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Social media command center : A simple law firm initiative

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I stumbled over my high school’s Facebook page this evening. It’s been up a year, and with my ‘Like” this evening has 29 likes. Not great for the only Catholic High School in town that was graduating a couple hundred kids a year back in my day.

I couldn’t help but wonder why their development people (employees & volunteers) — they are raising money all the time after all — wouldn’t monitor the names of well-to-do alumni, the names of their companies, high profile alumni, and relevant news in around the local community.

It would be a lay up to post news and tag alumni in Facebook as a means of calling out successes. Who wouldn’t want to be called out by your High School? Get called out as a hero in front of the local community a few times and you’re likely to feel a closer tie to the school. The kind of tie that results in gifts to the school.

How about tweeting relevant local news or sharing it on Google+? How many reunions did you have last summer? Where are the pictures and videos that could have been posted and tagged at Facebook and run on YouTube?

We’re not talking rocket science here. If the students running the student newspaper or teacher helping run it don’t understand how social media builds a sense of community, get a student intern (for free) from the local university six blocks away. Someone on the school’s advisory board must have a clue.

I couldn’t help but think of why not law firms having a social media command center and doing the same thing to give shout out’s to clients, potential clients, business, industry, and community leaders, and online influencers.

Too much risk? I don’t see risk in giving kudos to a client and their team for raising $10,000 for breast cancer by running as a group a local 10K and getting pledges. There’s 900 other things you could profile which are just as safe.

How do you stay abreast of such items? Google alerts. They’re free and they arrive in a reader app on an iPad. That way a link to a story and a quick ‘kudo line’ can be shared on any number of social networks in a New York minute.

Michael Brito (@britopian), SVP of Social Media Strategy at Edelman PR, facilitated a webinar this week where the topic was the emergence of social business command centers.

Brito covered the importance of companies deploying command centers today and that they need not be in one physical space — they can easily live and operate within a virtual environment.

Though what’s important for a command center may be obvious, Brito found it worth repeating.

  • Listening, obviously
  • Engagement, obviously
  • Building community – here I discussed Facebook’s Graph Search and the need for brands to continue to grow their communities. The more fans you have, the wider your audience. The wider your audience, the more likely your brand will come up as a connected page in Graph Search
  • Advocacy – basically turning friends, fans and followers into lovers of the brand
  • Content – using real time listening to create real time content based on the day’s new cycle and “what’s trending” right now
  • Product Innovation – I mention Dell and Starbucks
  • Document psychographics and demographics of the community, reporting, etc.
  • Customer support

Brito went on to provide a number of examples of successful company command centers ranging from the Oregon Ducks to Cisco Systems to The American Red Cross. He also shared 5 step process for deployment – discovery, planning, measurement, implementation and kaizen (or constant improvement).

The slides from Brito’s presentation are available on Slideshare. Law firms, schools, and other organizations are living three steps in the past. They’re often studying and developing strategy when all it takes is some simple action. You need not replicate The American Red Cross, but you can start.

The fastest growing age group on Facebook is age 45-54. Bulls eye for a law firm’s business development initiatives and a school seeking to raise money. Yet these organizations have Facebook pages with a few hundred likes, at best, and which do nothing to engage their target audience.

Why do I get worked up about these things? Because they are so simple. And they are not being utilized by organizations I care about. Make sense?

Image courtesy of Flickr by US Army Europe.