I'm always excited every year to help bring The 12 Days to you, and today is no exception. Gail Lamarche is a very close friend. She was one of the co-chairs of this SIG for the past 5 years, so we got to work together a great deal. She is not only smart, resourceful (see below as she accomplishes all of this single-handedly at her firm) and generous with her knowledge, but is also one of the nicest people I've ever known. If you don't know her yet, please make it a point to say hello and get to know her. You won't be sorry, I promise!
What has shifted in the last 12 months in social & digital media?
In general, the prevalence and usage are now just a way of life. My first thought was similar to Karen Cariello’s with use of social media and this year’s presidential campaign. I mean, can you see JFK and Nixon going at it at 3:00 AM on Twitter? When it comes to corporate use, I see more and more brands focusing campaigns around social/digital marketing. You see hashtags streaming during TV shows, Snapchat icons in TV ads, and major news channels are broadcasting live on Facebook when they aren’t “ON AIR” to share breaking news. There are myriads of options available to reach your target client. The questions then become: what is best, what will work, and what can you get your lawyers to agree to use?
What has caught your eye recently as a smart use of social & digital media?
As a Floridian and avid supporter of children’s charities, I loved Disney’s #ShareYourEars social media campaign. Disney partnered with the Make-A-Wish Foundation and asked users to share images of their Mickey Mouse Ears on Twitter and Instagram with the hashtag #ShareYourEars. Each social media post unlocked a $5 donation to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, which was initially capped at $1 million. However, the campaign was so popular that it became a trending topic on Facebook, and Disney then doubled their pledge, donating $2 million to Make-A-Wish®.
Has your current or former firm implemented a successful social & digital media strategy or campaign you’d like to share?
When I joined my current firm (Henderson Franklin) in 2007, they didn’t have any blogs or any social media presence. The firm now has three blogs, as well as active profiles on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Google+. In 2017, we plan to launch a video campaign on YouTube with our Condo and HOA Group (and other practice areas).
For our labor and employment group, we have used the hashtag #swflhrlaw since 2011 and encouraged live tweeting at our annual conference. When looking back at the feed, it amazes our attorneys to see the engagement of our audience.
What’s the biggest challenge for law firms trying to be active in the social & digital media space, and how can they overcome it?
Whether it is adhering to a blog editorial calendar or sharing information, the biggest challenge is always time. It is important to coach your lawyers on the use and benefits of each platform and show them how they can save time by using tools like Hootsuite or Tweetdeck. Don’t let “I don’t have enough time” be an excuse. Help them use their hobbies and passions in their blog posts to let their personalities show to connect better with your readers. I have a lawyer who loves movies and music. When you can incorporate Denzel Washington (or Santa for that matter) into a blog post about condemnation and eminent domain, it certainly makes it more entertaining and digestible.
Also, be sure to regularly review Google analytics and other stats provided by those platforms to see what is working, what isn’t and what blog posts are read the most. Share those stats with your attorneys to show them that their investment of non-billable time is worth it. Encourage them to share success stories with you (e.g., “I posted this on the new DCMA and received two new clients this week”) and use those stories in future coaching sessions.
What’s the next big thing in social & digital media marketing for law firms for 2017?
Excellent question and one that is hard for me to answer. There is so much yet to be explored, including Periscope, Facebook and now Instagram Live, Snapchat, and Pinterest and a myriad of others. Legal marketers need to explore and see which platform will help your attorneys connect with and reach their target market, as well as makes your attorneys rise above their competition.
ABOUT GAIL LAMARCHE
Gail is responsible for Henderson Franklin's marketing efforts, including advertising, branding, business and client development initiatives, budget planning, events, newsletters, press releases, seminars, and sponsorships. She incorporates social media into legal marketing initiatives and assisted in the launch of the firm's three blogs, Southwest Florida Employment Law Blog and The Legal Scoop on Southwest Florida Real Estate and the Southwest Florida Business and IP Bulletin.
Prior to joining Henderson Franklin, Gail worked in the marketing department of Devine, Millimet & Branch, P.A., a prominent New England regional law firm with four offices. In this role, she was instrumental in implementing the marketing programs for a wide range of practice groups.
Gail is a former member of the Communications Task Force of the Horizon Council. She is a co-founder and former Steering Committee member of the Social Media Club of Southwest Florida and serves on the Board of Directors of the Southwest Florida Seminole Booster Club
In case you missed it:
Save The Date!
Save the date for Tuesday, January 17, 1 PM CT/ 2 PM ET as the Social & Digital Media SIG is kicking off the new year by tackling an important issue. "Conquering the Generational Content Divide: What You Need to Know to Reach All Generations with Your Digital Content," with presenters Molly Miller, Chief Content Officer, ALM, Helen Bertelli, Vice President, Infinite Global Consulting, and new Social & Digital Media SIG co-chair, Karen Cariello, Vice President, JD Supra. Register early so you can get this important webinar on your calendar!