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Social media sites such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook are increasingly useful tools to include in your marketing strategy. But, even though social media sites are often free to use, sole proprietorships and small legal firms simply do not have the time or money necessary to create and competently manage a successful social media strategy. Does that mean that they should forget about trying to maximize exposure on such sites altogether? No, but there are questions to consider first.
What’s Your Goal?
Are you interested in using social media to drum up local business, or do you want to increase your presence in the legal community? If you want more clients, you may decide to focus on Twitter and Facebook. If you want to expand your professional network, you’ll focus on LinkedIn. If you want to do it all, you will likely need help. Regardless, once you define your social media marketing goals, you‘ll be able to determine whether or not you have the time and money to achieve them.
What’s Your Budget?
A big draw of social media sites is the size of the potential audience. Monthly, Twitter averages 284 million active users, and Facebook has well over one billion monthly users. But, you have to be internet savvy and stay active on those sites in order to tap into the potential exposure. Some people may be internet savvy, but lack the time. Others may have the time, but aren’t equipped to go it alone. So, determine how much time and money you can afford to spend on a social media strategy, and consider your own aptitudes as well. If there isn’t enough time and money to meet your goals then modify them to make them reachable relative to your available resources.
What’s Your Role?
The more you can do on your own, the more money you’ll save, but the less time you’ll have to focus on other areas of your business. So, once you’ve determined the time and money you have to budget, determine what your role will be in the strategy. What is your skill set? Are you particularly tech savvy, or a good writer? Do you understand the ins and outs of social media and how to capitalize on it?
The questions are important because you’ll need to decide if you will be doing all of the work, or if you will be hiring an outside company. Chances are that the work will be split, and that’s feasible. Many businesses offer a la carte services for tasks such as content writing, social media account creation and monitoring, and brand monitoring. So, it is possible to save money by doing some of the work yourself, but consider both time and cost.
As an aside, brand monitoring should be considered regardless of whether or not a business directly participates in social media. The speed at which information travels through social media means that misinformation can cause irreparable damage to a business or an individual’s reputation. That’s why it’s critical for attorneys to utilize the services of an experienced brand monitoring agent, even if the business doesn’t advertise online or participate in online forums.
Social media marketing is feasible for small legal firms and sole proprietorships because it can be tailored to fit any budget. First, define clear, reachable goals. Next, set a budget that factors in time and money. Finally, determine, based on your skillset and available time, what roles you will play in the strategy. Even a small firm can stretch its marketing budget by taking advantage of social media.