Iceland has more Facebook friends than you. Yes, really. But before you crank up “All by Myself” to a symphony of howling cats, consider this: Iceland is a brand. Just like your law firm. Just like you – as a barrister or legal practitioner. Here are three “to do’s” to enrich your law firm marketing on social media.
Iceland has over 98,000 friends on Facebook and more than 21,000 Twitter followers. Let’s face it, Iceland, the island nation that until very recently was only known for Björk, bewildered goats and semi-crashing the world economy, has around 97,500 more friends than you – if you’re lucky. On social media, Iceland is practically Bono, Mick Jagger and John Lennon combined.
Here are three lessons you can learn about social media from Iceland, radio station 2GB and a fleet of world-roaming rubber ducks.
1. Be inclusive, not divisive
Why are Iceland and the oversized rubber duck, last seen at the 2014 Sydney Festival, so beloved? As the duck’s Dutch creator Florentijn Hofman observed, the duck has a unifying effect, “It doesn’t discriminate [against] people and doesn’t have a political connotation”.
They are innately inclusive, cutting across political, religious, cultural and social divides with gently amusing observations – or in the case of the rubber duck, by its mere presence.
Create a tone for your firm, or for yourself, that is equally inclusive, and even informative. Never go to war with others over ideas. After all, it’s just an idea, and odds are it’s likely to divide your followers or friends for very little payoff. Take negative conversations offline wherever possible.
2. Really listen before you respond
When 2GB and presenter Alan Jones came under fire from social media groups over comments made about then-Prime Minister Julia Gillard in late 2012, the station was forced to temporarily suspend advertising on the Alan Jones breakfast show. While the comments weren’t made on air at 2GB and Alan Jones did publically apologise, the furore continued on social media.
In response, Russell Tate, Macquarie Radio Network executive chairman, accused the groups of engaging in “21st century censorship, via cyber-bullying” and claimed the complaints were “almost entirely from people who do not listen to Alan Jones or 2GB at all”.
Unfortunately, the station’s terse response and unwillingness to acknowledge the views of impassioned individuals looking to improve the public discourse went some way towards fuelling the fire. So what can we take from this? You’re always going to attract criticism. What defines you – and how you’re perceived – is how you respond. Don’t be dismissive. Instead, listen and respond appropriately.
3. Be real and ridiculous
Most of all, social media is primarily social. It’s not forced Friday night networking drinks. Australians dwell on social media in higher numbers than anywhere else in the world, and they do so because they find a community of interesting people with interesting things to say. So be a real person – and be funny about it.
Social media, by its inherent nature, is a dialogue. It’s also a social space. Iceland, 2GB and the rubber duck tell us that if we want to make it big in the online realm of small talk, we need to move away from impersonal broadcasted messages towards lively, character-driven online personas able to engage like real human beings.