Social media offers an effective and ethical means for law firms to maintain relationships with their existing and new clients. However there are some dangers of social media for law firms if they just hire a social media firm without complying with the rules stipulated by the bar association to regulate attorney advertising and solicitation.
Lack of resources is a risk that makes lawyers reluctant to use social media. To effectively use the social media, law firms need to update their networks on their working days and effectively use their mobile devices. With more than 200 million business people communicating on social media networks, there is a lot of potential business to acquire here.
Law firms need to create a pre-determined strategy to wholeheartedly embrace social media which should include how they plan to maximize cross selling opportunities and what to develop relationships with their target audience. Loss of strategy leads to lack of results and consequent lack of engagement. This consequential lack of engagement leads to poorly maintained profiles that may create as much damage to your reputation than not having any presence at all.
Another danger of social media for law firms occurs when more than one person in your firm does things like tweeting, posting on your LinkedIn company page and sharing updates on Facebook and Google.
It is important that the tone used to engage the audience is consistent and that the individual personalities of people posting do not supersede the personality of the law firm. An inconsistent tone can project the wrong message to the audience and lead to conflict and confusions about your brand.
Absence of Brand
It is always important that the law firm know what their brand stands for before using social media. While the larger organizations have brand manuals that ensure and control the values, mission and vision of the firm while engaging clients and prospects, smaller firms may not have the luxury of having anyone create and ensure stakeholders know their brand manual. Not knowing your brand only leads to your promoting the wrong message through your social media network.
No social media policy
Always keep your legal risks and liability in mind while using the social media. Do not go to much in detail and always be aware of the terms and conditions attached to the various social media platforms you use them with your professional responsibilities while communicating.
This is why law firms have a social media policy for their partners and staff. If you do not have such a policy, make sure you discuss this with your leaders and document the discussion to prevent any possible social media risks to the law firm.
So basically, social media for law firms is a part of online legal marketing with lots of offers. However they also have lots of risks that waste your time and money, and may also risk your running afoul of the state bar association regarding the attorneys’ professional conduct.
Despite these financial and ethical risks of social media for law firm marketing, if the social media campaign and is well executed, it proves more beneficial than risky to your law firm.