Part 2 of 2 – Social Media Strategy for Law Firms

This is the second and final installment in my little series on social media strategy for law firms. The strategy is largely dependent on your area of practice, your target audience, how you network offline, etc. These are some of the things I think are important to all law firms.

What is your Budget?

There are a number of things to consider when narrowing down your budget. Some questions to answer include:

  • Will you hire an external social media expert or will this be done in house?
  • How many hours will be spent daily maintaining and engaging your online community? (Billable Hours vs. Non-Billable etc.)
  • Who will maintain the relationships?
  • Which platforms will you use? There are paid accounts with LinkedIn, JD Supra, etc. and you might want to way out the features of each to see if they are aligned with your goals.
  •  If you are planning on creating/manipulating images you’ll have to invest in PhotoShop (or some type of similar software). I use this a lot.
  • What’s your current business development/marketing budget? Your social media budget should be included in this.  I posted a video below regarding how much you should budget for social media by one of my favorite people, Gini Dietrich.  She’s Fantastic!!! (You can skip forward to 1 minute and 45 seconds to get to the part on budgeting as the first part is on a new comment program)

How Will you Respond to Negative Comments/Feedback?

A major reason some law firms shy away from social media is because of the nature of social media itself.  Social media is engagement.  Engagement is a two way conversation with your clients, potential clients, referral sources, etc.  Creating a Facebook Page but disallowing comments on your wall is pointless.  Pushing information out and not allowing feedback defeats the purpose.  
Negative feedback comes with the territory.  The Internet community encompasses every opinion known to man, trust me.  If you choose to use social media in your legal marketing strategy you must have a strategy on how you will respond.

Mashable mentions you should first identify the type of feedback.  Here are their definitions:

Straight Problems – Someone has an issue with your product or service and has laid out exactly what went wrong. This type of feedback is negative in the sense that it paints your business in a poor light, but it can be helpful in exposing real problems that need to be dealt with.

Constructive Criticism – Even more helpful is when the comment comes with a suggestion attached. Many customers — including some of your most loyal — will use social media to suggest ways in which you can improve your product or service. While this type of feedback may point out your flaws, and is thus negative, it can be extremely helpful to receive.

Merited Attack – While the attack itself may not be merited, the issue that catalyzed it does have merit in this type of negative feedback. Essentially, you or your company did something wrong, and someone is angry.

Trolling/Spam – The difference between trolling and a merited attack are that trolls have no valid reason for being angry at you. Also in this category are spammers, who will use a negative comment about your product or service (whether true or not) to promote a competing service.

The first three types of feedback should be responded to promptly.  You might mention online that steps are being taken to solve the problem and thank the person for pointing this out.  I think the best thing to do is try and move the conversation offline.

When it comes to spam of course you can delete it.  If spam becomes a persistent problem I support allowing comment approval.  If you have constant flamers that fill up your comment area(s) I support moderation.  
Do you Need Approval?
It is imperative to find out if your law firm has a social media policy in place prior to jumping in to social media.  You need approval to use logo’s, use the firm’s name, etc.  If there isn’t a policy in place, check with the proper departments and get them working on one.  Don’t post anything until you know the rules.

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  • Gini Dietrich

    First, THANK YOU for including my video on the budget topic! Secondly, this is really great advice for everyone, not just lawyers. I'm adding to my list of resources for business leaders.

  • Samantha Collier

    No problem at all Gini. You are my biggest inspiration and mentor (and no your mom didn't pay me to say that!).

  • Samantha Collier

    No problem at all Gini. You are my biggest inspiration and mentor (and no your mom didn't pay me to say that!).

  • Gini Dietrich

    First, THANK YOU for including my video on the budget topic! Secondly, this is really great advice for everyone, not just lawyers. I'm adding to my list of resources for business leaders.

  • I never realized that Facebook had hover text! Thanks for pointing that out! However, I don’t see having hover text as important as simply adding a description – although these have the same result. I don’t believe that people actually pay attention or read hover text, however, uploading a photo without a description is just lazy, irresponsible and unacceptable.

    • Thanks for the comment Kelsey! I think it’s very important to add hover text as you never know when someone might hover over your cover photo. Most people won’t click the cover photo so they won’t see the description. I looked through a bunch of law firm FB pages and none of them had it.

      • That’s a good point, @Samanthacollier:disqus! If someone doesn’t click on the cover photo, they won’t see the description. So for that sense, I can see its benefit.

  • Emily

    I don’t see an option to add hover text when I click on the cover photo? What am I doing wrong?

  • Great tip. Did it in 2 minutes: https://www.facebook.com/solopracticeuniversity