Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Communicating With Clients: Social Media and New Technologies

Communicating with your customers has never been easier than it is now.  The trick is:  Do you have something worth paying attention to?

Much as laser printers and desktop publishing software gave people the ability to publish their own newsletters, the Internet -- and in particular social media -- allows people to speak on the global stage.

At the business level, most people use social media to promote their organization, their services and their products.  Although the list of available social media platforms and networks grows every day, the most common for marketing are still the two largest: Facebook and Twitter.

One thing to realize is that social media is entirely content driven, which requires a balance of quality and quantity.  People often believe that by having a Facebook or Twitter account, you must be very active in order to be effective.  Yes, there are people who seem to post all the time, but that's like the person who doesn't stop talking.  People typically get tired of others who don't say much of value.

The lesser said is oftentimes more listened to.

While it's natural to want to post about yourself (this is what Facebook was originally intended for), the savvy social media poster knows that unless you're Ashton Kutcher, people aren't really following YOU…they're following what you know.  When celebrities tweet, they’re marketing a product just like any other business.  In Ashton’s case, he himself is the product.  For a small law firm, your products are your services and your expertise.

Craft your message to your intended audience.  As an expert in a specific area, demonstrate your skills by discussing breaking news that affects your area of practice.  Let people know about loopholes or pitfalls they should be aware of.  Tell them about an upcoming event where you're speaking or exhibiting that they may wish to attend.

You need to promote your law firm’s social media offerings whenever possible.  Link to them on your website, mention them in marketing literature, at speaking engagements, even on your business cards.  Don’t expect anyone to go out in search of your Twitter account unless you make it as easy as possible.  You may not see an immediate effect on your bottom line, but you'll garner followers that will come to know you better and hopefully contact you when their needs align with what you offer.

By using social media, you can reach people that would otherwise never know about you.  If they need your services, great, but they can also recommend you to others who may need you.  Either way, social media can help your business grow and flourish.

Mark Mathias is the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of NexFirm.  He has more than 30 years of experience with large and small company technology matters.

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