We’ve said it many times and we’ll say it again: lawyers who don’t use social media are missing out on a huge opportunity to market themselves and their firm. But we understand that the quantity and variety of social networks can be overwhelming to the newbie. Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn profiles are now considered standard in most of the professional world. Then there are other networks that serve a particular niche or need – some come and go – but these also have tremendous potential for generating traffic and leads. We’ve also written about social networks in other countries and noted that law firms with global operations should take note.
Posting content and maintaining a presence on multiple networks is time-consuming and inefficient. That’s why there are social media management tools to streamline and simplify the process. These tools can feel like a command center or headquarters where messages can be crafted and then distributed instantly (or scheduled throughout the day) to dozens of places all at once. Lawyers are busy, we get it. And we don’t blame lawyers for not already knowing this stuff; almost all of these companies were founded within the last 10 years. But the benefits of setting up a social media management system are worth the effort. Once your system is in place, it only takes a few clicks a day to reap the rewards and reach far beyond your firm’s usual network.
Here are some tools to consider:
Hootsuite is probably the most commonly used tool among individuals, law firms and businesses of all sizes. It consists of a single dashboard where content can be simultaneously distributed across an unlimited number of social networks and scheduled in advance. Hootsuite Enterprise creates detailed analytic reports, which show which content is successful and where. This is useful for demonstrating the return on investment to managing partners. Multiple teams and departments can access one Hootsuite Enterprise account, so it enables internal coordination and collaboration as well. It suits the needs of lawyers well in that it’s easy to use and gets the job done.
Sprinklr focuses on “client experiences” and enables users to consolidate more than 20 social networks (some of which are popular in other countries) in 70 languages. This can be useful for global law firms with offices around the world. It’s popular among large brands because it assists users with facets of social media, like social listening, customer service, and advertising. It includes tools to implement strategies on paid, owned and earned media as well as big data analytic reports.
Sysomos’ primary focus is on social listening and analytics. It’s great for gathering social intelligence and understanding it. Also favored by large brands, Sysomos is useful for customer service and social selling. Its main products are Sysomos Media Analysis Platform (MAP) which mines information from the social universe and Sysomos Heartbeat, a customizable dashboard for social listening. Legal marketers can use this platform to monitor the brand identity and competition, but it’s complex for the day to day operations of most lawyers.
At this point, we will pause to acknowledge the fact that most of these systems are very similar to one another, in that they perform the same functions. Like the others, Sprout Social streamlines the process of posting to Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn simultaneously and scheduling posts to go out in advance. These are the main networks that U.S. lawyers need to gain visibility and clout, but firms with offices abroad may want to explore other options. The interface is a single stream inbox so that users don’t miss messages. The platform is also useful for social listening using keywords. Like the others, Sprout Social produces analytic reports.
Spredfast is also tailored to meet the needs of larger companies. It’s designed for vast social media campaigns, the likes of which are common in most industries, but totally absent from the legal world. The platform enables users to manage their profiles and post content on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube and Tumblr. The platform also provides a social inbox so that social listening can be centralized in one place. It can also house documents, like Dropbox, so that members of a team can coordinate. Social listening and analytics are also part of the package.
As the name implies, Tweetdeck is just for Twitter. While other social networks, which allow posts longer than 140 characters are important for law firms, Twitter is crucial to almost any and every social media strategy. Influencers and journalists tend to monitor their feeds often to see what’s new. While the instantaneous nature of the platform makes it useful for blasting a message out into the world, it’s also incredibly chaotic. Tweetdeck helps legal marketers monitor and manage feeds, which can be organized at the users discretion. This is useful for real-time social listening.
The point is that using a social media management tool is pretty much necessary at this point in time. Choosing one requires considering several factors such as the size of the firm, global reach, cost considerations and goals. Some may simply want to publish and promote content each week in an effort to improve search engine rankings. Others may want to find and engage other users with similar focuses. But no matter which tool you choose, you’ll get more out of it, if you devote more time and effort to social media in general.
Updated and republished July 14, 2017.