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In essence, Social Media is all about raising your profile. It’s about listening, talking and engaging Although it uses technology, technology isn’t the driver; it’s simply a means to an end. So you can relax: as it’s really just plain old traditional legal marketing with Word of Mouth reputation as the end result. Which we all know is one of the greatest marketing tools we have at our disposal.

Choosing the right social media channels There are different types of social media channels but the most commonly used are: Twitter is a social site designed to let people share short messages or “updates” with others. Twitter is popular for many law firms. Facebook, in contrast is a full-blown social networking site that allows for sharing updates, photos, joining events and a variety of other activities. LinkedIn is business orientated where professionals network. It connects you to your trusted contacts and helps you exchange knowledge, ideas and opportunities with a broader network of professionals. LinkedIn emerged as the primary non-sector-specific platform used by the law firms audited: 85 firms were registered on this platform. Yet, while many law firms have created ‘company’ profiles, a much smaller percentage are taking advantage of some of the more advanced features.

How it works in practice A working example of how social media can be used to build a practice is from an Associate in a large Law Firm, she built up her niche practice in care home fee recover using Twitter and LinkedIn. Connecting with the right industry leaders and press and engaging them in dialogue in turn lead to her becoming seen as an expert and increased her profile with her client base. She is now Partner.

Even though there are many benefits to social media, its application across the profession is still mixed. 76% of law firms use social media. 79% have a social media policy 45% believe social media is best used for announcing firm news. While only 13% thought it worthwhile as to conduct a two-way dialogue with clients/contacts 37% of firms spend up to 15 minutes a day managing social media

How social media can work better for a firm’s business strategy

1. First of all, and essentially, ensure that it is integrated into the firm’s overall business strategy.

2. Social media is a networking medium so make sure there is a good amount of relationship building content. The lawyers and firms that do social media well have learnt that it’s all about relationships and showing your human side, coupled with an equal dosage of credibility building content.

3. Your firm’s network on social media starts to expect a certain frequency of content from your fee earner’s so it is important to maintain regular updates.

4. Don’t have dusty LinkedIn profiles.  If prior to a meeting or your name is given to a prospective client that person will possibly turn to Google to find out more about you. The chances are your LinkedIn profile will be the top result. If they looked at your LinkedIn profile, would they get a good picture of your credibility?

5. LinkedIn is the biggest professional social network. It is probably the only social site corporate decision maker’s use. If your fee earners have a static profile on LinkedIn and don’t go in regularly to interact, then huge opportunities are being missed. Such as, seeing who has been looking at your profile and using this to start conversations with prospects and well-placed introducers.

6. If your firm’s potential client’s first serious interaction with the firm is via the fee earner’s LinkedIn profile, then your firm needs to have some consistent messages coming through the profiles.  A Social Media Policy will ensure that not only is there consistency but employees understand what is expected from them and will in turn use it well.

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