You’ve heard the stories of firms that have grown their reputations and their business pipelines through social media. But between countless client meetings and your regular load of billable work, how can your firm make time for important (but non-urgent) business development activities like social media prospecting and engagement? Instead of putting social media on the backburner for another year, here’s how to craft a 2016 social strategy your firm will actually execute.
Define Your Goals
Well before you start putting your social media plan into action, your firm must clearly define its goals. Do you desperately need name recognition in a certain market, or are you more interested in engaging with key prospects in an effort to stay on their radar and remind them to work with you when a need arises?
Depending on what you’re looking to achieve, you might set qualitative goals for some or all the following:
- Follower growth: how many new followers do you gain across your social channels during a set period of time?
- Social reach: how many people see your posts?
- Amplification rate: how often are your posts shared by others on social media?
- Conversation rate: how often are you mentioned by other users on social media?
- Targeted conversations: what percentage your conversations on social media are with those who represent your target clients?
- Clicks: How often are your links or posts clicked?
- Referral traffic: how much traffic is social media driving to your website?
- Conversion: how many social media visitors are fulfilling key actions on your website like downloading your brochure or filling out your contact form?
Regardless of the goals your firm deems most important to its success, you must have a strategy for tracking your progress. Analytics tools like True Social Metrics and those built into Sprout Social can provide you with detailed reports on all of the metrics above that allow you to make informed decisions about your social media strategy.
Choose the Best Channels
Choosing the right platforms is crucial for lawyers who have limited time to devote to executing a social media strategy. For most law offices, we recommend starting with LinkedIn and then exploring Twitter and Facebook as you grow more comfortable with social tools and technologies. LinkedIn is typically the most accessible social network for attorneys as it is the site most focused on professional connections. But both Twitter and Facebook have become increasingly valuable for legal professionals, as well.
As you dip your toes in Twitter’s waters, finding a Twitter chat focused on your practice area can be a great way to get engaged and build a following quickly. You can learn more about how Twitter chats work and find one that is a good fit for you here. And when you’re ready to explore Facebook, we suggest launching your law firm’s company page as a way to showcase your culture and recruit prospective employees.
Implement Time-Saving Practices
In order for your social media strategy to pay off, your firm needs invest time, but if your firm is like most, there aren’t many extra hours to go around. Chances are, you’ll need to find ways to save time on other tasks in order to carve out part of your day for social media engagement.
Luckily, Smokeball can help. Our case management software can save your firm hours by streamlining your matter management processes and automating many of your regular tasks. Just think of the extra time you could spend developing new connections on social media if never had to search for a missing paper file or use “find and replace” to prepare a client document again.
Planning ahead can also make a big difference. We suggest using Microsoft Excel to create a social media content calendar with at least one pre-written social media post for each day, and then scheduling your content ahead of time using a tool like Hootsuite. This way, you can keep an active presence on social media even when last-minute meetings or time-sensitive client demands come up.
Are you ready to make social media work for your small law firm in 2016?