Merchant: Pryor Cashman LLP
Location: New York, NY and Los Angeles, CA
Platforms: Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook
Bottom Line: Law firms are using social marketing channels to build brand awareness and reach out to influencers.
Law firms are social organizations by nature, but they’re often run by legal professionals who are hesitant to try new digital marketing channels. Mike Mellor is on a mission to change that. As the head of marketing at Pryor Cashman LLP, a New York-based law firm, Mellor is responsible for enhancing the firm’s image, promoting cross-selling opportunities, and increasing the client base. He’s become an advocate for social marketing, as he utilizes platforms like Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook to amplify his firm’s messaging to clients and prospects.
“Marketing for law firms generally is something that not even 20 years ago was considered somewhat taboo,” Mellor says. “The folks in law firms have had some catching up to do in regards to driving cultural change and getting attorneys comfortable with the concept of marketing and new business development.”
Mellor has been tasked with getting Pryor Cashman’s digital channels up to speed and creating a presence on Twitter and LinkedIn. He’s also interested in promoting the wider concept of “gamification,” which involves creating healthy competitions to drive change and employee engagement.
“Gamification at the firm is simply about creating fun competitions to drive change,” Mellor says. “Whether that’s who likes and shares the most content on LinkedIn, to who is re-tweeting our posts or doing a great job of engaging their followers, we are always trying to find new ways to get our folks to help us spread the message.”
Although larger law firms may have social media teams, Mellor’s firm currently has one person dedicated to social, with others helping out as necessary. Mellor frequently sits down with his attorneys, in both individualized and group settings, to educate and encourage them to serve as brand ambassadors across the firm’s digital channels.
Pryor Cashman’s “consistent and deliberate” social media strategy involves a comprehensive process for distributing news items, posting events, and listening to influencers online. Mellor and his team are strategic in how they decide which items should be shared, how they should be shared, and on what channels.
“As a law firm, we have had to develop guidelines, approved hashtags, and other items in order to ensure we adhere to attorney advertising rules in both New York and California, where our offices are located,” he says.
Although the firm does have a Facebook page, Mellor relies more heavily on Twitter and LinkedIn for targeting general counsel, which are the primary decision makers for legal spending within the larger corporations that Pryor Cashman typically works with.
“We are on Facebook, but [we] tend to use it more for softer news items, including parties or events, and other more recruiting-based content,” Mellor says. “We probably use LinkedIn and Twitter two to three times as much.”
Marketing within the legal community has changed drastically over the past decade. Mellor says that lateral hiring, or taking partners from other firms, and increased attention to value and cost savings has created a very competitive market. As a result, marketing specializations are becoming more common and firms are realizing that they have to add significant value in order to get organizations interested. More firms are putting resources into their digital initiatives, which include blogs and SEO, as well as social media marketing.
“[The challenge is] trying to gain buy-in from a group of busy people who may not appreciate the nuances and value that a holistic omni-channel marketing strategy can bring,” he says. “It’s mission critical to earn a seat at the table and present ideas to your internal audience in the right way the first time.”
Since his arrival at Pryor Cashman six months ago, Mellor says he’s focused on creating a consistent social media strategy. He’s always looking for ways to integrate digital marketing at the firm. As a general rule, he favors platforms that will automate, A/B test, and listen to the firm’s prospects online.
The efforts appear to be paying off. Pryor Cashman’s following on LinkedIn is growing by 1.7% each month, or more than 20% annually. Twitter impressions are up roughly 50% in two months, with a 10% gain of followers in three months. For Mellor, it isn’t just about reaching the largest number of people on social media. It’s about targeting influencers, including clients and prospects.
“While it may seem like small potatoes, in terms of the overall numbers, the universe of decision makers driving multimillion dollar decisions is quite small,” he says. “We are hoping this is just the beginning.”
Stephanie Miles is a senior editor at Street Fight.