Law firms should stop dragging their feet in sharing what they know, says Adam Elgar of Passle, the professional services content marketing platform.
Recent research by Passle shows that the UK’s top 200 law firms produced less than 31,000 pieces of knowledge last year. That’s around half a piece of content created for every lawyer. With strong evidence to suggest that knowledge or ‘thought leadership’, when done well, can significantly raise profile and build and strengthen brands, leading to stronger client relationships and new revenue building opportunities – B2B companies that blog generate 67 per cent more leads than those that don’t, for example – it could be said that this is a significant opportunity lost.
The biggest barrier to creating content is time, and the lack of it. I haven’t met a lawyer yet who’s said: 'Well, not much on today, think I’ll spend a few hours writing an article or a blog.' Thankfully, sharing insightful commentary quickly and efficiently is where social media comes into its own, offering subject matter experts the opportunity to share their knowledge in less time than it would take them to think of the heading for a new article.
Yet the top 200 also lag way behind in using this medium, having fewer than 360,000 Twitter followers between them, which is 150,000 less than One Direction’s Niall Horan’s one-year-old nephew!
With all evidence suggesting that firms that regularly share thought provoking insight and knowledge on social media generate a greater amount of leads – after all, interesting content is one of the top three reasons people follow brands on social media platforms – it could be said they are missing a trick.
In the know
What is shared must, of course, come from those with the right experience and insight or it won’t be worth the paper – virtual or otherwise – it’s written on. Understanding the impact of new legislation, ensuring people remain on the right side of the law, or simply enabling clients to be better informed, is best shared by someone in the know.
And there are times when the quicker your target audience is armed with the right knowledge, the better it will be for them, so social media is the perfect way to get that message out, and fast.
As to the challenge of getting lawyers to use social media – what is often seen as unfamiliar territory – there is good news. In our experience, you can excite, encourage and build confidence in those unfamiliar with the benefits and ease of using social media and help them share their expertise. Here’s how:
• Show them the money
It would be difficult to find any business person, lawyer or otherwise, to ignore a business generating opportunity. There’s plenty of research out there to demonstrate the impact on the bottom line, such as 78 per cent of small businesses that attract new customers through social media and the number of large companies (60%) that have acquired customers through Twitter.
• Have an approval process in place
Of course, every public platform opportunity needs careful thought, and social media is no exception. Having a good – but instant – approval process is critical to making people feel relaxed about creating commentary.
• Create a buzz
Create peer to peer competitions, which can be a great way to inject a competitive spirit as well as reduce the fear of creating social media posts as posters are only thinking about their immediate circle, not the millions who could potentially read them. It also helps to legitimise the act of creating posts: “If my colleagues are doing it, then so can I.”
• Make it simple
Choose one platform for experts to use to reduce the amount of time doing promotion and not fee paying work. The insight can then be replicated again and again on all the platforms by the PR and marketing teams.
• Make it easy
The platform you choose should play to an experts’ strengths. Professional services experts like to use their own voice, meaning: using a platform that enables them to use their own style of language (jargon free of course!); have the flexibility of a good amount of words (although not too many, this is social media after all); and, importantly, to be able to use full and proper language, and that includes punctuation.
At the end of the day, being able to respond to topical issues and share further insight quickly, effectively and widely is where social media comes into its own, and offers the opportunity to build profiles, establish brands and win business.
When even busy lawyers see the bottom line benefits of creating commentary on social media, and feel comfortable doing it, there will be no stopping them, and new clients will roll in.
The top 200 law firms can see how they benchmark against competitors for number of knowledge pieces published online, as well as obtain their overall score and ranking, by requesting a free report at www.rankmyfirm.com.
Adam Elgar is co-founder of Passle, the content marketing platform for professional services firms