social media marketing mixSocial media marketing is an extremely effective tool in raising brand awareness and creating vehicles for engagement with your clients and prospects.

In order to maximize its effectiveness, a social media marketing strategy must consider three distinct media elements: owned media, earned media and paid media.

Owned media is a channel your company controls. There is fully owned media (your website) and partially owned media (like Facebook Page or Twitter account). Owned media creates brand portability. It enables your firm to extend its brand beyond a website so that it exists in many places across the web – specifically through social media sites and unique communities. The ability to communicate directly with consumers who want to engage with your brand through long-term relationships is invaluable.

Earned media is an old public relations term that essentially meant getting your brand into free media rather than having to pay for it through advertising. However the term has evolved into the transparent and permanent word-of-mouth that is being created through social media. Firms need to learn how to listen and respond to both the good and bad as well as consider when to try to stimulate earned media through word-of-mouth marketing.

Paid media (aka advertising) is the only media that can guarantee immediacy and scale. Paid media is evolving into a catalyst that is needed at key periods to drive more engagement and leads. See: 5 Reasons Lawyers Should Consider Social Media Advertising and Facebook Ads for Law Firms: How to Reach Your Target Audience

Ultimately these types of media work best together but making the hard choices of what to include and what not to include is crucial – especially when budgets are tight. The challenge therefore, is coming up with a social media strategy that integrates all three types of media for maximum effectiveness.

In addition to finding the right mix of owned, earned and paid media, an effective social media strategy must also include an audit of what your competition is doing in the social media space as well as a determination which public social networks your target audience resides in. Those key components will be important in crafting the proper strategy.

Finally, a social media strategy evolves over time. Engaging with your target audience takes time and effort. Therefore it is imperative to lay out your overall business objectives and key performance indicators (KPI’s) prior to execution and then having the right tools in place to measure the results and adjust your strategy as necessary. 

Updated and republished May 12, 2017.

Social Media for Law Firms