By now readers of our blog know that having a presence on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and other social media networks is a critical aspect of an effective marketing strategy for your law firm. Given the essential role that social media now plays in consumer decision making (including decision making about service providers such as law firms) it is crucial for firms to have a strong digital presence.
While most law firms are beginning to understand the importance of being online across multiple platforms, few firms are harnessing the full power of social media. One extremely effective but underutilized aspect of social media is employee advocacy.
What is Employee Advocacy?
Fundamentally, employee advocacy is the promotion of an organization by its employees.
Employee advocacy is not new, but social media has made it much easier to have your employees participate in getting word out about your organization.
An employee advocate generates positive exposure for a company (like a law firm) and raises awareness through social media and other digital avenues, can recommend the firm’s services to others, and is a credible spokesperson/representative of that firm.
The Benefits of Employee Advocacy
When used correctly, employee advocacy can have a huge impact on your marketing strategy.
Every post published by an employee reaches hundreds of connections that may not be following your firm directly, and which the firm may otherwise not have gotten exposure to. The average internet user has 155 Facebook friends. That means that a firm with 25 staff members has a potential reach of over 3,800 people.
These posts also simultaneously help to position those employees as thought-leaders and can be used to supplement other marketing efforts, such as a blog.
Employee advocacy is also incredibly important in terms of creating human connections with prospective clients and referral sources. Word-of-mouth posts and messages from family and friends are widely viewed as being more relevant and trustworthy than those from a company’s corporate account. A recent survey indicates that 84% of people trust recommendations by friends and family above all other forms of marketing.
Suggestions for Getting Started
- Create a culture that employees are excited about: first and foremost, it is important to create a culture and work environment that employees are excited about and want to post about online. This includes involvement in community outreach events, employee appreciation events, and similar activities. At the end of the day, employees will never volunteer to post about a firm where they may be unhappy or do not feel valued as employees.
- Provide employees with social media training: create a firm-wide social media policy to provide current and incoming lawyers, clerks, and others who will be posting about the firm with key guidelines and best practices. After that, make sure everyone knows how to use social media properly and how to maximize what they are posting. Have refresher training at regular intervals.
- Create a unified message: make sure that all employees are on the same page in terms of branding, including the tone of the content, the particular elements of your firm’s value proposition and messaging they should be highlighting. Start simple: have employees re-post content the firm is already posting, including blogs and other information. Then expand from there.
- Maintain the program: much like a blog, once you get started with an employee advocacy program, it is something that should continue and be used regularly. Ensure that any employees that are participating in the program continue to remain engaged and share regularly.
- Don’t overshare: the impact of employee advocacy will be diluted if your employees’ followers are suddenly flooded with messages about your firm. You risk damaging the trust and credibility that posts from friends and family inherently have, and people may simply tune out. Tread a careful line between posting regularly and posting too much.
At Umbrella Legal Marketing we provide a wide range of services to law firms who want to maximize their online presence. From social media and other training, to PR, to blogging services, we do it all. We also understand the unique needs of the legal market, the ethical and practice standards that govern the profession, and how to effectively combine these specific demands with the realities of marketing in the social media and online age. With our help, you and your firm can stand out in today’s ever-changing legal landscape. Contact us by email or at 416-356-4672.