Developing a Social Media Plan

Increasingly clients are asking for assistance in maximizing their social media profile.  While social media is an important aspect of a comprehensive public relations program, it should be used to build on the larger initiatives and goals your Marketing Department sets and not done as a separate effort.

Below is a copy of a plan that I developed for a former client and incorporates both social media and website enhancements with a focus on improved engagement and interactivity.

Some of the text refers to internal projects that were underway at the client’s firm when this was crafted, but this sample gives you an idea as to what to expect.

DIGITAL & SOCIAL MEDIA CAMPAIGN

Per the request of the Social Media Committee, what follows are recommended strategies and tactics to execute a digital campaign to launch an official social media program at the Firm. All of the recommended ideas below would help build on the following Firm marketing goals as laid out and approved in the Firm’s 2013 PR & Communications plan:

  • Help elevate our profile
  • Drive traffic to our website
  • Secure more thought-leadership media interviews
  • Foster and encourage more direct interaction and communications with our clients
  • Demonstrate that we are progressive and on par with or ahead of the curve among our competitors

Launch a “Thought-Leadership” Blog
While we recognize that subject or practice-specific blogs would be ideal, neither the lawyers nor the Business Development team are quite ready to commit to that concept.  At the same time, by doing nothing we are just falling further and further behind our competitors–and missing out every day on opportunities.

CCL department wants us to start doing cross-selling “thought-leadership” where lawyers from multiple practices provide their spin on things.

We have the Supreme Court write ups which we are posting to our website, but blog postings on these cases, as well as other current topics/developments, would really be more effective.

Emerging Trends Q&As still belong on our website, but trend “press releases” are better suited to postings. We pitched 69 different topics over the past quarter, nearly six different “stories” a week. Some do indeed get picked up by the traditional news outlets but several others don’t for a variety of reasons. All have been  pre-vetted and approved by the lawyers–so we already have tailor-made postings ready to go.

Multi-disciplinary blog:

  • Archived by industry and by practice so readers can only read the ones they are interested in
  • Allows us to encourage partners to write more often without the headache and huge time commitment to circulate client alerts
  • Encourages associates and counsel to learn how to write persuasively and analytically rather than just reciting facts
  • Hope is that once the partners see how easy it is to contribute something short, they actually will want to create practice or industry-specific blogs of their own
  • Both leadership and ethics committee have already signed off on this concept and we have an attractive layout ready to go

Create LinkedIn Spotlight Pages
Because Company pages are open to anyone who wants to join them, 18 months ago, I proposed the idea of using LinkedIn’s “Group” option, whereby lawyers could invite select clients and prospects to have an ongoing dialogue about an emerging issue or new regulation, but would allow us to limit entry of other firms, recruiters and other vendors who regularly inhabit our company page.

LinkedIn obviously saw the same potential I did and has subsequently created something called “Spotlight Pages” which would allow us to create audience-specific pages underneath our Company umbrella–essentially enabling us to do exactly what I proposed then, but maintain control over access.  Doing it under the Company umbrella would allow the PR team to still have oversight to make sure no one violated any ethics rules or made faux pas, but we could designate an associate or counsel as the administrator for each practice’s individual spotlight page so that he or she would be responsible for posting items and inviting others into the dialogue.

  • Sometimes we would simply start by asking a question, e.g. How do you feel about this Supreme Court session? Were there any cases you were particularly watching?
  • We might also draw on a statistic or story as a starting point for a conversation. This would not only allow our lawyers to have open discussions with each other, but allow our clients to get to know one another in a “safe” place since it would be invitation only.
  • Could also develop a Spotlight page just for our Women lawyers for networking and/or our lawyers of color

Create a LinkedIn ToolKit
A brief guide on how lawyers could use LinkedIn for networking and basic business development  purposes. It should not be lawyers primary way of building relationships–but only as a supplement.

  • Summary of benefits (and downsides) to LinkedIn
  • Overview on how to sign up for LinkedIn and create a profile
  • Ways to use LinkedIn
    • Lawyers should consider joining relevant groups and participating in the conversations
    • Lawyers should share regular updates with their personal group of contacts. Imagine the impact if, in addition to our PR team tweeting interesting articles, the lawyers shared them with their contacts in this way (by posting an update on their own page that appeared on their friend’s feeds)—perhaps not everything, but some things.
    • Before business pitches, or when considering new client prospects, spend just 15 minutes researching potential clients online. What is their background? What do they seem interested in? What are they commenting on? Are there mutual connections? If so, this should definitely be mentioned in the meeting (if not contacted in advance of the meeting)
  • Review of Ethics Committee’s Don’ts When Using LinkedIn
  • A list of relevant groups that lawyers may wish to join

Website Enhancements
Straw Polls
Ask a different question every two weeks on which people can vote on to drive traffic to the website.  Promote it via our Twitter and Facebook pages.

Interactive Legal Glossary (tie to launch of reskin)
Encourage reporters, clients and others to come to our Newsroom through the creation of an interactive legal glossary.  We would start with some of the more obscure legal and business terms and encourage site visitors to add terminology of their own and/or ask for clarification of a definition from one of our lawyers.

We would be the first law firm to offer this feature and it would help make us a destination site.

We would go beyond words that can be looked up in a legal dictionary to business terms that evolve such as “lipstick indicator,” “dead babies” and other financial services/Wall Street terms. (Idea came to me in 2008, when CDOs first became a term that was being bandied about and ever the most experienced journalists were still trying to understand them).

Could be a fun way to launch the reskin of the website–and encourage people to come look at it. .

Lawyer Video Profiles/Press Releases (this is the only element that would involve new costs)
A sort of digital “In Their Own Words” that would not be just for our women lawyers but any attorney who wanted people to get to know his/her philosophy/approach to the law.  Would help make our lawyers more personable and “real”–and in keeping with the less formal nature of our brand.

100th Anniversary Interactive Timeline
Research and writing already underway, but we need to start shooting video footage of older and retired partners now (have already put money aside for this in our budget). We need about six more weeks to finetune the write ups and then begin filming the various Special Counsel and Retired Partners to capture their memories before they get any older/vaguer.  Each would talk for no more than a minute about a major matter they worked on or reminisce about the early days of the firm.  Timeline posted to About Us section of website–when you click on certain dates on the timeline, the relevant video clip would pop up.

Other Digital
Interactive Business Cards
– As we are looking to grow the number of tech and biotech clients we serve, we need to communicate in a tech-savvy way. The cards could come “pre-loaded” with our  “At a Glance”  fact sheet and Breakthroughs brochure, but lawyers could then download whatever other promotional materials they deemed appropriate onto the cards, including a copy of their RFP or supplemental materials, as a leave behind.

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