Yesterday Social2B attended the Business Development Institute’s Social Media Marketing Summit for Law Firms as a proud sponsor of the event, where professionals from the legal services and marketing industries came together to explore case studies and convincing arguments in the hopes of persuading law firms to dip their toes in the water of the social media pool. We were surprised at certain topics missing from the discussion (or only briefly skimmed over), such as the value of Google+, despite a heavy focus on Twitter, Facebook, blogging, and surprisingly Wikipedia in one case. That being said, the presentations were engaging, and gave lawyers a tangible jumping off point by focusing on content development and relationship/reputation management as a way to dive in.
The 5 C’s: Creating and Curating Consistent, Calculated Content
One key insight attendees could not leave yesterday’s event without was the importance of curating and creating content, and doing so with the end goal in mind, whether it be customer acquisition, customer retention, or simply becoming an authoritative voice in the community. This was primarily discussed in terms of blogging and the type of content to contribute to the marketplace. Speakers advocated for finding niche topics and LinkedIn groups to become involved with, to LISTEN in order to ascertain the voice of the group, and only then contribute as a member of the community. In order to truly engage with your audience you need to be a part of the conversation and make your content accessible, i.e. “DON’T write like a lawyer!” (Gene Quinn, IPWatchdog)
In content marketing one must be able to identify and target their audience base, but creating and sharing high quality content is what’s going to engage these potential clients and influencers. As Scott Mozarsky of PR Newswire adeptly pointed out, clients aren’t going to choose you amidst the thousands of other lawyers if they can’t rely on you to give them valuable and useful information. A law firm’s currency online is their content, and by continuously delivering relevant content, they establish their worth in the community. Once you are able to do this, you can then take that content and promote it and engage across platforms, and then analyze the results. It’s important to keep in mind, however, that the PR and marketing silos are starting to merge, so if you truly want to have success in analyzing the metrics, it may be worth investing in a platform that can do so across the multichannel platforms.
Video’s role in content marketing was a highlight of the summit, with attorneys and marketers acknowledging that this can be a game changer in online marketing, but has yet to truly make its landing in the legal services industry. Video offers a more engaging and eye catching experience, and acts another tool for generating new interest, and therefore traffic. Especially when using YouTube, your SEO efforts will increase as well since content posted on Google owned platforms increases SEO rankings in any Google search (which is another reason why we are surprised Google+ was a discussion point at the summit).
Controlling and Managing Your Reputation
Not only does content marketing help you get your voice out to the people, it helps for SEO purposes. The more material you have with targeted key words, the more like it will come up in a potential client’s search, which is ultimately the end goal. The more content that comes from YOU, the more control you have over what comes up first on that Google page search. As a lawyer, reputation management is a critical aspect when considering involvement in social media. While many law firms are concerned about the possibility of offending clients, all it takes is common sense to consider whether or not something should be posted. Self-censorship is important, yet it isn’t rocket science. If you can combine quality content development with adept profile management, you can greatly enhance your online reputation.
Another important step to controlling your online reputation is managing your online profiles. By integrating your profiles (both your company’s and each individual attorney’s) across social media platforms and linking with your company’s website you enable a consistent brand for yourself and your attorneys across the Web. If a potential client can move seamlessly between your profiles and content, the more easily traffic towards your desired landing page can be generated. Developing microsites for your company can achieve this desired goal as well, as discussed by Jennifer Bankston, CMO of Labaton Sucharow LLP.
While we found that marketers and attorneys seem to know the value of content marketing for the legal services industry, it seems that there is still a long road ahead for many to fully understand the benefits of social media marketing and the various platforms that can be used. We encourage law firms and their attorneys to dive to more material on the offerings the World Wide Web has for optimizing your visibility and standing out from the masses. For further thoughts on social media marketing for the legal services industry, and to stay up to date on relevant industry news, trends, and tips, join our Seriously Social community on Google+!
By Jess Spar