The New Year is right around the corner, and if your law firm is using social media (and it should be), now is a great time to measure your past performance and make plans for the upcoming year’s strategy. Below are a few tips on what to include in your social media checklist to ensure your law firm’s social media success in the coming year.
Review Your Social Media Accounts
LinkedIn (both Individual Profiles and Company Pages), Twitter, Facebook Pages, Google My Business Listings, and YouTube are the main social media channels lawyers should use, and they all have free built-in analytics available. For most channels, it is easy to export the data contained in the social media analytics (or insights) into an Excel file or a PDF. Be sure to keep your end of year benchmarks for perspective.
Check on how your law firm trended across the year, from your follower count to the amount of engagement each social post received. This information will help inform your choices for the coming year. Social media platforms also change on a regular basis. Be sure to read about any channel updates and assess your compliance with these changes, including the addition of new fields to complete, new options available for categorizing your law firm, and adjustment of imagery sizing for shared content.
Create or Update Social Media Protocols
A social media policy is a compilation of rules and regulations to streamline how your law firm uses social networks. Policies should also guide employees in their own social media use on various channels, ideally helping to avoid legal and/or security issues. If your law firm has nothing written down about social media, kick off the New Year by implementing a formal protocol, even if it is only one sheet long.
Your policy will consist of two main categories: the law firm’s official accounts and individual employees’ personal accounts. The overall objectives include creating consistency across all of your channels, defining the voice for the law firm for those managing your channels, establishing how you want to respond to mentions of your lawyers and law firm (positive and negative), and determining what information should not be shared on social media due to confidentiality.
Increase Your Social Advertising Budget
By now, everyone knows we’re in the pay-to-play era on social. Marketers around the world are increasing their social advertising budgets (budgets already increased 32% in 2018 alone) and producing more ads than ever before. One of every four Facebook Pages now uses paid media, and we only expect to see that number increase. Whereas a law firm used to be able to get by with a simple boost using the click of a button, now creativity and targeting savvy are required in order to make a social ad spend worthwhile. Due to algorithmic changes, especially on Facebook, every law firm must pay to amplify its best performing organic social content’s reach.
Live Video Is No Longer Optional
Stop living in denial, and be ready for live video to take over the social media world in 2019. People have been talking up live video as the next dominant social media trend for a while, but by 2019, 80% of what we consume online will be video content. 2019 is the year we will finally see the importance of live video reach epic levels.
Businesses must see the value of first-person or “selfie” video content to remain competitive. While live video has been around for a while on YouTube, its popularity across Facebook and Instagram has made it a key opportunity for marketers to look out for in the coming year. The interactivity of live video makes it a powerful tool for businesses to engage with their audience and strengthen the relationship between a brand and its followers.
Be Social on Social
All law firms use social media to self-promote, but only sharing self-serving content would be a very one-dimensional and largely unsuccessful strategy. Therefore, law firms, like everyone else, need to be social on social media. There are a lot of ways to be more social, including joining LinkedIn Groups, engaging with others’ Facebook Live Videos, and taking part in Twitter chats, to name a few.
A Twitter chat is a public discussion on Twitter around a specific hashtag. Twitter chats are a great way to build community by generating lively discussions around your customers’ interests. The chats are held at a specific time, cover one topic or theme, and are led by a moderator. Your law firm can even host a monthly Twitter chat to bring together a group of engaged participants who want to learn more about legal issues, your local community, or a charity you work with. So add a Twitter chat into your social media checklist.
Be Strategic – Be Smart
Don’t just post social updates without a plan and without measuring how they perform. Have goals, review metrics, analyze data, and optimize everything. The best way to distinguish your law firm from the pack is to plan and execute a detailed social media marketing strategy. Do research, learn about your audience, and try out different messaging, targeting, and positioning.
Brands that understand and continuously optimize their social media marketing strategy are targeting the right audience, maintaining the lowest effective spend, and engaging with others on the most important social platforms. Building a solid, research-based strategy will help you make great strides forward on social media next year.
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Social media marketing and advertising is the largest component of our work at Stacey E. Burke, P.C. We handle social media exclusively for lawyers and law firms – so we know legal social media strategy and how to make it work for every practice area, in every geographic location, and for every size law firm. Contact us today to learn more about what we can do for your law firm.
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