Last week, I was joined by 18 senior and junior enthusiastic delegates from across the professions for an update on digital marketing and social media in the professions at a PM Forum training session . Thanks to Dentons in the City for hosting.

I promised to provide a summary of the main topics discussed and some of the additional information that was not covered by the presentation and handout materials:

Most common and latest tools

Whilst most delegates acknowledged use – at least personally – of major platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Yammer (internal Twitter) some of the others mentioned included: Instagram, Mootis (social legal community), Pinterest, Flipboard (personal magazine), Snapchat (mobile conversation), Vine (video), Jaba (proximity networking), Pulse (analytics) and Passle (content marketing).

There were also mentions for inward profile LinkedIn integration within InterAction (CRM) through PeopleLinx during a discussion about integrating social media into CRM generally and the subsequent Data Protection challenges.

There was also discussion of the content publishing and content marketing facilities within the collaboration platform HighQ. The tools (Google Adwords), value and some examples of remarketing generated some interest.

Fee-earner engagement

As always, this was a major topic of discussion as it remains a key challenge. There were some useful insights into the differences in the way that marketers use social media (particularly in a central, co-ordinating role) and how lawyers, accountants and surveyors use social media in their daily roles to connect with and communicate with clients and contacts.

The need for internal segmentation, champions, sponsors, training, support (from drop in centres to desk side hand-holding), encouragement, creation of watch lists to monitor key clients and personalising the benefits were among the helpful tips shared.

LinkedIn use

As the preferred tool for the professions, there was considerable discussion of LinkedIn. There were some interesting examples of it being used for tender and bid research. A major concern related to the creation and maintenance of groups (online communities) – and the limitations of the group administrator functionality.

On a more pragmatic level, the use of checklists and templates was mentioned. And seeking help from LION (LinkedIn Open Networker) individuals. The new Elevate platform to help with content distribution and personal analytics generated some interest from the more advanced users.

Strategy and planning for social media

The need for an integrated campaign where social media is included in all aspects of the planning, research, profile raising, lead generation, conversion and relationship management was recognised. Some commented that during the early adoption and transitional phases, there was a need to distinguish between “learning use” of social media compared to “business use”.

Establishing realistic objectives at the outset could only really be achieved within the context of a campaign and this, in turn, was critical for meaningful return on investment (or engagement) calculations if we are to extend beyond process measurement models and “vanity reporting” of followers and interactions.

Key takeaways

The key takeaways for the group were reported as follows:

  • Plan digital marketing and social media elements in advance and at the outset of a campaign
  • Develop a content strategy focusing on the key messages and main channels in use
  • Find ways to remain alert to the potential use of the large number of new tools
  • Marketers need to be experimenters and early adopters of social media in their personal time in order to understand what might become relevant for professional use
  • Work closer with fee-earners to understand better the needs of their clients in order to identify the relevant social media platforms
  • Develop internal awareness campaigns but tailor the content according to the differing needs of the various practice groups

Other references

Other contributions I have received since the training session (thank you!) include: