Advances in technology can open new opportunities for law firms. New marketing opportunities, new firm development and management opportunities and new opportunities to make mistakes.
If your firm has been engaged with social media for some time, you may be able to look back and laugh at some of your beginner online faux pas. If you are just starting to dip your toes in the water to test it out, you are likely wondering how to avoid making these same mistakes yourself. Take heart. Everyone is a newbie at some time or another. Here are 5 tips to help you steer clear of missteps in your social media marketing.
1. Remember your goals and stick with them. Building an effective social media presence takes time. It takes even more time if your posts are haphazard or inconsistent and if you do not have an overriding purpose behind your social media activity. Do you want to drive traffic to your website? Build business to business referral leads? Get new leads that you can convert to cases directly from your social media engagement? Think about what is important to your firm. Your goals will help you determine which networks to focus on and how to build your own web presence to take full advantage of your efforts.
2. Focus your energy on the most effective networks. Do not try to put your firm on every platform – you cannot be everywhere at once. If you wanted to try, there are hundreds of outlets out there that will let you set up a profile and broadcast into the void. But that is definitely not your best use of time. Once you understand which networks will help you reach your big picture goals, devote a fixed amount of time (per week or per day) to learning and using them. It is easy to spend endless hours getting caught up in comment threads or bouncing from profile to profile. Focus helps prevent this. And understanding the technical aspects of each platform will help you avoid embarrassing posting accidents.
3. Use the tools each network gives you. It is easy to get online, fill out a couple of fields and do the minimum that is required to set up a profile. The work comes with completing your profile and using the features each network provides to optimize your engagement. LinkedIn, for example, offers groups, company pages and an answers section that is underutilized by many firms. Facebook now allows you to schedule posts or to post status updates that only specific friends can see. Learn what works for your firm and take full advantage of it.
4. Brand consistently and professionally. Keep in mind that pictures you upload to personal accounts - especially Facebook and Google+ - may show automatically even if you are engaging in professional discussions. You dog or parakeet may be cute, but it not appropriate for profile picture status. Invest in a good (color) headshot and use it consistently across all networks.
5. Provide something of use to friends and followers. Simply broadcasting post after post that is all about you will not help you build a community of valuable followers. Your online communications must be a two way street. Ask and answer questions. Comment on or link to stories relevant to your practice. Acknowledge other users if they make good points or promote interesting stories. People are much more likely to engage with and trust firms that do not just talk but listen as well.
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