In the marketing world, the term “community manager” has become increasingly popular. A community manager in the law firm marketing context is the online representative or “face” of your law firm. The law firm social media community manager is the individual who interacts with your online audiences through blogs and social networks like Facebook and Twitter.
While the responsibilities of a community manager often vary, generally the list of tasks below will fall under their purview:
- Content creation and implementation
- Editorial calendar
- Social media channel selection and management
- Track analytics and metrics of campaign performance
Top Eight Tips for Law Firm Social Media Community Managers
1. Ethics first, ethics last, and ethics always
In a law firm setting, interaction with clients and with the general public is governed by the ethics rules of each state’s bar. Ethical considerations apply to social media communications, blog posts, and all online content. Your law firm community manager must be trained in the ethics rules of your particular state’s bar to avoid running afoul of the rules and subjecting your law firm to ethics violations.
Do not let a web vendor set up your social media channels and then get lazy. I have seen this happen one too many times. If you are present on a social media channel, your client contacts you, and you fail to respond, you can only hope that your client doesn’t file a grievance with the state bar. If your law firm has an outside vendor running its social media, you must have someone inside your firm actively monitoring it. Your law firm must check its Facebook and Twitter pages for messages at least once a day, if not more often.
3. Know your voice
Take some time to figure out what you want your law firm’s “voice” to sound like: strong and authoritarian, or light and conversational. Whoever serves as community manager for your law firm must speak in the appropriate professional voice that represents your law firm to the world wide web.
4. Avoid diarrhea of the online mouth
Do not use your blog and social sharing functionality to blast every contact your firm has as often as possible with as much content as possible. You will lose Facebook fans, your LinkedIn connections will hate you for clogging up their feeds, and your Twitter followers will unfollow you. Have a strategy with how you “speak” online, and stick to it. Post more than just your own self-promotional content.
5. Set goals
Every community manager must have goals, including increased engagement.
6. Find influencers
Community managers will learn a lot from finding the established influencers in their brand’s profession. If you practice bankruptcy, for example, find other bankruptcy lawyers on Google Plus, on Twitter, and on Facebook, and monitor them, interact with them, and see what they are doing right (and wrong). Building these relationships over time will allow your law firm to get its own content and/or press promoted by these influencers (especially if you follow relevant media personnel).
7. Promote speaking engagements and continuing education events
All lawyers are required to attend continuing legal education courses (CLE). Many lawyers speak or prepare presentations for CLE. Promote not only when your lawyers are speaking at a CLE or other event, but also promote if they are attending. The organizers and sponsors of lawyer events will retweet, like, and share your posts about an event they are planning, sponsoring, or otherwise involved with. All parties can benefit from social cross-promotion.
Lawyers write often, and when they do, the content is long and occasionally boring. Not to fear! You can take your lawyers’ PowerPoints and repurpose them on SlideShare. You can turn one dry law journal article into a series of five blog posts. You can turn an interview into an online press release. If you have copy, you can find ways to use it more than once to save time, money, and maximize what your lawyers actually take the time to write.
Does my law firm need a community manager?
Yes, but don’t go and hire a new employee unless you are part of a large firm with a large budget. For small to medium sized law firms, what is realistic is to evaluate your current staff and assess who might be able to take on the role of community manager internally. If you have an in-house marketing officer of any type, this role should be allotted to them. If not (and many firms do not need in-house marketing help), find your most tech-savvy, computer-interested, social media-literate staff member and set down guidelines.
Stacey E. Burke, P.C. Community Management
Stacey Burke has over ten years of social media marketing and community management experience. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help your law firm comply with ethics guidelines while successfully building a digital strategy.