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Oh, the Humanity! Bots, Social Media, and Your Law Firm

social media

Many attorneys, firm managers, and owners cannot commit the necessary time to work with their firm’s social media platforms despite being aware of their importance, resulting in something of a Catch-22. These individuals know it is important to build a community through their social media presence. Some even understand the importance of aligning their content marketing with their social media strategy, while a limited few recognize the benefits of social media on their search engine optimization efforts. These various levels of understanding all lead these decision makers and would-be marketers to the same conclusion: law firms must communicate through social media channels in a manner that humanizes their practice and promotes a professional online presence.

At LaFleur Legal Marketing, we regularly discuss the benefits of a strong social media presence with our prospective and current clients. In some cases, those dialogues are centered on automated responses through case management software. For instance, a scheduled send for your firm’s monthly email newsletter. Automating repetitive tasks promotes efficiency within any organization ― but especially within the legal sector. And with the rise of new technologies, many firms are using bots to augment their social media presence. We understand the allure, but we adamantly discourage this practice. Technology is meant to make our lives easier and businesses more effective; social media bots do neither.

But what is this mysterious creature we’ve been hearing about? What is this “bot” that seems posed to execute a hostile takeover of the social media landscape? Well, simply put, bots are algorithms that perform a precise function through the guise of an active, human social media manager. No, they are not a fully-realized and functional version of Skynet, but they can complete simple and complex tasks based on their algorithm. As they pertain to social media, they can like your posts, initiate alerts, and request that your community use their services (yikes).

What Gives?

Here are some pretty shocking figures related to bots that you likely weren’t aware of:

  • Thirty percent of users can be deceived by a bot.
  • Over 99% of @spotthebot’s followers are fake.
  • Each year, Facebook discovers over 100 million fake accounts.
  • There are 24 million bots on Twitter
  • 51% of web traffic comes from bots or algorithms

So why the big hullabaloo? First of all, bots self-solicit, which means they’re easy to spot. Imagine you are a consumer who recently followed a law firm on Facebook: How would you feel being solicited by a bot that the firm is using to manage their social channel? Would it inspire trust or connection with that firm? Would it motivate you to take action? Bots are a detriment to authenticity and credibility; they are associated with spam, solicitation, and information suppression ― not exactly the kind of connection that your firm is looking to establish with your local community. Yet we continue to see more and more members of the legal community utilizing bots, especially on Twitter.

Social Media Automation vs. Bots

Social media automation is far different, far more integrated, far more customizable, and far superior than bots. It is a mechanism utilized by real people that allows for all pertinent work to be accomplished in one convenient location. Social media automation is only as powerful as the individual operating the tool. The price of these platforms vary because some are stand-alone platforms, while others tie in a great deal of complexity, such as combining powerful email marketing services. Your firm would be hard-pressed to find a free option that would fit the needs for your business, but the right platform at the right place can streamline your marketing efforts and make your ROI sing!

Avoiding Social Media Failure

Social media platforms should be one part of a larger holistic content marketing strategy. Eighty percent of the content syndicated in your firm’s social channels should be created with the intent to educate, entertain, and engage your local community. The remaining 20% should be related to business development. “Pitch Posting” or the constant promotional post almost never yields any measureable result.

When evaluating a technology platform or marketing partnership, make sure to establish the gained value of your firm’s investment. In the simplest circumstances, someone in your firm will be investing their time (whether that be you, another attorney, a legal assistant, etc.). Make sure that this time and effort (not to mention your firm’s financial investment) is based on defined goals designed to produce value for your organization. If you’re truly looking to optimize your social media presence, it may make sense to talk to a marketing agency that specializes in building a community around your brand.

Anyone that tells you that a certain social media tactic will immediately and automatically result in more clients isn’t telling the truth. There is no quick and easy way to maintain your social media presence. The long game that is social media marketing takes time, effort, and investment. It takes time to curate or create great content that your perspective clients will actually consume, and the metrics that your firm should be tracking will vary with each platform.

LaFleur Legal Marketing

Bots can automate some of the tasks that your firm needs to perform well in its social channels, but they will never be able to recreate the humanizing content that your law office needs. Effective social media efforts are the result of great written content, solid graphic design, and thorough research on trending topics, but most importantly, they should be personal, authentic, and at times, fun! If your firm is looking to update, automate, and optimize your social media marketing efforts ― or any other component of what should be a holistic marketing strategy ― please contact us today by calling (888) 222-1512 or completing the brief form on this page.

References:

Bilton, N. (2014, November 19). Social media bots offer phony friends and real profit. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/20/fashion/social-media-bots-offer-phony-friends-and-real-profit.html?_r=0

Finger, L. (2015, February 17). Do evil – The business of social media bots. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/lutzfinger/2015/02/17/do-evil-the-business-of-social-media-bots/#53d7ec8c1104

Taylor, J. (2013, May 1). 7% of Twitter users are not human. Retrieved from http://oursocialtimes.com/7-of-twitter-users-are-not-human/

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Chip LaFleur has led innovation in marketing and business development over 15 years, spending the last five building, testing, and refining digital marketing systems for law firms. Time with family at home and in the garden, woodworking, and backpacking are favorite distractions.