The legal sector in the UK is slowly embracing social media and the opportunities it brings. Driving business, building profile, engaging a new audience and reaching out across professional networks are just a few of the benefits that it offers.
Of course, you only have access to those benefits if you get social media right. If you’re riding this Bronco the wrong way then you’ll quickly find yourself tossed on to the mat.
Some of the most common social media mistakes that lawyers make provide a great place to start evaluating whether you’re actually going to generate any ROI or whether your current efforts are wasting your time.
Confused? Don’t be. Social media is a great marketing tool but it’s not a blunt marketing tool. Bear in mind the ‘social’ element of the networks and you’ll have a better understanding of what counts as good behaviour.
In-your-face marketing all the time, for example, really doesn’t work. It’s the equivalent of going up to every single person in the room at a networking event and saying “need help with your Will/partnership agreement/MBO, here I am!” You just wouldn’t do it.
As a general rule, limit your marketing spiel to a third of everything you put out on social media – the rest of the content is the equivalent of making interesting conversation over a glass of wine before handing over your business card in real life. It should be related but not salesy, interesting and not pushy.
Social media is like the popular kids at school – the minute you show interest in being part of the gang, you’ll never be in it. Rather than begging for followers by tweeting follow back requests at them, for example, post lots of interesting content and make it well worth their while to add you to their list. Avoid trying to take shortcuts like buying followers, as this will become obvious when no one who follows you ever reacts to your posts.
If you repeatedly tweet at someone, or tag them in a post, and they repeatedly ignore you give up and move on. Finally, keep an eye on your balance of ‘Following’ and ‘Followers’ (or Facebook, Instagram etc equivalents). If you are following 3,000 accounts and you have 25 followers you’re not an appealing prospect – that’s just how it is.
Even if your social media account is representing a business, rather than an individual, other users still expect it to have a personable, authentic tone of voice. Many firms make the mistake of using the same dry marketing speak of a brochure rather than communicating like a real person. Use images, reply to people who reach out to you, comment on world/industry events and interact with other people’s posts if you want them to do the same to you. There’s no one secret to being great at social media but being human about it is a good place to start.
Sometimes the best test of what you should or shouldn’t do on social media is whether you’d be comfortable doing it in real life. Whether it’s ignoring someone trying to communicate with you, repeatedly pitching to someone’s face when they’re obviously not interested, or trying to force people to like you, if you wouldn’t want to do it in real life, chances are it won’t work on social media either.
Whether you’re looking to get started or want expert advice on a new social media campaign, the team at MD Comms can help. We offer expert social media advice and training courses tailored to law firms and individuals.