March/April 2019

Practice Management Advice

Helping Lawyers Market Easily via Social Media

Mary E. Vandenack

I recall a marketing meeting at our small law firm at which we were discussing how to support lawyers in being more active on LinkedIn. I asked our marketing administrator to make it easier for other lawyers to share firm LinkedIn posts and the posts of other lawyers by emailing links each day to the entire firm so firm members could simply click on the links, post on LinkedIn and add their own comment. Our marketing administrator responded by saying, “Well, that’s ridiculous—you can each just search your timeline for the posts of the firm and our other lawyers—it’s easy.” I sighed at her failure to grasp both the nature of my significant LinkedIn connections or the constant demands on my time.

That incident has stood out in my mind often since that day. There are many consultants who readily advise lawyers on all the things they should be doing to market their practices. Overcoming the disconnect between the advice on what lawyers should be doing and actually getting lawyers to adopt such strategies centers around techniques that make it easy and consume a minimal amount of time. This column outlines some approaches to support lawyers in developing marketing skills in a minimal amount of time.

Linking Lawyers With Marketers

Having a social media presence is an easy way to connect to a significant number of current and potential clients. LinkedIn and Twitter are my personal favorites.

A lawyer who is an excellent technical legal writer may not be the best person to write his or her LinkedIn profile. Law firms should hire a marketing person with social media expertise to write firm profiles. Profiles should identify unique skills and ability. A profile that says “real estate lawyer” doesn’t tell the reader much of anything about the lawyer’s skills. Profiles should be more specific. Is the real estate lawyer an expert in real estate for marijuana dispensaries, a real estate litigation attorney or a commercial transactions lawyer? A well-written profile involves a partnership between a really skilled marketing expert and the lawyer.

Hire a Marketing Assistant

Hire someone—perhaps a college student—to help lawyers keep their profiles up to date by adding speaking engagements and publications, and making announcements on each attorney’s behalf. The assistant can also monitor changes and new options on social media resources and update lawyers on new features as they become available.

Use that same marketing assistant to track down information for proposed posts for firm lawyers. The marketing assistant can monitor Internal Revenue Service (IRS) regulations and forward links to applicable regulations or rulings to firm tax lawyers. The lawyer can then readily edit and create a post on his or her favorite social media. The IRS supports this process by providing links at the end of regulations that allow a post with a quick click.

Lawyers meet new people in various places every day but often don’t get new contacts entered into the firm database and may not remember to add the new contacts to social media connections. A designated marketing assistant can support adding contacts by keeping track of attorney attendance at conferences, bar meetings and networking events, and asking for business cards or information for new contacts. He or she can take care of adding the contacts to the firm database and the lawyers’ social media networks.

Make it Easy, Make it Fun!

A great strategy for making marketing easy is the “double” and “triple” dipping a lawyer can do with web-based marketing. An example might be what a lawyer can do when a new regulation is issued on Internal Revenue Code Section 199A. The IRS issues a proposed regulation. A tax lawyer working in this area is likely to be reading the regulation as part of daily readings. The lawyer can write a post for the firm blog. The lawyer can then share that blog post (and the regulation itself) on social media. Next the lawyer—with the help of the marketing assistant, who provides the link—can ask other firm lawyers to share the post. In a few minutes a lawyer can be seen as a thought leader on an issue to a wide audience.

Marketing options are readily available for every type of lawyer. If a lawyer is not actively engaging in marketing, give consideration to what is getting in the way. Support each lawyer at your firm in finding an approach to marketing that works for that lawyer—and find a way to make marketing activity fun and easy rather than a time-consuming drag.

Mary E. Vandenack

Mary E. Vandenack is a founding and managing partner of Vandenack Weaver LLC, in Omaha, Nebraska. She has been named to the Best Lawyers in America for 2019.