In this episode of the Legal Marketing 2.0 Podcast, Guy is joined by Jenny Fortin, the Digital Marketing Manager at Winston & Strawn where she manages the firm’s digital marketing strategy including the firm’s website, SEO, analytics, and social media channels. Prior to her role as a digital marketer, Jenny worked with the firm’s attorney recruiting and development team for nearly a decade.
1. Why do you think social media is important for building and leveraging your brand?
Social media is an important component for building both the firm and your attorney’s overall brand from the firm perspective. It increases your firm’s brand awareness and exposure. It also provides an inside view of your firm’s values, your culture, and the people that might not otherwise be showcased on your firm’s website. It’s also an important opportunity to build existing partnerships with your clients, the law schools that you recruit at, and your pro bono and other organizations, and it can generate new leads. Social media is also a way to establish your firm as a thought leader. By pushing out leadership content, you’re also driving traffic to your website, and in turn improving your SEO from an attorney perspective.
Linkedin has a high-ranking authority and Linkedin profiles are often the first result to peer when you do an online search. Oftentimes it can be even before your firm. At Winston, we stress the importance that our attorneys optimize their profiles first. Why do we do that? Linkedin profiles are often people’s first impression of you. In-house counsel often reports that they use Linkedin to research outside lawyers and law firms and when doing so, they’re looking at your mutual connections and what you’re sharing. Last, but not least, attorneys can utilize Linkedin for networking, position themselves as thought leaders and generate leads for their own business development.
2. What tips would you have to help law firm marketers and lawyers increase their social media engagement?
It’s always a balance of what’s performing well and what’s not. I don’t think there is a magic solution, but there are several things that you can do to help with the engagement. I always like to say that it starts with the content. Lawyers get wordy, and they like to have long-form content, and it can sometimes be a lot. So it’s about quality, not quantity. Make sure it’s well written. Don’t look at it as a legal or a digital marketer. Look at your feed as if you’re someone coming to your page on Linkedin, and make sure that you’re not just sharing the same thing over and over and over. Break up that feed and use different types of content. Create. Share one event post, and incorporate some client content twice a day, or break up your feed.
Linkedin also loves rich media. It’s more likely to prioritize that content within their algorithms. So I always try to use photos if there are good photos incorporating video. I’ve seen a lot of firms using PDF in a video-type fashion, where they’re breaking down the information into more digestible sections. It’s allowing the viewer to click through it and interact with that content. Consider campaigns, highlight your people, and your initiatives, or take that long-form content, and really break it up. It’s also very important to expand the reach of what you’re sharing, and try to reshare your content. During the most optimal times, we’ll often get a request late in the day, or on a Friday, and we really share our insights as the legal marketers that this isn’t the best time to post this. If you want to post it on your page, you can, and we really will help them do that. We’ll get them the tools and resources they need. Tag the related people and organizations and use curated hashtags. There’s also paid social media that you can explore if you have the budget. There are great employee engagement tools out there.
Educate your attorneys and staff. Not everything needs to be promoted on your firm’s social channels. You want to make it not a one-sided conversation. Make it a conversation with multiple people, We empower our attorneys and staff to post that content on their personal pages and to tag the firms, like, and comment. We often see that the content they share performs much higher. It’s because their audience is more aligned and more interested in the content. We also do training sessions, so I try to meet all of our new lateral hires, or if we have new associates coming in, we’ll meet with them as a group. It will build interest and momentum, and it will get people comfortable with doing it on their own. Lastly, don’t be afraid to pivot. You know social media is always evolving, especially Linkedin. It’s important to monitor those trends, to know what other companies or law firms are doing, and then analyze what you’re doing and if it’s working. For that reason, I’m a big proponent of social media analytics and analytics in general.
Linkedin is a powerful tool for building and leveraging your brand. It can benefit both the firm and your attorneys, and it can be accomplished in just a couple of easy steps. You want to work closely with your attorneys to ensure that they have what LinkedIn calls that all-star profile status. So make sure they have a photo headline, location, the About section, and skills. Encourage your attorneys to grow their network, and connect with clients, colleagues, alumni, and others. Help your attorneys curate that content strategy, work with them to establish, grow, and their presence, and by sharing relevant updates, or simply by interacting with the firm’s content for their colleagues and their clients.
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