It is no secret that marketing and business development are key components to the success of modern-day law firms. With more than 1.3 million lawyers in the United States alone, gone are the days of waiting for the phone to ring, bringing in new business. Marketing professionals are ever focused on coaching lawyers on marketing and developing their practice. Yet, at the same time, many are overlooking one of the single most valuable marketing touchpoints - staff.
The vast majority of marketing professionals attended a college or university, earning a degree, educating them on identifying potential markets, promoting brands and services, strategizing and estimating demand, and engaging and developing business. Yet, marketing extends well beyond the walls of the Marketing Department. Engaging clients and prospects requires commitment from the entire company, and each individual in your firm influences perception, which ultimately influences the brand.
Understanding the marketing value of staff also means creating a new set of relationships between the marketing function and the employees of your firm, allowing everyone in your firm to be able to tell the story of your firm and what sets it apart from others. Your staff travels through their personal and professional lives interacting with countless people. Getting your firm’s brand, mission, logo, and vision in front of them is a considerable component of your marketing strategy.
This article outlines how to engage your firm’s staff, enabling them to become part of the marketing vehicle.
Carve Your Culture
Many people don’t put enough stock in the fact culture contributes to organizational visibility. Effective leadership and positive employee relationships are essential in ensuring people have shared values and are happy and motivated at work, and thus, making them feel like part of a team striving to achieve a shared goal. Staff that feel like part of the overall team will be more emotionally invested and more likely to promote the firm outside the office. Some simple ways your marketing team can help improve your firm’s culture include:
- Embrace Transparency - Share your firm’s marketing initiatives with staff, as well as lawyers.
- Promote a Team Atmosphere - Don’t view each department or professional as a silo of the firm, but instead, see them as an integral part of the larger team, such as a piece of a complete puzzle.
- Connect and Collaborate - Put your staff on the frontlines and ask them for ideas even if you can’t always implement them. Sharing ideas encourages collaboration and forms bonds.
- Make a Difference -. Educate your employees that your firm has a positive impact on the world and it is not just about the bottom line. Emphasize the ways the firm contributes to its communities, in addition to, how your firm improves clients’ lives. If your staff feel good about what your firm does, they’re more likely to promote your brand.
Make it a mission to communicate beyond just the lawyers in your firm and include staff in your marketing and business development strategy. Capitalize on your firm’s business development reach by sharing your firm successes, news, and publications with staff, such as:
- Client alerts
- White papers
- Press releases
- Presentations and events
- Firm news
Build Social Media Brand Ambassadors
Social media allows law firms to connect with industry influencers, community leaders, clients, and prospects. Sharing content on social media is one of the fastest and easiest ways to get staff engaged and to maximize exposure through their interactions. Make use of this opportunity and transform staff into online ambassadors.
- Social Media Policy – First and foremost, it is critical to have a social media policy in place and to ensure all employees understand your firm’s social media policies and guidelines before they start promoting your firm online.
- Social Media Tutorials - Believe it or not, not everyone is in tune with how social media works and even those familiar with it, can find it difficult to keep up with the changing trends. Offer educational sessions teaching everyone in your firm how to get the most out of social media.
- Follow, Share, Invite - Traditional advertising has been replaced by influencer marketing, which is based on value and genuineness of the opinions of “real” people the consumer trusts. Encourage employees to follow your firm’s social media pages and posts, and to invite their friends and family who trust them, to do the same.
- Feature Staff Accomplishments - Surely your firm has staff members doing great things in the community. Recognizing their accomplishments and good deeds is a great way to motivate them to share your firm’s social posts, while also acknowledging that they are an appreciated part of the team.
- Keep it simple. The easier it is share content, the more likely your staff will do so. Consider using a platform that automates the sharing of social media information. Multiple applications exist that minimize steps and allow a designated marketer within a firm to send short emails out to their firm, suggesting articles to share with just one click.
To sum things up, overlooking the marketing and business development potential of your firm’s staff is a fatal misstep, resulting in missed opportunities to generate more leads and propagate your firms’ reputation. Now is the time to empower your staff to become authentic marketing and business development advocates.