Social media has become an important tool for companies of all types to improve their customer interactions. Savvy companies not only monitor and respond to social media posts about their products or services; they also proactively engage with their customers.

Now, we typically do not see tweets from an in-house counsel complaining about a lawyer or law firm because that real estate deal worth millions of dollars fell apart. It is unlikely that clients and lawyers will use social media to address dissatisfaction in the way other companies do. But are lawyers missing client care opportunities by not proactively engaging clients in ways that demonstrate the lawyers’ value?

The Business of Interaction

By its very nature, law is a social profession. To be effective, lawyers regularly interact with clients, colleagues, opposing counsel, the courts, administrators and other professionals. Yet, social media engagement among law firms remains primarily the responsibility of the marketing staff, who tweet firm news or post attorney-authored articles on the firm’s LinkedIn company page.

One can visit nearly any law firm website and find a brand promise of excellent client service and language about the value clients receive when working with the firm. But how does a lawyer demonstrate that excellence and value to prospective clients? Strategic social media engagement can help.

Use the Most-appropriate Social Media Channel

There are many social media platforms in use today, and each has its strength. Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, and YouTube, which is owned by Google, are visual platforms and might work well for a construction lawyer who wants to post photos or videos of clients’ projects. LinkedIn is hands-down the most-popular social media platform for professional networking, and its publishing platform makes it possible to easily distribute thought leadership material.

Identify Your Audience

What can you do to make sure your social media posts are seen by your clients and target audiences? Use the platform’s search features or employ social media management tools to identify the groups and influencers your clients follow on LinkedIn. Doing so is straightforward, since this information is readily available on a person’s profile. Identifying this information on Twitter can be accomplished with tools such as Twiangulate, which allows you to search for people who use certain keywords in their posts.

Narrow Your Focus

When working to build your reputation as someone who provides additional value beyond handling a legal matter, i.e., client care, it is important to focus on one or two areas of expertise or industries. Become known as a thought leader in your niche, not someone who mixes posts about their kids’ birthdays with insight on a new legal development.

Engage Proactively

Lawyers know that excellent client care requires proactive communication. Social media is a platform for easily conveying your expertise and industry knowledge to a broad base of clients, prospective clients and referral sources. Don’t just react to social comments. Put out your own valuable posts – not promotional posts, but good information with value to your client community. For example, you might post short how-to videos at your firm’s site or on YouTube that provide answers to frequently asked questions about your particular area of expertise.

Social Care Is Marketing

Social care is more than client service. It’s marketing. And it’s inexpensive compared to other marketing strategies. In fact, a Forbes article posted earlier this year declared that “social customer care is the new marketing.”

One of your best business development assets is clients who contribute to your reputation and help you increase your audience by engaging with you and sharing information about you and your services. So, engage with them. Give them insights and information worth sharing. Respond to their comments and questions. Make the conversations public, and show the world that you are the lawyer with whom they should do business.

Have questions? Need a social strategy? Contact me, Joi Neike, at jneike@jaffepr.com.