In our post, Planning Your Strategy: The Smart Attorney’s Guide to Social Media, we covered the why, who, and where of an efficient social media plan. This post covers the what, when, and how of executing your social media strategy.
Creating your own content for social media, as well as each social media post, is not only an opportunity to show who you are and what you know, it is also a chance to create a personal connection with your audience.
Let your audience get to know who you are and put a human face to the work you do and your firm. This is not the time to be boring (and legal speak should be avoided) – just be you. This is where people can get to know who you are, what you stand for, and what expertise you have that others do not.
There are a variety of ways to create and share content on social media. The direction you take will be based on your target audience and what you want to accomplish. Select your content and tailor each post for the platform you are using. If you have a lot to say in your post, LinkedIn and Facebook may be your best option. If your post is very visual, Instagram may be the better choice.
Posts sharing the content you generate
The content you generate and share should be
- Educational, helping your audience to do their job
- Relevant, having an impact on their business
- Timely, meaning it is important now
- Novel, not having been shared widely by too many other sources
- Informative, teaching your audience more about who you are and what you do
When choosing which content to share on social media, a mix of short- and long-form content provides variety for your target audience and meets the different needs they experience at different times. One way to do this is to break up longer content into shorter pieces.
There are many options for generating your own content to use in social media posts, including:
- Blog posts
- General thought leadership
- White papers and guides
- Books and eBooks
- Polls, quizzes, and calculators
Posts utilizing content others generate
Your social media presence should not be all about you.
While sharing content you produce is important, it is equally important to share informative, interesting, and relevant content others produce. Doing this shows you are up to date with what is happening in your practice and in the business and community at large. Sharing someone else’s content that is related to the information you are sharing helps establish credibility with your audience.
Some examples of how you can share content others produce include sharing
- Posts from industry influencers
- Relevant data from reputable sources related to your practice
- Community outreach initiatives and other pro bono work
- Headlines and important information on new case law developments
Posts related to your participation in other people’s content and events
When building your brand, you should also post on social media when you are participating in other people’s content. Again, this reinforces relevance and builds credibility with your audience, establishing you as a subject matter expert.
Some examples of posts you should share include:
- Guest appearances on a podcast
- Published articles you authored
- Being featured in a blog post, video, or article
- Speaking engagements
- Media appearances
Adding visuals to your posts
They say a picture is worth 1,000 words, and Twitter only allows you to use 280 characters.
Including pictures and graphics in your social media posts attract people to your content and allows them to engage with it before they even start to read the text. Sometimes the visual is the entire post, such as with an infographic. Other times there may be graphics or screen grabs from the linked content that you can use.
Using graphics does not have to be daunting. There are plenty of free applications that allow you to customize and create graphics with professionally designed templates, such as my personal favorite, Canva. These tools don’t require extensive graphic design knowledge, simply a basic understanding of the various image sizes for the appropriate social platform and knowing where the files save on your computer.
Deciding when to post on social media
When you post depends on which platform you are using and the audience you are trying to reach.
Generally speaking, if your ideal client is a business professional, and you are targeting them on LinkedIn, your posts should be during heavy commuting windows, after lunch, and other natural breakpoints throughout the workday. (Although one could argue the current pandemic has thrown that cycle for a loop and really anytime is good right now.) If you are a DUI lawyer, posting on Facebook on Friday and Saturday nights might make the most sense. HubSpot has a helpful article on the best times to post on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.
Make sure you publish regularly, at a minimum twice a week. The more you publish, the more likely your content will be seen by your target audience, liked, and commented on. The algorithms used by social media platforms boosts content that has a lot of views, likes, and especially comments, surfacing your post to a wider audience and creating more opportunities for continued exposure.
One way to determine the best time to post on social media is to test it. Over several weeks or months, post your content at a variety of times. Track what you posted, and when, and how many views, likes, and comments each post received. From there, determine the best time to post to reach your goals. Schedule future posts to go live only within those windows. Products such as HubSpot or Hootsuite will allow you to schedule social media content now that will post at your designated time in the future.
Getting the most traction on social media
You have created the content, mapped out a social media plan, and scheduled your upcoming posts. Now what?
While the bulk of the work can be executed over a few hours once a month or once a quarter, it is imperative that you schedule time to check in on your social media platforms for at least for 15 minutes most days. Engage with the comments on your posts. Comment and like other’s posts. Reach out to a contact via direct message when an opportunity presents itself. Look for content to share that is relevant to the content you are currently scheduled to share or would be beneficial to your target audience.
Whether a prospect is referred to an attorney by a friend or finds one through an online search, smart consumers of legal services use social media platforms to vet attorneys before they pick up the phone or send an email. Smart attorneys who can master social media know the advantages of creating and fostering connections online while using the platform to reinforce their expertise in their chosen practice areas, which pays dividends down the road.
Are you looking for guidance on the next steps for your social media plan? LISI can help with that. Reach out to our team today.