It’s imperative (especially if you hire someone to do it for you) to decide what success looks like for you. The person who mentored me in social media asked one of his clients, “What would you consider to be social media success one year from now?”. It makes you think.
Having made this mistake myself, I wanted to bring it up as it’s imperative to the success or failure of your social media strategy. Here’s eight tips on how to not fail at social media.
1. When you first start using social media, determine benchmarks for success
They need to be realistic and based on hard data. Additionally, don’t expect “x” number of new clients by “x” date. Social media is a life-long commitment (as long as you’re running a firm) – it builds momentum over time. Don’t get me wrong, you should be getting clients – you just can’t predict the date. I’ve made this mistake before; how can you measure growth without knowing where you started?
2. Your strategy largely depends on your practice area
I’ve worked with personal injury firms and IP firms – completely different ballgames. Research your competitors:
- What types of content do they post on each network? For example, is what they post on Twitter different than Facebook?
- When do they post status updates?
- How do they interact with their followers? Do they interact? Most importantly, do they allow people to interact? (They should always interact).
- How do they respond to positive and negative reviews?
- Research how they use graphics in their posts – logo placement, branding, backgrounds, etc.
3. Re-evaluate your strategy every three months
Figure out which platforms are working based on Google Analytics data, phone calls, clients, etc. Focus on what works for you. If one platform isn’t working, drop it or change your strategy.
4. Create monthly reports so you can visually see your progress
I use Sprout Social and Google Analytics. I’ve made the mistake of testing out too many systems and that can be overwhelming when pulling together all the data.
**Note: Google Analytics is free but it’s a bit tricky to figure out. I focus on referring traffic, bounce rates, popular content, etc. I’m not an SEO expert so don’t go by what I say. My website has great SEO, but I think it’s because I’ve been around since 2011 and universities link to my site (I heard .edu links are good for SEO?).
5. Don’t join every social media network, especially the new ones
6. Figure out your budget and stick to it
Social media platforms are free to use but reporting and analyzing systems are not. They run from $10 to $5000+. Determine what information you need to gauge success. This will help you tremendously when deciding which system to use. I won’t tell you how much I’ve spent on unnecessary programs – don’t be like me! Also, if you hire a specialist, do your research – check references, look them up online and hire them the same way you would in your office. Ask your colleagues at other firms how much they spend and (if you can) ask them how successful they’ve been.
7. Don’t be hard on yourself if your strategy doesn’t work
Strategies fail in social media, and it’s a hard pill to swallow when you’ve invested time and money. Social media doesn’t have a one-strategy-fits-all strategy. It takes A/B testing. Also, you should never think you know everything there is to know about online marketing – nobody does. It’s constantly changing. Google changes it’s algorithms, Facebook changes it’s advertising systems, etc. Read blogs but don’t believe everything you read – annoying right? Look for a consistent message across multiple sources.
8. This is the most important rule to follow – you must track the source of work for all your new clients
Who is the first point of contact for your new clients? Is it the receptionist? An intake manager? A lawyer? He or she must determine the exact source of work, and it can’t just be “referral”. Even if their friend referred them to you, they most likely looked you up. If they looked at your social media platforms, that should be considered a social media win.
I worked as a law firm receptionist for years and I had to track the source of work for all new clients. Trust me when I tell you this is hard work. You literally have to force it out of them sometimes. Lucky for me, my boss was the managing partner of the firm and he recorded every detail in a database. Later on in my career, I worked in the business development department and that database was vital to our success.
Lastly, I created a LinkedIn group for lawyers focusing on how to actually get work from social media. My goal is for everyone to share what’s worked for them (and what hasn’t) in detail. This will greatly improve everyone’s chances for success. I’ve failed many times hence the reason for this blog post! Click here to join the group.