Lawyers: It’s time to get social
Social media – what is the point for legal professionals? The honest answer: You’re missing out on prospective clients and you could also be excluding yourself from the top legal jobs. It really is that simple, so why aren’t more lawyers getting on board with social media?
Perhaps the single biggest reason is because many law firms don’t necessarily see how social media can deliver any tangible results that can positively impact both the bottom line of the organisation and the individuals themselves.
Yet evidence suggests innumerable advantages to being social media active:
1 It can be an invaluable information resource
The Law Society points to social media being “beneficial for engaging with clients and other professionals…through direct and immediate feedback from those who have used legal services, and can be used to allow greater access to legal information and resources.”
In other words, social media provides law firms with the platform to listen to the conversations that are taking place online that could impact their clients, cases and firm’s reputation. This can be an invaluable resource for generating additional competitive intelligence and monitoring of different issues and areas of practice.
2 It raises your profile as key industry thought leaders
Research conducted by US firms Inside Counsel, Greentarget, and Zeughauser Group over a period of five years found that lawyer-authored blogs and LinkedIn articles were read just as often as those written by industry journalists in the likes of The Law Society Gazette or Legal Week.
To direct people to your content in the first place means creating and maintaining Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn accounts. These can also be used to find and share other useful articles and insights that are timely, relevant and helpful to the people you want to do business with.
3 It increases your online profile and drives new business enquiries
While offline formats such as advertisements and articles in the local or trade press can be very good for building awareness of your firm’s brand, having a strong online presence makes you more ‘discoverable’ to those who may never have heard of you.
Google is a big fan of social media and its algorithms favour Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook posts as well as YouTube (which Google owns) in its search results. This, combined with regular posting, boosts your SEO and helps to drive more new traffic to your website.
Potential clients can then read your blogs, download your latest whitepaper or simply find out more about you; thereby, resulting in new business enquiries.
4 It can position you as an employer-of-choice
1 in 4 (24%) of UK job seekers actively use social media to search for their next position, with 28% influenced by what they have seen about an employer on social media. So if you’re not using social media you are missing out on a wealth of potential talent – especially millennials.
A recent study has found that 67% of millennials (those currently aged 20-35 years) would be open to new career opportunities, with as many as 40% turning to social media when looking for their next role. According to the US Bureau of Labor, millennials will make up 75% of the workforce by 2030, so they’re a pool of talent that cannot be ignored and need to be engaged with if you wish to avoid a talent shortfall in your firm.
5 It can position you as a candidate-of-choice
The legal sector is currently growing at a rate of 8% each year, and with growth comes opportunity. But competition for the best jobs is intense and one of the most powerful ways to be seen and heard above the noise is to have an updated and active social media presence.
LinkedIn, for instance, states that more than 9 in 10 (94%) of UK employers use its network to find and vet potential candidates – five times the number who turn to Facebook.
So keep your profile professional and even if you don’t have time to write articles yourself, share relevant content posted by your law firm or within the legal and business press that resonates with the clients you work with.
Finally, keep the conversations flowing
Automation has become a key word banded along the corridors and up the stairs of law firms throughout the country over the last few years. But when it come to social media automation can be a Godsend.
Tools such as Hootsuite, Sproutsocial and Tweetdeck are brilliantly simple ways of pre-scheduling your social media posts across each of your accounts. This saves you having to manage your profiles in real time and frees you up to carry on with your normal duties.
But be consistent – don’t fall into the trap of posting a handful of times each week because frankly that will do little for you. Social media is an extension of your existing marketing activity and as such it demands the same amount of care and attention.
Get it right and the return on your time investment will positively impact the bottom line. But get it wrong or fail to even get started in the first place and you could lose ground both in the war for clients and the war for talent.