You would be surprised by the number of law firms that leave the management of its social media accounts to its paralegals. This is a common practice because paralegals do most other tasks in a law firm, be they secretarial or legal, why not social media?
Social media marketing (SMM) is the one thing you should not leave to paralegals. From the onset, it is important to note that we are not talking about the occasional tweet or the occasional Facebook status update. We are talking about using social media marketing platforms to advertise a website, to bring clients, and to generate cash. Any other SMM is not even worth your time. So, why should law firm social media marketing be left to a digital marketing agency?
1. Being social media savvy does not make one business social media savvy
Just because your paralegals are on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, SnapChat, LinkedIn , and other social media site does not mean they are business social media savvy. Avoid the common temptation of thinking your bright-eyed, bushy-tailed interns are up to date with all new developments in the social media world.
Running a personal social media account is not the same thing as running one for a law firm. Your social media account is an extension of your law firm, meaning facts and style matter. This is not the case with a personal social media account, where anything goes.
2. Social media 101 cannot replace real-life on-the-job training
Even if you train your paralegals to manage your social media accounts, or you even have them trained by a professional, no books or notes can replace real-life on-the-job training. Digital marketing professionals know the best research company from which to get good white papers and research and the best social media tools to use.
3. There is more to SMM than posting
SMM involves coming up with goals, setting KPIs, and coming up with the right strategy. It also involves engaging in click-through campaigns, paid social media, posts that tie into community events, sponsored posts, infographics, and a lot more. A paralegal may be able to write posts, but marrying a digital marketing strategy like SMM with your overall business strategy takes an expert.
A big component of SMM is replying to clients and would-be clients. Some of the comments that will be left on your social media outlets will not be friendly – you need someone who will not reply in such a way that they exacerbate the problem.
If you are running several social media accounts, chances are that they will receive quite a bit of traffic. Unless you want to hire an entire team of paralegals, you may be overwhelmed. Note it is important that you reply as soon as possible, otherwise your SMM strategy will not bear the desired results.
4. Paralegals are usually temporary, while social media is forever
You will not hire most of the paralegals that pass through your law firm’s doors. The fact that paralegals come and go means there will be no consistency and clarity in your SMM strategy https://buffer.com/library/social-media-marketing-strategy. It will become extremely difficult for your campaign to have an authentic voice that people recognize and connect with if your social media accounts keep changing hands. This leads to a brand that feels unreliable and disorganized.
There is also no sense of loyalty with paralegals. If you were to look into why paralegals come to you, “love of your brand” will probably be the last thing on their list. The most common reasons paralegals join law firms are they might be looking for an introduction to the industry, they may be looking for some extra cash, for college credit, and as resume fodder to help them in career advancement. You need a team that has passion and has bought into whatever your law firm is doing if they are to convince an ever-skeptical world wide web.
5. Paralegals do not keep up with the latest trends and with SMM best practices
SMM is a relatively new digital marketing method and as such, there are new changes every day. Major platforms are tweaking their algorithms and formats constantly. Inexperienced paralegals will have a hard time keeping up with the latest trends and adopting social media marketing best practice.
Since social media was designed more for individuals and less for businesses, it takes an experienced person to have the know-how to connect with people. This is simply something no law school can teach a paralegal.
6. 100% Dedication
Law firm social media marketing requires a team that is 100% dedicated. Taking time to understand the latest trends, coming up with the right strategy, and executing the strategy is an all-consuming task.
Your paralegals are unlikely to have such levels of dedication because they have to perform caseload and other core tasks. This is dangerous in today’s world where things are going viral. You could leave an account unattended for one hour, only to log in and see someone made a negative post, people started commenting, and the whole thing went viral. With a digital marketing agency team that is engaged around the clock, such negative posts will be caught in good time and online reputation management will be employed in a timely manner.
There is also a risk that your paralegals will feel they are being forced into something they did not sign up for. Even if you have written “maintaining social media accounts” in your paralegals’ job descriptions, this is not what paralegals have traditionally done and there might be some rebellion.
7. Some element of graphic design is required
According to recent research, marketers say blogging is the most important form of content for their business at 38%, followed closely by visual marketing at 37%. Studies show infographics get 3 times more shares and likes on social media compared to any other type of content. Tweets that have images get 150% more retweets compared to those that do not. Facebook posts that have images get 2.3 times more engagement compared to those that do not. These are just a few statistics that show the importance of images and other graphics.
Paralegals may be able to use stock photos that are barely relevant and smartphone-quality pictures, but this will only appear “self-promotional” and “corporate” and will not have the desired effect. A professional is able to get images that are original and high-quality and that serve their intended purpose perfectly. A digital marketing agency will have a team of content creators, graphic designers, and social media experts working together for a truly SMM optimized law firm.
There is always a risk of illegal image use when using a paralegal. This could land you in legal trouble and it could damage your law firm’s reputation.
8. Coming up with a good CTA is an art
You may have the best tweet or Facebook post, but it will not have the desired effect it there is no CTA (call-to-action). A CTA pushes the reader to take the prescribed action, such as calling the given number, following the link to your landing page, or filling an online survey.
A paralegal is unlikely to know the importance of a CTA, how to come up with a good one, and how to make it as organic as possible. You do not want a CTA that is inauthentic or self-promoting.
9. SMM as part of a broader digital marketing strategy
You should be using SMM as part of a broader digital marketing strategy if your website and your law firm are to stand out. Even if your paralegal is good with SMM, chances are that they will not be good with all the other digital marketing strategies. A digital marketing agency will have a team for SEO (search engine optimization), PPC (pay-per-click), and several others.
10. Lack of sufficient industry knowledge
Your paralegals will not have been in the industry long enough to have sufficient industry knowledge. They will not be familiar with your competition, leaving you unable to maximize on potential or to cover yourself when under attack.
Although a digital marketing company doing law firm social media marketing will also not be an industry insider, the level of expertise in such an agency means all your concerns will be catered for. A good agency will even do research in the legal field to come out with a truly effective SMM strategy.
A digital marketing agency team will have the proper writing style and will have a good understanding of the audience from experience. This goes a long way in attracting and retaining clients.
11. Tools to determine if the SMM campaign is working
A digital marketing agency will have tools to help you determine if the law firm social media marketing is working. Your paralegals are unlikely to have the know-how or the time to set and keep track of KPIs. Knowing if an SMM campaign is working is important because you will know where to put more effort, you will plan your marketing dollars better, and you will know what your competitors are doing.