Traditional public relations campaigns have always been about raising awareness and influencing opinion through media placements. With the rise of social media, the PR landscape has changed dramatically, and digital engagement has become an essential part of every PR strategy. With social media platforms reaching virtually every demographic globally, social media is the new ‘word of mouth’ component that every publicist craves for clients. Shares, likes, and retweets move messages across the grapevine at an accelerated pace.
So how exactly does social media integrate with your public relations strategy? Here’s a quick look at three best practices for leveraging the power of social media to increase the effectiveness of your PR efforts.
Build relationships with journalists
Journalists are heavy users of social media. Twitter is especially popular with news reporters, writers, editors, and producers. If you want your firm to become a go-to source for reporters in need of expert commentary, follow the right journalists on Twitter from your firm account. Interact with them regularly and in highly relevant ways:
- Retweet everything that relates to your lawyers’ areas of expertise.
- Comment on tweets when the topic connects to your firm’s practice areas.
- Send direct messages when you have a story idea or tip to share.
PRO TIP: If your firm is mentioned in an article or one of your attorneys is quoted, tag the reporter in any posts you create to promote the placement. They’ll appreciate — and remember — the shout-out.
Connect directly with your target audience
You can use social media to influence buyers of legal services through timely, relevant social posts and interactions. Post every press release and media placement to your firm’s accounts.
PRO TIP: New “employee advocacy” platforms for social sharing such as Clearview Social and Bambu make it easy for lawyers to share firm news and content to their own networks to exponentially increase engagement.
Statistics show that lawyers’ prospective clients are already on social media: C-level execs from every Fortune 500 company are on LinkedIn and a search for ‘General Counsel’ on LinkedIn returns more than 67,000 results. Use social media to ensure your best prospects are seeing your firm’s name often, and in connection with their areas of interest. You can follow almost any company on LinkedIn and be one of the first to know when they announce corporate news. Follow companies on Facebook too – you may get more insight into the company culture and personality there. If the CEO or GC is on Twitter, follow them too.
Use smart hash-tactics
Do some searching on each platform to determine what hashtags are being used and followed and incorporate them into your own posts. Be specific and narrow – #lawfirm won’t help anyone find your content, but #emplaw is widely followed on Twitter by people interested in employment law topics.
Hashtags are now popular on LinkedIn and Facebook too. For example, #OSHA is used on LinkedIn to tag posts about OSHA regulations, citations, and articles. Hashtags on Facebook tend to be more custom – the Texas Bar CLE program uses #tbcle to tag all their posts.
PRO TIP: Consider creating and promoting your own custom hashtags to allow others to follow a series of related posts on LinkedIn or Facebook. For example, see this firm’s series of Attorney Spotlights.
PR is still one of the best ways for law firms to enhance their professional reputation. Smart integration of social media extends your PR reach and improves your results, so make sure social campaigns and tactics are a component of your overall PR strategy. Social media engagement is also a good measure of PR success, so include increased engagement in your next set of PR goals. That will help quantify and support your strategy and you can more easily demonstrate results once it’s time for your next budget request or performance review!