A recent Legal Marketing Association – Bay Area Chapter educational program, titled “Boost Your Brand with an Online Marketing Strategy,” reviewed the elements of a solid, online strategy for professional service businesses. One of the key points hammered in, and this is something we mention frequently to clients, is that having a social media strategy is critical even for law firms – where vehicles, such as blogs and Twitter, may not seem natural fits.
Looking at the top law firm lists, presenter Jeffrey Morgan of Moire Marketing noted that that 96 of the ALM Top 200 law firms have blogs and 81 of the ALM Top 100 have Twitter accounts. The reality is that these vehicles, often seen as little more than personal frivolities and potential workplace time thieves, are in fact proving to be effective organs for corporate communications. How so? Let’s take a look at the possibilities:
Blogs – When you take the time to brand (and this was heavily stressed) your blog and tie it in to your corporate identity, you have the opportunity to publish meaningful, sometimes micro-level content and push it out to clients, potential clients and referral sources. If you allow comments, after moderating them, you can engage with readers and start conversations that may lead to engagements. A blog is also a great way to establish your firm and yourself as the go-to source for information on a topic.
Twitter – Twitter gives you the ability to push your blog, newsletter and public relations content out to interested parties. Properly utilizing this tool drives traffic to your other online properties – such as your blog and your website. A tip here is to search for your clients and follow them. See what they are tweeting and let this influence the content you produce. Use a service such as bit.ly to track the number of clicks that links in your tweets are getting. Learn to hashtag. You put a “#” before a topic and it makes it searchable for users. This post might be hashtagged with “#publicrelations.”
Wait a minute, what are the deliverables?
Google Analytics – This robust, free service gives you high-level and granular views at who is visiting your blog and your website. Set up properly, it tells you where folks are coming from and what is bringing them in – Google searches, tweets, links on other pages or simply directly entering your URL.
Is Your Head Spinning? – Social media can be overwhelming and downright hard-to-understand. We get that. However, with 1.5 million lawyers on a site such as LinkedIn, it is clear that avoiding social media is simply not a tenable option. Sit down with your marketing professionals or consultants and craft a plan with which you’re comfortable and that allows you to gauge “success” via pre-determined benchmarks. As Jeffrey noted, by defining your objectives upfront, you can determine “ROO” – return on objectives.