I have a message for law firm CMOs: Don’t hire a Director of Social Media.
No, I’m not a Luddite. In fact, I’m a big fan of social media marketing for law firms. I just don’t believe that a “Director of Social Media” is necessary for most law firms. In fact, I’m guessing that most firms hiring for this position may misunderstand social media — and the barriers to doing it right.
In most cases, law firms are looking to fill these positions with people whose primary qualification is knowledge of social media tools like Twitter, blogs and LinkedIn. While this may seem logical, it’s actually a mistake. Why? Because an understanding of social media tools and tactics is not the biggest barrier to success in social media marketing.
So, what’s the biggest barrier? Content. As I’ve written before, insightful, well-written “thought leadership” content must be at the center of any successful social media marketing effort by law firms. Unfortunately, most candidates for Director of Social Media are unlikely to have an editorial background, which is exactly what is needed to help lawyers craft truly compelling content.
If I were a CMO of a law firm, I would forget about hiring a Director of Social Media. Instead, I would bring in two different people:
- A social media consultant – Someone to teach attorneys the basics of social media tools and tactics. This person would work on a consulting basis. There are plenty of really great consultants out there who can get your attorneys up to speed over a period of 6-8 weeks.
- A Director of Content – This person would be a full-time employee who can help attorneys take dry legal thinking and turn it into compelling, readable stories that will attract a loyal following. Perhaps this person has a background as the editor of a magazine or trade publication.
These recommendations are built on my strong belief that social media tools and tactics are relatively easy to learn. In my opinion, the tough part is creating the kind of content that will rise above the clutter and help build the reputations of your attorneys. Those firms that understand this — and respond by bringing in content specialists — will have a clear advantage. More about this in my next post.