Many attorneys I talk with want to know if social media will deliver real value for the investment in time and effort that it takes to develop and implement a social media marketing program.
Here is what I tell them:
Social media will help you build trust, but it will not make a “bad” reputation better. Social media is a meritocracy – if you’re good, people will know it. Conversely, a bad experience will also get talked about. Building trust is crucial for attorneys, and social media helps you build trust by providing a robust platform for sharing your particular insights and knowledge. Once people trust that, they will use you and recommend you to others.
Social media will get you leads, but it will not turn them into paying clients. People who follow you on Twitter, are a fan of you on Facebook or interact with you in any way on a social network have indicated an interest in what you have to say. These are leads. To capitalize on them and turn them into paying clients, however, requires effort on your part in following up.
Social media will give you visibility, but it will not replace a good client experience. Social media is a 365/24/7 world, allowing you to engage with prospects at any time, and they with you. You must be vigilant about responding to posts and questions the same way you would in responding to a prospect that calls or emails you. Every point of contact is an opportunity to make a great impression.
Social media is the fastest way to build your sphere of influence, but it won’t happen overnight. Your sphere of influence is defined as how many people know (1) who you are, (2) who you help, and (3) why you are different. If you only have 20 people who know enough about you to send you the right referrals, then you are severely limited in how much you will be able to grow your practice. Social media is a long-term play, and you need to commit to spending the time and money (either yours or hiring someone else) to achieve success.