How lawyers can successfully embrace social media

This article was originally published on the New Zealand Law Society and has been republished.

The legal profession is only starting to take advantage of the numerous opportunities that technology brings, although many aren’t taking advantage of what is one of the most popular forms of communication today – social media.

Social media can provide great opportunities to engage with existing clients, but also help you win new work and clients.

Before exploring how you can embrace social media, it is important to look at just why social media can be so valuable for lawyers and their firms.

Enhance your brand

Many lawyers will have LinkedIn accounts, and many use Twitter. However, there are many that either are not present on social media or not maximising their use of it.

For many, social media is about connecting, but it is also a great way to stay relevant to existing clients and potentially win new business.

When you are more visible to your target customer base, they’re more likely to buy from you when they need your legal services. Social media doesn’t just keep your company’s name in front of potential customers, it also gives you the opportunity to constantly stay relevant to them.

Your content can reach a much wider audience than traditional marketing. Sharing great content on social media like blogs, podcasts, videos, e-books and downloadable guides, your potential client base will be able to read content they may not otherwise have come across.

Social media is a lot more than just circulating press releases. It is a great way to be authentic and connect with real issues. Just as it is important to increase the visibility of the brand of your organisation, it is also important to increase the presence of the personal brand of many of the subject matter experts inside your organisation.

There are a growing number of law firms and clients who are on social media – this will also include your competitors. If your competitors are leveraging the social media well and you aren’t it could mean the difference between winning or losing new clients.

Social media doesn’t need to be expensive

Social media can be a very cost-effective option for you to connect with who you want to.

Most organisations have moved from traditional forms of advertising like print to digital advertising. Unlike a lot of digital marketing, social media can be a very cost-effective option for you to connect with who you want to. Digital advertising can still be very expensive, so to see any real benefit you must run a continuous campaign.

Social media is free to use. If you handle your own social media management, running a social networking campaign is as cheap as it gets.

Embracing social media can be a great tool to enable smaller brands the same platform as larger ones.

Where to start?

Getting started is not difficult, although it is important that you do have a strategy of how you and your organisation will use social media, similar to having a strategy with other parts of your business.

You can be totally self-sufficient, through to working with a specialist that can take care of your strategy, content and delivery of your social media.

The choice is yours.

Many engage marketing firms, who often cost thousands. Many may be great at marketing, but they are not always specialists in providing support for the legal profession and to their clients.

If you get the right advice and have a strategy in place, it is very simple to be self-sufficient in your implementation and management of your social media content.

Expertise that is tailored to the legal profession is essential.

A social media health check is a great way to start

A social media health check will be useful for those new to social media, together with those that may want an independent perspective on taking their social media engagement to another level.

The health check will review what’s working, what’s not and what can be improved on across your social media channels. You can look at small incremental changes that can improve your social media engagement, ensuring your social strategy ties into your overall business goals. Have you the right hashtags, have you linked the right people and organisations?

A social media health check will usually consist of:

  • A discussion of how you currently use social media, plus what you are looking to achieve; and
  • Recommendations to improve how you use social media.

The health check can be as simple as a phone conversation with some easy to implement recommendations, through to further strategy and implementation advice.

Start embracing social media today

Social media is now part of doing business, and if your firm isn’t already active on social networking sites, now is the time to start.

Social media doesn’t replace in-person contact, but it is another channel of communication to help take your brand to another level. It is the opportunity to share what you are doing, be authentic, and connect with the industry.

The choice is yours as to how you use social media, what is important though is that you do use it.

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