Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, personal blogs—the list of social media platforms grows more expansive by the day. As important as these networks are to legal practices, few attorneys feel like they have sufficient time to maintain their pages, especially since success seems to demand hours of daily attention. Many lawyers who relish the opportunity to expand their client base, connect with other attorneys, and market their firms nevertheless find themselves only checking their accounts sporadically or opting to forego several platforms.
Thankfully, new automation tools, along with some productivity strategies, enable attorneys to maintain an active presence on all the important networking sites without sacrificing valuable business hours. Using the following tips, you can optimize your efficiency on social media, so you spend less time managing your sites while reaching more people in your target audience.
Centralize Your Social Media
We’ve all been there. Just when you’re feeling accomplished for faithfully posting Twitter updates every day for a week, you realize that you haven’t touched LinkedIn since you set up your profile. Even for attorneys balancing multiple clients and cases, the sheer number of social media sites can feel impossible to manage. The answer? Centralizing.
Hootsuite is a web-based social media management tool that allows you to post updates simultaneously to multiple networking sites. You simply add your accounts and access them through Hootsuite’s dashboard. Instead of retyping content for every single profile—not to mention remembering and opening all of the accounts you’ve got going—you can simply make a single update and let Hootsuite distribute it.
Followers and fans of your accounts will expect consistent updates, but this expectation can be almost impossible to meet. Everyone gets overwhelmed at work, but your social media presence does not have to suffer just because you’ve been bombarded with other tasks. You can generate a cache of scheduled updates in your spare time and rest assured knowing that your sites are being kept active in your absence. Many social media tools offer this important feature. Dlvr.it and Buffer are just two examples of management programs that allow users to schedule updates to their various sites in advance.
Lawyers with active blogs will also appreciate dlvr.it’s automated content distribution. You can set dlvr.it to distribute a notice about your blog content to your social media sites instead of manually adding the links yourself. With dlvr.it, a new blog entry means you have a tweet, a Facebook post, even a Tumblr update. When it comes to social media management, the more tasks you can automate and schedule, the better.
Keep to a Schedule
The scheduling features offered by automation tools can only take you part of the way. Your fans, followers, clients, and friends will still expect you to answer their questions and participate in conversations. Original posts are only half the battle; the rest of your time on social media can be spent strengthening connections through some back-and-forth communication. The best way to ensure that you are keeping up is to develop a social media schedule.
Add a few minutes of social media to the time you usually spend checking your email. Open up your sites right before or right after lunch. As you are heading out of the office for the day, respond to a few likes or comments. Your social media schedule doesn’t have to be overwhelming. A few minutes squeezed in here and there can make you an absolute posting juggernaut, and your network will appreciate your activity.
Post on Relevant Topics
Since these are effectively your business marketing sites, you will be adhering to professional content. That much is easy. Knowing what’s going to grab the interest of your target audience takes a little more thought. You can stay on top of trends in your field by monitoring keywords using Google Alerts or Hootsuite. Was a well-known case recently litigated? Has a relevant article just been published? When you can post content that takes part in a current conversation, you will be able to generate more traffic to your site and more interest in your practice.
Additionally, tools like MeetEdgar can help you recycle posts that did not get enough initial attention. Because many people stagger checking social media, a fantastic update from you might be buried before it can be noticed. MeetEdgar can monitor those posts and put them back up—hopefully with the result of generating the proper buzz.
The Bottom Line: Management Tools and Good Habits
More and more attorneys are using social media platforms to develop their practices. The question now is not whether social media can be practically useful for lawyers, but how lawyers can efficiently maintain their online presence through these networks. Thankfully, the automation tools mentioned in these tips, in conjunction with the habit of regularly checking your accounts for a few minutes at a time, can keep you up to date and active. A little bit of preemptive planning, centralizing, automating, and scheduling can make your social media presence run like a well-oiled machine.