By Nicole Shelley, Operations Manager, Pepper IT
In today’s business environment, social media should now be an integrated part of a law firm’s wider business development and marketing strategy.
Ask any legal practitioner what they hope to get out of ‘Business Development’ and you would hope to hear:
- profile building;
- relationship building;
- communication channels and platforms;
- thought leadership; and
- ultimately generating new business.
What is the common theme in all of these goals – communication!
The great thing about social media is that it helps you communicate directly to your clients on mass - and consistently and regularly! And what’s more, it is a two way street that lets you communicate, engage, (and importantly engage WHEN your client is open and ready), learn and showcase yourself as thought leaders in a very client centric way.
Smart firms are leveraging social media as a highly valuable tool for client attraction, engagement and education.
Three ways active social media use can help your firm:
- It helps you monitor news and events in your industry. It can even help you monitor your competitors! This allows you to stay on top of the latest trends, highlight your thought leadership, and share interesting content relevant to your industry or target sectors and relevant to your clients or potential clients.
- It’s also a great way to keep on top of what your clients are doing, thinking, needing and then reacting appropriately in real time. By sharing relevant and useful information, whether that be an original firm article or sharing industry content that you have commented on and added to, highlights that you understand and anticipate your clients’ needs and challenges. This helps you stay top of mind as well as cementing your reputation as their trusted adviser.
- Finally, social media provides an opportunity to shape the personality and face of the firm by sharing stories, successes and values. But be careful not to fall into the me, me, me trap! Nothing will make your audience unfollow you quicker than content that is irrelevant or unappealing.
In a summary, put your ‘client-first’ hat on and for effective results, ensure you post a balance of content that is relevant, timely and interesting.
How do you leverage social media platforms effectively?
Most importantly, and just like any other business development initiative, start with a strategy and know your end goals and what you want to achieve.
Know your audience:
- Who are your target audience(s) and where can you find them?
- Which social platforms are they most prevalent on?
- What groups, associations, industry bodies or communities do they engage with?
Once you have defined your audience you can determine the types of content relevant to them and when and where they are engaging.
When it comes to content you need to be strategic and think of how your audience targeting will shape the type of content you should be using. In simple terms, think about what you would want to be talking about to your various clients and, again importantly, what they want to be talking about! This then lets you develop a plan and content schedule to ensure you are engaging where, when and how your clients are engaging.
Be in it for the long haul
Remember, as we know in the non-digital world, trust and reputation can’t be built overnight. Dipping your toe into social for a week isn’t going to bring results. A longer-term strategy is needed of adding value and building a brand. Posting relevant and helpful content tailored to your client base that differentiates you, builds trust and engagement over time, will be a winning strategy. Only then will it lead to new business.
Nicole Shelley B.Com, CPA, CIMA is Operations Manager at Pepper IT, a full service digital and social media agency with a particular expertise advising clients in the professional services sector. Nicole has a diverse and broad corporate background having held finance, practice management, operational management and strategic planning roles for leading professional services firms including top tier global law firm Herbert Smith Freehills.
Web: Pepper IT