His goal was not to get everyone in the firm to use it, but enough of the right people. Everyone at the firm was invited to get trained on LinkedIn use, particularly "more client-facing people." Waxman and his team, including Markos, helped create short information modules in the form of live webinars that would guide viewers on best practices and specific use. They also recorded the live presentations and shared PowerPoint slides in case anyone missed the live webinars.
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Once trained, individuals would post in the LinkedIn groups best suited to their expertise. "One of our goals in the LinkedIn groups was continuing our marketing theme of thought leadership and sharing timely news on tax and accounting, so we had targeted our professionals who lead or focus on certain areas, even in specific states," said Markos.
Results: LinkedIn has become the No. 1 social media site used by the firm, with nearly 80 percent of all of its employees using it. The firm has had close to 2,000 employees through the training already as well. Waxman also noted that the firm can attribute "millions of dollars in business" to the use of LinkedIn.
"The free elements [of LinkedIn] are all you need to build the necessary relationships," said Markos. "We also start and facilitate LinkedIn groups and in some cases translate those online groups to offline and they become groups that attend live events in regions or states."
Next steps: The firm is close to completing its eighth webinar on specific tools in LinkedIn training. There have also been six offline learning and knowledge-sharing events, and there are "several more" planned for 2013, according to Markos.
Smolin vs. Superstorm
Firm: Smolin, Lupin & Co. / Fairfield, N.J.
Product/service(s): Facebook, LinkedIn and firm Web site
Start date: October/November 2012
On record: Director of human capital Rachel Anevski
Challenge/objective: To provide up-to-date, useful and location-specific information to staff and clients affected by Hurricane Sandy.
Amount spent: Nothing.
Process: After Hurricane Sandy hit New Jersey, where many of the firm's employees and clients reside, many of them wanted to know if and when offices would be open or power restored, where local relief aid might be or simply where to go to charge phones, computers and other electronic devices. Clients also wanted to know that their information was safe, and Anevski and her team felt the best way to communicate would be through social media and the firm's Web site.
"In a disaster, people are calling insurance and they are calling their accountants," she said. "One of the partners began texting me and I pushed out that data; we also have a PR company that provided outside data, specifically links to township information, what was happening with power, what towns were saying and so on. We also made sure our employees were safe and we posted media on what to do in these events or how to get to the Red Cross and other safe areas."
Anevski found that many staff and clients did not have cable access to view local news, but were able to get on to the Internet through charged cell phones and computers. The firm also posted photos of affected areas. Some even came in through a staffer who is in the National Guard and was able to view devastated areas first hand -- one of which was managing member Ted Dudek's own home. Anevski said that since he was displaced, they were able to forward him photos.
The firm's New Jersey offices were closed for about a week, but once open they allowed clients to come in and charge devices or even use them as temporary work spaces until their own heat and power was restored.
"We encourage social media use here. We do not have very strict policies because we know this is how the world is moving and it's never been abused," said Anevski.
Results: The firm effectively communicated with its staff and once it was revealed when offices would open, everyone was accounted for at the offices that day. Clients that were able to utilize the space were also told that the firm was able to arrange business interruption insurance, which resulted in even more client work.
"Ultimately, our efforts showed that we care, and it improved our overall [social media] readership too," said Anevski.
Next steps: The firm is looking to utilize social media outlets to recruit, educate and "show that we've got depth of knowledge with these channels."