I was recently asked to provide my top social media tips and priorities for the year as part of the Legal Marketing Association’s 12 Days of Social Media content series (hint: think visually, align social media efforts with business development and lead generation efforts, think about show versus tell in every post you create, promote your firm’s good works using social media to engage with clients, and utilize the power of evergreen content to bolster your editorial calendar).
Q: What is on your list of top priorities of social and digital media for 2019?
A: ALIGN YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA EFFORTS WITH BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT EFFORTS
Every legal marketer – regardless of their title – should always think of themselves as a business development person, period. That being said, all of your social media marketing efforts should be designed to support your firm’s BD and lead generation efforts, and my goal for the year (and all the years to come), is to work with our lawyers and legal marketing colleagues more broadly to help them find creative ways (irrespective of their budget) to utilize social media to bring in business leads and retain current clients.
(Note – if you want to delve deeper into this topic, join me and Jennifer Simpson Carr for our LMA 2019 Annual Conference deep-dive workshop program on day two of the conference on Wednesday, April 10 at 1:30pm “Beyond Branding: Aligning Social Media Strategy with Business Development Goals” where we will explore this issue in more depth!)
PROMOTE GOOD WORKS VIA SOCIAL MEDIA
Social media is one of the most powerful vehicles that firms have to disseminate information about their good works – pro bono, community service, diversity, recruiting and professional development initiatives – but most don’t utilize this channel enough for this purpose.
Clients really do want to see that your firm is a good corporate citizen – we increasingly see these questions asked in RFPs and your social media presence is another important channel where you can reinforce these messages. It will greatly differentiate your firm to have a social media presence that does not solely focus on how great you are, but rather what you do for the greater good of the community and your employees. So do everything you can to promote these programs on your social channels in between touting your big victories, firm news and award wins.
INCORPORATE EVERGREEN CONTENT INTO YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGY
It’s not always easy to generate a steady stream of good content, and it’s important to regularly post content to stay top of mind with our target audiences, so try using evergreen content to your advantage.
Evergreen content is SEO-optimized content that doesn’t have an expiration date, or lose its relevancy and value over time. It is high-quality, helpful content that provides value whether it is read today, next week or a year from now (such as lawyer bios, holidays, office openings, firm history, timeless client alerts, case studies on matters/practices, careers, professional development, pro bono, firm life and event recaps can all be used to fill in content gaps in your editorial calendar.) This is what I call your “what you say when you have nothing to say” content strategy – or your evergreen content strategy. A strong evergreen content strategy will strengthen your brand, lead to new business and the true bonus – it will delight your lawyers. This is especially important for those who work at smaller firms where it may be difficult to get top-tier media coverage on a regular basis.
Taking advantage of the many holidays that pop up throughout the year and weaving them into your content strategy is a great way to fill in the blanks in your editorial calendar and highlight your firm’s softer side. Featuring major holidays is a no-brainer such as Women’s History Month, Fourth of July, Lunar New Year, Thanksgiving, Administrative Professionals day, but lesser known holidays can also make for great social media posts, helping you showcase your uniqueness (March 14 is National Potato Chip Day!). So get creative.
Read my JD Supra article “What to Do When You Run Out of Things to Say – Your How-To Guide to Creating an Evergreen Content Strategy” for more on this topic.
THINK SHOW VS. TELL WITH EVERY POST YOU CREATE
Every piece of content you post should be value-added, helpful and client-centric. Think of show vs. tell with everything you say and less firm-centric “me, me, me” content and more about “why is this important to the client.” If you can’t answer that when you are writing a piece of content, stop and try again or completely scratch the idea. You can reframe just about anything – an award win or a client victory – in a way that will resonate with clients in a stronger way if you write it with them in mind. Also, remember that most often, your clients are not lawyers, so always put yourself in their shoes. Throw the legalese out the window. Clients want to know who you are and how you can help them. Think about how to demonstrate that you are a leader in your field versus telling someone. It’s often that simple.
Q. What is one resource you recommend to legal marketers who want to learn more about social and digital media?
A. Developing a smart and inexpensive visual content strategy is well worth your time – especially as we head into 2019. I’m a firm believer that you should never post anything to social media without an image. Why? Because social media posts with images gain far more views and engagement.
Today, anyone can incorporate visuals into their social media strategy, you just need to be creative and resourceful. You can easily reuse and repurpose images that you already have, and resize them using tools right on your smartphone. In addition, there are many photo and online design tools that enable you to create images for free or at a low cost.
Many firms miss the mark on their social media images, either having no imagery at all, lackluster images or even wrongly sized images. So, for all of you non-designers out there, you can easily create and post a custom image to your social channels using my favorite online design tool, Canva.com.
This site has an accompanying app for those who want to create and post from their mobile devices, enables you to create perfectly sized social media graphics and has hundreds of pre-designed templates (or you can create your own from scratch). It’s easy to add text or your logo to a design.
The best part? Many of the design templates on Canva are free! (It does have a paid option for $12.95 per person per month for a super-charged work version.)
I have a number of other favorite social media tools that are free or inexpensive and easy to use. Check out my JD Supra article on “17 Low Cost (or Free!) Social Media MarTech Tools to Try” to learn about them. The good news is that you don’t have to sacrifice quality to save time or a buck thanks to these tools that will help you differentiate your firm and give you a competitive edge.
This article originally appeared as part of the LMA’s 2018 12 Days of Social Media campaign. You can view it here.