On February 27, Philly welcomed LMA Northeast members Adrian Dayton, Founder of Clearview Social; and Stefanie Marrone, Director of Business Development and Marketing at Tarter Krinsky & Drogin, to lead a discussion and share best practices on how legal marketers can master, and most effectively utilize, social media for their law firms.
Leveraging technology befitting the subject matter, the event drew 70 in-person attendees at host firm Morgan Lewis, but was also viewed via Facebook Live stream for local groups in Delaware and New Jersey. Special thanks to Legal Internet Solutions, Inc. (LISI) for generously sponsoring the program and to Rob Kates from Kates Media for livestreaming it.
So, what does it mean to be a master? Can mastery only be achieved by a large number of followers or the number of likes our pages and posts receive? Adrian and Stefanie assured us that this is definitely not the case. We “master” social media engagement when we add value to our target audiences and provide value-added information to them. If we focus more on “showing versus telling,” our posts are better able to reflect who we are and what we are doing to better engage with our audiences.
- Focus on Increasing Engagement on Social Media for Law Firms
As legal marketers, we need to encourage our attorneys to select a focus area, at least when it comes to social media engagement. While lawyers may be reluctant to focus, concerned that a concentrating on a particular topic or issue could be more restrictive than serving as a generalist, the value of being focused could translate into opportunities for creating and building a target audience. Through what Adrian references as “The Habit Loop,” the attorneys should identify their “cue,” create a “routine” (based on a level of frequency of posts), and then experience the “reward,” which is the contact that is established from their outreach. In order to gain initial traction, their focus should be identified in their title. For example, their LinkedIn profiles should include a strong headline, describing what they can do for their clients.
In addition, once identified, attorneys can create or collect content helpful and relevant to their target audience based on their practice/industry, and consistently post, either through resourceful articles or their own original content/blogs. They can further build their audience by publishing content on content syndicators such as Lexology, JD Supra, Mondaq and the National Law Review, which can then be linked through their LinkedIn or Twitter accounts. The more they share, the more reach they will have and more reward will follow.
- Attorney Branding
The current social media landscape has changed dramatically in recent years making it more difficult to deliver your message to the right recipients. For instance, prospective clients are far less likely to open emails from firms when they have no working or ongoing relationship, , content is being consumed primarily through mobile devices (mostly Apple products) and visuals and graphics, rather than text, are the most powerful way to reach and resonate with your online audience. Therefore, in order to achieve social media mastery status, we also need to focus on our branding and the most effective methods for delivery. As legal marketers, we should be developing a social strategy for our firms, and we need to ensure that our lawyers are fully on board, up to speed and engaged in these activities in order for them to have maximum impact.
Social media cannot be interpreted as a “one size fits all” approach. When reaching different audiences, we must determine which tool(s) we will use to be the best business development and revenue generator. Our lawyers are legal solution providers. Therefore, their social media marketing should be building targeted relationships, providing helpful content and consistently adding value in order to generate leads and develop their business. By building a strong brand, our attorneys have a better opportunity to establish themselves as leaders in their field, be at top of mind with their clients and contacts and allow them to stand apart from the competition.
- A Special Word about LinkedIn
LinkedIn is the number one social media channel for business development and has become the currency of professional networking. 75% of all visits to firm websites originate from Google searches. LinkedIn profiles appear within the top three results of a Google search, and search engines are now pulling LinkedIn profiles onto the side panel of the search results. Recognizing the impact LinkedIn has on professional networking and business development is so important for our attorneys in understanding they are building their brand through their presence and engagement with this tool. In developing their social media marketing strategy, promotions should include the content they want to share, from analytics, recent industry news, or feedback from attended programs and events to firm history, charitable events and holiday greetings. All shared content should be client-centric and targeted, should be accompanied by a visual and should be reused and repurposed.
Social media is an extremely powerful marketing and business development tool, enabling us to share information, with the potential to reach audiences on a global scale. But numbers are the end game. As legal marketers, the social media efforts of our firms and attorneys we support succeeds if we add value to firm brands, clients and overall business development efforts. This program provided attendees with a lot of actionable takeaways and tips to enable us to do just that.