Top Tips for the New Year

On the 11th day we welcome Stefanie Marrone of Tarter Krinsky & Drogin LLP as the incoming co-chair of the Social & Digital Media SIG.

Many of you in the LMA community know that I’m very passionate about all things related to social media and always writing or speaking about LinkedIn, content marketing or something related to a new trend or feature on social media.

I also personally use social media quite a bit (often posting photos of my French bulldog Charlie) and in fact, some of you have even called me the Kevin Bacon of legal marketing  (which always makes me chuckle), so it’s only fitting that I’m co-chairing the LMA’s Social Media and Digital Marketing SIG for 2019/2020. I’m thankful that Cynthia Voth and Jennifer Carr asked me to take on this role – I have so many ideas for programs, events and content for all of you that I can’t wait to share!

I’ve been at a lot of firms – both big and small. Almost two years ago I moved from Big Law to a terrific, entrepreneurial mid-size firm. Along with the move came a more limited budget and a smaller in-house team, which meant that I had to become more nimble, resourceful and creative when it came to just about everything, including content marketing and social media. I make every marketing dollar count that much more when working within a tighter budget, and as a result, I’m always on the hunt for new technologies that will make my life easier and my marketing efforts better.

I’m excited to share with you what I’ve learned and the resources I use in digital and social media marketing, as well as bring industry perspectives to our SIG to help you – regardless of your budget, level or firm size – succeed in your social media efforts. I also want to give you tools to use social media to generate business development leads and retain clients.

I am thrilled to be on board and look forward to bringing you programming and content in 2019.Please feel free to connect with me (on social media of course!) to introduce yourself, share ideas for the SIG or just say "hi.”

What is on the list of your top priorities in social and digital media for 2019?

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Align social media efforts with business development efforts

Every legal marketer – regardless of their title – should think of themselves as a business development person, period. That being said, all of your social media marketing efforts should be designed to support your firm’s BD and lead generation efforts, and my goal for the year (and all the years to come), is to work with our lawyers and legal marketing colleagues more broadly to help them find creative ways (irrespective of their budget) to utilize social media to bring in business leads and retain current clients.

(Note – if you want to delve deeper into this topic, I hope you will consider joining me and my 2019 LMA Social Media and Digital Marketing co-chair Jennifer Simpson Carr for our LMA 2019 Annual Conference deep-dive workshop program on day two of the conference on Tuesday, April 10 at 3:30pm “Beyond Branding: Aligning Social Media Strategy with Business Development Goals” where we will explore this issue in more depth!)

Promote good works via social media

Social media is one of the most powerful vehicles that firms have to disseminate information about your good works – pro bono, community service, diversity, recruiting and professional development initiatives – but most don’t utilize this channel enough for this purpose. Clients really do want to see that your firm is a good corporate citizen – we increasingly see these questions asked in RFPs and your social media presence is just another channel where you can reinforce these messages. It will greatly differentiate your firm to have a social media presence that does not solely focus on how great you are, but rather what you do for the greater good of the community and your employees. So do everything you can to promote these programs on your social media channels in between touting your big victories, firm news and award wins. 

Incorporate evergreen content into your social media strategy

It’s not always easy to generate a steady stream of good content, and it’s important to regularly post content to stay top of mind with our target audiences, so try using evergreen content to your advantage. Evergreen content is SEO-optimized content that doesn’t have an expiration date, or lose its relevancy and value over time. It is high-quality, helpful content that provides value whether it is read today, next week or a year from now (such as lawyer bios, holidays, office openings, firm history, timeless client alerts, case studies on matters/practices, careers, professional development, pro bono, firm life and event recaps can all be used to fill in content gaps in your editorial calendar.) This is what I call your “what you say when you have nothing to say” content strategy – or your evergreen content strategy. A strong evergreen content strategy will strengthen your brand, lead to new business and the true bonus – it will delight your lawyers. This is especially important for those who work at smaller firms where it may be difficult to get top-tier media coverage on a regular basis.

Taking advantage of the many holidays that pop up throughout the year and weaving them into your content strategy is a great way to fill in the blanks in your editorial calendar and highlight your firm's softer side. Featuring major holidays is a no brainer such as Women’s History Month, Fourth of July, Lunar New Year, Thanksgiving, Administrative Professionals day, but lesser known holidays can also make for great social media posts, helping you showcase your uniqueness (March 14 is National Potato Chip Day!). So get creative.

Read my JD Supra article “What to Do When You Run Out of Things to Say - Your How-To Guide to Creating an Evergreen Content Strategy” for more on this topic.

Think show vs. tell with every post you create

Every piece of content you post should be value-added, helpful and client-centric. Think of show vs. tell with everything you say and less firm-centric “me, me, me” content and more about “why is this important to the client.”  If you can’t answer that when you are writing a piece of content, stop and try again or completely scratch the idea. You can reframe just about anything – an award win or a client victory – in a way that will resonate with clients in a stronger way if you write it with them in mind. Also, remember that most often, your clients are not lawyers, so always put yourself in their shoes. Throw the legalese out the window. Clients want to know who you are and how you can help them. Think about how to demonstrate that you are a leader in your field versus telling someone. It’s often that simple.

What is one resource you recommend to legal marketers who want to learn more about social and digital media?! Developing a smart and inexpensive visual content strategy is well worth your time. I’m a firm believer that you should never post anything to social media without an image. Why? Because social media posts with images gain far more views and engagement.

Today, anyone can incorporate visuals into their social media strategy, you just need to be creative and resourceful. You can easily reuse and repurpose images that you already have, and resize them using tools right on your smartphone. In addition, there are many photo and online design tools that enable you to create images for free or at a low cost.

Many firms miss the mark on their social media images, either having no imagery at all, lackluster images or even wrongly sized images. So, for all of you non-designers out there, you can easily create and post a custom image to your social media channels using my favorite online design tool, Canva.

This site has an accompanying app for those who want to create and post from their mobile devices, enables you to create perfectly sized social media graphics and has hundreds of pre-designed templates (or you can create your own from scratch). It’s easy to add text or your logo to a design.

The best part? Many of the design templates on Canva are free! (It does have a paid option for $12.95 per person per month for a super-charged work version.)

I have a number of other favorite social media tools that are free or inexpensive and easy to use. Check out my JD Supra article on “17 Low Cost (or Free!) Social Media MarTech Tools to Try” to learn about them.  The good news is that you don’t have to sacrifice quality to save time or a buck thanks to these tools that will help you differentiate your firm and give you a competitive edge.

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ABOUT Stefanie Marrone

Stefanie Marrone helps law firms effectively tell their stories and find their unique voices. Over the last 16 years, she has been working with some of the most prominent law firms in the world, developing and executing global revenue generating, business development, internal and external communications strategies, including media relations, branding, and multi-channel content marketing and social media campaigns. She has a diverse range of experience in both Big Law and mid-size/small law firms. She is currently finishing up a two-year term as secretary of the LMA Northeast Region and will be the co-chair of the LMA Northeast Conference in 2019 in addition to serving as co-chair of the LMA Social Media and Digital Marketing SIG.  Connect with her on LinkedIn and read more of her work on JD Supra.

In case you missed it:

The 1st Day of Social & Digital media, featuring Jennifer Simpson Carr of Knapp Marketing

The 2nd Day of Social & Digital Media, featuring Meghan Spralding of Miller Nash Graham & Dunn

The 3rd Day of Social & Digital Media, featuring Laura Toledo of Nilan Johnson Lewis PA

The 4th Day of Social & Digital Media, featuring  Walter D. McCorkle of  Bradley Arant Boult Cummings

The 5th Day of Social & Digital Media, featuring Olivia Rubio-Finn of Deborah Gaines Associates

The 6th Day of Social & Digital Media, featuring Madison Minner of Newmeyer & Dillion

The 7th Day of Social & Digital Media, featuring Clayton Dodds of Brewer Offord & Pedersen LLP

The 8th Day of Social & Digital Media, featuring Alaina Blekicki of Lowenstein Sandler

The 9th Day of Social & Digital Media, featuring Adrian Lurrsen of JD Supra

The 10th Day of Social & Digital Media, featuring Jaron Rubenstein of  RubyLaw

Be on the lookout!

The Social & Digital Media SIG is excited to host a cocktail meetup at the Annual Conference in 2019. Details to come.

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