Social Media Strategy:  Listen, Learn, Engage, Measure, AdaptThe world of social media marketing is constantly evolving and can be viewed as a fast pace changing environment, everyday we hear of new technology, new platforms and more efficient ways of doing business.

But, the core principles of social media marketing never change and are extremely necessary for a successful outcome. In Brian Solis’ book, What’s the Future of Business? Changing The Way Businesses Create Experiences he discusses the fundamental principles of social media marketing: Listen, Learn, Engage, Adapt. Sounds simple doesn’t it?

Unfortunately, most law firms today have no idea of where to start when it comes to implementing a social media strategy. They just figure they need to be doing something because all of their competitors are.

This simple approach is almost identical to the approach I use when working with clients. Except that I add one more step before adapt: measure. Lets take a close look at each of these steps and examine them. A close examination will enable law firms to understand the critical components of any social strategy. Lets examine why:

Listen

This to me is the single most important step for law firms trying to figure out their social strategy. Lawyers need to make use of a social media listening tool to discover what is already being said about them and by whom. Listening provides insights into how your clients and prospects view your brand and lets them understand what the overall sentiment is of your firm.

A law firm cannot formulate a proper strategy if it doesn’t take the time to listen. Think of it this way, you are trying to sell your services and you have an appointment with a potential client, what is the first thing you would do at that meeting? Would you start talking about how great your services are and why that potential client should retain you? Or, would you take the time to listen to that person and get a better understanding of who he/she is, what problem or opportunity they are trying to overcome or achieve and then customize your sales pitch to address the problem or opportunity that has been identified?

The same applies in social, you need to get a better understanding on the person you are trying to reach in order to demonstrate to them why your product or service is a solution for them.

Learn

The next step is to learn. Take the time to digest what you have seen or heard. Learn the rules of engagement. Learn how people react to content and what content they react to. A perfect example of this are groups on LinkedIn. I spend a lot of time on LinkedIn groups not because they generate a significant amount of traffic to my web site (which they do) but because I am interested in developing new relationships with professionals who are either in my industry or in an industry which I am interested in. Before I ever post on a LinkedIn group, I take the time to learn the group etiquette. Some groups do not allow you to post updates with links to your blog or web site. Others only allow it in the comments section of a post and only if that link leads to content that adds to the overall value of the discussion.

Therefore, its important to learn what is acceptable behavior and what isn’t. Misleading people or spamming them clearly does not qualify as acceptable behavior, however, in order to really engage with people, you have to learn what they want or what they value before you attempt to engage.

Engage

This is what all marketers should be looking for. Long term engagement. Building trust, advocacy and loyalty. It is not enough to drive traffic to your site with the hope of selling something. That is a short-sighted strategy that at best will result in a few transactions.

Instead marketers should be looking for opportunities to really engage with their customers or prospects and forge long-term mutually beneficial relationships. So how can marketers and companies achieve true engagement? The same way a person would establish a relationship with another person. Offer help, knowledge, support or value. The desired result is trust. Trust that leads to loyalty. Trust that leads to advocacy. It takes time and effort but the rewards can last a lifetime.

Measure

As I previously wrote in a post, Shares, Likes and Comments: How to measure social media success, It is critical to measure the success of your social strategy. However, before you start measuring, you have to figure out what you will measure.

At the outset, you must determine the Key Performance Indicators (“KPI’s”) that are most important to your objectives. It is important to not only measure reach but also engagement and to do that over time. Today there are many tools to help with this, my preference is Google Analytics.

Adapt

Social is a journey, not a destination. It is an endless cycle that every law firm must should adapt in order to be successful. Measure and adjust, measure and adjust, measure and adjust. If something is working do more of it. If something is not working, try something new. Be creative! Experiment with emerging social networks and tools. Be creative in the content that you create and in the format in which you create it in. If you are successful, don’t rest on your laurels. Always continue to push the envelope and continue to adapt.

Your social media strategy does not need to be complicated in order to succeed. Implement the approach I describe above and there is a very good chance that you will achieve your goals and objectives. However, be aware, it takes time, effort and creativity to succeed. You need to figure out what your target audience wants and needs and then consistently deliver rewarding experiences over time.

Updated and republished  May 18, 2018.

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