So you’re thinking of how social media can benefit your business - but you’re struggling to kick it into action. Social media for business can be daunting if you’ve got no plan, but don’t panic! Luminate Digital are here with their legal marketing know-how.
To help you get started, let’s go through six techniques to building a successful social media marketing strategy for your law firm.
1. Choosing the Right Platform
Before we delve into the world of online platforms, we should make sure that you have some of the basics set up, as these will help your six step law firm social media strategy building later on.
As you will be aware there has been a significant boom in the variety and number of social media platforms available at the touch of a finger - but which one is right for your business? The best way to find out which platforms are the right platforms is to first know more about the platforms themselves.
Using the infographic below, let’s take a look at the top four most popular social media platforms below and how they could work for your business:
We designed that to be pretty comprehensive and informative, and with good reason: the importance of visual information in marketing has come a long way in the last four years. Is this something that your law firm has in place?
Now that we have a better understanding of how the top four social media platforms work, you can figure out which social media platform one is best for your business.
- Are you more inclined to use visuals on Instagram to get your key messages across or would you prefer something short and sweet like Twitter?
- Or maybe your goal is to portray more thought leadership in the industry?
- What platform do your customers use?
If you’re going to start with only social media platform we recommend using LinkedIn. LinkedIn can be a great tool for law firms and one of the best sources of leads and potential customers. With a current total of 467 million users, LinkedIn is the world’s largest growing social media platform for professionals.
So if you haven’t got a company profile on there (or simply haven’t optimised that profile fully), we strongly recommend that all professional service companies use this platform. You should also encourage your employees to create profiles as you’ll want to be showcasing their talents and achievements to the world.
Alongside LinkedIn, other social media platforms can work well for your business. It’s rare that companies today engage on just one social media platform. Therefore, knowing where your buyer persona’s social media user habits lie will help you decide where and how you can satisfy their engagement needs.
One recommendation: create a survey within any of your subscriber bases (email or blog, for instance) to see which social media platforms they prefer to use. This is a great way to determine which platforms are right for your law firm and will put you in a stronger position to reach the right prospects.
2. Be SMART
Being “SMART” means thinking about your social media goals and take a look at where you currently are and where you want to be. These can’t be just any goals - they need to be goals which are:
Specific - specify what your goal actually is. Do you want more social media presence, more followers on Twitter? For example, you currently have 200 followers and you want to increase them to 275.
Measurable - let’s not be vague! Set yourself a measurable goal that you will be able to track.
Attainable - what will you do to attain this goal?
Relevant - how is this goal relevant to your business?
Timed-bound - it’s always good to set yourself a deadline for your goal so that you know you have a final
For example, say you want to increase your Twitter followers by the end of July 2017. Here’s how you would lay it out using the SMART methodology:
“Our goal is to increase Twitter followers from 200 at the start of July 2017 to 275, a 37.5% increase, by the end of July 2017. We will do this by networking with local businesses and sharing interesting and engaging content on a regular basis. This will allow us to grow brand awareness with a larger audience and help with lead conversion.”
Having a documented plan in place will help to ensure that the goals are attainable. After all, no-one likes missing targets.
If you want some help on setting SMART marketing goals for your business, then you are in luck. We can help.
3. Regular & Relevant
Part of a successful social media strategy is to make sure you’re regularly posting content. Putting together a social media strategy calendar ensures that you are clearly set out all the content you want to be posting and sharing in advance and on what day and what time.
You shouldn’t be posting any old content though - you need to make sure that you’re posting relevant content about your industry, but it also has to be content that your followers will find interesting and engaging otherwise…“CLICK” goes the unfollow button.
So, what might your prospects find interesting? Many businesses will often utilise relevant content that customers and prospects are likely to engage in. Obviously, sharing content from your company’s website such as blogs, team achievements and company news is vital to your social media calendar.
Just as vital though is to curate content from like-minded trade authorities, such as trade organisations, publications and online blogs. This is a great tactic to ensure that your social media feed pleases your buyer persona and gives them content they can really use in their day to day environment.
Linking to other people’s relevant content online does not detract visitors away from your business, instead, they re-visit your company and social feed as a useful portal of information to them and it helps to establish your brand as a thought leader in the industry. Businesses that are regarded as thought leaders in their field always generates numerous quality leads so make this into an aspiration for your firm.
One helpful tool for content curation is to use Google Trends to see what and how different topics are trending, which can help you evaluate what to talk about. With this you can:
Find the top trending topics from around the world
Search for specific topics and Google Trends will display the statistics for that search term
Filter your searches by categories such as “Business”, “Sports” and more
Another tool is HubSpot Social Monitoring, particularly used with Twitter. We use this ourselves and it helps us stay aware of what’s being talked about in our industry, especially within the confines of a relevant hashtag or search term that we can filter and monitor. You can do the same and then make that bit of legal insight part of your social media marketing strategy as an original post on your platforms.
The goal is to curate relevant content that fits into your customer’s expectations from your feed. Curation keeps your social media feeds regular and relevant, and builds your authority as a go-to stop on the customer’s social feed and keeps any seemingly random “follow” an especially relevant “follow” going forward.
4. Engage & Build
Your company’s online profile is its personality: that personality is perceived is up to how you engage with your followers and customers online. Always take the opportunity to stay on top of any social comments, queries and even complaints by maintaining an active online presence. The more active your presence, the better you will be at engaging and building stronger relationships with your followers. It’s always best to keep the following in mind:
- Customer-centricity: Your customers (and future customers) should be at the heart of everything you do. Be there to answer questions and problems - 78% of customers who complain directly to brand expect a response within the hour, so it’s important to try to respond to as many (if not all) as possible
Etiquette is key: Remember that some or most of your followers will be customers or future prospects. Don’t get caught up in anything that might damage your reputation or how your company is viewed in the industry.
Be transparent: Transparency with people is important to any business that values its customers. This comes across in how you build trust and rapport with the people you want to reach as you engage with them on social media. For example, never promise something that you can’t deliver on as this will have consequences and break trust. You are more likely to retain that trust if you maintain transparency by being upfront and honest, even if that means you aren’t always able to resolve a problem right away.
Looks are everything: Social media is very fast-paced and first appearances are vital in representing your business online. To help build your following, be aware that visual content is 40 times more likely to be shared than without. For platforms such as Twitter or Instagram, posts are so frequent that anything that isn’t eye-catching or appealing to look at will be lost quickly. People are more likely to engage, follow and interact if they see something they like.
5. ANALYSE, ANALYSE, ANALYSE
Analytical tools for social media are your best friend. They’ll tell you the good, the bad and the ugly.
They can help you understand what’s doing really well and what’s not doing so well. Just like social media platforms, there is a huge range of social media analytical tools that you can use.
Automation and analytics often go hand in hand. HubSpot can help you schedule your posts to go out automatically on your chosen social media platforms. With the help of a digital growth and HubSpot Partner Agency such as Luminate Digital, you won’t need to worry about trying to post something manually every day, and you can see all of your platforms across one dashboard.
Even better, our experts enable social monitoring reports that help you better understand the ways that social media works for you and your firm.
You can also use analytics tools to determine which social media platform is performing best. This will give you a better indication of what time of day to schedule and send posts, based on the number of people viewing them at certain times of the day. Furthermore, you can create informed reports on how your social media is really performing. The last thing you want to be doing is spending valuable time or investment without seeing a return - analytics will prevent this problem.
We acknowledge that this can all be a bit time-consuming, but once you follow these steps and create a documented strategy complete with targets, your business will certainly reap the benefits and the work will get much easier.
To help you save time we recommend scheduling your posts to go out up to two weeks ahead. This way you know the bulk of the content is complete without time pressure leaving you free to complete the daily tasks of engaging with your audience. A well-designed spreadsheet can help you organise your posts and the relevant collateral.
Keeping your business front and centre digitally it very important. After all, 71% of consumers are more likely to recommend a brand to others if they have a great social media experience.
By utilising these six steps, you can ensure that your social media strategy will help give your business a big push in terms of brand awareness and higher engagement with current and prospective clients.