It’s no secret that I love social media – I was an early adopter, and I still regularly engage on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. And it’s even less of a secret that I love content marketing, if 9 months’ worth of Two for Tuesdays’ posts have given you any indication.
The connection between the two is a fairly clear one – social media provides an excellent array of distribution channels for you to deliver your content to your intended audiences. That’s a lot of marketing-speak, I know, but basically, all I’m saying is that if you want to get the words, thoughts, and ideas that showcase what a smart, talented and passionate lawyer or legal professional you are in front of the people that matter to you, an important way to make that happen is by being in the same places they are.
We’re all pretty familiar with the standard ways to do this: You publish a blog post or an article, you grab the title or maybe you’re even more advanced and you say something unique about the piece, and you share it on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. with a trackable link and some hashtagged keywords. Maybe you share it again later in the day or in the week to make sure that it was seen by the right people, and you’ve checked back to engage with anyone who commented or shared it with their own audiences.
Those are good first steps.
Remember back in the early days of the Food Network when Emeril Lagasse was the big star, and he’d ask us if we wanted to “kick it up a notch?” How about we do that here with our social media usage too? One of my favorite authors over at the Content Marketing Institute, Neil Patel, wrote a great piece on how to dominate the social scene with killer content. Patel offers us 11 tips, but we’re going to focus on two today that you’ll find particularly useful in the legal industry.
Tip One: Let’s Get Visual
We’re starting with the assumption here that you’re working with an existing piece of written content that you’d like to “kick up a notch.” So the idea is not that you’ll be using visuals as your content, but that you’ll be using visuals to extend your content.
Every article can be turned into hundreds or thousands of social shares. One powerful way to experience the exponential effect is to transform quotes from your articles into images. Here’s what you do:
- Find a quotable section from your article.
- Convert it into an image yourself or using an automated service.
- Post it to social media with a link to your article.
The content has visual appeal, it’s shareable, and it’s unique.”
If you’re not particularly creative, or you don’t have a photo editing program at hand, you don’t have to worry – there are a few out there that work really well for this purpose. Patel tells us about two of them – Behappy and Recite – and I’m also a big fan of Buffer’s Pablo. They’re really easy to use, and then you can share your text in a visual way that has a big impact. Let’s take a look at a couple of examples:
One from Recite:
And finally, from Pablo:
Some ideas on where/how to share:
- Twitter: Share part of the quote or the title with the image and the link to the full piece.
- Instagram: Share the image and link to your blog in your profile.
- Pinterest: Share the image with a link to the full piece.
- Facebook: Share the image and link to the full piece.
- LinkedIn: Share the image and paste the link to the full piece – you’ll have to be mindful here that LinkedIn will either want to share the image OR the link and not both, so if you want to share the image, you’ll have to stop it from pre-populating with the link.
Tip Two: Host a Twitter Chat
This recommendation may cause some agita among the non-Twitter lovers among you, but it’s a strong idea nonetheless. We’ll address some of hte potential concerns around it in a moment, but first, let’s look at the actual suggestion. Patel points out that Twitter chats offer us the possibility of increasing engagement, and depending on your content marketing goals, this may be an excellent thing – you may be able to engage with the very people you are looking to work with or get recognized by.
He goes on to say that:
As Social Media Examiner explains:
A Twitter chat is a public Twitter conversation around one unique hashtag. This hashtag allows you to follow the discussion and participate in it. Twitter chats are usually recurring and on specific topics to regularly connect people with these interests.’
The angle on this strategy involves hosting a Twitter chat around a specific article.“
This idea struck me as particularly useful for lawyers and law firms, because there are regularly timely issues in your area of practice that would benefit from an engaging chat on Twitter. Things like a new piece of legislation coming out, and what that may mean for companies in your state, or the latest ruling from the NLRB, or a conversation around the TPP. It’s an opportunity to shine in your area of expertise, to delve into some of the areas that you may not have discussed in too much detail in your article or blog post, and to engage with influencers, amplifiers, and potential clients on Twitter. There are a couple of benefits:
- Engagement: Obviously, you’re engaging on a subject you know a lot about, so it’s an opportunity to meet people who may need your services and connect with them. It’s also a way to showcase your expertise among reporters, industry experts, conference organizers, etc. who may be able to further extend your reach and reputation.
- Thought Leadership: Not only are you showcasing your expertise, but you’re putting yourself out as being on the cutting edge for this subject – you’re the go-to person when people want to know about X. Even better if you can bring together a panel of experts in the industry to discuss the topic, because then, you’re not just tooting your own horn, but you’re a curator of people and information in a way that’s helpful to those who need it.
- Future Content: You’re also giving yourself fodder for future content. As we’ve discussed, you’re basing this off of content you’ve already written. But during the conversations you have, you may find certain questions keep coming up, or people want to explore particular areas of the discussion that you hadn’t considered to be that essential previously. That gives you follow up posts right there to address – you already know that people are interested in it, because they’re actually telling you, and you can use the hashtag from the conversation to provide the content back to them.
Of course, there are concerns with this type of conversation, and I can already hear the first one – the client/attorney relationship. That is, of course, a valid and important consideration. But as you would with any conversation, you all know where that line is – for example, when you’re at a cocktail party or answering follow up questions after a presentation, there is a point at which with some people you would say, “that’s a conversation we should continue in private on a professional basis. Here’s my card, why don’t you give my assistant a call to set up a meeting?”
The same logic applies online. When someone begins to cross the line between anecdotal commentary and actual advice, it’s time to rein them in and suggest they speak with you on a client basis.
Another roadblock? “I don’t know anything about Twitter.” If you’ve never used Twitter before, hosting a chat there should not be your first foray. Twitter, like most social media tools, is not rocket science, but it does take some familiarity with the tool and the lingo before you get too involved with it or engage too deeply. If you’re a Twitter newbie, but you’d really like to host a Twitter chat around a recent article, your best bet is to partner with someone else who is much more familiar with the tool and can work with you before, during and after the chat on how best to use and engage with Twitter.
Law firms and lawyers are already hosting and participating in Twitter chats, so many of the concerns and issues you may face have already been considered and dealt with – one idea is to jump into one of these chats as they’re happening as as listener (you can do that by following along with the hashtag), and seeing how they play out. That may help to give you a level of comfort with hosting your own.
Although other firms and lawyers ARE participating in Twitter chats, by hosting your own, you’d be among a small group doing so, which would really set you apart from other lawyers and law firms and shine a light on your content and most especially, your expertise.
Those are two excellent tips from Patel that offer different ways to ignite your content using social media – be sure to read through his entire post for the other nine suggestions to see which ones fit best with your goals and style, and add your own in the comments below!