Guest post from Gayle Weiswasser, VP TMG Strategies with a event recap of the Networking for Law Firms 102
Last month,Dallas LawrenceVice President of Digital Media at Levick Strategic Communications and I (Gayle Weiswasser, Vice President, TMG Strategies ) spoke on a panel for lawyers sponsored by Grow Smart Business.
Our planned topic that morning: “Social Networking for Law Firms 102,” and specifically how lawyers can help clients use social media in times of crisis to get their messages out proactively. The crowd was made up mostly of lawyers and law firm marketing professionals, and while we did talk about crisis communications,some of the discussion also centered around how law firms can use their own social media – websites, topic-specific blogs, and even Twitter accounts, to attract clients and manage their own reputations.
As Dallas recommended, using keywords and search engine optimization on each page of a law firm website can help generate business simply by including strategic descriptions of practice areas and attorney expertise. Dallas also recommends that law firm HR departments “friend” their attorneys, so that they can see how the firm is being represented on social networks. We talked about some of the key points to consider when advising clients how to use social media to protect their reputation in a crisis:
(1) have a social media presence and a crisis plan in place in advance of the crisis;
(2) be willing to respond, engage, apologize, reassure and explain, for as long as it takes;
(3) don’t forget to engage your employees, who can become brand messengers; and
(4) use all of the tools (social and traditional) at your disposal to amplify your message.
Here are some other points that were raised on our panel:
Generally, bloggers write about what they are passionate about.
Helping clients engage in dialogue with social media on topics of shared interest can be very rewarding for both parties.
There are many tools available to clients trying to monitor what’s being said about them online. Google Alerts, BackTweet, Tweetdeck, and Tweetbeep are examples of free social media monitoring tools that can help track client names and issues, and provide instant notification of relevant discussions. Social media is also an excellent way to research jury pools and community opinion on issues related to litigation. There is no one tool that provides a silver bullet for communication today – clients need to be engaged in traditional media as well as different kinds of social media in order to reach their intended audiences.
Many thanks to Steptoe & Johnson LLP for hosting the panelGoogle+