By Gina Eliadis, director of marketing & business development at Goodell DeVries
Marketing in the COVID-19 era is almost exclusively an online exercise. In the absence of in-person meetings and events, staying connected and top of mind is challenging. Social media has, therefore, come to occupy a larger role in marketing initiatives than ever before.
Law firm marketing teams that already had robust social media strategies were able to adapt as the world gradually locked down. Others found themselves building strategies overnight. No matter how prepared your firm was – or was not – for the COVID-19 era social media explosion, there is always room for refinement. As the global pandemic seems unlikely to end soon, continually adapting and enhancing your firm's social media strategies will be critical for the foreseeable future.
Ashley Hollingsworth provided an excellent roadmap in her June 24 LMA webinar, “Marketing Under Lockdown: Leveraging Social Media to Maintain Visibility.” Hollingsworth is industry marketing manager of Healthcare & Life Sciences at McDermott Will & Emery. She also is a longtime LMA member and former chair of the Social Media Committee.
Social media can be a means to generate leads, build awareness, and showcase your firm's brand and expertise. But many law firms take a “one-and-done” approach to social media, which means they could be missing opportunities. The routine of taking lawyer-created content, posting it on the website, emailing it to clients, and then sharing it on social doesn't have to be a dead end. There's more that can be done.
Hollingsworth provided another approach:
- Position social media as the primary means of delivering your firm's message
- Repurpose content into social-friendly snippets
- Drive home a consistent message through different content types
- Generate leads and inquiries through consistent delivery and constant visibility
Social media campaigns are an important tool, she explained. Campaigns should reinforce the firm brand, be strategically focused, have measurable key performance indicators (KPIs) and SMART goals (defined targets to achieve over time), and influence followers.
“Successful campaigns work toward a goal with consistent messaging, reiterated regularly, with content that captures audience attention and meets their needs,” she added.
Define KPIs that align with your objectives. “For example, if your goal is to drive downloads, your KPIs may be link clicks and form completions, and your supporting metrics may be impressions and engagements,” Hollingsworth explained. “If your goal is to increase traffic to a page, your KPIs may be unique page views and referral sources, and your supporting metrics may be social post impressions and clicks.”
There are many tracking and reporting tools available to measure progress. Look to in-platform reporting, Google Analytics, social media management tools (like Hootsuite and Sprout Social), and Excel to identify and measure data. Once you have data to examine, there are three key questions to answer: 1) What is the data saying? 2) What insights can we take away? and 3) What recommendations can we make based on that data?
With goals identified, it's time to work on content. Your firm's social media content should amplify your brand through a consistent voice and consistent visuals to show who you are as a firm. It's also important to make your content audience-centric. Persuade followers to care about you and what you have to say. Speak to their issues and frame your message in such a way that you are viewed as a resource for those issues.
Remember to engage. It's important to build connections, Hollingsworth said. “Once you get your content, connect it to the greater conversation by tagging the lawyer and using relevant hashtags.”
She also explained the advantages of using imagery in your posts. Images allow you to showcase the visual elements of your brand. They also take up more visual real estate in feeds, and they can contain extra information in addition to the content in the post itself.
Multimedia content, like webinars, podcasts, and videos, also offers a number of advantages. “These types of content capture attention on crowded feeds and humanize the brand,” Hollingsworth said. “They're also easy to repurpose into new content and easier for followers to consume.” She added that multimedia content may be an ideal vehicle for lawyers who don't like to write.
No matter what types of content your firm posts, be sure it's relevant. As Hollingsworth put it, “Give your audience useful information to connect to. Present an issue that resonates and include how you can solve it. Make your content easy to find and easy to consume. And be part of the conversation.”
That's great advice for all types of law firm content, but it's especially true for social media in the COVID-19 era. The content competition on social media is fierce right now. The more your firm stands out, the more effective it will be at amplifying its brand and generating leads.