At a recent Pepper IT Q&A session we spoke to Nickie, a local Sydney solicitor, about social media for lawyers. Specifically, we wanted to know what the biggest challenges were in the adoption and execution of a sound social media strategy for their law firm. You can find the transcript below.
Pepper IT: How long have working as a solicitor? Have you always been a lawyer?
Nickie: Oh yes, I’ve been working in the legal industry since graduating from Sydney Law School, gosh, it must be coming close to 20 years now. Haha, really puts things into perspective…
Pepper IT: And what would you say has been the biggest change in your almost 20 years in the business?
Nickie: Without a doubt, the internet. I mean unless you’re a farmer or, well I mean even then the way we’re interacting in our private lives and our professional lives has changed dramatically. Especially in the last 5 years where we’re all on our smartphones and online 24/7. Speaking from personal experience, our firm specialises in family, civil rights, and corporate law and it’s really unbelievable how much digital communication – specifically social media and text messaging – has changed the tone of how cases are presented and investigated.
Pepper IT: That’s interesting, the internet is taken as a matter of course now but it wasn’t so long ago that it was consigned to a dial-up modem at the office. Now you mentioned social media as something that’s had an effect on everyday legal proceedings – is this what triggered you to push your firm towards the platform or was it more due to personal use?
Nickie: I’d say there is definitely some overlap there. In a professional environment, we’re dealing with clients who use social media as a key form of communication so naturally it’s very important in that sense, but also at home, my kids are on social media, my family, my friends – it’s ubiquitous. What really drove home the need for our firm to go social, at least for me, I’d say was a mixture of the feedback I’d get from clients and the kind of response I’d see other really well-connected law firms get on, you know, Facebook and LinkedIn and the like.
Pepper IT: So were you the pioneer, the real driving force for getting your law firm on social media?
Nickie: Now I don’t want to take all the credit, but, haha, yes, I’d probably say so.
Pepper IT: And was it difficult in bringing all the other partners on board? Did you face any challenges in making it happen?
Nickie: Look, we’re quite an established law firm and the partners are all very experienced and are very competent in their fields. However, when it came to social media, there was this train of thought that was a little bit outdated. Social media is frivolous, it’s a personal tool, maybe its more suited for retail brands, products for consumption. That was the line of thinking. So yes, there were some challenges and the biggest one was bringing everyone to the table.
Pepper IT: And how did you overcome that, you might say ‘resistance’ to the idea of social media for lawyers?
Nickie: I’d say resistance is a fair word to use. You know, I’m more than happy to wax lyrical about my prowess as a master diplomat and educator, haha, but honestly, I think it was actually sharing other social media accounts with the partners. Specifically accounts in the professional services space that were doing well and that’s what opened eyes. I think they were surprised to see real engagement on these pages. The proof of the pie is in the eating as they say – did I get that right?
Pepper IT: I’m going to say…maybe?
Nickie: Haha, no wait, it’s pudding!
Pepper IT: Haha, and whoever said lawyers were dry!
Nickie: Someone said lawyers were dry? Who? Where? I want names and addresses.
Pepper IT: I feel like I’ve said too much as it is. Going back to the challenges, would you say there were any other hurdles that you had to overcome?
Nickie: At the end of the day we are a law firm, we are reasonably sized and do have some internal marketing but it’s never been part of our core competencies. As a result, the language, the designs, the imagery – all of that was a bit overwhelming for us. We also realised that if we wanted to have meaningful interactions on these social media platforms, we’d need to invest the time in finding and creating this content. And, you know, understanding that perhaps our law firm was not the best place to find a resource to manage these elements was the biggest step in overcoming that challenge. We decided to partner with a social media agency familiar with the industry and we haven’t looked back.
Pepper IT: After eating the proverbial ‘pudding’, would you recommend social media for lawyers?
Nickie: Definitely. Despite having seen some amazing profiles, I’d also seen several not so good ones, that I didn’t share, haha. So we really were all still surprised – myself included – about the impact it’s had. We’re getting real clients, real prospects commenting and sharing our posts. Even taking it a step further, I received a call the other day from an old client who wanted to talk about taking on some work. They mentioned a post they’d seen in their Facebook feed from our account only a few days earlier. It’s not just about broadening the clientele but also keeping our firm top of mind and really positioning our firm as that ‘industry leading’, as they say, expertise.
Pepper IT: Your advice to any lawyers of law firms out there considering becoming social?
Nickie: Do it. If you don’t have the talent in-house, find an agency with experience in the legal industry, you won’t regret it.
Pepper IT: Nickie, thanks so much for your time.
Nickie: Thanks for having me.
Interested in an expert advice? We specialise in social media for lawyers and law firms. With over 25 years of experience in the legal industry, we know the ins and outs of delivering successful social media management for lawyers.
Full disclosure: Nickie and her law firm are clients of Pepper IT. Nickie’s full name and law firm have been excluded from this article, ‘Social Media for Lawyers: Q&A Session’ by request. This abridged transcript has been edited for brevity.