How do you use social media to add value to existing initiatives in your practice/firm?
How can you best use social media in a professional services firm?
Two questions I’m regularly asked by BD and marketing professionals working in professional services firms are:
“How do we best use social media?”
“How do we find the time for it?”
I can totally relate to these. Social media can feel like one more thing to add into your already busy day.
A great way to start is to think about how one, or a combination, of these tools could increase the effectiveness of an existing initiative or make it quicker or easier for you to achieve a specific objective.
Here’s an example:
What we did
When I was marketing manager in a law firm, one of our corporate practice’s goals was to build more and stronger relationships at board level, both to generate work at that level and to raise the firm’s profile to ensure board members would be comfortable should management decide to hire the firm.
As a result, we held a corporate governance symposium and invited numerous ‘captains of industry’ along.
Following the session, one of our partners drafted a White Paper largely based on discussion and feedback at the event, which was given to all Board Members on our database as well as specific journalists.
What could we have done if we were doing it all over again today?
It was a great initiative and it worked well for the firm. However, if that was today, we could have done so much more such as:
>Used LinkedIn to identify other key company directors to invite
>Used Twitter, LinkedIn etc. to help with the research
>Invited people through the platforms or run promoted/sponsored content informing them about the event that would appear in their newsfeed/stream.
>Offered the Whitepaper as a download through our team’s individual accounts, our company page and via promoted/sponsored updates. >The whitepaper could possibly have been offered as gated content company directors could download in return for signing up to a ‘Board Table’ newsletter (allowing us to keep in touch with them on an ongoing basis).
>Published a summary of the whitepaper to our blog or website and directly to LinkedIn and then promoted this in relevant groups asking a question to drive discussion.
>Interviewed the relevant partners and put together a video and audio, which could be posted on YouTube, iTunes etc. and shared via social networks. Alternatively we could have held a Google+ Hangout or Hangout on Air.
>Used LinkedIn and Twitter to identify and reach out to relevant journalists.
>Sent a summary of the whitepaper to journalists and company directors – social networks would have made this process easier because we could have used tools such as Inmail to send it to those people who were previously unknown to the firm along with a smart intro setting out why we were sending it and the benefit to the other person of reading it.
>Set up a LinkedIn group for corporate governance issues and invited people to sign up for it at the event – via tablets they could log into.
>Live tweeted from the event.
>Set up a Corporate Governance tweet chat – if we found sufficient directors were using the tool and/or a regular forum to discuss issues e.g. via a Google+ hangout.
The point is, this initiative was incredibly successful, but it could have been even more so had we been able to use social tools as part of our tactics. At the very least, a LinkedIn group would have enabled the firm to sustain the momentum over the long term.
So, rather than thinking of social media as an additional task, think about how you can use it to make your job easier and improve a particular outcome. I guarantee it will be worth it.