From Monologue to Dialogue- How Law Firms can Build Client Engagement through Social Media

Joanna Michaels, Director

Social Media is about relationships- the very basis of the most law firms’ success. While it cannot substitute the face-to-face relationships, it can certainly enhance and accelerate them.

According to research (Tech Report by American Bar Association, 2014), the majority of lawyers show a rather passive presence on social media. They use social platforms mainly for listening and consuming information. Only 13.4% of respondents said that they use social media for frequent participation. This and other available research indicate that most law firms don’t use social media strategically or view it as an opportunity for engagement.

For a majority of firms, there is a mind-shift required to engage with clients on social media. They feel more comfortable with traditional forms of promotion, such as email marketing, PR or advertising. These methods still work, but they are not as effective as they used to be. This is because they ‘push’ and ‘shout’ the message at your prospective clients in hope that they will pay attention and respond.

The world has changed. In an Internet-driven world, people don’t want to be talked at; they want to be invited to a discussion.

Your secret weapon in the new world is… Social Media. Done properly, it pulls people to you through interaction and sharing. It’s not about shouting and simply broadcasting information but it’s about dialogue and actual conversations.

If trust and attention are valuable currencies in the new world, then social media is how you acquire them. So… how exactly do you do it? Simple. You become a Social Media Rock Star!

Think for a moment about your favourite rock star or pop artist. Mine is Pink. My husband’s is Brian Johnson from AC-DC. Rock stars are bold, passionate, brilliant, talented, driven, and yes… strategic, professional and good to their fans.

I’m going to share with you the four secrets of Social Media Stars:

S – for being sociable and for sharing

Social Media is like life. It’s about people. You can do it in a dark room on your own, but you must be open and approachable. Be sociable. Introduce yourself. Start conversations. Ask questions.

Share what you’re doing. We’re not talking about your personal life. This can all be about business. What’s happening in your firm? Do you have expertise and helpful information that you can share? Success stories? Also, it doesn’t have to be yours or all about you either– you can share lots of great stuff that you find, providing it’s relevant to your audience.

T – for being trusted

Social Media builds relationships. When people know you more, they will like you more and hopefully trust you more. That’s when they hire you, talk about you and recommend you. They see you as the trusted ‘go to’ expert in your field. And when they need what you do, they will choose you… and nobody else.

A – for adding value

Social Media is the perfect way to share useful relevant information that can help your clients. We call this adding value or making a difference. It shows that you think about your clients even when you are not together. It shows that you solve problems, mitigate risk, and alleviate pain.

R – for reputation

Finally, Social Media is the ultimate reputation-building tool. It promotes you, your brand, your values and your unique selling points. It stops you from being anonymous, or a well-kept secret.

Social Media keeps you in people’s minds. It guarantees people see you, talk about you and recommend you.

So with Sharing, Trust, Adding Value and Reputation, you are a social media star! Well nearly. This is not an overnight thing, or a quick fix. It takes some time, some strategy, some investment and some thinking. It also requires realistic expectations, as long as you understand that it takes some time to develop strong presence and relationships (just like in real life), then you will be fine.

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