Social Media Marketing Has To Be Part Of A Wider Multi-Channel Marketing Strategy To Work

by Eria

One of the major challenges lawyers face is getting any social media strategy they develop integrated with the other marketing activities they have been doing.

It is hard enough getting noticed with the number of competitors around and the impact of legislative changes being announced (e.g. The UK Legal Services Act). So getting a social media strategy in place is something many lawyers just don’t want to have to do too much work on as they are busy enough as it is.

To be fair, the criticism that lawyers have not thought about social media is a bit harsh. They have.

But, those that have actually implemented it… that is something else.

So why is social media a problem for many lawyers.

Well, part of the reason is definition!

When social media is sold as an alternative to all other forms of marketing – e.g. networking, direct marketing, advertising and  emails – then there is a problem!

You start to forget that it is simply a channel with which to engage prospects or clients, and introduce new metrics that don’t match a fundamental marketing principle – you need to sell your legal services effectively in order to grow or survive.

Getting excited about the number of Twitter followers or Facebook likes is a recipe for disaster if you are not actually building relationships with prospects AND moving them through your (ideally, well-designed) sales funnel.

Social media is not meant to replace all other marketing tactics, but to complement them and make them more effective.

When this is clear, it is seen less as a fad and more as a strategic investment and something that is worth allocating resources to.

So, before slamming social media as a waste of time, it is worth thinking about what your views of marketing are or considering whether your marketing is effective in the first place.

Many lawyers don’t have the time or skills to implement effective marketing strategies, and suffer an increasing lack of visibility as a result.

If they then add social media to the already lacklustre marketing strategies, they almost always flirt with disaster.

Despite the title of this blog, I don’t see social media as the cure for all ills.

One needs to be realistic about what it is useful for, and not get carried away with all the latest social media fads or statistics.

When successful lawyers talk about how they have used traditional marketing methods to grow their practices, it is worth thinking about what they are doing right.

More often than not, they have the following in place:

  1. They provide useful information that prospects are looking for in order to help gain their trust;
  2. They use  MULTIPLE communication channels with prospects, testing all of them and selecting those that work best;
  3. They are totally focused on specfic markets;
  4. They have consistent marketing activity taking place;
  5. They are excellent at following up with prospects;
  6. They have great, irresistable offers such as free reports and white papers to help prospects make informed decisions about the purchase of services they offer.

If all these are in place, then lawyers can consider how social media can enhance their current marketing strategies, not replace them.

If what I have outlined is NOT in place, then that is what lawyers need to work on before creating Facebook pages or Twitter / LinkedIn profiles.

Social media marketing provides lawyers with open, instant and unlimited access to prospects and clients, and enhances traditional marketing strategies that are already succesfull.

But to make this work in terms of generating new leads and building relationships, lawyers have to find out is best for them and their practice. Copying other law firms is not necessarily the best way forward. An integrated marketing strategy that uses social media is what they should aim for.

Just think, in a few years time, lawyers that are really successfull at selling their legal services will not be talking about social media marketing any more. It will simply be part of what they do on a day-to-day basis.

 

 

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