How can law firms engage specific companies on social media?
While in New York City this week I was asked more than once by marketing professionals how their firm could engage specific companies online. Particularly, clients, prospective clients, and referral sources.
They had heard me talking about being strategic in the use of social media. Rather than just use social media as a tactic, get focused. Don’t just blog to blog. Don’t just have a Twitter account because every other firm has one. Align your social media use with your business development goals.
Firm goals will include deepening relationships with existing clients, building relationships with targeted prospective clients, and strengthening relationships with referral sources.
So how to help accomplish these goals via social?
- Create a list of clients, prospective clients, and referral sources. You may need to involve senior business development folks and the CMO.
- Set up Feedly to get Google News feeds of articles and blog posts that mention the companies. If appropriate, set up feeds mentioning the key executives. Filter the feeds into a Feedly folders marked clients and prospective clients, respectively. Preferably Feedly will be set up for every lawyer and other professional using social media. Social, and the apps by which you use social, are personal in nature.
- Dig to find out if any of these companies have blogs. Subscribe to them in Feedly.
- Create a Twitter list of these conpanies. Mark the list as private so its not open to the public. Most all of them will have Twitter accounts, some will have more than one so as to cover divisions, products, or locations. Also include the executives in these organizations. Most of the executives will not use Twitter, but for those who do, there’s gold for you.
- When appropriate blog about the companies you are following. In most cases, this is going to be prospective clients and referral sources, as discussing items regarding existing clients can be inappropriate, and in most firms, strictly off limits. The key in strategic blogging is not necessarily to tout successes, but to report and comment on news as relevant to your blog’s audience. You’ll get seen as the companies monitor their name. Better yet, share your post on Twitter using the corporation’s Twitter handle in your Tweet. They’ll see it and respond with thanks.
- Tweet out kudos or comment on news you are seeing in the feeds you have on Feedly, making certain to include the company’s Twitter handle. Feedly includes a ‘Tweet this’ button to save you time.
- Reply to or Retweet items the company shared on Twitter. Everyone loves a little ‘Twitter love,’ especially large companies who tend to get little.
Who in the firm does the engagement via blogs and Twitter?
For the blogs, it’s the lawyers, of course. Teach them how to use Feedly. It’s easy, and it will make them better lawyers by knowing how the world is staying abreast of news and information. The lawyers will need to be conservative in who to mention and the nature of doing so. Coach for further guidance.
Twitter can be used by lawyers or legal marketing, communications, or business development professionals. Again, it will take some coaching.
What do you get from this type of engagement?
- Humanization of your firm and its professionals.
- A new channel of engaging the companies who you seek to engage.
- Better and deeper relationships with the companies and people with whom who want a strong relationship.
- The opening of a door to getting to know people in companies you’re looking to know. I have met and establishing relationships with executives at major companies by doing exactly these sort of things.
- A huge edge over competitor firms who refuse to get out of their way when it comes to really using social media.
When using social media, stop looking at numbers. Look at who you’ve engaged and with whom have you nurtured a relationship. These are business development goals of any firm.
Targeted and strategic social media will help achieve such goals.