Social media consultant Annie Boyd blogs on how - even in a corporate world - you can harness the power of social media to deliver real results.

Once upon a time social media was deemed a fad, like a teenage crush or a spiral perm. It was considered a passing phase we’d all go through but ultimately grow weary of in time. Yet here we are in a world of tweeting presidents and citizen journalists, where breaking news is consumed online rather than in print, and digitally savvy entrepreneurs make millions as influencers on Instagram, YouTube, Facebook and LinkedIn.

Brands like Topshop or Apple are a perfect fit for social media, with their abundance of glossy content and endless new products to tempt us to buy, like, follow, subscribe and share.  But how can social media deliver a return on investment for those working in a corporate environment, where the service offered isn’t as fashionable or cutting edge? How can law firms join online conversations in a manner that adds value rather than noise?

Here are a few suggestions:

  • thought leadership – share knowledge and insight
  • show a human side – break down barriers and challenge perceptions
  • introduce your team – who will I meet when I attend a meeting?
  • celebrate success – announce promotions, awards won or new offices
  • attract new talent – entice the best graduates to join your firm
  • promote events – target and engage current and potential clients
  • corporate social responsibility – share good news stories and position your business within the local community
  • expand your network - turn online connections into real life connections

And of course the conversation shouldn’t be one sided. Listening is just as important as sharing and social media can be a useful research tool as individuals share their own business updates and search for advice, recommendations and ideas. Tweets, LinkedIn updates, blog articles and Instagram Stories provide opportunities to learn about your local community and can help shape the content you create. What are the problems that you can offer solutions to?

Individuals who like to check all the facts and proceed with caution have an advantage when it comes to social media as too many businesses dive in without a plan or a clear picture of what they’d like to achieve. A considered and strategic approach enables you to set clear and realistic goals and measure results.

So what is the return on investment (ROI)? There needs to be ROI as social networking may be free to set up but it takes time and energy to do it well, and time is money. The return on investment can be measured virtually, with reports of an increase in website traffic and growth in follower numbers, subscribers and enquiries. But for many of us the favoured result involves sealing the deal with a conversation and a handshake. Transferring an online audience into a real life network by encouraging people to book an appointment, attend an event, apply for a position, introduce you to their colleagues, or invite you to present at a seminar, are more tangible outcomes to aim for.

The course I’m delivering is for individuals who have got to grips with the basics of social media and want to further develop their skills. It will be full of practical advice and tasks, plus quick wins and longer term strategic actions to implement over the months ahead. I’ll avoid jargon as much as possible and aim to make it a positive learning environment and an enjoyable experience for all involved. View the course outline and reserve your place today.

Annie Boyd is a social media consultant. Find out more via her website or on LinkedIn.