Why are Professional Services firms so late to the social media party? Many are cautious to embrace the power of social media, fearing reputational risk. Others believe that moving away from “traditional” modes of marketing and business development will result in a waste of time and effort. Concern and confusion over who, within a practice, will manage any social media presence, together with a lack of expertise has stifled any progress towards harnessing the power of social media for professional services firms.
However, the truth is that modern-day clients want authenticity and personality. They require a higher level of transparency from their law firm, consulting agency or other professional services firm.
People want to do business with people, not businesses, requiring you to humanise both your business and your brands as much as possible. Social media gives you the opportunity to do just that by interacting and engaging with an audience. After all, if your clients and prospects are already using it, shouldn’t you be? Many professional services firms rely on the two “R” s- relationships and reputation. Long-term relationships are built with clients based on their reputation, via their credibility and their integrity. These traits are just asking to be shouted about on social media!
So, how do you implement social media into your practice’s marketing? Here are five tips for social media success:
Social media for professional services firms:
Show the people behind the business.
Every good business recognises their people as their best assets. Show your audience not just “what” you are, but “who” you are. Post news about new employees joining the practice, awards won, community involvement and volunteer work. Engage with your audience by commenting and sharing others’ posts. Share insights, tips, nuggets of easily actionable knowledge which is relevant or of interest to your target audience.
Have team members write blog posts relevant to their specific area of expertise. If these include keywords or phrases, then they will be indexed by Google and help your practice website be found against any relevant search.
Strive to continue establishing credibility by concentrating on providing entertaining, useful and valuable content. Remember that the Pareto Principal applies to your social media content – 80% of entertaining, inciteful, educational content and a mere 20% of promotional material. This will ensure your audience stay engaged and come back for more!
Position yourself as industry experts. Demonstrate your knowledge and how you stand out against your competitors without overt sales, sales, sales. Your audience will come to recognise you as thought-leaders and experts in that niche and turn to you when they require assistance.
In addition, remember it’s not all about you! Share content that is interesting, valuable, specific and relevant to your audience, but always give credit to the original source!
LinkedIn is the professional platform of choice. Where else could you find your clients, your prospects, your colleagues and your competitors in one place? It gives the opportunity for networking and referrals, so build your connections and encourage your colleagues to do the same to shape a strong firm identity.
Ensure your profile is “All Star” (Linkedin’s term for 100% complete) and then start connecting with existing clients, or other people that you know or have done business with. Join groups to demonstrate your expertise and, again, it’s all about engagement. By including your resume in your profile, you have an additional opportunity to tell your audience what you can do.
Once you have a personal LinkedIn profile, you should create a Company page, with links to every employee’s individual profile.
LinkedIn Pulse is an in-house equivalent of a blog and allows you to publish longer articles than a 600-character maximum post. At the time of writing, LinkedIn does not allow these to be posted from company pages, only personal profiles.
Because Google indexes LinkedIn content, your posts are likely to be seen by a wider audience than the content on your website.
Hire an expert
Success in social media for professional services firms can be summed up in one word: Consistency. It is no use spending valuable time creating content but only posting occasionally. Whichever platform(s) you decide to use, consistency in content, in posting and in branding are the key.
However, devoting the requisite time to your social media accounts can be a real stumbling block. This is, after all, time that could be spent fee-earning, and social media often suffers because of this.
Outsourcing your social media to a social media manager is the perfect solution for many. Your accounts are updated to a pre-agreed schedule and results measured, ensuring you obtain the best ROI. This allows you to get on with what you do best, providing your clients with that 5-star service.
Utilising social media for professional services firms offers the potential key to increasing awareness, demonstrating experience and wealth of knowledge and positioning the firm’s individual practitioners as thought- leaders. You demonstrate to your clients that you are a modern, forward-thinking firm, client-focused and working to enrich the client experience through social technology.
If you would like assistance in managing your social media, then please get in touch. I work with a number of professional services firms and support them with everything social media, from creating a strategy and social media plan, through to curating and creating content and analysing metrics to ensure your profiles are working for you in the best possible way. Please feel free to contact me for a no-obligation discussion on how I can help. Alternatively, connect with me on LinkedIn here.