It's been great fun returning to in-person events and meetings over the past couple of months. James Barclay and I had the pleasure of being invited to Taylor English's Partner offsite in Atlanta to support their agenda, specifically around how their lawyers are using the digital landscape to drive business growth.
Joe English, Partner at Taylor English, hosted an excellent panel discussion on BD in a Digital World where James was joined by other leaders in the field of digital marketing. Namely: Kristin Andree, Chief Strategist at Andree Consulting Group, Craig Lucie CEO at Lucie Content, and George Marshalek, COO at Lucie Content.
Recognising that the pandemic has dramatically disrupted the traditional avenues to influence, build new relationships, and connect with our most important clients, the panel openly shared their experiences with using digital to drive growth. For time-poor, busy lawyers, leveraging digital tools should not take a significant portion of potentially billable time. The insights shared by the panel, therefore, focused on maximising the returns lawyers can drive from engaging in digital. Here are the questions & my key takeaways from the fantastic session.
How has social media changed the way business development is done?
- The internet and social has democratized the decision-making process - it's no longer the suppliers/sellers/trusted advisors who have the power - power has shifted in favor of consumers/clients
- The way all purchasing has changed, legal services are 100% included in this disruption - the advent of the internet and social means that consumers/clients have far more information at their fingertips
- Lawyers now have the ability to become their own news outlet, no longer reliant on journalists/publications to create their version of the news
- Social has given lawyers the ability to craft their messages, making sure their content is representative of their unique expertise and personalities
How do you make the internet relevant to You?
- First and foremost, your online presence should be helpful/valuable to the people you want to influence
- Don’t picture the "big bad world" - think about the people who are important to you and focus on them when you are creating content
- Social should be a small but rewarding part of how lawyers drive business/connections - that’s why planning is incredibly important to get the most out of the time you invest in building your online profile
- There has to be a strategy behind your efforts on social
- Pay attention to what strategies are working & track the ROI (where possible)
- Create content 'assets' and then leverage the hell out of them
- Make sure what you are sharing is valuable/additive to the original conversation
- The first part of social media is being social! Be you. Be authentic. It's a great opportunity to connect with people
- Don’t wait for your content to be perfect - it never will be. Do something. Be present.
I want to have an online presence and I want to be focused - how do I achieve that?
- Connect (Link-In) with the people you want to influence - especially clients! Also, connect with your colleagues, they will be your biggest cheerleaders
- Share not just your content but also your colleagues - as James said "stand on the shoulders of the giants in your teams!"
- Content is nothing without good distribution - determine where/how you distribute your content. Putting in 2 minutes of thought will make a huge difference
- Engagement is a critical piece - comment, celebrate, and congratulate
- Connect with your clients - building up other people will be hugely recognized
- Don’t be self-centered on social
- Traditionally, the only time law firms' clients hear from their lawyers is when they’re billing - break this pattern by being available on social. It will demonstrate that your values go beyond simply billing time
- It's also worth remembering that the average lawyer only creates one piece of authentic content online a year - it's easy to be above average!
How do you go from posting to driving engagement? How do you follow up with people who have engaged with your content?
- First, acknowledge the folks who engage with your content. Not doing so is like ignoring someone who has said "Hi" to you in a hallway
- When replying, go further than simply thanking folk (definitely do this at a minimum), use it as an opportunity to reinforce your knowledge
- When connecting/Linking-In with these individuals, send them a personalized note & definitely thank them for engaging with your insight - try to continue the topical conversation
- A Call-To-Action (CTA) is a very powerful tool when used correctly with your content
- Everyone is scrolling on their phones these days - you have half a second to capture your clients' attention
How does commenting on clients’ posts help your own personal brand?
- "We are phenomenal suckers for flattery" - Prof Robert Cialdini
- Relationship building - it's not all about you!
- Your clients aren’t companies - they are individuals!
- Tell stories & humanize yourself - social can be used as a recruitment tool, BD tool, client-engagement tool, and
- Client acquisition will become a quicker cycle because prospects will develop trust with you quicker than they otherwise would when they see you are regularly posting online
- Use every which way you can to get in front of your clients - email still works as a channel in B2B!
How do you drive connections with your content?
- Have a mixture of content types you publish
- Be personal
- Millennials (a big part of today's buying group) are far more emotional buyers who are more likely to crave connections
- Meet your clients and contacts where they are
- Just be YOU
- Don't ghost-write - people you know are going to see right through it
- Create compelling stories - it's the key to marketing
- Video is very powerful - use it
Before someone reaches out to you, they are going to research you. What are the pitfalls to avoid when it comes to social and the internet?
When it comes to LinkedIn focus on:
- Your profile pictures - make sure they are professional and that they are from this decade!
- Cover photo - show you care - don’t use the template cover photos from LinkedIn - it shows you don’t pay attention so creates doubt whether you are going to pay attention to your clients
- Optimize your profile
- About section - make it personal - people want to know about you
When it comes to your content:
- Create digestible insights - y0ur time is valuable - your clients' time is valuable - create something that will engage
- Your headline is really important - show what you specialize in
- Avoid the immediate sales pitch
How can podcasts raise your personal brand?
- Podcasts are a great way to get your name out there
- Outsource everything other than the piece that needs you - get a team that can help you
- Develop video around your podcasts - YouTube is owned by Google and is a powerful tool for SEO
- Podcasts can be short - they don't need to be an hour-long piece of content
- REPURPOSE the content - make it work for you
- Engage with the influencers in your space - journalists (Law360) - who rely on your commentary/expertise
- Digital isn’t going anywhere - it's time for lawyers to find a way that makes it work for them!
- The more your contacts see you online, the more familiar they will become
- As a lawyer, you absolutely have the choice not to have an online presence - people just won’t think of you!
- Video has created an opportunity to have a digital arena that is like being in a room full of your clients all at the same time
- Create brand awareness for yourself - with the people who are right for you - don't become the generalist aiming to please everyone
- The more you know your market inside and out the more you can focus and add value to those contacts