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David Gilroy, sales and marketing director at Conscious Solutions, and Helen Hammond, managing director of Elephant Creative Solutions, provided a fast-paced, entertaining and highly informative glimpse into the rapidly evolving world of social media and digital marketing.

Linked In, Blogging and Twitter were identified as the three most important social media platforms with David sharing his tips for making them work effectively.

Helen provided a practical example of how the Web has become a vital marketing tool for Wards Solicitors. She described Wards’ old website as ‘depressing’, ‘one dimensional’ and with ‘no sense of personality’. It contained ‘standard, boring copy’ and there was ‘no sense of difference’. It was difficult to maintain and update and couldn’t be used to communicate with clients and prospects. What was needed was a comprehensive communications strategy.

Helen and her team at Wards were instrumental in rolling out a multi-phase website development and communications programme. The aim was to position Wards as a local firm for local people, to bring out the personalities within the firm, win trust and to properly establish the brand.

Key developments included:

  • Developing personal partner profiles
  • Adding links to Linked In profiles and individual blogs
  • Linking to the office locations, directions and maps
  • Setting up a blog which gives everyone in the firm a voice
  • Creating Twitter and Linked In accounts for the firm and using them regularly
  • Launching newsletters and briefings containing highlights from the best blog posts generated by fee-earners

Wards’ new website went ‘live’ at Christmas. Since then, Helen said the firm has seen a 200 per cent increase in the number of instructions coming through the website (and some of those have come through Linked In and Twitter).  Although there has been a relatively small increase in the number of visitors to the website, Helen reported a huge increase in the number of page views, a significant drop in ‘bounce’ rate and that overall, people were spending much longer on the site.  

Importantly, in today’s challenging climate, she said the new website has allowed the firm to slash  its advertising budget and galvanised the fee-earners, encouraging them to get involved in their own business development and to proactively look for new opportunities.

So what’s next for Wards? Online services, direct sales prompts and a Google ad-words campaign are just some of the new initiatives in the pipeline. As Helen said, social media is not an answer in itself but a part of the overall communications strategy. If you think about it strategically and link it to your objectives, the rewards can be huge.

Natalie Birrell – Brandon Hill Communications

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