When it comes to marketing, many barristers’ chambers focus their efforts on events, traditional PR, a website and basic online campaigns. Very few take advantage of a method that offers the most potential, and at a low cost: the use of barristers and staff as brand advocates.
What is Brand Advocacy?
Employee brand advocacy is the promotion and exposure of an organisation by its staff (and in this case, barristers) using their own resources including social media channels, email, blogs or forums and general word of mouth. Social media platforms tend to be used most commonly to promote a business in a brand advocacy programme.
The National Business Research Institute statistics show that a 12% increase in brand advocacy generates a 2x increase in revenue growth.
Why is it important?
As of May 2016 on average, barristers will have around 252 connections on Linkedin alone. Implementing a strategy that takes advantage of these connections can be a great way of accessing a new audience. If you consider a chamber with 50 barristers, each with Linkedin profile with 252 connections, the chambers would have a reach of around 12,600 contacts.
A study by Cisco found that employees have nearly 10 times more followers than corporate social accounts.
Involving barristers and their social channels to help market chambers can help achieve marketing and business development goals faster by increasing the brand reach. While your chambers will probably already be present on LinkedIn, so too are your barristers who will also have accounts on facebook and twitter.
Brand influence is achieved through trust, authenticity and reach; factors that can’t easily be acquired. These are however, things that your barristers will have control of through their own personal contacts and through friendship groups and social media platforms. Building up a trusted online presence takes a long time, so your barristers may have the ability to reach an audience that already sees them as a source of trusted content.
With an increased outreach, the social networks of a chamber can quickly grow, visibly increasing the traffic reaching a website. A successful advocacy programme can generate buzz, heighten loyalty, contribute to online goal conversations and also attract new clients.
Achieving Brand Advocacy
Arrange a team of barristers to act as the ‘community managers’, making them responsible for overseeing the social media activity and helping guide other members with the advocacy strategy. The barristers chosen to represent your brand advocacy programme should already be using social media and have a good knowledge of social media platforms and the commercial benefits they can offer.
As with all marketing tasks, you need to set goals and key performance indicators (KPI’s) so that success can be measured. Having clear goals in place will help ensure that all the work completed in this area is aimed at achieving the right results and also, help monitor and measure the success of each barrister and campaign.
One of the main things to remember when it comes to brand advocates is that they have the freedom to share whatever and whenever they want and they also can not be forced into sharing something. Arranging seminars can be a good way of showing your barristers how to share content, while giving an opportunity to demonstrate the wider strategy and the personal benefits to themselves and the wider chamber.
Guidelines should be easy to follow and unrestricted while giving your barristers a regular supply of ideas and prompts when certain content is available will help build confidence and make sharing content part of a routine. Content related to corporate social responsibility, volunteering, charity events and other ‘good news’ stories that show the place of work to be successful are often easy to share.
People’s motivations behind sharing content suggest that it is a good way for barristers to show a wide range of followers the projects they are involved with and causes that they care about at work.
By measuring results you will be able to show the impact actions have on traffic and conversions. You can build up profiles of the content each barristers audience wants to see, what time of day and which day of the week they are most active. This information will help you make sure each piece of content is working as hard as possible by achieving the maximum amount of coverage. By monitoring and refining the strategy over time, you will be able to demonstrate positive results the strategy has achieved.
Recommendations and referrals from friends and family are still by far the most credible form of marketing. If chambers can encourage barristers to do a better job of promoting themselves through their own social business networks, there is huge potential for chambers to access larger numbers of potential clients on a more regular basis.
Showing barristers the benefits of joining your advocacy programme is important, as is providing them with interesting content to share. The long term aim is for both staff and barristers to gain a sense of pride from sharing content that demonstrates success and a positive place of work. It positions the barristers themselves at the forefront of chambers marketing which will help increase levels of communication by making the organisation more approachable.