Jen McClure (@jen_mcclure), the Vice President of Digital and Social Media at Thomson Reuters was a recent guest of Carrie Kerpen (@carriekerpen) on her podcast, All the Social Ladies. Kerpen summarized their discussion  in a piece at Forbes.

McClure, who has a wealth of experience in publishing, PR, marketing and sales makes clear the number one way to measure return on social media is sales.

How could it be anything else? An increase in sales is the best way to communicate the ROI (return on investment) of social media, which is something the industry has always struggled to quantify.

Thomson Reuters doesn’t screw around as to use of social media by its sales and accounts people or the KPI’s used to measure their success.

Thomson Reuters has deployed a “social selling” program, where its sales members undergo intensive training and receive certification to become social media sellers. This shrinks the bridge between the company and the consumer, and helps the sales staff engage with the community. The KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) it measures through social media selling include answers to the following questions: “Do you have a better understanding of our customers and our prospects and their business needs as a result of interacting with them across social networks? Are you getting into that sales cycle conversation earlier? Are you increasing your thought leadership and your influence position and really transforming yourself from being the rep. to a valued resource that can help?”

The results so far?

Sales members love social media selling because it’s fun, easy, and empowering, and because it helps them build their social networks. They are able to engage customers over new channels, ones where customers are starting, and sometimes ending, their buying journeys. It makes the staff feel better about its work.

From McClure:

When we survey our sales people and ask, ‘To what extent do you feel like you have increased your thought leadership, your influence, your understanding of the customers,’ it’s in the 85- to 95-percent range…

Could your law firm’s lawyers be social selling? Of course they could.

  • They could use all social media (blogging, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn) to gain a better understanding, personally and professionally, of their clients and prospective clients.
  • They could gain a better understanding of their business needs specifically and as to specific industries in general.
  • They could leverage this increased knowledge into sales meetings discussions with clients and prospective clients with whom they now have better relationships as a result of social media.
  • They could be increasing their thought leadership and influence position by blogging on a real publication independent of the firm’s website. Authorship and speaking have been at the heart of establishing oneself as a “lawyers’ lawyer” since the beginning of time.
  • They could be transforming themselves from just a lawyer to a “go to” lawyer who is viewed as reliable and trusted authority on a niche area of the law or niche business. A lawyer is looked as a resource for information and counsel.

Law firms are not alone. LexBlog is right with you in the need to be social selling. We need to be getting to know, personally and professionally, the people we serve. The only limits should be good taste and how appropriate a particular client or prospective client feels about the use of a particular social media in our getting to know them.

We, as a team, have to develop a comfort with the social media being used by those we serve. Facebook, which of course people view differently, is a perfect medium to engage our audience, professionally and personally.

Facebook is where people get to know what’s really important in others’ lives. A family vacation, anniversary celebration, or the death of a loved one can often rank well above news and information shared online.

Blogging to engage authorities and influencers in the field you are passionate about establishes huge authority over time. Why not be the person who is viewed as a ‘go to’ resource? Aim high.

Create Twitter lists of your clients and potential clients so you can share what they are sharing and engage them personally and professionally.

LinkedIn works for initial connection and initial outreach. But LinkedIn doesn’t generate the warm and fuzzy relationships or thought leadership status. This is ironic in that most professionals feel the most comfortable on LinkedIn.

Rather than look at social media as something that’s a compliment to the things we do to build relationships and influence. Let’s look at social media as the new reality.

People connect and engage with people on social media all of the time. Professionals publish, without gated walls, their insight to blogs all of the time. These blog posts move across social media all of the time.

We’re not going back in time. To nurture relationships and build influence, law firms (and LexBlog) need to have their teams using social media in an effective way and to be prepared to measure the results by the bottom line.

  • Social media is a vast field today. Various law firms or bail bond agents with attorney officers are on social media these days,. It is a platform for mass communication which enriches social communication and relations today. Interesting post! Thanks for Sharing.