To me, social media is habitual, like brushing my teeth in the morning. Checking all the different platforms for updates, comments, likes etc. However, to some people and firms, social media is almost alien, and this would be expected if it’s not something that you are actively using or have no interest in. This article’s aim is to outline the advantages, disadvantages, and any “grey area” for social media.
Social media is free. Apart from needing internet connection/ data on your phone then all standard account platforms are free to use. For your business this is a bonus – free digital advertising? Perfect. The only effort needed is someone behind the screen actively creating content to post with some eye-catching captions.
Connectivity. If you have old clients that you’re trying to re-connect with, then it’s the easiest way of tracking them down. If an old client had a positive experience with you or your firm, then the likelihood of them connecting with you and promoting your firm can be high.
Updates with what is happening globally. The days have gone where you need to switch on the news first thing in the morning to see what major event has happened overnight, now you can watch TikToks of people who are live where these events are taking place. This is positive for your firm, as you may not be aware of changes that are happening, such as the UK Sanctions list being shared on LinkedIn – this may not generate business for you necessarily but will be a reminder that your firm’s AML PCP’s need an update. This is convenient for your firm, as you can see what information is trending and update office manuals accordingly.
Driving traffic to your website. Social media is free to use, but web design is not. So, using your free social media platforms to drive traffic to your website is a bonus. Why post content online if this isn’t converting into sales/ clients for you? Your firm can use social media to drive potential customers to your website, which hopefully will then spark some interest, and consequently end in an enquiry.
You can target your audience. If you have a certain service that you’re looking to develop, then you can specifically reach an audience you probably didn’t even know existed who are looking for the services you provide. In terms of a legal firm, if you’re specifically looking for a certain type of client, and that client is searching for similar things to what you provide, then you’re more likely to come across one another in an online group/ social media platform. An example of this would be a residential conveyancing Solicitor joining a ‘houses for sale locally’ group on LinkedIn, this is an ideal group to join, as you are looking for your potential client, and your potential client is looking for a Solicitor to deal with their housing transaction.
Open to judgement. Particular care is needed when posting on social media, as in today’s society, a seemingly innocuous post could be interpreted as something offensive. You are opening yourself or your firm up to potential criticism as anyone can comment on your posts or share your content with their own opinions. So, tread carefully…
Addictive. Social media can become addictive, for example, if your firm has had a healthy number of enquiries via social media platforms one week, then the following week you are actively expecting the same, however this may not always be the case. This then becomes a vicious cycle of posting content in the hope of attracting new clients. It’s also important to note the individual managing your social media sites should have some time away from their screen as it is important for their mental health.
Competition. Your firm can most definitely target your ideal audience on social media platforms, which is a big advantage for a business. However, your competitors can also target you. They can actively follow your content, copy your ideas etc. I think we’ve all been in a position where we’ve searched for our competitors online, or on social media accounts, but please be mindful that certain platforms notify that person that you have viewed their account.
Effective tool for online bullying. Social media can be a dangerous place, as you’re opening yourself and your business to any criticism. We’ve all heard the term “keyboard warriors.” This refers to anyone who would never criticise an individual or organisation in person but is quite happy to do so from behind the safety of their computer keyboard.
It is possible to mitigate criticism from this type of person, by inputting protective measures for your business’ accounts, such as setting your account to ‘private’, filtering who is following you/ who you are following.
Any firm deciding to use social media, must introduce a “social media policy” to ensure that the firm only benefits from its use. Such policies may include: ensuring that all social media content is approved prior to posting etc. It is vitally important that all personnel in the firm are aware of, and understand any social media policy and limitations and authorisations for its use.
“Don’t use social media to impress people; use it to impact people.”- Dave Willis, Writer.
According to a recent study ‘Digital 2023: Global overview report’ conducted by DataReportal, 25.9% of users of social media accounts are finding products to purchase. Along with 23.4% using them to share and discuss their opinions with others. Considering these statistics, your firm could be the service that they are seeking, or the topic of discussion online.
So, get involved.
If your firm is looking to increase their social media activity but need some help in formulating a strategy, contact us if your firm is interested.
Empowering Law Firm Leaders: How to build a high-performing leadership team
File Reviews and their increasing importance in relation to SRA Regulatory Compliance
Effective performance management for smaller law firms