Social media in general and its various platforms in particular are not always easy for lawyers to fully understand, much less embrace. Social media engagement also is something that must be maintained over time to be successful. Unfortunately, too many attorneys and other professionals refuse to invest the time and energy needed in order to use social media as a successful public outreach tool, and so end up doing it poorly.
Other industries that adopted social media sooner have invested that time and energy into social media plans. They’ve practiced and learned from their mistakes, making them better marketers in the process. Getting the most out of social media requires the three Ps: practice, patience, and perseverance. It requires calculation and investment. It also requires a willingness to overcome preconceived notions about social media. Below are five mistakes attorneys often make regarding social media.
- Thinking that simply being on social media equals engagement with target audiences. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Social media platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter allow you to engage with your audiences, but this can be tricky because it requires actual two-way participation. Social media is not like a billboard or a newspaper ad. You can’t just push, push, push out your own content and messaging. It has got to be a real conversation.
- Deserting a social media account when you’re not the getting results you expected. Great outcomes from social media marketing take careful planning and lots of time. Earning the users’ trust is key, and that can take months, if not years. Posting consistently about current industry happenings, commenting on others’ posts and being part of the conversation can help establish your credibility.
- Not knowing the difference between social media platforms. For example, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn each have different posting and image standards so it’s important to research each platform before diving in. Put in the time and effort to understand each platform and tailor your posts according to each network’s best practices are the best ways to boost the results of your social media marketing.
- Not tracking and measuring metrics. This can be the most difficult task for attorneys to accomplish for several reasons. First, because many want to be able to draw a straight line between a social media post and a new client, and that often just can’t be done. Second, breaking down metrics is time-consuming and requires an in-depth understanding of each platform in order to determine whether what you are doing is working.
- Not driving your social traffic to your website. Social media offers an opportunity for law firms to engage online with all target audiences and, by doing so, to be seen as a valuable resource. When a potential client or referral source has a legal issue, guess who they will be calling first? The firm that comes to mind first. That's where content marketing comes in. Sharing links to your firm’s blog posts about trends in the industry or to news items should point back to the firm's website. This will help you establish a following and keep you top of mind for the day when they do need your services.