This morning I was forwarded a Forbes article titled “10 Reasons Why Your Social Media Marketing Efforts Aren’t Working – And What You Can Do About It”. What struck me about the article, aside from it’s far-too-long title, was how perfectly it highlighted some of the major issues that I have run into while managing the social media accounts of various law firms.
Although all ten points in the article were relevant to my experience, this blog post is going to discuss the five that struck me as particularly salient for the legal market.
Lack of clear goals
In their article, Forbes states “With social media – or any marketing that you do for your business – you need to choose an intended outcome.” I could not agree more. Marketing without a defined goal is a lot like buying furniture without knowing the size, shape, or location of your apartment. An unfocused campaign will almost always result in a firm spending money on superfluous projects. Further, without a set of clear goals, it’s incredibly difficult to establish whether a campaign has been successful. There are many goals that social media can help a firm achieve from establishing brand awareness, to direct marketing, to generating referral clients. If your firm does not clearly define these goals prior to the launch of a campaign (and define how you intend to measure success), than it will be difficult to move that campaign forward.
Forbes goes on in their article to state that “While clearly defined goals are important, it’s equally important to make sure that your expectations are realistic.” Although managing expectations is a key component of any client-facing job, it is particularly relevant in the realm of social media. Social media has – somewhat destructively – been used as a buzzword synonymous with modernity and success for the past five years. The net result of all this positivity is that some companies now view social media as close to magical. It is important to understand that your law firm will probably not become next years “Gangam Style” simply by creating a Facebook Page.
Not blogging enough
The heart and soul of most legal social media campaigns is the law firm’s blog. Your blog is where you are able to provide in-depth content that can only be briefly summarized on other social media platforms. It’s a place where individuals can get a better sense of your brand, your areas of focus, and most importantly, your expertise. You should blog regularly…or not at all. Think realistically about whether you have the time to blog. If you can comfortably post once a week then you are ahead of most people. If you can only manage to post four times a year then a blog is probably not the right tool for you.
Social Media is defined by its unique ability to allow for direct interaction between consumers and the brands that they are interested in. Because of this quality, social media is most effective when there is an actual dialogue occurring between your firm and potential clients. If there is one area where almost all lawyers could improve, it is in engaging with clients that contact them through social media. There is an expectation on Facebook and Twitter that a user’s experience will be interactive. If you’re unwilling to engage with a potential client on these platforms, than there is a fairly good chance that they will be disappointed. Obviously there are potential issues that crop up for lawyers in these public facing arenas so before you strike out into the Twittersphere or launch that Facebook page, take the time to consider what your firm policy is going to be around social media engagement.
Failure to build your audience
The reason why we encourage law firms to develop social media campaigns is the incredible popularity of social media. However, as more and more Internet users migrate to social, so too do large corporations and small businesses. In today’s social media landscape, you need to focus on building an audience of devoted followers if you want your brand message to be heard. In short, if you post a Tweet and no one’s there to hear it, it will not make a sound. This means spending some time thinking about how you are going to interact and network with other players in the social media landscape. Need help with your social media strategy? We would be happy to talk with you.