SOCIAL MEDIA—FIVE THINGS TO CONSIDER IN YOUR PLANNING
We’ve all heard over the last few years about how social media is a necessary part of any marketing plan. But how do you make it really work for your law firm when there are so many choices and they all take time? Whether you are new to social media or have an existing strategy, here are some tips to help you integrate social media into your 2011 marketing plan:
1. Not all social media platforms are right for your business. Business to business (B2B) marketing is much different than business to consumer (B2C) marketing, so if your firm is focused on corporate law vs. personal injury law, your strategy should be different. It’s okay not to be everywhere. Research which type(s) of social media your clients and potential clients use. Target these.
2. Social media is about value, relevance, timeliness, and easy communication. Whether it’s through your blog, Facebook page, or LinkedIn, if you provide value to your readers, they will continue to follow you and recommend your social site to friends. If the value isn’t there or you don’t update often, they may drop off.
3. Set time limits: it’s easy for social media to become a time drain. While most of the platforms are free, don’t forget that time is money.
4. Integrate and re-use content and take advantage of widgets and tools that update more than one social media site. As an example, you can automatically update Twitter from LinkedIn, saving time. Post a link on your Facebook page to an article on your website or blog. Make sure your site allows readers to easily share what they have learned with their friends.
5. Developing a social media strategy and building a list of followers takes time. Keep at it and be willing to modify your strategy—and even tools—as your audience changes and technology offers additional options.
As social media options emerge and grow, it’s not always easy to know which will be the best for your firm long-term. Google Wave was promoted heavily at the beginning of 2010 as the “wave” (pun intended) of the future. On August 4, Google announced that Wave was done. Facebook started out catering to college kids as a way to share information and keep in touch. Now individuals of all ages are on Facebook, as are many businesses. Social media has not even begun to mature. Don’t be afraid to try out new things and discard what doesn’t work. Read articles and watch for new trends in social media, then determine what will work best for your law firm and adjust your marketing plan accordingly.
For more tips check out our blog.
CORPORATE CITIZENSHIP: PR OPPORTUNITY
In recent years, consumers in the US have become increasingly aware of the concept of “corporate citizenship”. There is a growing expectation that businesses should positively contribute to society and their communities. This can include everything from donating a portion of their profits to worthy causes and encouraging employees to volunteer time to implementing sustainability programs.
These business practices position the firm in a positive light and may actually be the deciding factor for a potential new hire who has been offered a job or for a new client trying to decide between two vendors. I have even seen RFP’s that contain a section that asks the firm submitting the proposal to describe how their firm is a good corporate citizen.
In reality, being a good corporate citizen offers a solid public relations opportunity. As an example, a large employer in North Carolina offers each employee two paid days off per year to be used volunteering at the charity of their choice. Other employers may support a specific group, program or cause. The police department of a medium-sized NC town near Charlotte coordinates multiple activities and fund-raisers to support NC Special Olympics. The department promotes these events through their Facebook page and encourages members of the community to become involved. Each event that takes place receives great press, both before and after. You cannot buy this type of positive press.
So, take a look at things you currently do, or ask employees for ideas to consider going forward to take advantage of a great PR opportunity! You can blog about it too. Check out our blog.
“BUY LOCAL” – “GO GREEN” – “BE A SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS”
No matter how you refer to it, the sustainability movement is alive and growing in the business community. New college degrees, certification programs, consulting businesses, and national professional groups are appearing right andleft in support of the movement. When do you decide if you should be involved? Now! Does it make business sense? Yes, it does!
Start small and work your way up. Many simple changes to your everyday practices are easy and may even save you money. Here are some thoughts:
• Buy business supplies locally – you keep your local economy vibrant and keep your neighbors employed;
• Buy eco-friendly office products that use post-consumer recycled materials;
• Implement a recycling program at work – include printer cartridges, paper, cardboard, aluminum and glass;
• Discourage employees from printing emails and other documents they don’t really need to have in hard-copy;
• Provide coffee mugs instead of Styrofoam for office visitors – give all staff members a mug or two with your logo to use at the office;
• Recycle old computers, office equipment and cell phones – some companies and many counties offer specific recycling services for these items, which often are considered hazardous waste because of the materials used;
• Hire a cleaning service that uses natural, environmentally safe cleaning products
• Turn out the lights at night or when not in use and adjust the AC/heat for evening and weekend settings (add a digital timer to do this, if possible)
These small steps you take at your firm can add up to a positive impact on our planet and maybe even save you some money. Oh, and make sure to get some good PR out of these changes by publishing what you are doing in your monthly newsletter or adding a page to your website! For more useful ideas on marketing, visit our website.
This is the question you should be asking of your marketing firm. No, seriously. You should be asking them, “Beyond simply placing our television buys or creating a pretty “brand”, what else have you done for me lately?” Are they just thinking “outside of the box”, or are they “redrawing the lines of the box, maybe even creating a circle or a square?” In these tough economic times, your marketing firm should be doing more, reaching further and digging deeper to help grow your practice and get you more clients. Here are just a few of the ideas that my partners and I have used for our clients that really seem to be working. Read more
Lauren will be speaking at the PILMMA Conference in Las Vegas on October 29th on The Fundamental Cornerstones for Developing Your Marketing Plan/Strategy.