneys also feature active discussion forums.
Having a strong sense of your current and prospective clients is important, but you also need support from your team. Involving the lawyers, human resources, and other departments in a social media strategy is a proven best practice in promoting experience and expertise. As Angela Petros, Chief Marketing Officer of Morrison & Foerster, states in The Social Law Firm Index 2016, “…effective communication of thought leadership can transform mere contributing attorneys into impactful market influencers with an amplified reach regularly extending beyond the Internet into the mass media.” Lawyers being impactful market influencers? Pretty cool, right?
But how do you get your law firm noticed? One way to stand out is to build original content that is creative, engaging, and visually appealing. Visual appeal can be accomplished by including a relevant image with your blog post or tweet, or you can use videos, infographics, or any other compelling visual element that will influence a prospect to stop their searching and focus on what your law firm has to say.
When adopting content marketing as part of your law firm social media strategy, you must commit to consistency and frequency of publication. You can’t just put out a few good tweets or share a few articles and expect to be successful. It takes time, patience and planning to be a social media star. Another best practice to help your firm stay true to its commitment is creating a social media editorial calendar. This tool helps you manage the contributing authors and retain a consistent content schedule that complies with the mandates of your strategic plan.
You could have a million followers, but if only a very small percentage of them are re-tweeting, sharing, or tagging you in their posts then you’re not going to see results. Could it be that you’ve diluted your list with low-value targets? Or could it be that the content you are releasing is of little interest? To ensure you are drawing the right conclusions from your social media efforts, it’s best to start methodically, connecting with your established client base first to promote your content. Leverage your clients’ networks by letting them share your content, which can be a tacit endorsement of your firm and allows you to send messages to their audiences and their audiences’ audiences.