The impact of Social Media on law firm marketing
Following Janvi Patel’s Lexis Nexis Future of Law blog ‘How social media can help lawyers find a better work/life balance’ this piece further explores the impact of social media on law firm marketing. The rapid increase in use of social media as a business tool could be attributed to many things, not least:
- Technological advancements making it easy for people to flex how and where they work
- Increased use of apps/smartphones as means of staying in touch while on the move
- Business world is now 24/7
Lawyers are generally not known for their use of technology but with most people owning smartphones (be it for work or personal), understanding of technology has now significantly increased.
With flexible working/working from home becoming more common, social media is a great way of staying in touch and carrying on the conversation. In the marketing world, social media tools such as Twitter and LinkedIn can be used as instant follow-up after a networking event, to publicise a forthcoming conference or awards.
Why use social media:
- Cheap to use (often free)
- Easy to access and use
- Quick to connect, view and update
- Accessible 24/7
- Instant access to news/update
- Cost-effective way of repackaging/sharing company information/intelligence
- Useful for pre meets and follows up after networking
- Carries on the conversation inbetween face-to-face meetings
Above all it helps you achieve objectives faster whether that’s raising your individual or business profile, finding a job or recruiting for a position or connecting with existing or potential clients.
LinkedIn – the most powerful networking tool for a lawyer
LinkedIn is a professional networking tool. It allows you to connect with colleagues and other business contacts, maintain an up-to-date online CV, share updates and articles with your network and join groups and forums. LinkedIn is easy to use and quick to set up – in this day and age all lawyers should have a LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn profiles are highly rated by Google and will often be used by contacts to view information about you ahead of meeting/speaking with you.
Below are some tips of profile information ‘must haves’ and how to maximise the source of information available on LinkedIn.
- All LinkedIn profiles should contain current photo, details of current employer and previous employers – this helps LinkedIn suggest contacts you may wish to connect with (based on employer names)
- Complete ‘Background’ section so your key skills are easily identified along with your previous roles so your career path/progression is clear.
- Search LinkedIn for colleagues and peers and invite them to connect. Once you have established a core of connections LinkedIn will suggest other people you may know and wish to connect to – making networking really easy even those who profess not to have either time or inclination for it!
- Join relevant groups – professional bodies, organisations, and alumni groups. These groups will enable you to access information and connect with other group members.
- Follow relevant companies (clients/targets/ex-employers) on LinkedIn – many use LinkedIn to share corporate information and jobs.
- Share professional updates (new client/promotion) and corporate information/news – it is a smart way of repackaging and sharing existing content. When you post an update your name and post will appear on the timeline of all your connections.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for recommendations – they are a third party endorsement of your skills.
- LinkedIn is a great recruitment tool as it has comprehensive job functionality and also allows you to view the profile/recommendations of potential candidates before beginning the often time-consuming interview process.
- Regularly access LinkedIn – download the app so you can view/update on the go. Recommend you logon at least once a day to see latest news/updates.
As we all know the legal world is a small place and nowhere demonstrates that better than LinkedIn, which will show you any common connections you may have with a potential new connection/ target.
Twitter – fuelling our need for information
Many people are reluctant to join the “Twittersphere” and lawyers are usually risk adverse and are also often resistant at the thought of being limited to 140 characters per Tweet and sharing possibly controversial information which could go viral and over which they have no control. That said all Tweets are easily deleted if a mistake has been made – remember how worried people were about embracing email 10-15 years ago? So looking at Twitter as a positive tool which enables people to quickly access and share topical information, below are some top tips to help you get involved:
- Set up a profile and choose suitable/short Twitter handle e.g. lottienoon
- Decide on personality/voice on Twitter – professional or personal
- Search for and follow colleagues/friends/organisations/clients/targets/news sources etc.
- Download app on phone/tablet so can view and Tweet regularly
- Tweet regularly – either on topical things or retweet public information
- Be concise – full sentences not required, just key words/phrases/hashtags and mention other Twitter users i.e. ‘Great blog by @Halebury’s @janvi25…’
- Share content – you can shorten log website links at sites such as bit.ly
- Follow what is trending (hashtags/list on left hand side of home page) and use where possible/appropriate – this will get your Tweet shared/retweeted and often means you attract new followers
Facebook for law firms – should you or shouldn’t you?
Some firms use Facebook for graduate recruitment. This worked in a post-MySpace era, but now students often don’t want to connect with potential employers as they are concerned about the overlap in personal and professional life and whether they could be potential negative impact of their future career.
What can social media do for law firms?
- Connections easily made and able to see mutual connections
- Easy to share information
- Carry on the conversation with contacts/targets
- Connect with people over shared interests
- Knowledge pool
- Time smart even the time poor can check LinkedIn/Twitter daily for info and share news
- Breaks down barriers/need for lengthy, formal introductionss
Social media is a must have tool
Checklist of what all should do:
- Set up and maintain LinkedIn profile
- Connect with contacts and use for follow-up after networking
- Use social media as another channel to share information/news
- Join the conversation – track what is happening in your community and comment
- Get on Twitter – join the conversation, don’t be afraid, find your voice!
- Follow your contacts/targets and competitors – they are sure to be following you
- Make use of the wealth of information available
- Download the apps so easily accessible wherever you are
- Check social media at least once a day
Most of all embrace social media and make it part of your every day working life. Follow the tips above and you are sure to quickly see how much information is out there and how easy it is to use to get results.