Insight

David Ackert's Top Advice on Social Media and Client Prospecting

The president of Ackert Inc. offers his insights on business development to Best Lawyers following the 2019 Legal Marketing Association Annual Conference.

Social Media Tips for Law Firms
Best Lawyers

Best Lawyers

May 13, 2019 09:31 AM

David Ackert, president of Ackert Inc. and a recognized leader in business development innovation, spoke with Best Lawyers after the 2019 Legal Marketing Association Annual Conference. Read on for Ackert’s conference breakdown, his tips on social media and client prospecting, and the hardest business development tips to master. For more LMA 2019 coverage and strategies to market your firm, read our coverage here.

Best Lawyers: What were the three biggest takeaways from LMA 2019?

David Ackert: Legal marketing continues to grow in sophistication as a profession year over year. One of the most pronounced changes I noticed this year was a greater effort by marketers to make their voices heard and respected within the law firm. This concept of creating one’s own seat at the table was echoed in many sessions at LMA19 and I think in the coming years marketers will begin to see more of the recognition they deserve (if they negotiate for it). The top three things they should do to push the envelope, in my opinion, are these:

  • Own the strategic plan. You may not have sat in on the meetings where the strategic plan was created, but you can certainly take ownership of its execution. Most firms look at their strategic plan exactly once per year (when they write it) and leave it to collect dust for the remaining 364 days. Marketers should reference the firm’s strategic plan regularly, and tie every initiative back to it. Also, create and monitor KPIs that track progress toward the plan’s stated objectives. When marketers’ efforts are oriented around organizational goals and backed by hard data, they become even more invaluable as an asset to the firm.
  • Track, optimize, iterate. Many marketers are too overwhelmed with administrative work to be able to focus on strategy, and that’s not the highest and best use of their time. While tracking KPIs is a new, nebulous, and perhaps intimidating activity for most marketers, it can be their ticket out of a mountain of scut-work if they can present hard data proving that a given activity is low-ROI and a waste of time. Tracking KPIs can help marketers focus on the most effective activities, optimize their bandwidth, improve upon existing initiatives, and ultimately achieve better results.
  • Tie your contributions to revenue. Marketing and business development professionals should find ways to get in front of prospective clients, actively generate leads, and pass them off to lawyers once they have matured down the sales funnel. When they can draw a clear line between their efforts and new revenue, their voices carry a lot more weight than someone who can only draw a dotted line between their role and “revenue enablement.”

Social media management can be overwhelming. What tips would you recommend to make it more effective?

Focus on just one or two platforms, not all of them. My team realized that maintaining our company Facebook pages was a lot of work with very little results, so we deleted them and focused our efforts on Twitter and LinkedIn. Your firm will have its own version of this story, but having a few platforms is always better than having too many out-of-date pages with limited activity. In the wise words of my friend Adrian Dayton, just delete your account.

How can a business maintain a proactive approach when it comes to client prospecting?

Again, narrow your focus. Recently I’ve been conducting a lot of research for a book I’m writing on networking and sales for service professionals and I came across a concept called Dunbar’s Number. About 30 years ago, British anthropologist Robin Dunbar posited that humans are only capable of maintaining stable relationships with about 150 people. In other words, each of us only has about 150 people where we “would not feel embarrassed about joining uninvited for a drink if you happened to bump into them in a bar,” according to Dunbar. When you subtract your family and friends from that number, you’re looking at only a dozen or two professional contacts with whom you can actually maintain regular, authentic relationships.

Your company has developed a tool called Practice Pipeline. How does it serve businesses?

Practice Pipeline helps busy professionals focus on their short list of business relationships: the clients, prospects, and referral sources who represent the greatest opportunity for new business. Unlike CRM, which can be overwhelming in its complexity and number of contacts managed, Practice Pipeline is ultra-simple and user-friendly so professionals can focus on business development without a lot of data entry or administrative work.

What is one business development strategy that even you find hard to follow?

Small talk can easily become a bad habit. Superficial conversation, like talking about the news or the weather, is an easy fallback but it does nothing for the relationship. I notice this tendency in myself when I have client phone calls on busy days. In an attempt to be productive, I sometimes rush through the niceties so I can jump into the formal agenda. This approach may make for an efficient call, but it also squanders an opportunity to reinforce my relationship with the other person. The fact is that it takes the same amount of time to ask them about the weather in Nashville as it does to ask them a thoughtful question about their work or personal life. When we are not mindful of this fact, we become lazy conversationalists, but when we make the effort to show concern for specific aspects of people's lives, our interactions become less wasteful. We create more substantial connections with people and they, in turn, become far more likely to make an effort on our behalf.

Related Articles

Where to Begin Marketing Your Law Firm


by Scott Parks

Start by identifying your target audience. Then, tailor your message to fit.

First Things to Do When Marketing Your Law FI

Six Steps to Social Media Success for Law Firms


by Bria Burk

Firms can use social media to promote awards, establish their positions, and bring attention to a practice area.

How Should Law Firms Use Social Media?

Highlights From the 2019 LMA Annual Conference


by Best Lawyers

Did you make it to LMA 2019? Read the Best Lawyers recap of this year's biggest takeaways.

2019 LMA Conference Recap

How to Handle a PR Crisis


by Mike Androvett & Mark Annick

Planning your strategy in advance, and having a team ready to handle a disaster, can help you tackle a problem before it starts.

How Law Firms Should Handle a PR Crisis

Georgia Proposes Law Requiring Parental Consent for Minors on Social Media


by Gregory Sirico

With data collection on the rise, Georgia lawmakers are currently petitioning for Senate Bill 351, which would require a user's age before social media use.

Teenager with hood on using phone as notifications pop up

Press and Publicity: How Television and Social Media Impact Legal Careers


by Justin Smulison

In recent years, with social media giving minute by minute reporting, many lawyers are finding themselves thrust into a spotlight they never planned for. How are lawyers grappling with unexpected stardom, media coverage and merciless influencers?

Close up of camera at news station

What Do Your Clients Want, Anyway?


by Emilia Levisay

Law Firm Strategies to Best Serve Clients.

Sticky notes on black chalk board that says quality, cost, and efficiency

How Does Your Firm Measure Up?


by Best Lawyers

BL Intelligence provides your firm with valuable industry data.

Best Lawyers 27th Edition Stats

4 Ways to Engage Your Client on Their Terms


by Scott Distasio

Upping your customer service skills could boost business, propel your career, and help you retain top clients.

Engaging Your Client on Their Terms

An Interview With Serhiy V. Piontkovsky of Baker McKenzie


by Best Lawyers

The head of Baker McKenzie's Real Estate practice group in Ukraine discusses the firm's standout attorneys.

Baker McKenzie Wins Law Firm of the Year

How to Create a Bio that Attracts New Clients


by Mark Annick

Put your most relevant information first. Make it sound like you.

What Should A Lawyer's Bio Do?

Our Tips on Top Lawyer Lists


by Pat Rafferty

What are legal rankings, and how can you get your name in the top spot?

A Guide to Lawyer Rankings

Hanging Your Own Shingle? Put Your Best Foot Forward on Day One


by Scott Parks

How to market yourself to get new clients and keep your old ones after starting a new firm.

Tips for Starting Your Own Firm

The Publisher Is You: How to Tell Your Story Effectively


by Kit Frieden

Control the narrative and bring attention to your work and expertise with these publishing tips.

Self-Publishing in the Legal Industry

In the News Weekly Roundup: Millennials in the Legal Profession


by Best Lawyers

A roundup of relevant news, partnerships, and publications from our listed law firms.

In the News Roundup: Millennial Lawyers

FinTech Innovation Poses Data Privacy Challenges


by Michael Brown

FinTech companies are disrupting traditional financial models—and creating new data privacy concerns.

FinTech Might Put Your Data Privacy at Risk

Trending Articles

The 2024 Best Lawyers in Spain™


by Best Lawyers

Best Lawyers is honored to announce the 16th edition of The Best Lawyers in Spain™ and the third edition of Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch in Spain™ for 2024.

Tall buildings and rushing traffic against clouds and sun in sky

Presenting The Best Lawyers in Australia™ 2025


by Best Lawyers

Best Lawyers is proud to present The Best Lawyers in Australia for 2025, marking the 17th consecutive year of Best Lawyers awards in Australia.

Australia flag over outline of country

Best Lawyers Expands Chilean 2024 Awards


by Best Lawyers

Best Lawyers is pleased to announce the 14th edition of The Best Lawyers in Chile™ and the inaugural edition of Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch in Chile™, honoring the top lawyers and firms conferred on by their Chilean peers.

Landscape of city in Chile

Best Lawyers Expands 2024 Brazilian Awards


by Best Lawyers

Best Lawyers is honored to announce the 14th edition of The Best Lawyers in Brazil™ and the first edition of Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch in Brazil™.

Image of Brazil city and water from sky

Announcing The Best Lawyers in South Africa™ 2024


by Best Lawyers

Best Lawyers is excited to announce the landmark 15th edition of The Best Lawyers in South Africa™ for 2024, including the exclusive "Law Firm of the Year" awards.

Sky view of South Africa town and waterways

The Best Lawyers in Mexico Celebrates a Milestone Year


by Best Lawyers

Best Lawyers is excited to announce the 15th edition of The Best Lawyers in Mexico™ and the second edition of Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch in Mexico™ for 2024.

Sky view of Mexico city scape

How Palworld Is Testing the Limits of Nintendo’s Legal Power


by Gregory Sirico

Many are calling the new game Palworld “Pokémon GO with guns,” noting the games striking similarities. Experts speculate how Nintendo could take legal action.

Animated figures with guns stand on top of creatures

The Best Lawyers in Portugal™ 2024


by Best Lawyers

The 2024 awards for Portugal include the 14th edition of The Best Lawyers in Portugal™ and 2nd edition of Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch in Portugal™.

City and beach with green water and blue sky

The Best Lawyers in Peru™ 2024


by Best Lawyers

Best Lawyers is excited to announce the landmark 10th edition of The Best Lawyers in Peru, the prestigious award recognizing the country's lop legal talent.

Landscape of Peru city with cliffside and ocean

How To Find A Pro Bono Lawyer


by Best Lawyers

Best Lawyers dives into the vital role pro bono lawyers play in ensuring access to justice for all and the transformative impact they have on communities.

Hands joined around a table with phone, paper, pen and glasses

Presenting the 2024 Best Lawyers Family Law Legal Guide


by Best Lawyers

The 2024 Best Lawyers Family Law Legal Guide is now live and includes recognitions for all Best Lawyers family law awards. Read below and explore the legal guide.

Man entering home and hugging two children in doorway

The Best Lawyers in Colombia™ 2024


by Best Lawyers

Best Lawyers is honored to announce the 14th edition of The Best Lawyers in Colombia™ for 2024, which honors Colombia's most esteemed lawyers and law firms.

Cityscape of Colombia with blue cloudy sky above

Announcing the 2024 Best Lawyers in Puerto Rico™


by Best Lawyers

Best Lawyers is proud to announce the 11th edition of The Best Lawyers in Puerto Rico™, honoring the top lawyers and firms across the country for 2024.

View of Puerto Rico city from the ocean

Announcing The Best Lawyers in Japan™ 2025


by Best Lawyers

For a milestone 15th edition, Best Lawyers is proud to announce The Best Lawyers in Japan.

Japan flag over outline of country

Canada Makes First Foray Into AI Regulation


by Sara Collin

As Artificial Intelligence continues to rise in use and popularity, many countries are working to ensure proper regulation. Canada has just made its first foray into AI regulation.

People standing in front of large, green pixelated image of buildings

Announcing The Best Lawyers in New Zealand™ 2025 Awards


by Best Lawyers

Best Lawyers is announcing the 16th edition of The Best Lawyers in New Zealand for 2025, including individual Best Lawyers and "Lawyer of the Year" awards.

New Zealand flag over image of country outline