In the wake of the COVID pandemic, Aussies are spending 30% more time on social media. Providing a welcome distraction from an isolating predicament, our favourite social platforms have helped us stay “connected” with our friends, families, workplace and even our favourite brands.
It’s no surprise then that social media presents a goldmine of marketing opportunity. According to the same survey, Australians follow an average of 14 brands on Facebook. People are actively seeking to engage with businesses on social media, providing a lovely (and often free!) gateway for two-way communication.
Lawyers are paid to be outstanding communicators, but does that translate to an effective social media strategy? How can you expect to stay relevant and accessible to new and existing clients if you’re not even present, let alone putting your best foot forward.
Designed to ‘connect a global workforce’, as a law firm, LinkedIn should sit at the top of your social media priority list. As of late last year, LinkedIn recorded 722 million users worldwide. The huge uptrend in active users, delivered professionals and their businesses an exponential increase in activity and across the board.
So long story short, in 2021, a bland and boring LinkedIn profile is a big boo-boo.
First of all, if you don’t have a LinkedIn profile: make one. Make sure you’ve encouraged employees to link their profiles to the business page, which will increase the company’s visibility and relevance with connected users. This also allows your company’s page to directly interact with a network of people that combines your clientele, your employees, and the general public.
There is a myriad of resources out there to help when building up content for your LinkedIn profile. The main points are to make sure your brand is blatant and clear on the main page of your profile, curate content relevant to your firm and your firm’s core values, and to engage with content that will enable you to reach a whole new sphere of people that couldn’t be possible by relying on word of mouth.
US fast food chain Wendy’s is lauded for its outstanding brand voice and social media strategy. They maintain brand image and a high degree of humour, whilst managing to remain relevant and draw attention to their product.
Social media allows you to take a very different approach to communication than usual professional communicative guidelines. There is a degree of casualness to social media that mimics conversation, rather than the harshness of a more professional tone, such as what you might adopt in a professional document.
Thinking about your audience, pick a tone you want to adopt over social media. Wendy’s manages to seem conversational and spontaneous despite a likely very complex and thorough media strategy rooting every single social media interaction.
It’s important to note that some social media platforms may be more casual than others. LinkedIn, for example, is primarily for professional interactions. The audience is viewing content with a lens for professional networking. Twitter, contrastingly, tends to be short and sharp interactions, creating a platform for casual interactions. Instagram is predominantly a visual content sharing platform and may require you to be a bit more creative in grabbing the attention of your network. Try to keep your brand voice uniform across platforms whilst keeping in mind the difference in networking platforms.
Being a law firm doesn’t limit your ability to explore different voices to connect with people. You’re professional communicators – shouldn’t be too hard!
Social media offers the opportunity to engage with a network of people regarding what your company offers, but it also allows you to engage with content beyond your immediate cause. You can mould your content to be relevant to any topics valuable to your firm and your clients.
Sharing articles and content about causes your firm values will showcase your commitment to your business values, and also allow your network to engage in these causes. For example, if you value green business practises, what’s stopping you from sharing articles related to climate change research? This will connect you with individuals with similar values, and allow you to share, comment, and support other businesses with the same world-views.
Don’t get pigeonholed into sharing articles only relating to your business practise – your network wants to see you engage with other content too!
As a professional service, the outstanding relationships between your clients and staff is one of the most powerful tools you have to reach new clients. Social media provides a unique opportunity to showcase these relationships and show them off in a public forum.
You can share news and photos of your staff, their accomplishments, and how they interact and help people. Giving people the spotlight, instead of your firm, will highlight your commitment to excellence in human interaction, and give your audience insight into the real life day-to-day of your firm. Post a picture of your employee of the month on Instagram, point them out on LinkedIn. If a customer has given you particular feedback about an employee, don’t keep it a secret. Your social media network wants to hear about it!
You want to remove as many communicative barriers as you can in your social media outreach. Using real people in the stories and content that you are sharing on social media keeps your content relatable, collaborative, and entertaining.
If you aren’t familiar with using social media, find someone at your firm who is. Learning the ins-and-outs of social media can be a bit of a maze. It’s worth investing some time to see how brands you subscribe to market themselves on social media, and how different elements of their social media presence appeal to you.
If you’re just starting out on social media, don’t spread yourself thin over every available platform. Start small. LinkedIn is probably the easiest way to connect with people initially, so focus your time there, then develop presence on other social media platforms as you become more confident in your brand voice and outreach strategy.
Increasing and improving the effectiveness of your social media presence can not only increase the value of your brand but allows you to be reached by a limitless network of people. Adopting some insight from Jeff Bezos highlights the increasing relevance of social media on marketing strategy and outreach:
‘It used to be that if you made a customer happy, they would tell five friends. Now, with the megaphone of the internet, whether online customer reviews or social media, they can tell 5000 friends’.
It’s more than worth investing the time and effort to curate a powerful social media presence.