As I look back at 2013’s social media trends and look forward at what we should expect in 2014, I noticed all activities link back to sharable content. Today, we rely more on what our trusted networks say than what firms/companies/brands say about themselves. I started thinking about how we can ensure that our legal marketing efforts are shared and going “virtual” and how we can get the virtual community “working for us.” Additionally, I wondered how we can ensure that our traditional and social media marketing efforts are integrated and working together.
First, we need to think about how we can maximize the possibility that our targets see our content. Since most busy professionals rely on their mobile devices to view content, our Web sites (mini-sites, blogs, etc.) must be optimized for portable devices. If people are interacting with our firms via mobile devices, we must have responsive and adaptive design. Not only are people reading on the move, but it also gives them more opportunities to share favorable content.
In 2014, blogging will still be hot, and content will still be king (readable content, not legalese), so what we write must be relevant and useful. Pushing content is easier than ever, but people have more clutter to sift through to find what they want. Not only will creating content regularly in order to drive traffic to our Web sites still be important, but it is also sharable. Moreover, closed networks/communities will be “in” because they create a higher comfort level for sharing. Again, this will continue to drive social media engagement. (On a related note, please see the information below for information regarding the LMA Capital Chapter communities.)
People prefer visual content to text, and we will need to find ways to integrate images into our marketing content to increase our sharing and engagement rates. Visual content captures people’s attention and keeps them engaged. Video will still be hot, but it too is changing. Micro-videos are “in” featuring 6-second to 15-second videos; check out this video. In today’s world, two-to-three minute videos are too long to watch. Short videos get shared and can be a quick, inexpensive, and efficient way to promote our firms and lawyers if we can convince our attorneys to create something short and succinct.
Hashtags are now everywhere, including print adverting and television commercials. By including them in our marketing collateral (brochures, client alerts, blog posts, etc.), it will help with sharing. P.S., I hope you are sharing legal marketing related content, articles, and activities with our LMA Capital Chapter community by using the hashtags #LMADC and #LMAMKT.
Now that we are in the age of advocacy, it is important for people to express legal love and advocate for our firms by sharing our content. In addition to people sharing our content, attorneys are increasingly posting firm content on social media sites (and law firms are adjusting their social media policies to allow them to do it.)
I noticed other social media that will be hot in 2014, but I do not think law firms will be participating.
This is the year of Google+ because of the search benefits and other functions that are unique to Google+ such as Hangouts and Communities. I feel like we have been hearing this for a while… Considering many of our firms are not using other social media sites like Facebook, I do not think this will be a law firm 2014 trend.
Things are also really picking up speed with the popularity of networks such as Snapchat (text, picture, and video that auto-destructs within seconds.) I do not think our attorneys will trust these networks anytime soon. All things virtual, no matter how short or quick, may still be discoverable in our lawyers’ eyes. I am also not convinced auto-destructible content is worth our marketing effort. This is another “not for law firms” trend in my opinion.
Pay to play is becoming more important as Facebook has changed its news feed algorithm, and the lines are becoming blurred between paid and organic content to increase the reach of paid advertisements. Google+ has ads also, and Twitter needs to drive revenue. I do not think this will be the year that most law firms are ready to pay for advertisements on these social media sites.
As we embark on 2014, I feel like the more things change, the more they stay the same. In the end, high-quality content is important, and we must be where our target audiences are by creating content on platforms that match their technologies. What I hope to see is more online engagement with our targets by having two-way communication. Content being shared allows for dialogue (versus blogs that do not allow for comments), and I hope this will be the year for more online engagement between lawyers, law firms, and their targets.
Please share this article. #LMADC #LMAMKT
By Helena M. Lawrence, Business Development Manager, Proskauer, for the January/February 2014 Issue of the Capital Ideas Newsletter.