I recently gave a “Social Media 101” presentation to the marketing team of one of the world’s largest law firms. To be candid, I wasn’t sure if I’d have any believers at the end of the presentation. That’s because there are very few stories of Fortune 500 General Counsels awarding large matters based on a thoughtful Twitter feed.
After all, most attorneys market in order to do one thing: identify new business “leads.” But that’s not the only reason to develop an online marketing strategy. What about positioning key practices as leaders on client sector trends? Is it important to strengthen the firm’s brand equity in emerging markets? Can we extend the life of our current thought leadership with a new distribution system?
In short, you can. Here’s a copy of the presentation, if you’d like a deeper dive:
In the meantime, here are my first 5 tips for getting started:
- Recognize that you don’t have to start by getting “social:” While it may be sacrilegious to say, it’s possible to derive a huge amount of value from social media without ever becoming, well, social. Instead, think of it as your firm’s competitive intelligence engine. You have an opportunity to gain sector, competitor and client market insights – why would you pass that up?
- Benchmark and compare trends over time: What happens if you check once and your competitor hasn’t entered the space? Does that mean they never will? Of course not. 96 of the AmLaw 200 are now blogging…only 39 were in August 2007. Keep gathering data to guide your marketing decisions and investments.
- Evaluate aspirational marketing leaders: Large law firms know how to do many things well, from attracting laterals to extending global scope. But it’s still possible to learn from smaller firms who can sometimes be more nimble and almost certainly have been experimenting longer. Don’t make marketing decisions based on what your exact peers are doing. It’s short-sighted.
- Construct early warning systems: You already have Google Alerts set up to monitor your partners, practices and peers. Take it a step further and look for comments on blogs and message boards.
- Think small: Somewhere in your firm there are emerging rainmakers that have the trust of senior partners. They are already essential in critical deals, they have keen insights about the direction of their marketplace and they are hungry for advancement. To top it off, they have a little more time than your major rainmakers. Why not let them experiment with some targeted engagement on a network such as Legal OnRamp?
Tomorrow I’ll give you six more reasons to consider if social media has a place for your law firm. But what would you add to the list so far?
To reach Elizabeth: