A recap and reflection on the learnings from our 21-Day Challenge.
It’s November and the season of thanks. As I reflect on the remarkable journey we wrapped this past June with year two of the Legal Marketing Association’s 21-Day Social Media Challenge, I feel immense gratitude for the impact it has had on the legal marketing community.
Having co-created this course in 2022 with Jacob Eidinger — and evolving the format in 2023 with inspiration from Erika Galarneau — it’s been a joy to witness the growth of participants as they delved into the masterclass about social media’s influence on our professional and personal lives.
In case you missed it, HERE is access to the kick-off session recording and the full syllabus. While many of the 2023 resources are already outdated, you’ll get a flavor of learning themes. In the moderated breakout rooms, we grappled with the following questions:
- What are the potential benefits of lawyers & law firms maintaining an active presence on Twitter (now X)? What are the risks?
- Is disavowing the [X] platform altogether the right thing to do or the way forward?
- Do law firms have a responsibility to combat the rampant misinformation on Twitter and other social media platforms?
- Regarding the article titled, “A lawyer used ChatGPT to cite bogus cases. What are the ethics?” What are some takeaways from a marketing standpoint, including ethical concerns about using ChatGPT and other generative AI for law firm marketing?
- Discuss the impact of AI on client relationships. Is there a risk that AI will create a marketing “echo chamber” in which all law firms’ content sounds increasingly alike and we lose our humanity or unique voice and branding?
- What are examples of ways misinformation about your firm can spread online? Consider how specific examples from the resources (deepfakes, AI, and other misinformation) can harm law firms.
- How do we as legal marketers and service providers address misinformation?
- What would a social media policy that addresses misinformation look like?
- Should law firms actively encourage individual lawyers to create their own short-form videos on platforms like TikTok and YouTube? Discuss the potential benefits and drawbacks.
- How can firms best support individual employees with large social media followings? Should those individuals also be expected to mentor or train others at the firm?
- Discuss generational differences with respect to lawyer attitudes about social media use. What can firms do to bridge the gap?
- Do you use Reddit for work, and if so, how?
- Discuss your reaction to the Intelligencer article about last week’s protest by Reddit users.
- In the spirit of digital wellness, authentic online presence, and meeting our lawyers where they are at, what is an effective and mindful way to spend 15 minutes on LinkedIn? (watch for our recap of this discussion in 2024)
Survey Says: What did you like about the Challenge?
We were blown away by the response, with nearly 350 Challengers over the past two years. The 2023 Challenge, which ran from June 1 to June 30, embraced a diverse and engaging curriculum. From exploring the ever-evolving landscape of Twitter, now X, and the state of social media legislation to unraveling the complexities of Facebook and Instagram, the participants dived deep into the nuances of each platform. Discussions about video-based socials, including YouTube and TikTok, opened a deeper understanding of the power of visual storytelling in our digital age. The emphasis on LinkedIn and digital wellness underscored the importance of maintaining a robust yet balanced and healthy online presence. Check out some of the comments from participants:
Recaps from Wild: A roundup of participant posts about their learnings.
Jessica Aries, one of our discussion room moderators and former SIG co-chair, summarized her takeaways at the midway point:
There should be two policies around social media in law firms – one around how social media is used by lawyers and one on how social media is shared by marketing.
Misinformation is everywhere. Partner with PR teams and get ahead of crisis communication by empowering social media teams.
Banning social media because it can harm is not the answer. It is key to teach and empower lawyers, professionals, and children to use it safely and with discipline.
When source information is available, use it to verify the accuracy of what you share, and be mindful that technology is evolving, making it easier to fool you. Don’t let it.
Another moderator, Chris Moyer, captured his breakout room’s conversation around the question: Should law firms actively encourage individual lawyers to share content on social media?
“… attorneys should be given permission to market themselves in an authentic way. Encouraging an attorney who hates social media to engage more on the platform would frustrate them and not lead to new business. Make sure you encourage your people to engage in business development and marketing activities that work for them. For People like Alex Su, that is TikTok, for others, it might be traditional networking events, and for still others, it might be speaking engagements. All are great options — assuming of course they are authentic to the personalities of each individual attorney.”
Jacob’s shared his top takeaways in July:
Many law firms do not have adequate social media policies. Your social media policy needs to be a living document that gets updated as new platforms and ethical pitfalls emerge.
An effective social media policy clearly lays out the firm’s expectations around what types of content are acceptable, how to respond to criticism/misinformation/deepfakes/negative stories about you and your firm online, confidentiality issues, and what disciplinary action may be taken in the event of a policy violation.
More training is needed to ensure lawyers fully understand the benefits and risks that come with social media use. Much more training.
Social media platforms are betting big on AI. ChatGPT and other generative AI are here to stay. These tools are quickly becoming more advanced. Again, law firms urgently need to train their lawyers and business staff on how these tools work, potential uses, and ethical dilemmas.
Speaking of AI, it’s creating new jobs and workflows related to prompt engineering and the automation of legal tasks & content marketing. Law firms need to embrace this reality.
Misinformation is rampant on social media and will continue to get worse. Lawyers must make sure everything they share online is carefully vetted and fact-checked.
LinkedIn remains the dominant platform for lawyers to connect with other professionals and generate referrals. GCs rely on LinkedIn as a source of authoritative business information. Now is the time to invest heavily in the platform—if you still think it’s a waste of time in 2023, you’re being foolish.
Twitter is dying. While it still remains useful for things like newsgathering, media relations & competitive intelligence, trying to build a brand on Twitter is risky.
Short-form video content is more powerful than ever thanks to TikTok, Instagram Reels, and YouTube Shorts. Consider making video a key part of your strategy—it can easily be repurposed for other uses and across platforms. Beware lawyers striking brand deals that run afoul of the ethics rules.
The best way legal marketers can learn about social media is to talk to each other. Find out what’s working. Learn from each other’s successes and failures. Together we can help our lawyers overcome their objections to social media and make the most of our time on these platforms.
I took a moment to reflect on the week two theme as Challengers considered the impacts of social media on our mental health.
Erika summarized her highlights by platform:
Twitter: even with the daily changes happening at the company, it’s not going away anytime soon and is still the best place to connect with the media, so important to keep it on your radar even if it isn’t part of your main social media strategy.
Meta: while there are many benefits to being on their platforms because there is so much engagement, there are also dangers including damage to mental health and misinformation; it’s important to find a way to strike a balance.
Video-based platforms: with the possibility of going viral overnight or having an attorney with a large social media following newly join your firm, it’s important to keep your social media policy up to date and be ready to provide guidance when this happens.
LinkedIn: the new algorithm changes mean LinkedIn is staying true to its mission and prioritizing thought leadership and content with value. We were able to think out of the box through an exercise about how to help various types of attorneys with hesitations about LinkedIn (beginners, skeptics, rainmakers, bystanders) and give them an action plan.
Check out #LMA21Challenge for more insights from the Challengers.
Farewell for now.
Jennifer Forester is a business development coach with 20 years in legal marketing. She is a 2023 co-chair of the LMA Social & Digital Media SIG and previously served in leadership with the LMA Bay Area Local Group. Jen lives in northern California with her two Boxer dogs and her husband, who is a family law attorney.
Jacob Eidinger is the Director of Marketing and Communications, Crumiller P.C. He is a 2023 co-chair of the LMA Social & Digital Media SIG and previously served on the LMA New York Local Steering Committee, the Strategies Magazine Editorial Board and the LMA Content Center Task Force.
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