Originally posted in the American of Legal Administrators (ALA) Capital Chapter August 2012 Newsletter. This is part one of a three part series.
More and more law firms and lawyers are starting to use social media as part of their business development and marketing strategy. Once considered a passing fad, more and more law firms are hiring dedicated in-house social media professionals as discussed in The Washington Post’s recent article, Law Firms Get into the Social Media Game. These specialists are handling social media account maintenance, content creation and strategy creation.
When it comes to social media, the majority of US law firms are focusing on a combination of LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook and blogging. And, a handful of firms are testing out newer social networks such as Pinterest, Tumblr and Quora.
Creating a social media strategy for your law firm is paramount, and it’s the first thing you should take on (after getting approval and buy-in from upper management of course). Your strategy should include which platforms you will use, who will be responsible for education and maintenance, how you will advertise your newly created social media accounts, and your metrics to measure the always important ROI (return on investment).
Why is your firm getting involved in social media, and what would you like to accomplish by doing so? It’s important to remember that creating specific goals is integral to measure your return on investment. Some objective examples include:
- Making your law firm appear more “human” to the outside world. Lawyers and law firms are often perceived as being a step away or unreachable. Social media enables you to showcase your firm’s personality, brand and style.
- Increasing your SEO (search engine optimization) and website ranking
- Improving your law firm’s expert reputation which will lead to increased press mentions, journalist calls and lawyer article requests.
- Increased revenue directly and partly directly related to social media activities.
Who is Responsible?
After you determine your objectives, you’ll need to figure out who is responsible for your firm’s social media activities. This person or department won’t be responsible for everything, but social media needs to be “owned” by someone.
Traditionally, social media is handled by the marketing, business development or information technology departments. It also has ties to public relations and human resources. Larger firms may choose to hire in-house dedicated social media professionals or hire outside consultants. Many social media decisions may require feedback from other departments as well.
The person or people responsible should be well-versed in social media accounts and platforms, Internet research, IT, content creation and dissemination, customer service and marketing. The social realm is constantly changing, and whoever is responsible will need to keep their finger on the pulse to keep their firm’s social media strategy current.
Stay tuned for part two which includes information on metrics, training and engagement and how it relates to law firm social media strategy. You can also subscribe to my blog for automatic updates.