By Kevin O'Keefe

Empowering your law firm employees to be social media ambassadors

20130526-161735.jpg Twenty years ago our law firm employees were answering the phone, “law firm.” When asked by friends and relatives where they worked they were apt to respond “a law firm downtown.”

Though we had 40 employees (15 lawyers), making us the largest firm with some of the best clients in Western Wisconsin, as a team we were not proudly wearing the law firm colors. What a wasted opportunity to let our community know about our firm.

We shortened the firm name to two partners’ names, started bringing in clients to speak to our team at lunches as to why they used our firm, and did employee run sessions on what it meant to deliver “knock your socks off service.”

The outcome was 40 of us taking pride in telling people where we worked and what we did. Carrying that pride to family members, relatives, and business associates, we spread word of our firm brand in a big way.

Imagine what my old law firm could do with social media today. But would we have? Most law firms are not empowering their employees to wear their firm’s colors on social media.

Nick Westergaard (@nickwestergaard) had a nice piece in the Cedar Rapids Gazette this morning on empowering your employees to be social media ambassadors.

As employers, Westergaard points out, we talk of our employees being our greatest asset, but in this day of social media and social networking what are we doing to empower our employees to extend the brand of our organizations?

Though social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn have proven to be effective tools for the marketing staff to engage in large-scale brand building, there’s still a disconnect between brand-based and employee-powered social media engagement.

Westergaard shares 5 tips to empower your team to interact with, share and amplify your brand’s conversations and content.

  • Claim the law firm. Encourage your employees to proudly fly your firm name and link on their Facebook wall or Twitter bio.
  • Connecting with the brand. Remind your employees to connect with your brand on applicable social channels where they engage personally. Your employees shouldn’t feel compelled to join new networks, but they ought to be encouraged to connect with your firm’s existing networks such as Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook
  • Promote re-sharing. Once an employee has opted in to your firm’s social media networks, they’ll be exposed to regular updates. Empower them to share and retweet updates from your brand that they are excited about and moved by. Doing so you’ll connect with those on their networks.
  • Provide training. As your law firm becomes a more social organization, you’ll want to provide continuing education for employees to become more familiar with social media and the nuances that apply to a law firm’s use of social media. If you have a star, use them. If not, bring in someone for a luncheon session. Community colleges also offer courses on social media.
  • Define your policy. Once you have a plan for employee engagement, develop a policy. If you need disclaimers that employees don’t speak for the law firm, add them. You’ll of course need to reinforce what employees already know re confidentiality.

Law firms are ultra conservative on activities such as this. But social media is all about being social — it takes people interacting with people to make it work for your firm.

Rather than have your employees steward social media in the firm’s name, why not have your employees personally using the social networks they are already using in way that extends the firm’s brand?

Image courtesy of Flickr by Citizen Schools.

Kevin O'Keefe
About the Author

Trial lawyer turned legal tech entrepreneur, I am the founder and CEO of LexBlog, a legal blog community of over 30,000 blog publishers, worldwide. LexBlog’s publishing platform is used on a subscription basis by over 18,000 legal professionals, including the largest law firm in each India, China and the United States.

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