This New Year's Eve, as you look ahead to 2020, we are delighted to bring you a guest post from Gail Lamarche with her top tips for communicating the value of social and digital media. Gail is an inaugural member of LMA's Social Media Shared Interest Group Leadership Committee.
I love to cook and watch movies, often times doing both simultaneously. One of my favorite movies is Chef directed by and starring Jon Favreau and Sofia Vergara. It’s a funny, dysfunctional love story with a delightful side story of the “next generation” learning social media from the “younger generation.” How many of us have been in or witnessed a scenario like this?
Social Media Policies
Before you let your attorneys loose on ANY social or digital platform, does your firm have a social media policy? If not, get one…now. Lindsay Griffiths, also a former Social Media SIG co-chair has an arsenal of resources on her blog, the Zen and the Art of Legal Networking.
There’s a cute clip in the movie of the dad asking his son to “sign him up” on Twitter before the dad really knows ANYTHING about Twitter, especially the fact that you can’t send a direct message to someone who isn’t following you. That the “message” he sent was shared with the entire Twitterverse. Again, sound familiar?
LMA is a great resource for you to find anything you need to help your lawyers – I am living proof of that. Research the SIG Groups, attend conferences, watch webinars, and reach out. My very first conference, I connected with my first LMA mentor and now close friend, Nancy Myrland. She is a generous soul who loves to help her LMA family and lawyers, along with so many other wonderful people.
Find your progressive thinking, technology-minded lawyers who can be your champions. Even if there’s just one, sharing their successes will cause others to will want to follow.
Recipe for Success
I wish there was one, but there isn’t. It’s your job to set the example and then find out what will work for your firm and your individual lawyers. Not everyone will want to be on LinkedIn or “the” Twitter. Some may want to start a podcast or perhaps launch a YouTube channel. It doesn’t have to be that “impressive” just something that they will commit to doing, actually enjoy doing it and yes, get ROI from it. Let’s face it, you don’t want to waste your time or theirs. Come up with a plan. Ask them:
- Who are they trying to reach or connect with?
- What social platforms, if any, are they using?
- What social platforms would like they like to use with more training?
What works for us
We are a 95-year old law firm in Southwest Florida with 55-60 attorneys. The Florida Bar Rules are quite strict, so our social media push has been very “organic” to say the least. We have two blogs, of which the real estate/condo & HOA blog is our most popular blog. The chair of the group reports she gets calls all the time from her blog posts and they are typically ranked in the top five most-viewed posts every month (for years)! This evergreen content is liquid gold. What can that be for your firm?
I am most proud of our Facebook page and the connection we have formed with our community partners, clients and “friends” of the firm. This was our 95th anniversary year so we did a lot of fun things this year, including a client event at a historic home, a wall-taping fundraiser and launched a spontaneous campaign to make a lawyer run a race in his suit and tie (both for the United Way). We also launched a new website, and (on the advice of Stefanie Marrone) we celebrated National Dog Day. (Full disclosure, making the collages took way more time than I expected, but being a social media geek – we did get a lot of traffic and love.) I’ve filmed a music video of our litigation team on the roof of our building on Halloween, a pie-eating contest (also for the United Way) and so many other fun things that show your clients you are connected to the community, and most important, a great law firm.
You don’t have to go it alone. Always be learning. To this day, social media brought the best and brightest into my life, including Heather, Gina, Laura, Lance, Roy, Catherine, Tim, and so many others.
With over 20 years of experience in law firms, Gail serves as the Director of Marketing and Business Development for Henderson, Franklin, Starnes & Holt, P.A., a full service law firm with over 55 lawyers and three offices in Southwest Florida (Fort Myers, Bonita Springs and Naples). She is responsible for all of the firm’s marketing efforts, including advertising, branding, budgeting, business development, digital marketing, social media, seminars and events.
As a New England native, Gail blends her love of baseball and community and serves on the Boston Red Sox Celebrity Golf Classic Tournament Committee benefitting the Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida. She is also a member of the Southwest Florida Seminole Booster Club Board of Directors. Gail previously served on the Communications Task Force for the Horizon Council of Lee County, was an inaugural member of the Social Media Shared Interest Group Leadership Committee for the Legal Marketing Association, and wa a co-founder and past president of the Social Media Club of Southwest Florida.