Social Media Strategy – Do you have one?

Social_Media_Strategy

Just about everyone these days knows the importance of having an online presence and being visible on social networks, particularly Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn. And most business owners will occasionally post interesting details on their accounts in the hopes of attracting new clients.

But posting to social media without a consistent strategy is like a drop of water in a bucket. It blends in with all the other pieces of information on the internet without getting much attention.

Social media can be a powerful tool to bring more customers to your doorstep but less than 50 percent of businesses have a defined strategy for its use. Many people will tell you they are just too busy to post regularly or pay too much attention to their social media, but they are missing  out on a golden opportunity.

And with the variety of tools available today, it’s easier than ever to take advantage of it. But like any marketing tool, it has to be designed around the demographics of the customers or audience its meant to attract.

To begin a successful strategy its best to create several profiles of your audience. Create each as their own individual, with a name, job title, age, location and other details including interests, hobbies and where they like to hang out online.

SocialmediaheadOnce you’ve gathered several profiles, its time to see what social media networks and content will work best to reach your target audience. The demographics of who uses each platform and what type of content is consumed best on each can vary widely.

Business owners or those in charge of the social media profiles should put asides several hours a week at a minimum dedicated to working on their social media accounts. Profiles should also be regularly monitored for opportunities to engage with potential customers or to head off  potential negative attention before it goes viral.

Today’s consumer, either retail or for business to business services, are spending most of their time researching online before spending a dime. And much of that time is on social media.

Besides the Big Four, there are also other platforms inclding WhatsApp and Messenger that are also attracting a lot of attention. Google MyBusiness is also allowing posts to be included on a company’s profile. For more information on Google MyBusiness click here.

It may sound like a lot at first. But a little research combined with some planning and a few hours a week could pay a lot of dividends in the long run.

Law firms and public relations – A valuable but complex relationship

rawpixel-1055781-unsplash

Law firms are one of the more complex clients for a public relations professional because of the potential legal pitfalls.

But a well planned strategy with a knowledgable public relations professional can have tremendous benefits for both law firms and their clients. Recent decisions have also protected the relationship.

There is no denying that today is a very public world, with news of an arrest or a pending civil litigation often spreading like wildfire across the phones, tablets, watches and computers of everyone in the community.

And it’s often those first few headlines, tweets or Facebook posts that create the public’s perception of the client. Perception, regardless of the facts, can have devastating consequences for a client’s reputation, not to mention their emotional and financial wellbeing.

And, like it or not, perceptions can often influence the decisions those important to the process. How the public relations process is handled in the early stages –  in a process commonly referred to as crisis management – could make all the difference.

Many law firms were averse to using a public relations professional in the past, in part due to concerns over violating attorney client privilege. Public relations professionals have to understand that privilege has to be upheld above all else. And a knowledgable public relations professional can take the right steps to protect it.

A California judge ruled last year in Stardock Systems v. Reiche that the privilege extended to communications between the attorney and the public relations professional when discussing legal strategy in the ongoing litigation.

A public relations expert had been hired by the defense attorney in the case to help create communications that offset negative public attacks in the media by the plaintiff’s client.

While the plaintiff’s attorney attempted to subpoena communications between the defense attorney and the public relations expert, the judge quashed the subpoena after ruling that communications were protected by attorney client privilege.

The key in the judge’s decision was that the public relations professional was hired by the law firm and not the client and that the defense attorney was included in all communications. The contract with the firm should also clearly state that the public relations professional has been hired to help with legal strategy.

While the case illustrates that relationship between the public relations professional and the legal industry may be complex, it’s also a valuable resource. More and more law firms both big and small are realizing the benefits and including a public relations professional on their team.

Many lawyers are experts in their areas of practice, often with years if not decades of experiencing and training and their chosen specialty. With the right media outreach and social media management, a firm can leverage tha experience and  expertise to become a leader in the field.

Firms often have a wealth of untapped public relations potential just sitting under the surface. Used correctly, it can be a tool that helps both the client and the firm. With the right strategy and the right professional in place, not only will the firm’s reputation grow, but so will its list of clients.

Don’t Forget Google My Business

gmb-logoSeveral clients have asked me recently how to get their business included in company listings that show up on Google search and Google maps. It’s a great question and an easy and free way to help promote your business.

Just about anyone with a company both small and large can sign up for a free Google My Business account. To register for an account just click here.

Once you’ve registered, all you have to do is provide information about your business. It’s important to use an accurate street address as this is what Google uses in part to verify the business.

Also just as important is selecting the industry for your business. The best part, in my opinion, of Google My Business is that your business will now appear under Google searches of that industry in your area. For example, if you are starting a law firm and search for an attorney, your name will appear in the business listing.

Don’t worry about what industry you initially select, you’ll have the option later on of adding addition industries that also describe your business. They allow up to five categories.

It will also link your website, your phone number and your hours of operation, among other information, along with your new Google business profile.