Social Media, two dirty words within the legal sector
However, these two words are changing the way firms interact with their clients, in the following 6 areas:
Improve website visitors
Building and improving referral relationships
One thing you may notice above is I don’t mention anything about “selling legal services”. This is because Social Media is all about building a trust worthy reputation. Imagine someone random comes up to you in the street and offers you legal services. Do you say yes? Of course not, because of the following two reasons:
You don’t know them, so our level of trust is very low
You don’t buy from people you don’t trust.
With Social Media, you need to build an element of trust and value. Once you achieve this, then people will buy legal services from you. Client’s don’t just wake up one day and think “Oh I need some legal services”. Typically, most law firms are built on referrals, however, this tends to be a single relationship within the law firm and referrals only last so long. You need to start looking to other potential revenue referral streams.
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The way law firms interact with clients is now more important than ever. People buy legal services in a different way. For Private Clients, they shop around for costs, even if they have a referral…Why? Simple, there is too much choice out there, so why not look around. Clients’ purchasing decisions are based around various areas one of them can be reviews, these can be seen on Google Reviews or Facebook business pages. They are the little gold stars.
Reviews are the cornerstone of most Social Media strategies, well they should be. Imagine a client leaves you complaint via phone or email. You have a process in place to deal with it. But when a client does it online, a lot of law firms leave it and ignore it. Putting it down to “idiots”, but these idiots need a response. Any reviews you receive need a response, even if they are bogus. It shows you care and pay attention.
A big area I hear around Social Media is law firms are afraid or reluctant to put their fee earners on LinkedIn in case someone poaches them.
If a firm wants someone from your firm, there are many ways to do this. However, recruitment for law firms on LinkedIn is more effective than ever with the option of paid adverts via “InMail” the instant messaging function. You can tailor a simple message to individuals covering different areas, for example, expertise, geography and job title. Creating tailored adverts will help get your message in front of the right audience. Instead of the scatter-gun approach, you are more targeted. This saves on wasted clicks, is cost effective and most of all there are no recruitment fees.
Once you have set up your social media pages, they will tend to get a bit of TLC over the coming months. But then soon lose momentum. This is where law firms suddenly say “Social Media doesn’t work for us”. One critical area is missed off, driving traffic back to your website. This is what it comes down to. You create fantastic content on your website, but not sharing it with the masses on Social Media. Think of your website as a gorgeous Ferrari in the garage, you know it is there., but no one else does. Social Media is a way of getting your website in front of 1,000s of individuals in a very short space of time.
A great client of Conscious shared content from a very well known online forum of mums. Their legal speciality was around children. They posted a tweet out with a link to the article on their website. This was then picked up, and potentially seen by 96,000 individuals. How long would it take you to see or speak to that many people? The best part is it drives a large amount of traffic back to the website, meaning more forms filled in potentially resulting in more web enquiries.
Harnessing the power of Social Media is more prevalent these days than ever. It costs you very little, however time is the one area it will take up. This is where great Social Media tools such as HootSuite and Buffer can save you time and help you manage your Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter accounts more effectively.
If I were a law firm looking to venture into the world of Social Media, I would not go in guns blazing. Instead, these are my top 6 tips you need to do first:
Establish a strategy, this just needs to be a simple understanding of what Social Media platform you are going to use.
Have a Social Media policy in place to help your staff understand what is expected. But also what they shouldn’t do on Social Media.
Investment, you need to look at the free tools available to you. These will save you time and manage your posts, comments and reporting. Remember if you don’t report on your performance, how will you know what works or what doesn’t?
Content, you must be engaging with your content. Posting legal jargon or selling your legal services is boring. Use the rule 3 in 10, 3 things about the firm e.g. People, services or events. 7 things about something else, in the news today, charities, legal updates, referral news.
Look, listen and engage. This means look at what others are posting and see where you can contribute, like others posts and encourage others to do the same.
Think of Social Media as a strategy, it’s not going to be about quick wins. It does take time, so don’t feel disheartened if no one is sharing or liking your posts. Try doing a post at 5 pm on a Friday and build from here. If you do too much too soon, your enthusiasm will drop faster than a stone.
Enjoy Social Media, your personality of the firm and the brand need to come across. Remember its called Social Media…so be social.
About the Author
Rich Dibbins is the Head of Sales for Conscious Solutions. Rich joined the company in 2012 and has worked with numerous law firms on their digital marketing strategies including website design, email marketing, lead conversion, social media, SEO, PPC & CRM.
An enthusiastic presenter on social media & digital marketing Rich presents in a way people can understand and from which they can learn practical, applicable knowledge.
Rich is an engaging, challenging and occasionally cheeky presenter at legal marketing events & in-house seminars all over the country.
In 2017 Rich has presented 14 times to over 280 people on behalf of Conscious Solutions.