Social media and e-marketing with Law professionals is getting more and more prevalent as the overall use of social media marketing grows and becomes the norm for all types of businesses.
First, start with a smart strategy to make sure that your social media efforts are driving towards the “big picture” strategic goals for your firm. Not having a consistent and standard process when implementing a social media campaign is a sure-fire way to end up with a fragmented and out-of-control social presence.
Know your audience – and find them where they are online. For example, if you’re a corporate attorney focusing on M&A or employment law, your network may be more active on professional networks like LinkedIn than on YouTube or Twitter. Conversely, a medical malpractice attorney may find great success with reaching their audience on more informal social networks like Facebook, Yelp, or even Google+ (yes, some people actually use it!).
Don’t assume that if you broadcast and blast content out on social media that your audience will build and start flocking to you. Social media is about engagement – building a network through conversation, relevant topics, and like interests. If you’re able to build a community and following on social media with a targeted and engaged network of followers and contributors, you’re on the right path to success.
Something that is simple to overlook or can be hard to define is understanding when attorneys start to cross the line into consulting or advertising on social media. Some bar organizations such as New York State Bar Association go as far as to define a set of ethical guidelines that attorneys must follow on social media. One rule that stands out to me is “even a “Tweet” used to promote a lawyer’s services — which can be no longer than 140 characters — must contain the information required in attorney advertisements, which can be provided using commonly recognized abbreviations. So, a Tweet used to advertise a lawyer’s services might just need to end with this 90 character message: “This Tweet contains attorney advertising.” While these restrictions may seem limiting, it is important to consider and understand that social media marketing is not always about advertising – commentary on hot topics in your field, new regulation or legislation, or even just current topics in the news can be just as powerful or relevant in growing a following.
At the end of the day, marketing, in general, it’s all about providing value for your readers and audience. A lawyer’s social media marketing strategy should be engaging, relevant, and on-point with your audience’s interests. Make sure that you’re tracking KPI’s (key performance indicators) so that you understand what works and doesn’t, and continually improve.
Your social media marketing approach should be continually monitored and adjusted to fit your practice area and expertise – as they say, “your mileage may vary,” and marketing is not a one-size-fits-all approach. Explore different strategic planning options.
Written by: Patrick Zangardi – Director of Client Services