[On The 1st Day] Are You Listening Yet? What Smart Marketers Took Away From The Election

12 Days  Social & Digital Media

You may notice something a little different around here. With a new name and expanded focus for the SIG, we've taken the opportunity to expand the 12 Days to cover not only social media, but also digital media.

With the success of last year's interview-style 12 Days, we've decided to follow in its footsteps bringing you 12 social and digitally focused interviews from leading marketers within the legal industry and outside of it. You'll notice, we've also tweaked our interview questions this year (just a bit) to ensure we cover all the social and digital themes we think you all will find insightful and helpful as you prepare to plan for 2017. Without further ado, we bring you the 1st Day of Social & Digital Media!

On the First Day of Social & Digital Media we wanted to share with you some insight from one of your incoming SIG Co-Chairs, Karen Cariello, Vice President of Business Development for JD Supra

What has shifted in the last 12 months in social & digital media?

The recent election has put to rest the notion that social media is frivolous and inconsequential. Our president-elect won the election, in part, thanks to his success on social media. He dominated news cycles and had most of the civilized world talking about his latest 140-character rant on a near daily basis. That left no room for other people’s messages. This analysis, which shows his top targets by week, is a fascinating look back at his accomplishment.Karen Cariello - 1.png

This is far from an isolated event. Today, 62% of adults in the US get their news from social media, with 42% getting their news from Facebook. Millennials are now the largest living generation in America. To dismiss social media out of hand as not being an appropriate platform for legal news would be, as they say, so 20 minutes ago.

What does this mean for legal marketers? For starters, content consumption is now highly fragmented across numerous platforms – traditional and non-traditional. If your content isn’t where your readers are, there is simply too much other content out there and it won’t be read.

Plus with more content being read in social environments, your substantive work is now competing for attention with entertainment news. Your content must not only enlighten, it must now be compelling.

To be well read in social settings means to be well shared. Your content must now resonate with your audience to the point that they see value in sharing it with their peers.

These are profound and challenging lessons for law firms to internalize. Thankfully, analytics tools are evolving to help firms do a better job of listening to their readers, so that they can turn their one-way publishing efforts into two-way dialogue. I believe that some will do a good job here but that many will lag behind. This presents significant opportunities for those that do.

What has caught your eye recently as a smart use of social & digital media?

Immediately after the election, in the midst of a very negative, polarized landscape, Amazon released this ad for their Prime service. It featured an Imam and a Priest who were having tea together. As they were standing to leave, they shared a laugh over their aching, elderly knees. Both then got the same idea to send kneepads to the other, using Amazon Prime of course.

This ad has been shared over 1.5 million times on YouTube alone. It found its way into other people’s feeds because it offered an uplifting, healing and hopeful message, which is what many craved following the election. I thought it was exceptionally well done. 

What’s the biggest challenge for law firms trying to be active in the social & digital media space, and how can they overcome it?

Karen Cariello - 6.pngAs I mentioned above, I believe it’s hard for most organizations, but especially for law firms, to move from being just publishers on social/digital media spaces to being publishers and listeners, engaging in meaningful two-way conversation with their audiences. Most firms are still focusing on just pushing their content only, and are not watching for/listening to what others are saying about what they’re publishing. This is a huge, missed opportunity.

Firms can overcome this by diving into their analytics to “listen” to their audience. Who is ready their content? Are they the type of professionals/companies they want as clients? What are their readers saying about the firm’s content to their peers? And what other firms are their readers reading? As Yogi Berra said, you can learn a lot by listening.

What’s the next big thing in social & digital media marketing for law firms for 2017?

I’m seeing the rise of a new role in legal marketing, that of the content strategist. This is actually a big deal, as the majority of firms do not have any type of content strategy in place and only a handful have put a plan in writing. This appears to be an acknowledgment - at some level – that the usual “random acts of content creation” that is the norm in most firms, isn’t doing all that it should to support a firm.

The scope of the role varies widely by firm. Most are seeking to build mind share around core competencies of the firm by taking a deliberate approach to content development. For some, they are producing “anchor” pieces, much like consulting firms have done for years. These range from reports to studies to position pieces. Smart firms will load these with social friendly graphics and analyses and leverage social channels to promote them. And the smartest firms will then listen and see who shares them, how they’re shared, and what is said about them.

Karen Cariello


Karen Cariello is currently vice president of business development for JD Supra, and will be the co-chair of LMA’s Social and Digital Media SIG in 2017. She previously was the director of firm development for an Atlanta-based law firm. Prior to that she was associate publisher for a national legal magazine. Karen has worked with digital media for over 20 years, both in the legal industry and in broader B2B markets. She can be reached at @karencariello.

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!

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