1. Beware the overshare. Avoid providing TMI (too much information) a la Miley Cyrus. We’ve all seen ttweeters who tell us every time they go to Starbucks, or folks that post several times each hour. Not only does this annoy readers and prompt them to un-follow you, but it also gives the impression that you have nothing better to do than to post inane content all day long. Post frequently only when you have meaningful content to convey, like when you’re at LegalTech or the International Legal Technology Association and new people and ideas are inspiring your posts.
2. Don’t be MIA. Ever go to look up a company’s LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook page, only to find that it doesn’t exist or is so scarcely populated that it looks like a dummy corporation for the Mob? Not good! Vendors need to establish sites on at least these three main social media venues. Even if the sites are not constantly posted to, the content about the company should be accurate.
3. Be Proactive, Not Reactive. Many social media blunders result from vendors seeing a competitor’s activity and trying to pull stunts to outdo them. Hasty and reckless social media activity can be incredibly damaging and it lives forever on the web, so take a step back and plan out your strategy and tactics. Post responsibly!
1. LOOK AT ME! The biggest mistake vendors make with social media is prescribing to the LOOK AT ME! "strategy." Social media success is not measured by who sends the most tweets or publishes the most posts, but the value of the content. A good way to measure the quality of your content is by the numbers of new followers you gain. If you are distributing content that is valuable, people will follow you to receive it.
2. Hijacking an event hashtag. Used the right way, industry event hashtags (e.g., #LTNY for LegalTech New York) helps build your audience, but often people hijack those hashtags. Don’t have every person who works for your company retweet a message sent from your main company account. You can tell when you look at the feed of the hashtag and the same message appears 10 times in a row. Be respectful.
3. Hoping it will go away. Facebook has more than a billion users and Twitter logs 241 million monthly active users. According to a DOMO infographic, every minute of every day 27,778 new posts are published on Tumblr; Foursquare users check-in 2,083 times; and YouTube users upload 48 hours of new video. The bottom-line—you simply cannot ignore social media. While you won’t become an expert overnight, social media tools now make it easier than ever to get started. Start small. Pick two, e.g., Twitter and LinkedIn, and spend 30 minutes a week building your online presence.
1. Lose sight of the big picture: Aside from posting politically incorrect tweets or following someone who tells the world what she or he is doing every minute of every day, the number one mistake is thinking that social media is a silver bullet. You aren’t going to share one post and have 20 Am Law partners clamoring for your software. Activities around social media must align with your marketing plan and goals. If your company is focused on, for example, growing its presence on the East Coast or targeting law firm CIOs in order to win 10 new clients in Q3, then your social media efforts should have a special focus on supporting that goal.
2. Spray and pray: From LinkedIn to Instagram to Confide, the number of social media channels grows every day. It’s very tempting to take on as many of these channels that you can—after all, don’t you want to build an online presence and recognition for your company? But stop. Take the time to carefully evaluate each social media channel, its advantages, its benefits and—most importantly—if your prospects and clients are using it.
3. Concentrate on the numbers: “Hi, I’m X. I have 3,000 Twitter followers.” My (internal) response: “Who cares? How does that define you as an individual?” We want to measure progress and one of the most common defaults is to define success on the social media front based on the number of followers. A recent study showed that about 40 percent of Twitter accounts are owned and populated by bots. Know who your followers are, connect with them authentically and see them as more than just numbers.
>>Valerie Chan, principal, Plat4orm Public Relations, Seattle. E-mail: email@example.com. Website: www.plat4ormpr.com. Social media can help drive web traffic and raise visibility on search engines, and generate new leads; however, most posts on sites, like Twitter and LinkedIn, are replaced by new entries every 10-15 seconds. And most people just don't have time to stay connected 100% of the time. In order to use social media effectively, organizations should avoid these three major mistakes:
1. Skipping the employees in the process. All employees are important—especially when it comes to evangelizing your company. Make every employee a social media evangelist; re-tweeting, sharing and linking to corporate posts will promulgate the network.
2. Assuming people will follow. Many people just don't have time. Make it easy for your prospects to follow you by including your social media links on all outbound marketing items—on the website, in press releases, in advertising, on white papers and on collateral.
3. Forget to protect the brand. With all things electronic, the brand is the most important company asset—and it needs to be properly protected. Social media sites, especially Facebook, expose personal aspects of employees' and friends' lives that could harm an organization's reputation. Establish strict policies for commenting, linking, following and tagging as part of the HR policies and procedures.
>> Edward Colandra, associate, Legal Vertical Strategies and legal technology sales and marketing consultant, InnerVision, New York. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Website: www.LVStrategies.com.
1. Not having a strategy that ties social media into your overall marketing plan. Spending time on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, etc, without setting expectations for measurable results can be a waste of time. There is little value to simply measure re-tweets, followers or likes. Rather, determine the expected tangible results in awareness, demand generation, and/or sales that your plan expects, and decide how your social media activities will produce the desired results.
2. Commercials: LinkedIn can be great place to develop a well deserved reputation. But when done wrong, answers to questions are merely a poorly concealed commercial for your product or service. Instead, engage in conversation. Respond with suggestions. While it’s OK to reference your own product, a potential client will likely respond to a sincere willingness to be helped through a question or crisis. An epic failure sounds like “Hey, call me. We have a one-of-a-kind, best-of-breed service that will cure all your ills. When do you want to see a demo?”
3. Missed connections: Each of us develops a personal brand via social media. But failing to make an obvious connection between you (the individual) and your company is a mistake. People follow you because they expect a personal opinion from an expert. That expertise should logically be connected to the values your companybrings to the market, and thereby enhance the value of both.
Compiled by Monica Bay, editor-in-chief of Law Technology News. Twitter: @lawtechnews @LTNMonicaBay. If you have a question for the marketers, email email@example.com.