3 Social Media Marketing Lessons from the NBA

3 Social Media Marketing Lessons from the NBA

I should start by admitting, I’m not an NBA fan. However, I have a co-worker who watches basketball obsessively and for months he’s been talking about the NBA’s amazing presence on social media. He’s pointed out several occasions where the things these teams post actually align with the same social media perspectives that we advise attorneys to consider. Namely, for law firms looking to market themselves on Twitter and Facebook, maintain a personal approach focused on sharing relevant information and connecting with others.

A while back, my neighbor down the aisle grabbed some of his favorite NBA tweets and pulled out three examples that can be folded into your firm’s social media strategy. Here are his (three) points:

Be Relevant

Sharing pertinent information about your practice area and law firm should be the easiest thing you do on social media. You know the intricacies of the law, you know your client base and you know the common problems they face.

The thing is, every other firm that works in town is doing the same thing. If you want to set yourself apart, speak in a way that doesn’t sound like a robot programmed to write a couple of sentences on joint custody paperwork.

Look at what the Portland Trailblazers tweeted from their New Year’s Day game against the Chicago Bulls.

Portland Trail Blazers tweet
https://twitter.com/trailblazers/status/948040621138300929

The Blazers give you the game’s final score (Portland by four in overtime) and a link to the longer recap of the win in Chicago, along with a simple but stunning GIF of shooting guard C.J. McAllum. But take a closer look, this tweet is doing a lot. What’s noticeable upfront is the lack of clutter. Many social media novices think they should pack in a lot of information in a post. Social users want something they can scroll quickly and click on a link if they’re intrigued.

They even threw in a good-spirited jab at the city of Chicago that people may or may not recognize. You don’t have to reference SNL in your posts, but you can be yourself even if not everyone reading your posts will understand (as long as it’s PC and PG).

Be Human

Not every attorney is funny, not everyone is serious. Some spend most of their downtime with family while others travel the world when they’re not in the courtroom. The point is that you aren’t like the law firm down the street, so you shouldn’t tweet yourself like it.

FindLaw has been preaching the gospel of a “human” approach to law firm social media for years and there’s a good reason—people want to know the real person behind the navy-blue suit and high-polish website biography. Here’s an example straight from the hardwood.

Dirk Nowitski is a shoe-in for the Hall of Fame. He’s also a world-class cut-up whose 7-foot height doesn’t translate to other sports too well. Just see what I mean:

Dallas Mavericks tweet
https://twitter.com/dallasmavs/status/758390410674700288

The Mavs know how to show Dirk’s personal side—just a lanky dude who can’t play soccer all that well. It was also one of the most popular tweets the team published last year.

As a social media marketer, what I take away is how uniquely personal the post is. I’m not advocating a trip to the nearest soccer pitch with an iPhone and a social media dream, and I’m certainly not saying you have to be as self-deprecating as the Dunking Deutschman. But you can be yourself, whoever that may be.

Be Engaging

You may have prospective clients reaching out to you on Facebook or Twitter, hopefully asking questions about content on your website or how you can help them out of a legal jam.

As an attorney, you also work in a collegial environment. While you compete against your colleagues for cases or outcomes, you probably know and respect many of the lawyers who sit across the table from you.

So how do you boost your brand by interacting with both those who need an attorney and the law firms or business associations you want to network with? Let’s again look at our friends in “The Association.”

Here’s a simple interaction during the 2017 playoffs after the Golden State Warriors knocked the Utah Jazz out of the Western Conference semi-finals:

Golden State Warriors tweet
https://twitter.com/utahjazz/status/861792503069982720

These are two teams who just finished a hard-fought series, the results of which were one-sided, to say the least. Yet the two Twitter accounts are interacting because they know it’s best for everyone when things stay positive. You, too, can use social to build your network, whether it’s among fellow attorneys or organizations you work with. Your law firm is part of a larger community. If you isolate yourself from that reality, consumers might start to wonder why.

Speaking of legal consumers, they may be out there asking questions or leaving useful comments on your social media posts. Some may reach out to you through Facebook Messenger or Twitter direct message. Do not leave them hanging by ignoring those interactions. When you generate business using organic social you’re doing so with very little time and effort. That’s certainly worth keeping an eye on your social media mentions.

You probably won’t be shooting as well as Steph Curry anytime soon, but you can learn a few tips from the pros. Keep it loose on social media. You don’t have to be a robot and tweet out the same legalese that everyone else does. You can use the time you spend on Facebook and Twitter to interact and network to build your law firm’s brand. That sounds like a lot more fun anyway.

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