Using social media to support your firm’s and lawyers’ business development efforts should be at forefront of everything you do on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, etc. If the post doesn’t support your firm’s strategic goals, take a time out to think about why you are even doing this and rethink your strategy.
Don’t use your social channels to only focus on your firm’s work and its substantive news, events and publications – that can make your firm seem dry, a little boastful and devoid of personality and heart.
Firms should also showcase their “softer” side, which can support their business development efforts, because clients want to peek behind the curtains on the firms on which they rely.
Showcasing the softer side of your law firm humanizes your firm and makes your lawyers more relatable. Include posts about firm life, pro bono and community service, upcoming holidays, as well as profiles on lawyers and alumni, and photos from firm events.
Here’s how to do it at any size firm.
For example, a #TBT or #FBF campaign is a great way to reuse older content and past photos from any event. It’s also a strategic way to feature firm history and remind your followers of key touchpoints and milestones about your firm. I recommend keeping an archive of old event photos in separate electronic folders so that you can easily refer back to them.
Take full advantage of the many holidays that pop up throughout the year and build them into your social media strategy.
Featuring major holidays is a no brainer, such as the upcoming Fourth of July holiday (see post idea), but lesser known holidays (more on those later) can also make for great social media posts, allowing you to showcase your uniqueness.
Using the holidays in your social strategy is a clever way to outshine your peers. You can demonstrate that you are a good corporate citizen and show that your firm and your lawyers have a bit of personality. It can get very monotonous and dry to constantly post about your victories, events and firm news.
For example, at a prior firm, we created a social media campaign focused on Women’s History Month where we highlighted the women at the firm (lawyers and staff – which was awesome), their career paths and any advice they had for future women leaders (using visuals that we had repurposed and reused – their headshots – throughout the month of March.
We featured interviews with each of the women on their tips for success and their career paths. We also encouraged each of the women to share the interviews to social media in order to tap into their powerful professional networks (a word to the wise: always remember to encourage your lawyers to share posts to their own networks on LinkedIn or else you will be missing out on reaching their valuable personal contacts who are often not following the firm’s company page).
Another firm at which I worked had a large population of veterans and saluted them (using pictures of them in uniform) on Veterans Day. You could do the same for just about any holiday – Lunar New Year, Fourth of July, Pride month, New Year’s Day, Thanksgiving, Administrative Professionals Day, the Super Bowl, MLK Day, National Donut Day – you name it. Get creative!
Depending on your firm, you could have some fun with National Selfie Day on social media by encouraging your summer associates and other employees at the firm to share their selfies to Twitter or Instagram – remember, certain social channels work better for certain posts – some of the lighter content is more appropriate for the channels that are more casual.
Every holiday is an opportunity to do something creative and differentiating on social media. At the very least, you can easily create and post a custom image to your social media channels using my favorite online graphic design tool for non-graphic designers, Canva.com. This terrific site, which has an accompanying app, enables you to create perfectly sized graphics for social.
Canva has many already designed templates in which you can just upload a photo, your logo and text and depending on your membership, you can gain access to their robust stock image library as well, which is very useful when trying to add visual interest to a post. It’s a great graphic design tool for firms with a limited budget or marketing professionals without a lot of time.
Here are a few other tips to consider when using holidays as part of your social media strategy:
- Use trending hashtags: Popular and relevant hashtags can extend the reach of your firm and its lawyers on key social media networks. If your content is great and if you use them, your firm can attract more followers during and after the holiday. Two great (and free!) online tools to help you find trending hashtags are Ritetag and hashtagify.me. Try them and thank me later!
- Get involved with the community. Don’t forget that many holidays are also about community. So find ways to get involved as a firm or even in a smaller group with colleagues on a holiday in a parade (such as for Fourth of July), community event or for a charitable cause. If you can team up with a client or prospect, even better!
- Calendar it: When you create your content calendar for the quarter, think about how you can incorporate holidays into your posting schedule. If you don’t have a lot going on in a particular month, find a holiday that will engage with your target audiences. In a sea of 200 top law firms and another 200 mid-size firms, anything unique and creative that you can do to stand out will help to differentiate your firm. Remember to schedule your social posts in advance using tools such as Clearview Social, Hootsuite or SproutSocial so that you can enjoy the holiday yourself! These kinds of tools enable you to pick the time and date of when you’d like your content to go live.
An editorial calendar will greatly help you track the mix of posts, so create one today if you don’t already have one. I like to use a monthly calendar and color code each post according to its area – so for example, news, publications, events, awards, press releases and owned media (such as holidays/TBT and FBF campaigns/firm history and other campaigns).
Simply put, soft content posts do well because they bring to life law firms and their people, and they demonstrate the firm as a good corporate citizen, which makes clients feel good about their outside counsel, and that’s a win-win for everyone.