Having put out a Tweet on Saturday about firms who may have appointed a social media manager, I wasn’t surprised with the deafening response. Not a single lawyer or law firm, amongst the 1,200 or so people who follow me, came back with a response!
I would love for it to have been otherwise, with a whole slew of community managers Tweeting me back saying “Hi, we are here” but I knew instinctively that no one would come back.
For a start I don’t see any Big Law firms active on Twitter at the weekends, and the lawyers who do take the time to engage are definitely not in need of a social communications person – they are it!
For those law firms that are committed and inspired to delve into the world of social media (or whatever name you give it), you need to understand that you will never be able to scale your efforts beyond a handful of followers (in proportion to the size of your client base) if you don’t seriously commit to the paradigm. And more than that you need to understand that social media is not a substitute for good old fashioned service delivery, face to face networking and speaking to your clients.
Social media at its most basic lends immense credence to your marketing efforts. Done right it enables you to earn attention for your brand: To bring on board, or get closer to your firm, your raving fans.
Of course there will be a number of clients, referrers, influencers or potential clients who do not congregate in the social space but that does not mean that they are totally unreachable.
My advice to those people who are committed to social media is to consider how they are going to scale their efforts.
I would strongly advise that you give someone the job of social or community manager. Don’t fudge it and think it is a job for PR, communications or marketing. Take it seriously, please.
First and foremost is to make sure that you consider the internal dynamic. Will you:
- Continue with a adhocracy?
- Leave things to emerge organically?
- Look at adopting a command and control model?
- Think about the most common model for social media integration, namely a hub and spoke model.
- Bring people in from the cold who have been building a presence on Twitter and LinkedIn?
- Put together a policy or two for social media integration?
- Consider who manages your engagement?
There is no (perfect) model that is going to crack this social media thing. But if I was starting out I would want to ensure that I had adopted a organisational model that worked for my firm. I suspect that a lot of firms will start off with a command and control module but will quickly coalesce around the hub and spoke model if only because they can see the possibilities that are contained within the model.
But the key to scaling your efforts is:
- Consider appointing social media advocates within your practice.
- Make sure that everyone understands the focus of your efforts.
- Present a scenario where they, the lawyers, can see the ROI.
But whatever you decide as the primary driver, you need to carve up the role of social media manager.
Think about these three areas:
- Policy, guidance and strategy direction;
- The technical development of your website, Twitter and Facebook presence; and
- The engagement paradigm.
The key message is to make sure that you understand who you are in the space and then get someone on board who can help you achive your objectives. As trite as it might sound, it won’t happen by accident.
~ JulianSummerhayes ~