The savviest social media marketers only craft social media posts with a strategic mindset to support their firms’ and their lawyers’ business development efforts. I always say that if the post doesn’t support your firm’s strategic goals, immediately abort mission.
Now, that being said, not every post you create should solely focus on your firm’s work and its substantive news, events and publications – that can make your firm seem dry and devoid of personality and heart.
...if the post doesn’t support your firm’s strategic goals, immediately abort mission.
Firms should also showcase their “softer” side, which can support their business development efforts as well, because clients want to see that their outside counsel has multidimensions to their firm.
Showcasing the softer side of your law firm humanizes your firm and makes your lawyers more relatable. For example, intersperse posts about firm life, pro bono and community service activities, as well as profiles on current lawyers and alumni, and photos from firm events depicting individuals at the firm engaging with each other socially.
Why does soft content do so well?
Simply put, soft content posts do well because they bring to life law firms and the people who work at them, and they demonstrate the firm as a good corporate citizen, which makes clients feel better about what they are spending on their outside counsel.
...soft content posts do well because they bring to life law firms and the people who work at them
Also, your clients care about diversity, pro bono, and their community, and they want to know that their outside law firms do too.
In addition, soft content posts can be a powerful recruiting and retention tool.
The ongoing value of soft content
We all know that it’s not always easy to generate a steady stream of content (which supports the idea of staying top of mind with those contacts in your network who may need someone like you through consistent touchpoints).
Those of us who work at small- and mid-size firms know that it can be even harder to have something smart to say often. And whether you are creating original content of your own or sharing others’ content, the key is to always post content that is value-added, helpful and demonstrative of your uniqueness on a consistent basis.
The reason for this is twofold – 1) you will help to build your brand and become seen as a subject-matter expert; and 2) you will be top of mind when someone in your network has a matter that fits your background and expertise.
All that being said, sometimes there days where you just don’t have a whole lot to say, but as we know, it’s imperative to stay on a consistent content posting schedule.
Incorporate holidays into your social strategy
I have a few tricks up my sleeve to share with you on what to do so that you always have fresh content. It just takes a little creativity on how to bring to life your firm’s “softer” side. You can file this away under the “what to say when you have nothing to say” content umbrella (or your evergreen/owned media strategy). This can strengthen your brand, lead to new business and the best news – it will make your lawyers very happy. For more ideas on implementing an evergreen content strategy at your firm, read my JD Supra article, "What to Do When You Run Out of Things to Say - Your How-To Guide to Creating an Evergreen Content Strategy."
So how can you do this at your firm?
Take full advantage of the many holidays that pop up throughout the year and build them into your social media strategy.
Featuring major holidays is a no brainer, such as the upcoming Fourth of July holiday (see post idea), but lesser known holidays (more on those later) can also make for great social media posts, allowing you to showcase your uniqueness.
Using the holidays in your social strategy is a clever way to outshine your peers. You can demonstrate that you are a good corporate citizen and show that your firm and your lawyers have a bit of personality. It can get very monotonous and dry to constantly post about your victories, events and firm news.
...show that your firm and your lawyers have a bit of personality.
For example, at my current firm, Tarter Krinsky & Drogin, we created a social media campaign focused on Women’s History Month where we highlighted the women at the firm (lawyers and staff – which was awesome) and their backgrounds (using visuals that we had repurposed and reused – their headshots) all throughout the month of March.
We featured interviews with each of the women on their tips for success and their career paths. We also encouraged each of the women to share the interviews to social media in order to tap into their powerful professional networks (tip: always remember to encourage your lawyers to share posts to their own networks on LinkedIn or else you will be missing out on reaching important contacts in their valuable personal contacts!).
Another firm at which I worked had a large population of veterans and saluted them (using pictures of them in uniform) on Veterans Day. You could do the same for just about any holiday – Lunar New Year, Fourth of July, Pride month, New Year’s Day, Thanksgiving, Administrative Professionals Day, the Super Bowl, MLK Day, National Donut Day – you name it. Get creative! Depending on your firm, you could have some fun with National Selfie Day on social media by encouraging your summer associates and other employees at the firm to share their selfies to Twitter or Instagram – remember, certain social channels work better for certain posts – some of the lighter content is more appropriate for the channels that are more casual.
Include custom imagery; it's easy as...
Every holiday is an opportunity to do something creative and differentiating on social media. At the very least, you can easily create and post a custom image to your social media channels using my favorite online graphic design tool for non-graphic designers, Canva.com. This terrific site, which has an accompanying app, enables you to create perfectly sized graphics for social.
Canva has many already designed templates in which you can just upload a photo, your logo and text and depending on your membership, you can gain access to their robust stock image library as well, which is very useful when trying to add visual interest to a post. It’s a great graphic design tool for firms with a limited budget or marketing professionals without a lot of time.
Every holiday is an opportunity to do something creative and differentiating on social media...
Some other things to consider when using holidays as part of your social media strategy:
- Use trending hashtags: Popular and relevant hashtags can extend the reach of your firm and its lawyers on key social media networks. If your content is great and if you use them, your firm can attract more followers during and after the holiday. A great (and free!) online tool to help you find trending hashtags is hashtagify.me. Try it and you’ll thank me later!
- Get involved with the community. Don’t forget that many holidays are also about community. So find ways to get involved as a firm or even in a smaller group with colleagues on a holiday in a parade (such as for Fourth of July), community event or for a charitable cause. If you can team up with a client or prospect, even better!
- Calendar it: When you create your content calendar for the quarter, think about how you can incorporate holidays into your posting schedule. If you don’t have a lot going on in a particular month, find a holiday that will engage with your target audiences. In a sea of 200 top law firms and another 200 mid-size firms, anything unique and creative that you can do to stand out will help to differentiate your firm. Remember to schedule your social posts in advance using tools such as Clearview Social, Hootsuite or SproutSocial so that you can enjoy the holiday yourself! These kinds of tools enable you to pick the time and date of when you’d like your content to go live.
Now kick back and enjoy!
I'd love to see the graphics you create, so please do reach out and share them.
[Stefanie Marrone helps law firms effectively tell their stories and find their unique voices. Over the last 17 years, she has worked with some of the most prominent and innovative law firms in the world, developing and executing global revenue generating business development and communications strategies, including media relations, branding, and multichannel content marketing and social media campaigns. She is very passionate about using social media for lead generation and brand building. She has a diverse range of experience in both Big Law and mid-size/small-law firms. Connect with her on LinkedIn and follow her latest writing on JD Supra as well as her blog The Social Media Butterfly.]