On the 4th Day of Social Media, a new SIG leader emerges to say hello! I am so excited to be part of the Social Media SIG and share this huge honor of co-leading it with Nancy Myrland. I look forward to sharing my knowledge, building our small, yet mighty team, and trying my darndest to fill the big shoes of the great leaders who have come before me! I am excited about 2016 and I hope you are too!
It is with great pleasure I introduce to you a superbly sharp leader in the technology, digital marketing, and social media sphere, my fellow in-house legal marketer and techie, CyndyMcCollough, Director of Marketing and Business Development at BuckleySandler LLP.
1. What’s the next big thing in social media marketing for law firms in 2016?
In a word, segmentation. We need to speak to our clients where they hang out, which means less blanket broadcasting and more strategic focus on delivering the right message via the right vehicle to the right person. In the late 2000s, as law firms slowly took to social media, we felt it was a huge success just getting our lawyers to establish LinkedIn profiles. Then we were happy to have a branded Twitter feed up and running, where we could share our articles, awards, and client wins. Then some firms started getting smarter about social, building community-focused Facebook pages with engaging alumni and charitable content. What we need to do now is refine our activities to deliver more targeted messages and spend less time yelling into the void and hoping someone hears it. For instance, practices focused on the advertising industry will start maintaining Pinterest and Instagram feeds; entertainment and sports lawyers will probably find creative ways to use Periscope and Meerkat; and IP and tech firms, well I’m guessing drones will be involved, so more video is probably on the horizon. We have to meet our clients where they live.
2. Who do you see doing social media marketing right, and what can others learn from them?
- DLA is using Instagram to highlight charitable initiatives, show off new office space, and recruit admin staff.
- Freshfields’ Twitter feed makes great use of images, and has a good mix of self-promotion plus third party content that is of interest to their market. The rule of thumb for content mix (and this applies to firm feeds as well as individual attorney feeds) is two pieces of general interest content for every self-promotional (Look what we did!”) tweet. Not many firms or lawyers achieve this balance, but it is a good target to shoot for.
- Jones Day has arguably the most popular YouTube channel of any law firm (HT to L. Shepard at Good2BSocial), but with only 236 subscribers and 117,229 views, they obviously aren’t nearing Bieber-esque numbers. However, they are being smart about limiting the length of their videos (ideal: under 2 minutes) and offering up a good mix of issue-based commentary along with careers, pro bono, and and diversity. And I get happy feet just thinking about the beaucoup good Google juice they are getting from all that video SEO.
- Any law firm using social media internally to connect the dots is way ahead of the pack. Tools like Yammer and certain CRM applications are helping practice teams stay connected, and improving cross-selling across the enterprise.
3. What’s the biggest challenge for law firms trying to be active in the social media space, and how can they overcome it?
Consistency in volume and in voice continue to be the two areas where I see law firms stumbling. So many still look at social media as an afterthought rather than a strategic channel. They treat it like something anyone in the department can manage in their spare time. But approaching it haphazardly, without an owner, an editorial calendar, or a scheduling tool such as Hootsuite, firms end up with inconsistent posts – e.g., 10 tweets on a slow Monday and none on busy Thursdays and Fridays. And having more than one person assigned to manage social media can result in a disjointed tone and inconsistent hashtag use. My recommendations are to give a single person ownership of social media, and to plan out your messaging as far in advance as possible. Research hashtags to determine what your clients are using and what journalists use when writing about your areas of law.
About Cyndy McCollough:
Cyndy is an experienced legal marketer with a strong background in the use of technology to advance business goals. She has extensive experience developing social media strategies for firms, practices, and individual attorneys.
Washington, D.C. 20037