Does social media lead to business?

Does social media activity really lead to new business? This question comes up quite frequently, along with its cousin, Why am I not seeing ANY results from my social media activity? Social media too often becomes a time-consuming, illusory activity that seems to promise results are just around the bend.

But some lawyers have cracked the code. I recently ran across an article titled The Social Law Firm Index 2016: Is Your Firm a Social Law Firm? which has some good tips based on a social media survey of the AmLaw 100. (If your firm is nowhere near the 100, don’t worry: the tips apply regardless of the size or type of firm.)

The whole article is worth reading, but let’s focus on the first “best practice”:

By remaining true to their primary business objectives and core brand messaging, social law firms are most effective at extending their reach and engaging with their target audience.
This sentence identifies four core aspects of effective social media use, each of which is implicated in any kind of successful business development activity:

  • Primary business objectives: You must have a business development strategy in place and a plan to execute it. Like any other activity, social media must fit within that strategy.

  • Core brand messaging: Having a clear brand-based message is important in any business development activity, but it’s critical in crowded social media communities. Otherwise, even if your “thought leadership” and educational efforts (two of the other identified best practices) hit their mark, your audience likely won’t remember what firm offered such helpful information.

  • Extending their reach: Effective social media activity is a way to appear in front of new people on a regular basis. Knowing whom you want to reach and what kind of content will catch the right attention is the heart of your business development strategy, and social media is one of the vehicles to use to make that happen. 
  • Engaging with their target audience: Social media is social, an opportunity to connect and engage with other users. It is not effective when used as a megaphone. Regardless of the particular platform that you’re using, your plan needs to include a way to identify individuals strategically and to connect with them in a way that moves an online relationship into offline conversation.

There’s a lot more to this article (much of it more granular that the report’s initial point), so please do read it if social media use is any part of your marketing plan. If you aren’t getting the results you want, you will likely be able to self-diagnose what’s missing.

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