Despite the wealth of evidence that actively engaging with others via social media can, and does, help lawyers, accountants and engineers to position themselves in their area(s) of expertise (and ultimately generate more work) I still meet so many professionals who are skeptical about social media. Usually they're either not convinced their clients use it, they think it's a huge waste of time or they are simply too busy.
While I agree that you can waste a lot of time online, this is only really the case if you aren't clear about why you are using social media, how you will use it and the results you want to achieve. If you think about how using social media can help you achieve your marketing goals, and use it in this way, it can be a really effective component of the marketing mix.
Here are 6 key reasons why I believe professionals should use social media as part of their marketing mix:
- Many of your clients will be using social media to target their customers - if you are following/monitoring them, you will have a much better understanding of their business drivers. You may also be able to identify issues relevant to your client as well as key people within the client organisation you need to meet.
- SEO – there are increasingly more reports about social sharing and social influence being linked to search engine optimisation. What this means is that those articles that are widely shared and those people who are viewed as influencers will appear more highly in search engine results.
- As an amplifier - social media allows you to increase your reach and engagement. It's not a silver bullet and takes time, consistency and commitment. At first it feels like no-one is listening but gradually you will notice more and more traction. The key is to remember that it is about engagement and so asking questions of others, and sharing and commenting on their comment and discussions are key.
- To engage with your clients, target clients, referrers, colleagues etc in a place where they are rather than expecting them to come to you. Using newsletters/alerts as an example, some clients still say they like receiving these but an increasing number don't – usually because they get these from several firms. Sharing this content via social media means people can choose whether they wish to view it.
- Increase the number of touchpoints with existing clients and contacts.
- Reduce barriers to working with you. Engaging through social media is a way to start building relationships with others. If they see value in what you do/share then they may follow or connect with you. Even coming across you frequently can mean people already feel they know you. It's then easier for them to pick up the phone to you, rather than your competitors, when they do have an issue with which they need help.
Why else do you think professionals should consider using social media for business development/marketing purposes?
Related articles you may be interested in:
- 12 most lame excuses for not using social media (Miles Austin)
- Playing to your social media strengths (Julian Summerhayes)
- How social share buttons impact your SEO (Nick Stamoulis)
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