One major reason why attorneys avoid social media marketing is that they simply don’t have the time. In our profession we face a seemingly endless stream of deadlines, emails, hearings, meetings, and legal research trying to determine the actual meaning of the rule against perpetuities (let’s be honest, no one really knows what that means). When you try to balance these responsibilities with trying to squeeze in time in for your family, friends, and you know – sleeping – there’s little time left for social media time management or tweeting. So what do I say to attorneys who tell me they have no time for social media marketing, let alone marketing in general?
Trust me, I get it.
As a practicing attorney and social media marketing consultant for lawyers, I’ve faced these challenges and they are very real. The practice is indeed stressful, challenging, and requires an incredible amount of discipline in setting priorities and managing our time. But despite these challenges, it is equally as important to make time for marketing and attracting new clients. Without a steady stream of new business, we’re unable to put our skills to good use, grow our practice, and pay off our student loans.
So how can attorneys add social media to their to-do lists when they’re already bogged down with managing their practice and billable hours?
Here are some social media time management strategies that you can use to attract new clients:
1. Focus on One or Two Social Media Sites: Attorneys who struggle to find time for social media usually have difficulty keeping up with multiple social media channels. It’s time consuming to develop content that is optimized for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram and then constantly switch from one profile to another to engage with friends and followers.
I recommend focusing on only one or two social media profiles at the outset in order to maximize your effectiveness and efficiency. By focusing your energy on one or two social media sites, you can more effectively develop and execute your marketing strategy and stay more engaged with your followers. Just as its better to specialize in one or two areas of law instead of being a generalist in five or six different areas, concentrating your efforts on a smaller number of social media sites will enable you to better develop relationships, engage your audience, and ultimately convert followers into clients.
The question of which social media sites you should focus on is entirely up to you. There is no “best” social media site for legal marketing. Each social media site offers something different: Facebook enables you to engage with friends, colleagues, and peers in an informal environment; Twitter allows you to quickly and easily communicate people who share your interests; and LinkedIn is highly populated with business leaders in almost every field to connect on a more professional level. By selecting the site that maximizes your strengths and more closely follows your interests, you can limit your time investment in social media while maximizing your results – which is the cornerstone of social media time management.
2. Calendar Blocks of Time: Social media can become an interruption in your workday if not managed properly. We constantly receive status updates, notifications, friend requests, and email alerts that compete for our attention. Reacting to these notifications interrupts our productivity and causes us to lose track of priorities. One solution to manage social media is to “set it and forget it.”
Just like setting aside time on your calendar for a conference call or to prepare to prepare for a hearing, you can set aside time to address social media when it is convenient for you. In this way, you can choose times that work best within your existing schedule such as during your morning coffee, fifteen minutes prior to lunch, or a two hour block on Thursday evenings. Once social media time is set on your calendar, you can forget about dealing with distracting notifications – and even turn them off – as you know you’ll have a dedicated time to address them later.
If you like receiving emails from sites like LinkedIn each time you receive a message or request to connect, you can more easily manage them by creating a rule within your email system that automatically moves the email into a specified folder in your inbox. By doing so, you can use that time you set aside for social media to determine which invitations to accept, which messages to respond, and with whom you choose to interact. By setting aside time on your calendar, you gain control over your social media use and network on your schedule (literally).
3. Develop Your Content in Batches: Routinely switching between tasks decreases productivity and causes mental exhaustion. We can maximize efficiency by conducting our work in batches. You probably already do this by setting aside chunks of time to complete similar tasks, such as billing, email, and research. You can apply the same technique to developing social media content.
Instead of spending ten minutes here and twenty minutes there to prepare social media posts, you can set aside an hour of time to prepare all of your posts for an entire week. You can then leverage Facebook’s scheduling tool for your law firm’s page or other third party technology to schedule your content for the week. I personally prefer to batch all of my clients’ content on set schedules to even further maximize social media time management. I prepare all the content on the same day each week, send a schedule of proposed posts for the clients’ review, and then set time aside to schedule them all at once. I sometimes further optimize my content development by recording a video, having it transcribed, converting the transcription into a blog, and then breaking down the blog further into social media content. In this way, I have minimized content development time, maximized efficiency, and therefore spend more time engaging with potential clients.
Your time is important, and I hope these social media time management strategies will enable you to invest more time in creating connections that lead to new business. Once you’ve set aside the time to use social media, the next step is to have a plan. I always recommend starting with the end in mind by setting forth your highest value business development goals first, and then develop a strategy that uses social media and digital marketing to accomplishing those strategies. And if you need some assistance in developing your social media marketing strategies to attract new clients, you know where to contact me.