Social Media has turned ordinary businesses into their own news outlets. It’s no different for law practices.
Before Social Media, if you and your law firm invested time and resources in helping your local community in some way, you’d have to work hard to ensure people knew about it. You would also have to be careful how you went about it, so that the public didn’t think you were only doing it for the publicity.
Social Media changed that.
Now, as long as you follow the golden rule, it’s possible for people around the world to know about your charitable endeavors and community work, without it ever breaking into actual news coverage.
The golden rule, of course, is to focus on the good cause you’re helping, not what an amazing human being you are.
Every week on my Social Media feeds, I see examples of businesses getting involved in charity or community work, and they follow the golden rule – they focus on the cause, not how brilliant it is that they’re getting involved.
Social Media enables a much broader audience to learn about that good cause, but they also learn about the efforts of the business to help the cause. And that is great grassroots marketing.
Whether it’s a one-time effort or an ongoing and long-term involvement, you can really make a difference and spread the word about your law practice by choosing the right cause.
How Do You Start?
The challenge, if you’re not currently involved with your community or a charitable cause, is knowing which cause to support, how to start, and how to channel your efforts.
Unless you already have a charity or good cause that is close to your heart, my suggestion is that you ask your employees and clients.
If you have a Client Advisory Board, gather the members together and ask them for their input.
You want to try and identify good causes that have a broad appeal. Campaigning against rabbit hunting, for example, won’t be a cause the masses can support. Helping children with cancer, on the other hand, is something only the heartless won’t get behind.
Choosing to support a good cause is a fine thing but being able to explain why you’re supporting that particular cause – that will enable people to really buy into what you’re doing.
You can pick any good cause you want, but if you can explain your connection to that cause, you’ll achieve more engagement.
It could be fundraising for medical research because a friend or relative is affected by a particular disease. It could be a special needs school that looks after your office manager’s grandchild. It could be an awareness course for young drivers, because a client lost a child due to driver texting.
With just the three examples that I’ve given you above, you can see that it would make sense for you to adopt any of them as a good cause when you, your firm, an employee or client has a personal connection with it. And the personal connection can be used to increase engagement by sharing that story.
Once you’ve drawn up a list of good causes, investigate how you can help each of them. Reach out to the local organizer and meet up for a coffee. Explain that you’re looking for a good cause that you, your employees, your clients and your Social Media followers can all rally behind. Explain also the personal connection you have with that cause.
Explain the resources you can offer, whether it’s employee time, money, printing or mailing fulfillment, video production, generating publicity or something else.
You’re looking for somewhere you can really make a difference and, ideally, develop a long-term relationship that ultimately benefits all parties.
You should then be able to draw up a shortlist of good causes that you feel you can help the most, as well as subtly spread the word about your law firm to a wide audience.
To pick the cause you’re going to support, start out the right way; build the backing and enthusiasm from the get go by asking your clients and Social Media followers to vote on your shortlist.
By getting your current and past clients – and your enthusiastic followers – to choose how you get involved with your community, they’ll feel a sense of ownership with that decision, which will then encourage their own involvement.
Enlisting your army of fans to help you choose how you direct your charitable efforts means you’ll also be enlisting them to help you with those efforts.
So it’s not just the combined efforts of 25 or 50 employees you’ll be marshaling to the aid of a local community activity; it’s the hundreds or thousands of people in the wider community who you can also rally to aid that effort.
When you really decide to get involved, it’s the combined efforts of those hundreds or thousands of people you can really wield, if you’re serious.
Exercise Your Brain
Some members of PILMMA absolutely love getting stuck into the marketing of their law practices. While they became lawyers, they’re still very smart marketers. Unfortunately, when you’re always focused on getting more clients for your law practice, it can make your brain dry up and shrivel a little.
Thinking about how to market something completely different is a great way to get those creative juices flowing again.
It’s good for you, and it’s good for the charitable cause.
As you get fresh ideas to help your local community cause, you’ll get fresh ideas for your law practice. And a good marketing brain is always of benefit to a non-profit operation, especially those that don’t have large budgets.
Then, of course, supporting that cause gives you fresh opportunities to market your law practice, and in a different way to what you’ve been doing. It’s sure to breathe new life into your efforts.
Finally, don’t forget that helping other people is chicken soup for the soul. We get so busy, concerning ourselves with how our law firms run, that we can forget how rewarding it can be to help those less fortunate than ourselves.
Why not start this effort today? Ask your Social Media fans and followers if they have any suggestions for a local good cause you should consider supporting. Then follow the next steps as I’ve outlined above.
Already Involved In Your Community?
Are you already supporting a good cause in your local community?
Tell us about it in the comments.
In a few weeks, I’ll post a follow-up article where I’ll share the best examples of community involvement by our members and readers.