My social media strategy is nothing fancy, but it works. If you are looking for social media schemes full of promises and puffery, go talk to a social media “expert.” This is what works for me.
I try to make it easy for potential clients and local media to find me. Just as important, I try to establish myself as an authority so potential clients want to hire me before they meet me, and so local media want to quote me as an “expert.”
Here is how I do that with social media.
My law firm website is the hub of my marketing effort. The goal of everything I do–from business cards to blogging—is to get motivated potential clients to my website so they can contact me. I like them to be motivated (to hire me) before they get there, if possible. That is where the social media comes into play.
The most-important features of my homepage are these:
- An easy-to-complete contact form on every page
- Short, straightforward introductions on every landing page
- Lots of current, good pictures
- Resources that potential clients can use to help themselves before they call me
- Real information about my fees, including examples of flat fees for common types of cases I handle
- A firm news page that keeps the site looking current
My website is my collection point. It is build on a rock-solid content-management system, WordPress, with the Thesis premium theme (so is Lawyerist). You could also use Headways, another premium WordPress theme. I created the site’s “look” myself, but you could easily hire a professional. With a content-management system, you can easily maintain the content yourself and add landing pages for ad campaigns or tracking.
My blog, Caveat Emptor, is full of information for potential clients, so they learn about what I do and how I can help them. On the one hand, this creates great Google bait, bringing in plenty of search-engine traffic (read: potential clients). But with quality content, I have also built a readership of thousands of potential referral sources.
I write Caveat Emptor to try to answer the questions that potential clients may have about their legal matters. For example, my post Served By a Debt Collector? What To Do Next remains one of the most-popular posts, in large part because that is the question consumers who are sued by debt collectors tend to search for.
Caveat Emptor is also a collection point. It has become something like a database of useful consumer information that I can direct people to. And it attracts media attention. The media use Google just like everyone else. If you are the easiest authority to find on a subject, you will be the one to get a call from the media.
I find Twitter largely useless for generating clients. It is marginally useful for building relationships with referral sources. It is generally full of people who post nothing of interest, or that could be classified as “content” of any kind. Even many Twitter “experts” fill their feeds full of noise.
But despite all that noise, there are some very good reasons to use Twitter.
First among them is connecting with local media. Earned media is the best kind of marketing, and many in the media are using Twitter as away to find tips and connect with the public. Twitter is a great way to connect with them and earn media exposure in your market.
In fact, Twitter is a great way to connect with all kinds of interesting people. Just stay away from the ones who sound like they are selling something.
I use Facebook to solidify and continue the relationships I begin everywhere else. Facebook’s live feed lets me keep up-to-date on many more people than I can have lunch and coffee with in a year. Keeping tabs on friends, family, and potential referral sources is a helpful piece of networking. At a minimum, you can use your friends’ Facebook (and LinkedIn) profiles to help you write more personal notes. Sometimes, you can use Facebook to turn introductions into firmer relationships.
I also connect my blog to my Twitter and Facebook feeds every once in a while, although I try not to shove it down my friends’ throats the way some do.
Social media is great for making introductions and maintaining relationships in between offline encounters, but it cannot replace the connection that happens over lunch, coffee, or a drink. It does not diminish the value of face time. If anything, social media makes actual face time more valuable.