Is it time to refresh your social media training?

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Rainmakers know the impact that social media training can make.

Last night, I had dinner with a good friend of mine, a partner at a prestigious law firm. This partner has brought in millions of dollars of business through his blog and social media efforts over the past few years. He wants more partners at his firm to see the light and start leveraging social media, so he asked me to make him a list of what is new, what has changed, and why it is so important that firms continue to focus on this. I figured other firms might have the same question, so I decided to answer him with this blog post.

Here is a list of five recent and major changes in the social media landscape that your professionals should definitely be trained on.

  1. LinkedIn is not the best place to share your firm’s content. You may be surprised to know it’s only the third best place. While LinkedIn may be where many of your professional connections have accounts, the vast majority spend almost no time on the homepage reading articles and other content you share. After processing over 1 million shares through ClearView Social in the past few years, the data is undeniable. On average, professional content shared on Twitter gets 6x the number of clicks as the same content shared on LinkedIn. Content shared on Facebook receives 7x as many clicks. But, isn’t the quality of the clicks better on LinkedIn? There is no evidence to support that assumption. Just because you have high value relationships on LinkedIn, doesn’t mean they spend their spare time reading posts there. Your people need to be trained on sharing to more than just LinkedIn.
  2. Employee posts far outperform corporate posts. Did you know that when one of your professionals shares a blog post to their personal social network, they get 8x the engagement as your corporate LinkedIn or Twitter page? When posts are shared by your professionals to their networks, on average they get re-shared 24x as much as when your corporate social media accounts share the same information. The next time one of your partners comes and says to you, “Can you please share my latest article to the firm Twitter account?” your response needs to be, “Only if you share it to your personal social media accounts first.”
  3. Twitter is experiencing a major resurgence. Allegations of Twitter’s “death” have been highly exaggerated. In fact, as I’ve traveled around the country visiting professional service firms over the past few months, I’ve seen more interest in Twitter than any time in the past five years. Some of this may be driven by a certain verbose politician, but the fact remains that activity on Twitter is increasing. Who isn’t on Twitter? Most of your competitors. Rather, most firms spend 95% of their energy getting their people on LinkedIn to no strategic advantage—since everybody else is doing the same thing. Firms that differentiate themselves by going where the people are but their competitors aren’t will gain far more exposure. Twitter isn’t as simple as LinkedIn, but the potential payoff is real.
  4. Facebook can’t be ignored by professionals any longer. I can already hear the complaints from your partners: “But I never go to Facebook,” and “Facebook is just where I see picture of my grandkids.” Those excuses are tired and done. Over 1 billion people are on Facebook now, and our click-through rates on business posts to Facebook prove that there is a massive audience on Facebook ready to consume your professional posts there. Think about it this way: if you write a blog posts that helps solve a major problems for your ideal client, does it matter to them if the post pops up on LinkedIn or Facebook? Absolutely not, they just want solutions. More than ever before, Facebook is where you can find your biggest audience yet and firms can’t afford to ignore it any longer.
  5. Professionals must track the results of every share. The era of “spray and pray” is over. Say so long to posting repeatedly to social media without ever looking at the click-through rates or other metrics to see the results of your efforts. If you are blindly posting content to social media that nobody is clicking on, I have some bad news for you: Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter will decide your posts are unhelpful to their users, and begin hiding them from view. Even people that are connected to you won’t see what you’ve posted. After all, the new sharing algorithm wants to make sure that nobody is getting spammed. So what can you do? Check your stats on a daily or weekly basis. Every time you post, you need to determine, “Was this post valuable to my social network?” Your network will answer that question by clicking through on your posts. ClearView Social helps firms track these analytics. LinkedIn and Twitter also now have built in analytics, and tools like Hootsuite, Buffer, and Bitly all have free tracking. If you aren’t tracking the results of your social media posts, you won’t ever figure out what works and what doesn’t with your audience.

Conclusion

The pace of technological change continues to accelerate, and the best social media training keeps up.

How recently have you trained your professionals on LinkedIn? Two years ago? Three years ago? What about other social media, like Twitter and Facebook? Social media is dynamic, so if you trained your people three years ago, they most likely need a refresher.

Social media training by its very nature cannot be transactional: it needs to be continuous and transformational. That’s why savvy partners realize it’s an integral part of any firm’s business plan.

Adrian Dayton is the Founder of ClearView Social and author of  two of the first books on social media for lawyers. He has trained over 15,000 professionals on how to bring in more business with LinkedIn, blogs, Twitter and Facebook. If you have questions about how to improve your firm’s social media training, you can email him at adrian@clearviewsocial.com