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Business Development

Is Social Media Really Worth a Busy Lawyer’s Time?

Simple tips for adding social media to your business development plan.

By Elizabeth Ferris

A critical objective in every law practice is to build top-of-mind awareness with targeted clients and referral sources. You want to be the go-to lawyer when someone has a problem you excel at solving.

To build that kind of awareness, many lawyers ask, is social media really worth their time? To answer this question, review the following business development tactics. How are you doing in each of these areas?

  • Staying informed on what is happening with your clients and the professionals in your network.
  • Sharing information about what is going on in your practice.
  • Demonstrating expertise for solving specific problems.
  • Building your reputation both online and off.
  • Expanding your network from professionals you know to professionals you should know.
  • Providing ongoing value to key professionals in your network.

If you see gaps in your use of these tactics, then you may want to consider using social media as part of your business development plan.

Engage Social Media Marketing

A Simple Plan for Using Social Media

If fear of not knowing what to do has kept you from engaging in social media, fear no more. Here are four simple tips for using social media to build top-of-mind awareness.

Listen to Others

When learning anything new, the first step is to listen. How does that apply in this context? Explore how other law firms and lawyers are using social media. What captures your interest? What do you like? What don’t you like?

Begin to listen by reading your newsfeed on LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook. Another helpful tool for listening is search.twitter.com. This tool allows you to type in an area of interest and read what is being posted on the topic. For example, if you are a family lawyer, simply go to search.twitter.com and enter “family law,” “co-parenting,” “high asset divorce” or any other topic of interest in the search box.

Read the posts and learn what people are talking about. Does it spark ideas? If so, share, comment and post.

Define What You Want to Achieve With Social Media

Clarifying what you want to accomplish gives you direction on where to focus your efforts. It is the foundation for getting the results you want. What do you want to accomplish? Do you want to deepen relationships with existing referral sources and drive referrals, increase awareness of your expertise, reinforce your personal brand or something else?

Related: How Are Lawyers Using Social Media to Market? Results from Attorney at Work’s 4th Annual Social Media Marketing Survey

Review your business plan. What are your goals? Use social media as a tool for accomplishing what you want to achieve in your practice.

Clarify Your Target Audience

Who do you want to reach?

If you have written a business development plan or created a core message, you will know the answer to this question. If not, now is the time to answer one of the most important questions to grow your practice: Who is your target client and what are their most important problems?

Post, share and like content that is relevant to your target client and reinforces your expertise and personal brand.

Implement Your Plan

Write out the actions you will take each day, week or month to implement your plan. Here is an example:

  • Listen. Once a day, review your personal newsfeeds. Once a week, go to search.twitter.com and listen to what competitors and industry leaders are posting on social media.
  • Connect. Schedule 15 minutes a day or once a week to post, share and comment on LinkedIn.
  • Inform. Look for opportunities to share tips. Try to take photos of events at your firm or at professional events and share them on social media too.

Social media alone is not the answer to building a thriving law practice, but it can be an effective tool to help you achieve your business development goals. Through social media, you can stay informed, share your knowledge, reinforce your expertise, build your reputation, acknowledge others and expand your network. If social media can help with this, why not give it a try?

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Illustration ©iStockPhoto.com

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elizabeth ferris Elizabeth Ferris

Elizabeth Ferris is the founder of Ferris Consulting. With more than 25 years’ experience in marketing, business development and strategic planning and 18 years in legal marketing, she has advised some of the most successful North American and U.K. law firms. She has particular experience in advising firms with niche practices. A frequent speaker and author on legal marketing, Elizabeth has led workshops and planning retreats throughout North America, the U.K., Austria and Australia. Follow her @ferrisconsults.

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