It was not long ago that adding “dot com” to anything represented innovation and a forward-thinking business and/or brand strategy. Now that websites are pervasive, more businesses have shifted their focus toward social media, especially as many individuals experience the Internet solely through the lens of social media. For service-based businesses, like a law firm, social media presence is a necessity.

Let’s look at four key social media benefits and challenges.

  1. Social is no longer optional

As expansive as the Internet has become, being active socially allows for tremendous reach, interaction, influence and perception. Social interaction raises the profile of a firm through accessibility, humanity, attention/focus on clients; creating a repository of an organization’s interaction with the public.

Naturally, this can lead to a complex set of challenges. Greater public accessibility demands that a firm is able to respond quickly… but not too quickly. If a response is immediate, it may feel temporary or canned, and this can be a tough balance to strike. And while social media interactions with the public are preserved and can strengthen a firm’s reputation, it also means that negative interactions that can impact reputation rarely disappear.

  1. Making it work for your brand

As firms becoming more social media savvy a question often arises: is it best to stay active in organic social media, purchase social advertising, or both? The answer: it depends.

Firms must evaluate the best path forward, but continued organic social activity can validate the quality of a firm and its services.

  1. The power of social advertising

Social advertising has its benefits: it can lead firms to new customers, increased business, and validation of its services in the social community. Again, firms must evaluate what the business goals are to activate the right mix.

  1. Making it work to reach legal consumers

The first rule of social advertising is to define the target audience. Firms must think carefully about the location of advertising and consider the customer they’re trying to reach. The second rule is to understand what to say and what to share. The message must be authentic, helpful and credible. Finally, firms must manage expectations of social advertising to weigh the results of brand awareness, engagement to new contacts.

Social media is a necessary component in a law firm’s tool kit today. There is significant opportunity out there, yet competition is tightening everyday to drive new business.

To learn more, be sure to visit our FindLaw “Lunch ‘N Learn” session this Friday at ABA TECHSHOW. See you there.