Social media failings

Social media has been around for well over a decade, yet despite how well known all the different social media platforms are, professional business owners are still having trouble successfully utilising them for their own gain.

When it comes to law and accountancy firms, Facebook, Twitter and other sites can be extremely useful tools to engage with their existing clients, and also attract new potential clients into their fold, but only if they are approaching it in the right way.

Many firms have for a long time considered social media as a second string to their marketing efforts, and will often palm the work off to junior staff to deal with, because more experienced members of staff still consider it a waste of their talents.

Top issues

Here are some of the top issues experienced in law and accounting firms today:

Many firms will say that, ‘Social media does not work within our sector,’  or ‘We cannot see how using it will benefit our firm,’ and even, ‘Oh, we tried it, but it didn’t work.’ These examples should be looked at as a negative approach – a ‘can’t do’ attitude with very closed minds to the potential they are missing out on.

What a lot of professional firms don’t seem to realise is that social media is here to stay. It is taking over from, and replacing more traditional forms of advertising and marketing, such as newspapers and magazines. But social engagement is not as straight forward as simply running a series of adverts, and expecting customers to roll in as a result. In the right hands it can be a powerful business tool, but it has to be handled properly.

Some law and accountancy bosses can have confused objectives over the use of social media. Failing to recognise that the very nature of social media is to establish long-term, ongoing relationships with their existing clients as well as engage with new ones. The long-term goal that they should be looking at is to increase conversions through ongoing conversations and engagement, rather than constantly blasting out sales pitches with little to zero results.

For a traditional business sector such as law and accountancy, it can sometimes be difficult for firms to understand the benefits or getting involved with social media. Many view it as a time drain with very little return for their effort. While there is value in using social media to communicate with their existing clients, quite often firms are missing out on the advantages it can have within their own business amongst their own employees.

Internal social media networks such as Yammer and Chatter can offer employees a simple way to collaborate with their work colleagues, to share information, communicate and contribute, and to work on collective projects together to achieve a better outcome.

Firms are worried about the risks. Engaging in social media can open up a professional firm to possible risks including client confidentiality, human resource issues, and even activities that may be damaging to their hard-won reputation. While the risks may be there, with a proper understanding of how social media works, and having in place a sound social media policy that all staff understand and follow, a firm can reduce risks to an absolute minimum.

Many firms will have extremely busy periods where they cannot afford to dedicate the manpower towards maintaining their social presence. They believe it is far to difficult to automate messaging for these busy times, especially as social media desires personalised and topical content over generic posts, and that any efforts put into their social media sites will have been wasted if they cannot post regularly, or what they post is not very relevant.

What these firms are failing to see is that if they want to attract potential leads, and earn more conversions, their staff need to create more content than ever before to keep bringing in the custom that is going to be keeping them busy in the future. If a law and accountancy firm fails to keep up their social presence, their work may well start to dry up, and that will seriously affect their bottom line.

Yes, social media can be quite labour-intensive, and many fee earning staff will be reluctant to write regular blog posts or create content for the company Facebook page, if it means taking them away from their perceived ‘paid work’. What managers need to do is to invest more of their budget into social media content creation, either in the form of hiring in staff specifically to do this for the firm, or to outsource their content creation to third-parties who are better equipped to deal with this on behalf of the firm. Third-party content creation sites will have the creative skills to make any piece of dry sounding legislation change into something useful and interesting for your clients.

Another excuse often used is that of having a poor company website. A firm may chose to become more pro-active with social media, and go out of their way to successfully develop their activity that brings in plenty of visitors from social media to their website, only to offer the visitor a very poor site that leaves them confused and switched off.

If their destination website is of poor quality, it will do your company more harm than good. It would help enormously if the firm undertook some customer testing of their website to highlight the problem areas, and have them fixed as quickly as possible. The ultimate aim of your website is to increase the conversion rates of your visitors coming from social media and turn them into paying clients.

Conclusion

To make social media work for you, your firm first needs to have the right social media strategies in place. Law and accountancy firms should not treat this as a place for a hard-sell, but rather tailor their engagement for the soft-sell of building your reputation and establishing trust and recognition of your brand.

Are you ready to build a deeper relationship with your clients? Speak to us about learning how to do your social media the right way. Contact us today:

Call us on 0203 773 9137 or email info@creativeharmony.co.uk Contact us today for an informal, no obligation, chat to see how we can help you.

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