LawFuel spoke with vastly experienced strategic branding and marketing expert Stuart Thompson whose LiveWireMedia group has launched a new social media app to help smaller companies, including law firms, as well as large corporates, to handle their social media campaigns effectively and with less time-involvement.
By Stuart Thompson – Using social media as part of your marketing strategy can enable you to further your reach when looking for customers. You need to remember that people are interacting with companies and brands through social media on a daily basis, so having a strong social media marketing plan is one of the keys to being able to tap into the right markets.
Social Media needs to be included into your media mix when putting together a marketing strategy for your business as a way to achieve communication and branding objectives.
. . stay away from the “Yay it’s Friday posts”
Social media marketing covers activities such as social sharing content, videos (which should be a big part of your marketing for 2016 onwards), images and paid social media advertising.
As with any marketing or advertising activity you need to have a plan and know what your goals are that you want to achieve.
You need to place engaging content that people will want to read and or get involved with (stay away from the “Yay it’s Friday posts” unless you want to become the people that clutter up peoples feeds with spam) and remember to have a consistent brand image across all your social media sites.
Importantly you need to know your platforms and where you need to be posting to, to get the maximum exposure and awareness for your brand.
Each social media network is unique in the way that it delivers your message as well as the individuals that use them, so you need to know that it isn’t a case of sending a blanket message or post out across multiple platforms.
Whether its Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest or Google+ or any of the many social media platforms out there you need to do your research and find out where, what and how. There is nothing worse than a company that has a social media presence and yet does nothing with it as that sends out a negative message to those looking to engage with you.
Measure Success Properly
You also need to ensure that when starting out on any social media endeavour ensure that you are measuring your success and monitoring the engagement of your posts so that you can track what works and what doesn’t for the audience that you are trying to attract.
Live Wire Media-Social
The great part of dealing with Live Wire Media is that we are Media/Marketing and Advertising experts with both National and International hands on experience, so we understand how social media fits into your combined media and marketing mix.
Our NZ based platform means that you have local support from leaders in their field of expertise and we are able to look after all of your social media needs or we can set you up with access to our platform and through our easy to use dashboard you can manage all your social media requirements.
Just some of what we can offer includes customised social media posts as well as relevant industry content gathered from around the world and NZ.
We can track responses and engagement through analytics and monitoring as well as create online competitions and deals for you.
There is also the ability to set up a social ordering system so that customers can buy direct from you through social media.
On top of all that we also have a system that allows for branded external content and is the only platform in the world that can do this as well as being able to integrate your mail chimp account as well for gathering consumer’s information.
It’s one easy to use online portal, giving you access to everything you need for your social media through one easy to use dashboard.
If you did a search on how many social media platforms there are in the world the last count was about 211 and with that kind of number, it’s no surprise that the landscape is changing literally daily.
Changes to how each of those sites engage with their users to new developments and new platforms and trying to keep abreast of it all is as hard as a trying to keep up to date with every single law change across every type of practise.
It’s changing at a rate that by the time you’ve read this most of the numbers will be out of date.
By 2018 there will be 2.44 billion users of social media networks worldwide, up from 1.79 billion in 2015.
This for many of us is confusing and a little scary as we try and keep up with the latest trends, but ignore it at your peril as according to figures, by 2018 there will be 2.44 billion users of social media networks worldwide, up from 1.79 billion in 2015.
The most popular social networking sites have changed over the years, and you can expect them to continue to change as time goes on. Old social media trends will change, and new ones will appear.
A good example would be before the time that Facebook and Twitter dominated the web people were a lot more familiar with sites such as MySpace and yet most people have moved on especially with the major shift towards mobile-based social media consumption with 24% of Kiwis using their smartphone or tablet to check social media apps at least 20 times a day.
Any business should be and needs to be on social media if they want to be seen as a leader in their field, whilst also increasing their brand awareness and staying at the top of people’s minds and the general expectation is that professional businesses will now be found on social media.
People are spending more time in the digital space, in social media in particular and conversations are happening on social media whether you are there or not.
People will research online prior to making decisions and are more likely to act based on a recommendation from a friend, colleague or someone from their peer group. A huge 92% of Kiwis trust recommendations from their peers.
Ninety per cent of 18-39 year olds in NZ use social media and Facebook alone reaches 75% of 35-54s in a typical month.
mastering social media can lead to a more effective business network development
But social media isn’t just for the younger age bracket as 70% of those in the 60-64 age group use social media, as do 66% of those aged 65-69 and 58% of those over 70
Social media has increased the speed of delivery of the message to market and mastering social media can lead to a more effective business network development.
How to Use Social Media Platforms
For individuals and businesses within the field of Law they should be across at least LinkedIn, Twitter Facebook as these really are the big players in social media and as a media mix within your social media they make a perfect match to engage with your target market, whilst also building your brand awareness.
Individuals can promote themselves and their businesses, outline their education and work experience, make connections with other professionals, interact in group discussions, post job ads or apply for jobs. Basically it’s the best way for a professional to be seen as the expert in the field and to show their level of experience and knowledge.
Twitter: Like Facebook, Twitter has also changed dramatically over the years, becoming a top source for real-time news sharing. For a microblogging site with a 140-character text limit, Twitter sure has made its mark online.
It’s an ideal platform for mobile users and the power of Twitter was evident during such events as the Boston Bombings where news was being shared across Twitter faster than any other media. Twitter have also added a video streaming service and signed agreements with review sites such as Yelp and Foursquare, which means they have moved to another level.
The calibre of people using Twitter are also the people that are making the news and are the movers and shakers.
Time will only tell how long it can hold on to the top spot especially as Facebook loses members around the world, but gains in new areas such as Asia, Africa and South America as well as in the older age groups.
That said with over 2.4 Million New Zealanders on Facebook it is still the place to be seen and to promote yourself. It’s also important to remember the role that Facebook plays in your activity as a tool to create warm leads, not to necessarily close sales.
The first thing to do is to set yourself up with a system that enables you to look after all your social media in one spot otherwise you can spend hours trying to engage, promote and share content on a daily basis.
Time is money when you charge for your time, so you don’t want to be spending your time across multiple individual platforms.
Look towards using monitoring tools for all your social media, so that you can track what works and what doesn’t work, but also you can see and be alerted when people are commenting on your posts or making a review about your business as you want to be responding within a reasonable time.
Don’t be afraid of having a play with social media either and what I mean by that is take LinkedIn up on the offer of a free 30-day trial to use their Premium and see what is available through it. You will find the Inmail allocations useful as well as the search options.
Look to link up your social media with each other such as LinkedIn and Twitter so when you are posting links to articles you can post directly to both. And look to the tips and tricks that the likes of Twitter send through via email for advice on what you should be doing.
What Traps Do Lawyer (and Others) Need To Be Aware of?
The biggest trap for anyone in business that is looking to use social media to help their brand is that they look to do it themselves as the belief is that because you have your own personal profile it shouldn’t be that hard to do it for your company/business as well.
Most people forget about the word Media in Social Media and so don’t see it as part of their media mix alongside other forms of advertising/marketing. This is a mistake. As with most professions out there it is sometimes best to get an expert in to assist you with the work.
There are Marketing Managers out there with extensive experience and knowledge within the world of marketing that are still trying to get to grips with Social Media, so don’t be afraid to ask for help especially as we’ve already established that it is an ever changing environment.
Other traps include deciding that they need to be on social media and so setting up a page and then doing nothing with it. You are better off doing nothing than doing something and then not following through.
People become very emotional on social media . .
The next trap would be not deciding beforehand as to what your voice is going to be. What I mean by that is deciding how you are going to interact with followers through content, but also when it comes to involving yourself in direct conversations.
People become very emotional on social media if they feel that they or their business is being attacked and forget to deal with the matter in a business like way as sometimes they are conversing with people after hours in their personal time.
And the last one is setting up multiple social media pages and each one of them looking completely different and so making it harder for people to decipher your brand and the message that you are trying to portray.
The Easiest and Safest Way To Achieve a Social Media Presence?
The first easy answer is to talk to an expert and seek advice to ensure that you are set up correctly and have the right tools at your disposal to be able to do it right.
Secondly do your research and know what you are getting into.
There is plenty of free advice via the net on things such as best practise for social media as well as articles on do’s and don’ts. And last but not least get involved and make a start.