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Social media and the legal profession: finding your “voice”

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Social Media and the Legal Profession

Social media is not new. Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are all teenagers. Most law firms set up their social media accounts between 7 and 9 years ago, but it is only in the last 18-12 months that the majority of firms (of all sizes) are taking their social media accounts seriously.

Recent research by Christian Annesley for Social Media Week in Bristol into the use of social media by professional service firms (so not just law firms) and an analysis of their main corporate account showed that activity volume was up in the last 12 months with a quarter of mid to large sized firms in the South West posting 100+ times a month on at least one platform.

  • 100% are on Twitter
  • 90% are on LinkedIn
  • 25% are on other platforms such as Facebook and Instagram.

So it is clear that law firms are doing stuff. But then we need to ask ourselves are law firms doing the right stuff? Do they have a strategy? Are you planning ahead?

Christian’s analysis showed that the content and approach varied from firm to firm and video was being underused, but the pattern that emerged was that most firms do one (or a combination) of three things on social media:

  1. provide insights and commentary and research;
  2. promote local events and talk about what is going on and what they (and their clients) are doing;
  3. talk about themselves including job opportunities, new clients and key deals.

All of these things work (some better than others) and it is important to specifically work out – what works for you personally.

The key message was don’t spread yourself too thin. If you have multiple sub-accounts – look at the numbers. Ask yourself do they add enough value?

So what could law firms be doing better?

There are lots of activities that law firms (and individuals) can be doing on social media – and many are already doing it. Examples include:

  • engaging with people more (e.g. liking, sharing, retweeting, responding);
  • having a “voice” and a consistent visual identity (create clear guidance);
  • creating “quote cards” to add to your visual identity;
  • using graphics and infographics to tell stories;
  • going “off-diary” and grabbing the moment and using it;
  • maximising your “on-diary” e.g. keeping your staff up to date on larger campaigns and using the power of numbers;
  • finding your influencers and champions internally and encouraging professional use of social media and training your staff;
  • creating content specifically for digital and different platforms rather than just repurposing existing content;
  • using a big moment to make noise (in a joined up way);
  • thinking beyond external engagement and engaging internally too.

If you are struggling to use video why not try sharing:

  • a short video of a company event;
  • “reaction” videos
  • explainer and top tip videos

Video is becoming more and more embedded in all social media platforms and video is 6x more likely to be retweeted on twitter – which is something worth thinking about to expand your reach.

Next time we will talk more about finding your influencers and social media champions internally.

By Coralie McKeivor (@coralie_mck)

 

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