You know where you have heard this before: Stephen Covey’s second Habit in his book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
Perhaps this is no different to the ‘Why’ question.
Why have you decided to run your practice in this way? And Why, in its life-cycle, do you think that you should be engaging with social media?
To put it in less abstract terms: What difference will it make?
When it comes to deciding where the firm will be in 3-5 years time, there will be a myriad of issues to confront not least the fact that clients will continue to demand more for less. But central to the social media debate rests the issue of how different or improved will be the client experience?
Most firms are dabbling with social media in the hope of generating new or increased revenue and have not considered the paradigm shift outside this area. For instance it doesn’t appear that they have looked at social media as a way of improving the client experience.
Of course social media has not established itself to a degree where there is certainty in the outcome but the basic theme should be to earn attention and not to bug or buy attention. It won’t work if you apply the interruption based approach – it is too easy for clients to disengage or stop listening.
Social media will count for nothing if the client cannot proceed to engage with the firm either through a superlative website or a WOW customer experience from the moment that their call is answered to the time that the file is finally closed. The client will just think of it as another me too firm.
It is incredibly important that professional practice constantly considers the Why question and to look at interim milestones which can be reviewed and moderated as necessary.
These are a few examples of milestones and or goals.
Do you want to:
- Extend the reach and influence of the firm’s brand and messaging?
- Enable a relationship to develop that previously may have been difficult to foster?
- Influence your clients’ decision making?
- Build meaningful relationships with stakeholders and clients?
- Provide thought leadership or more colloquially be the big cheese on campus?
- Provide a way for clients to subscribe to RSS or other on-line services?
- Promote your events?
This is of course non-exhaustive and you may think that these are too woolly. But if you are going to commit serious resources to social media or building up your website presence again, then you need to have some clear objectives and not be afraid during the early stage of engagement to revise them.
If you don’t start with the end in mind then you might as well put on a blindfold, be spun round 50 times and try to pin the proverbial tail on the donkey. Not impossible – you might get lucky – but far less likely than having a clear focus on the outcome.
For more on developing profitable business, innovating in professional practice and implementing social media, subscribe to the RSS Feed of my Blog. Follow me on Twitter at @0neLife, or @Ju_Summerhayes connect to me on LinkedIn or friend me on Facebook. If I can help you or your practice, check out my coaching and consulting firm via LinkedIn, email me on juliansummerhayes [at] gmail [dot] com or call me on 075888 15384.