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Should your firm tackle social channels?

Yes, your firm should probably be on social.

But not without first knowing what personnel resources you have available, how you want your firm to be known, the kinds of messages you want to share, and which platforms are a fit for your firm and your audience.

Take it one step further: The only reason your firm should be sharing on social channels is to differentiate your people, your services, and your expertise from every other firm in the marketplace. If you can’t do that, don’t post anything on social channels. It’s not worth it.

Need proof? How many bad examples of content sharing have you seen on social channels lately? Social messages show up regularly on the evening news now emphasizing the need for thoughtful planning and enough oversight to be fluid and responsive. It’s risky to approach this medium casually, delegating it to the younger, more natively social members on your team without a structured plan.

For instance, that picture of your team in full costume for Halloween says volumes about your fun company culture, but very little about your firm’s expertise. Why do clients and trade partners choose your firm? I’ll wager it has nothing to do with how well your lead engineer can scare the crap out of your leadership team while in costume. (Has he always been that scary?)

It’s a waste of energy, time and resources if messages aren’t relevant to your audience. If they don’t care about your message, you’ve missed an opportunity. And surprise — that cost you money. Social messages have incredibly short lifespans, and the space is noisy and crowded. Create content that speaks directly to your audience and share it on platforms they use regularly. Doing so makes that indirect cost more effective.

How do you get started?

A social audit can uncover the true cost for your firm of this “free” platform. Not only does an audit identify the personnel and resources you have available to run a social program, but it clarifies the audience you need to target, where they participate, and the kind of content that will speak to them. More importantly, it defines the cornerstones that will position your firm for growth.

Know who you are.

A critical element of any successful social program is understanding how you want your firm to be known. Is your firm more traditional, or unconventional? Are you careful or more innovative? Uncovering your firm’s key attributes helps establish the voice and messages that should be used consistently on social channels.

Know who you need to reach and where you need to find them.

Get specific about your target audience and make sure you know who they are. Social platforms can broadcast your message to a wide audience, but it’s better to not rely on the shotgun method, hoping you hit your target. Understand who you are trying to reach. Then, before you create an account on Twitter and Instagram, figure out if your clients and trade partners are even using that platform. And if they use it, what are they looking for there?

Know why they should care.

Once you know who you need to reach and what channels they use, you can think about how they will respond to specific messages. What kinds of problems do they face, and how can you help them find solutions? Does your firm offer a specific expertise that is unique in the industry? Focus on sharing that perspective.

Firms successfully sharing content on social channels focus on how they are differentiated among their competition, and they use the right platform to share their expertise with their targeted audience in ways that create more conversations. Effective social programs can transform connections and deliver opportunities for new business.

If your firm has the resources, can create focused content that connects with potential clients and teaming partners — you’re ready to tackle social channels.

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