As we enter the fourth quarter of 2016 many law firms are beginning to plan their communications expenditures for 2017. For many firms, assigning digital marketing dollars can become a stumbling block as new communication channels surface; a preferences for smaller screens dominates; and the universe of existing and potential clients continue to change.
These are important challenges to overcome. Long-term sustainability for many firms hinges on identifying and engaging the people who will comprise their client base over the next 30 years, and that begins with millennials. Adults ages 18-30 now outnumber baby boomers as the nation’s largest living generation (you can read more about reaching this important segment here).
Digital marketing makes reaching this changing audience relatively easy and cost-effective. For firms looking to allocate their digital dollars, here is a guide for building a 2017 digital marketing budget:
Maximize Firm and Individual LinkedIn Presence
A solid LinkedIn presence should be a given for law firms looking to deepen connections with professionals and referral sources. Standing out from the crowd through regular posting of firm and industry news creates content for sharing and positions the firm as a thought leader and a resource.
Individuals within the firm should be encouraged to have active LinkedIn accounts. LinkedIn trainings and regularly providing attorneys with shareable content are good ways to jumpstart member use.
Firms more already comfortable with LinkedIn should consider utilizing advanced tools. LinkedIn Pulse, the social platforms tailored news and publishing tool, allows individuals to publish original content that can be shared with fellow attorneys, referral sources and prospective clients while leading them back to a website. This is prime territory for repurposing past byline articles or blog posts, prefacing interesting articles with brief commentary, and creating new content that illustrates expertise in a specific area of the law.
The possibility of losing control over the message sends many law firms into a state of communications paralysis. Blogs are the answer. They offer the ability to take complete ownership and tell a story in its full form.
A law firm blog doesn’t necessarily have to be about law. For example, Bilzin Sumberg’s New Miami blog focuses on trending topics in South Florida while tying them back to the firm’s practice areas. By focusing on relevant news of interest to clients, the content “share-ability” and chances of being seen by target audiences increases.
Break Into Video
Online video viewing accounts for 50% of all mobile traffic and the numbers continue to rise. As Facebook continues its quest to surpass YouTube video views, the social media platform’s algorithm pushes video to more users than any other form of content. Whether live, short- or long-form, video will be a critical component for any law firms 2017 marketing plan.
But, avoid the talking heads. Instead focus on telling a story. A tour of an attorney’s office while she explains her practice, shows off a favorite piece of office decor and points to a family photo when discussing what motivates her will gain more traction a video of the same attorney sitting in a chair.