A key problem many lawyers face is knowing what social media platforms they should use for effective lead generation and client engagement.
This choice is even harder if they don’t have the right culture in place for social business to work, which normally means they don’t make the effort to either choose or use the right platforms available to grow their law firm business.
While lawyers have been bombarded with messages saying they need to change their culture in order to make social media work for their businesses, there is less guidance on the need to have the right technology and platforms in place to support any social media strategies. The right choice of platforms and cultural shifts have to take place at the same time, and are vital pieces of the overall social architecture.
Both these, however, are not enough. Lawyers have to think about how staff or external contacts use social media platforms (see here) and then, crucially, map the relationships that develop from this.
This relationship mapping is often overlooked and viewed as something that can be left on its own. However, this has negative consequences if you are trying to manage social media policies for staff or make sure that the social media strategy is in tune with the overall objectives the law firm has for growth.
In order to improve prospect or customer experience, law firms have to first of all make sure all internal staff are on board regarding their social media objectives. Everyone needs to know the role they play in moving prospects effectively through the sales funnel, which means adding value to each connection made.
Some employees, e.g. rainmakers, business development teams or partners, may have a bigger role to play because of their client-facing roles and need to develop positions of authority within target niches. By mapping the relationships staff have internally and externally, current and desired, it makes it easier to empower employees and show them how they can contribute to the success of any social media activity.
Now, many law firms that have a social media strategy will have similar platforms – blogs being the obvious choice, plus perhaps Twitter handles and LinkedIn profiles.
However, success varies depending on whether the social media platforms integrate easily with the technology already in place so that there is an almost seamless use of the various technology available.
For example, if certain law firm employees are used to using a CRM system to plan their prospect outreach or client engagement, it is best to make sure any social business platforms used integrate well. If their is a blog post that would be of real value to prospects, it makes sense in this scenario to consider using the CRM contact system to point prospects towards the content on the blog in addition to using other channels such as Twitter or LinkedIn. This is a very basic example of a social architecture that works and, for many lawyers, is an easier step to fathom as they still use technology they are familiar with while they build social media profiles.
This all scales as well. If you are a lone-practitioner, the technology you have available might not be as extensive as a 50-partner law firm, but the principles are the same.
So, we have seen that social business architecture means:
- Knowing what your ideal sales funnel is;
- Mapping the social relationships you need to so that they support each step of your sales funnel;
- Getting everyone on board and having the right attitude to add value to drive prospects through the sales funnel;
- Making sure you have the right platforms to support any engagements you have internally and externaly.
Clients want to buy legal services from lawyers they respect and like. However expensive the deal may be, relationships matter and can influence choice.
Quite simply – lawyers who don’t know how their current internal /external social relationships map out will find it hard to have the right social business architecture in place.