Earlier this year, I wrote an article entitled Come out from behind the brand. I guess you can call me a traditionalist; I am a huge proponent of staying true to social media, and how it was originally developed to connect people with people. After all, “the Facebook” was developed by a few Harvard students to help students connect with students about the happenings around the university. People connecting with people – and, as we all know, the rest is history. My “back to basics” mantra: “Social media works best when people communicate with people (who tweet and post regularly) about what and who they like and know of, the latest news and incredible stories, etc.” When graphics, photos and video are included, those conversations and shares pull even more eyes and opportunities (a picture or video clip can say a thousand words, if not more).
The friends, fans and followers on your firm’s social media channels (whether there are 10 or 10,000) are people – your clients or prospective clients, perhaps. These people are tweeting, posting and connecting about other people, places, services, things they like and even things they don’t like in ever-increasing numbers. These people are having real conversations and originating opinions in social media every second of the day. So, from a marketing perspective, your law firm should want to be part of “the online conversation” in some way, shape or form. Your firm must be available and present on social media. Let’s face it: In a few short years, your firm will not be able to afford not to be present within today’s new social media channels.
One way a law firm can stand out from the increasingly crowded social media jungle is by giving customers and prospects a flavor of the people behind the brand. This can include senior partners and executives, as well as other staff members. There can be true value in letting clients and prospective clients know more about the people behind the walls and windows of a law firm. Jaffe PR has a large presence as a brand on social media channels as a firm – and so do most of the Jaffe PR staff (especially on Twitter and LinkedIn) as individuals. We have found that the more our Jaffe PR team shares, tweets and posts, the more market share we get both on social media channels and in search engine results.
People are also more likely to talk about and buy from companies that share their values, so a social media campaign that includes a firm’s key people (just like we are doing here at Jaffe PR) can be a fantastic way to demonstrate the firm’s “values within.” By doing so, you let clients and prospects get to know the people behind the brand: See what they look like, hear what they are saying and sharing, learn about what they are doing at the firm, and so forth. In turn, your clients –and eventually, prospective clients will share your firm’s news, stories and information within their own social networks, opening your brand up to their ever-expanding circles of friends, associates and friends of friends. Obviously, certain things should not and will never be shared with the public online, but that is really no different than how it is with traditional forms of communication.
Establishing an online relationship (following, engaging and sharing) between your firm’s people and clients is a great way to develop an online presence. Obviously, your key people will need to have direction on what to say about and for the firm, but, with the right tactical plan, it can be done. I truly believe that it takes a village to support any company brand’s success in social media channels. That village includes everyone in the firm, and can extend to all of their connections as well.
Here are a few tips to keep the fires burning in your social media village:
- Your content should reflect your firm’s tone and message. Content can include links to trending or interesting news stories, photos, videos, blog posts or articles (see #2).
- Stay on point with content publishing and sharing, but remain flexible enough to reference real-time, relevant events and news. The content can also come from another source beyond the firm.
- Use a cross-strategy of pinging/commenting on industry and related blogs. This shows your team’s in touch and connected, and readers of these other blogs might start following you and sharing your messages within their social networks.
- Be sure your firm’s website is up-to-date and relevant so those who become interested in your firm’s brand or the personal brands of your key people can go there to get more information, read your blog.
- Put a tactical content plan into place; ideally, one for the brand and one for each person representing the brand. Content is the most important part of this whole process; it must remain steadfast, or you’ll stand to lose your audience share or never get the opportunity to build one up at all.
Laurie Pehar Borsh is a 25+ year B2B and B2C public relations and promotions veteran who merged her traditional skill set into producing and managing digital publicity and public relations campaigns and projects for clients in the early part of the new century—the dawn of social media. As a social media publicity producer, Laurie’s mission is to help clients cut through the clutter of the overwhelming “new media beast” with better strategies and best-practice tactical plans to ensure a continual return on investment.