Building An Effective Law Firm Social Media Strategy Takes Time

by Eria

One of the problems lawyers have to deal with when thinking about social media strategies is getting to grips with the commitment and time needed to do so properly.

If we agree that social media should be used effectively to build trust with prospects and allow lawyers to engage with prospects more openly, then one has to also agree that this is not something that will happen in one day.

However, a major frustration many lawyers feel when they try using social media is that it does not bring in results quick enough. Time is money and everybody wants quick results. Committing to something over a long period of time without knowing, at the start, how successful things will be goes against a lawyer’s nature.

So how can lawyers use social media for effective online reputation building without feeling that their efforts, over time, are going to waste?

First of all, they need to find out how prospects in their target niches use social  media to search for information or engage with others. This is something I covered in my last post here.

The next thing lawyers should do is map out the steps they will take to build relationships with prospects. Examples of what could be included are:

  1. Planning what content is going to be made freely available based on a thorough understanding of what people are actively searching for. Getting ALL your thought leadership pieces published in one go is not good;
  2. Planning the communication campaigns that draw attention to the thought leadership content that is available. Automated email campaigns are great –  you have some control regarding the speed with which prospects get information from you and you can monitor response rates effectively
  3. Planning zero or low-cost services for prospects that help educate them and empower them to make informed choices about the legal services on offer. Examples here include webinars or seminars that aim to show how to solve or deal with specific issues;

Underpinning all the above is a social media strategy in which any tactics or platforms used help distribute content or alert prospects / followers about the content on offer.

Social media, in itself, is a waste of time unless it helps with online reputation building or management. Whether you use LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook or YouTube, you need to think about the following aspects of your sales funnel:

  1. What good information do you have at the start of the funnel?
  2. How do you plan to share that information to get people to move through the various stages of the funnel?
  3. What responses do you want for those that get the information, and when?
  4. How are you finally going to upsell those in your sales funnel to the legal services you have on offer?
  5. What time frame have you set for each stage of the sales funnel so that you have a rough estimate of the ideal length of time needed to nurture relationships with prospects.

This is where social media comes to the fore. It helps you manage the speed with which you touch base with prospects, build relationships and enhance your online reputation. The secondary goal is to influence the speed with which you drive prospects through your sales funnel BUT this should not be the primary driver.

Finally, it is worth keping in mind that social media should not simply be used to be social and friendly otherwise you will then take ages to generate leads. This does not pay the bills. Rather, it should be seen as a key component for online reputation management – which takes time.

As more people go beyond word-of-mouth and use social media themselves to pick out lawyers that are visible or have established positions of authority within target niches, lawyers can actually make this work in their favour and get themselves noticed much more easily. They just have to realise that this needs some commitment and time to work.

 
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