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5 habits of successful law firm social media managers

20130601-151937.jpg Andrew Caravella (@andrewcaravella), vice president of marketing at Sprout Social, a leading social media management and engagement platform, shared 5 habits of successful social media managers, that I thought very appropriate for professionals responsible for social in law firms.

Here’s Carvella’s five focused on acting, stepping backing, and rebooting with a little tailoring to the law from me.

  • Learn the latest tools, but don’t act impulsively. When you lead the social media charge, you’re charged with seeing and playing with the latest and greatest. However you’re in a law firm, professionalism is mandated. With social requiring personal involvement by lawyers time is limited, use it judicially. You may be best to stick with the big 5 — LinkedIn, blogging, Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ — and to prioritize within that group.
  • Set a social strategy and stick the landing. Social media is no longer just a micro-segment of marketing. Think beyond the basics and take into account your company’s general business objectives, business development plans, and revenue goals, then align your strategy to that agenda. Many law firms make the mistake of having marketing work on social tactics (create LinkedIn profiles, publish a blog, launch a Facebook page) without having marketing work closely with firm leadership to align business strategy/goals with tactics. For you to be effective as a social media manager, you need access to the firm’s business strategy and to the people formulating it. Only then can you form consensus on social goals impacting the firm’s bottom line.
  • Play nice in the (company) sandbox. Everyone is ‘using’ social media today and lawyers tend to know every thing about everything so you are going to run in to the “I can do what you do” and “I hear you, but we need to do it my way.” Don’t fight it,” says Carvella,”Social now permeates an entire organization, from communications and customer service to IT and sales. Create strategic alliances and set the tone for compelling social behavior. Your opportunity is to strengthen the online voice of your company.”
  • Brand evangelism runs 24/7/365; your body does not: Social media managers tend to live and breathe social all day — and all night. Social managers run themselves ragged in an attempt to match and pace this “always-on” medium; the result is sloppy posts, irrelevant content, and a disjointed experience. Get time away on evenings and weekends to recharge and know when to ask for help and train fellow team members to pitch in when necessary. A collaborative effort will keep content fresh, customers happy, and yourself sane.
  • Know when it’s time to throw in the towel. There will be social networks that don’t work for your firm or for individual lawyers. You may also find that you and your team don’t have the time to be effective working all the social networks you’re using. Look at the data and assess how you’re doing on a network. If it’s not working, you’ll need to decide whether to double the effort or throw in the towel.

Virtually all law firms are increasing their investment in social media, both in platforms and in people. Many of these firms will be led by lawyers who don’t believe in the merit of social media. Your firm will also include lawyers and other professionals who insist they understand social, but do not.

Knowing this, these 5 habits, especially setting the strategy, will serve you well.

Image courtesy of Flickr by thefixer.