The average daily time spent on social media is 142 minutes a day – this is not a marketing channel you can ignore (attorneys included).
The effectiveness of social media for the legal industry is proven, and as more law firms start ramping up their social efforts you need to make sure you know how to stand out.
In this guide, we will be covering:
- The exact steps you can take to cut through the noise
- What you should be posting to get new cases
- How you can grow your law firm using a few little-known social media marketing tactics
One thing is for sure: This game has to be strategically played with a properly laid out plan.
Luckily, you now have a direct look into the strategies and methods we use with our law firm marketing clients, which I will share with you now.
Why Do Law Firms Need Social Media?
The American Bar Association (ABA), through its 2019 annual Legal Technology Survey Report, established one very interesting reason why social media for lawyers is up and running. In essence, the ABA found out that 67% of lawyers use social media for networking.
Networking? I thought we we’re talking about marketing…Already going a little out of left field right? Wrong.
In our business (digital marketing services) social media is incredibly valuable for networking – through Facebook groups I have personally met 3 business partners, life-long friends, and most of the employees that work at SERP Co.
Out of the total surveyed, 49% use it for client development. This involves everything having to do with engaging current clients and attracting more.
And just from our conversations with a large number attorneys our team has worked with in the past, that number is only scratching the surface of how many of you law firms should be using it more.
How do I know this? Because pretty much everyone is. Here’s some context that will blow your mind again:
- As of December 2019, the total population of the planet is 7.8 billion.
- The internet has 4.45 billion users.
- There are 3.7 billion active users on social media.
- And…. drumroll……The average person has 7.6 social media accounts!
Mind-blown again? I think so.
So let’s get to some spoilers – your new best friend & necessary social network of choice: Facebook.
Depending on the type of law you practice, you will certainly need to adjust your advertising strategy but the key here is to put out content that is Valuable, Engaging, Persistent.
Do People Actually Use Social Media to Find Lawyers?
Fact: more Americans are using social media year over year, and adoption is continually growing, especially with older adults.
Also Fact: I just Zoomed with my dad the other day. Never thought I’d see the day. He’ll probably launch an IG profile soon…
YouTube and Facebook stand as the most widely used networks, with Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and LinkedIn trailing by a rather ample margin.
You can use Linkedin for posting on social media, networking, and even automating your brand awareness by connecting with, and messaging, people in your community. Be sure you do this in a way that isn’t sales-y.
Provide value first, and introduce yourself as a helpful resource.
- Recommended reading: LinkedIn Automation Tools
A Little More Social Proof
A 2018 study found that potential clients are increasing their use of social media to make informed hiring decisions – including hiring lawyers. More than half of the users interviewed stated that they are more likely to hire an attorney with a social media presence.
Why? It’s a sign of trust.
At this point, it’s almost mandatory that if you exist on this Earth you have a social media presence. And that’s true for everything from business to dating. No social media? What are you some kind of creep?
Interestingly, this same study revealed that out of the lawyers interviewed, 96% use social media, but only 7% consider that it has been directly responsible for attracting new clients.
Why the disparity? …ATTRIBUTION.
Whenever you are thinking to hire a company to help with marketing your law firm, you need to have attribution on the tip of your tongue.
This is what most marketing companies miss (not us) and the reason why most campaigns don’t scale well (not ours). Knowing where your leads are coming from, and tracking their entire lifecycle from first touch to purchase allows you to make ROI profitable marketing decisions.
Without proper attribution (aka analytics & tracking) your marketing campaigns may seem like a waste, but really be working… or they may feel like they are working but actually are setting you up for a pretty nasty surprise.
Your marketing efforts without proper attribution:
Benefits of Social Media Marketing for Attorneys
Let’s begin by exploring the value that social media for lawyers will have for your practice.
Is it real? Will it really generate conversions for my firm?
Attract Potential Clients
We posted this one first because it is the core of a business, law firms included.
The 2018 survey by the American Bar Association (ABA) mentioned above represents a great opportunity to use social media without breaching ethical and legal obligations.
Your potential cases are on social media – everyone is. Get in front of them and start acquiring brand awareness/mind share.
Concentrate on your geography and produce relevant content that you know people will get help from.
For example, if you are a PI lawyer you can post & comment about items in the news and give your commentary on it. Your neighbors will see you as an educator (trusted authority figure) and will have no choice but to think of YOU if a similar situation has happened to them or someone they know.
You can also decide to serve these ads in white-collar or blue-collar areas of your city (hint: think workplace injuries).
Want more tips for marketing your personal injury law firm?
Create a Strong Brand Presence
People do business with people they know, like, and trust.
And to be totally honest, if you just hit that first one you’re already 90% of the way there.
Social media is the perfect place for establishing the “know”. Post content & queue up the proper ad type and you can get your brand in front of thousands (yes, literally thousands) of people for a couple hundred dollars. And if your segment those users to people who visit or interact with your ads and re-target them you can stay in front of them for just dollars. Not even hundreds.
It is SO cheap to stay in front of your customer’s viewpoint with social media that if you aren’t doing it right now you need to stop reading and contact us so we can give you a game plan.
Seriously, please do yourself a favor – if you do nothing else today at the very least – contact us – so we can hook you up with some easy brand awareness tips.
Well, also don’t forget to eat and stuff like that.
Engage with your Audience
Social media provides an excellent platform for not only interacting with friends and family but with brands too. It also offers an opportunity to learn and be educated.
Social media for lawyers allows practitioners to become informative, interact, engage, and answer law-related questions.
Social Media can Improve Your SEO
An increase in social media presence has an important correlation with an increased search engine ranking. Not only this, but social media can improve your visibility and increase traffic to your website.
Traffic to your website, likes & shares on your posts, and visitors interacting with your content are all good signs to Google that your website is known, liked, and trusted.
See how that works? SEO is basically just brand awareness for web crawlers, insteaf of people
Search engines will always rank authoritative sites better than those with less trust, and when you utilize social media to leverage your expertise you are attracting more prospective clients who trust your authoritative input.
How to Use Social Media to Grow Your Law Firm
Now that we have established the why let’s get started with the how. You are not to be part of the majority that is doing it wrong.
In order to reap the benefits mentioned above, here are some best practices for launching a successful social media campaign.
Check Out What Others Are Saying About You
Start by searching for your brand to find out what other people are already saying about you. These are called “mentions”.
Mentions help you understand what people’s view of your practice is, and help when it comes to filling in customer experience gaps.
Consider every time you see your name out there an opportunity to educate, influence, and most importantly – interact with those people.
53% of consumers expect brands to respond to reviews, however, 63% percent say that a business has never responded to their review – the same principle applies to social media.
Respond to people’s comments, questions & conversations about your brand to build trust.
Look through your Facebook, Yelp & Google Business reviews and reply to them.
Additionally, head over to Twitter and search for your name and your law firm. If no one is talking about you, is this an indication that you are not influencing anyone? This is the time to change that.
Get Down to Basics
Social media has a basic formula that works the same for pretty much any company. So, these are the first things that you should be able to understand.
- Start with a few platforms: Trying to be in as many channels as you can at the same time may dilute your efforts. Not to mention that it can become a hassle to handle. Pick one or two platforms and commit to them. Probably best to start with Facebook & LinkedIn.
- Set goals: Make realistic goals that are achievable in a not-too-long time.
- Do you want to increase online visibility?
- Do you want to get more traffic to your site?
- Engage with your current clients, or perhaps…. bring in new ones?
- Create content: If you want to have an online presence, you need to be found when someone searches for keywords related to your practice. This is done through content.
Decide what kind of content you want to create and how often you will post.
Understand Your Potential Clients
Now that you have started to get your toes wet, one fundamental principle for you to remember is that your social media for lawyers only works when you have your target client in mind.
This is probably going to be the easiest part of the process for you if you have been practicing for any amount of time at all. Look at your data – who is your demographic / custom avatar.
Remember, everyone is on Facebook. So, as long as you know your ideal customer you can target them on Facebook to put your content, messaging, etc. in front of that person.
Plan Your Content
This is more of an organizational / productivity tip, and can be applied to everything in life. Planning & batching your content strategy and creation process will allow you to create all the posts, articles, etc. that you will need for a given week or month all at once.
Once it’s made it is much easier to hand that off to an Associate / Assistant / Administrator in your office to make sure it gets posted on your channels. We call that the Triple-A-Power-Play for Attorneys. And yes, the A stands for Awesome.
But anyways, let’s get back to business – make your cause known, and then roll up your sleeves and get creating.
Create Informative Videos
73% of all adults in the UA use YouTube
People love to watch informational videos (much more so than reading at least).
And the best part about video is they significantly increase your perceived authority. There is a much stronger inherent trust when you see & hear someone speaking confidently and knowledgeably about a topic
Another great thing about creating videos is that they can be easily syndicated all over.
Make the video once, then easily:
- Post it on YouTube.
- Run it as an ad on Facebook.
- Post it on LinkedIn.
- Share it to your email list
Need ideas of content to create?
- Stories: Tell interesting stories relevant to the areas of law you practice.
- Educate: Create educational information on a particular practice area.
- Engage: Engage with your audience by talking about a trending topic.
Share Useful Facts & Graphs
Visuals are very important in social media, as they are what will “stop the scroll” of someone online. You are competing for attention, so make sure you start with somethign eye-catching.
Need more ideas of content to create?
- Legal tips
- Inspirational quotes
- News & updates about the law
Tell your Story
When people think about law firms, they hardly connect it with humans.
Why are you in business? Do you help people? Personify your practice, or at least highlight & display the good you bring to the community.
Utilize social media to propound your message.
Need EVEN more ideas of content to create?
- Tell your brand story to help humanize your firm and allow people to connect with you more easily.
- Create meaningful content that shows your ability to listen, have compassion for your client’s cases, think creatively, demonstrate your expertise, and showcase your perseverance.
- Highlight successful cases you have won, with a video testimonial from the people you helped. Here are some examples of how we do this on our success page.
- If you have employees, put their faces out there and tell their stories too.
Another way to say this is to respond to comments and answer questions.
Remember that the main purpose of social media is to make connections and promote engagement. Most consumers rely on social media to communicate with brands.
Social Sprout found that 40% of consumers reach out to brands through social because they have a question about the product or service.
I know I do this personally. Mostly to complain about customer service to be honest, but almost every-time I do, the situation gets remedied. Any idea why? Because many companies outsource their customer service overseas to people who don’t give a shit about your problems and aren’t well trained… But guess who is running their social media? Someone domestic who cares about the reputation of the company they work for!
Here’s an example:
Guess what happened? I DM’d them, and the problem got solved. Boom! Now I’ve been turned from hater to brand advocate for Streak.
Do this in your law firm.
It work’s incredibly well because people use social media to vent. When they are pissed off they will post about it – and that give you an opportunity to rectify the situation. And, on the flip side, when they are happy about something they will post too, which gives you an opportunity to grab a screenshot of that digital pat-on-the-back and use it in your marketing collateral.
Take Advantage of Social Media Tools
At some point, managing social media accounts can become overwhelming, plus your responsibilities at work don’t magically disappear because you decided to focus on your marketing. Wouldn’t that be nice?
There are tools out there that can help you manage this extra workload.
Or, if you are too busy for that you can always hire a law firm marketing company.
Just keep in mind that automating for too far into the future might be counterproductive. Circumstances change and so you might need to tweak to adapt to such changes.
Top Social Media Platforms for Attorneys
It’s about tine you chose your social media channels, and got to work.
Out of the hundreds of platforms out there, here’s a few of the ones we recommend starting on:
The social network for businesses is the one preferred by lawyers due to its professional nature and opportunity to connect and educate.
Currently, LinkedIn has nearly 690 million users and 29 million monthly active users.
LinkedIn lets you connect with professionals, potential clients, current clients, and referral sources.
Benefits of using LinkedIn:
- It helps you stay up to date with news and trends.
- You can get endorsements and recommendations, which helps to your credibility.
- All of your clients, potential clients, and referrals – all in one place.
- When sharing blog posts, other professionals help boost your authority and leadership by reading, commenting and reacting.
- Consumers on LinkedIn are more in a mindset for educational, “denser” content.
With over 2.5 billion users worldwide, Facebook is the largest network. Pretty much everybody is there, so the chances of your content being seen and shared are rather large.
Benefits of using Facebook:
- You can connect with your clients via Messenger, FB groups, or post discussion.
- The Messenger app includes a bot for business accounts.
- Perhaps you want to make this one your first choice of network – it is easy to set up an account and get started.
- Everyone is on Facebook and their targeting is extremely good, if you decide you want to amplify your messaging with some ad dollars.
Over the years, Instagram has become a major social network. It has a total of 1 billion monthly active users.
Benefits of using Instagram:
- You can share quality photos of your pristine-looking self and office.
- Create content super fast by turning your phone on selfie mode and “going live” in stories. No need for scripting or prep, just talk from your expertise.
- The feed is a great place to share bit-sized insights, new updates, etc.
- Instagram stories can be used to share clips with testimonials and many more.
- Hashtags allow for more exposure to the content you share.
Most businesses make use of Twitter as part of their marketing campaign. With 330 million monthly users, this is one of the first social networks out there.
Benefits of using Twitter:
- No need for long posts as its purpose is to share short content.
- Hashtags allow for more exposure to the content you share.
- Creating your own hashtag can create interesting interactions with your audience.
- The length of your posts are restricted, so you can’t really overthink this one 🙂
YouTube has also become one of the favorite social media for lawyers. There are currently 2 billion users consuming, sharing, and creating visual content.
This is a great platform to place all your instructional, inspirational, and promotional videos. Or really just all your videos.
Benefits of using Twitter:
- You can share your YT video links through the other social platforms.
- It helps build your authority by allowing you to upload explanatory or educational videos.
- You can visually and effectively display what your law firm is about.
- Google loves YouTube (because they own it), so if your videos get traction you can embed them on your website and improve your SEO.
In their own particular way, all of these networks can easily help you generate traffic, improve SEO, expand your social reach, and improve your ROI.
Social Media for Lawyers – Legal & Ethical Obligations
As a lawyer, you are to portray all the integrity expected from your viewers. Your behavior, online and offline, must consider ethical obligations proper of your career.
Whenever you select a social media channel, make sure you act accordingly to the channel. This doesn’t mean you always have to be in a suit with your hair perfectly combed (probably only on LinkedIn), it means that you should understand the context & mindset your viewers are in on that channel. Want to post more professional, educational stuff? Use LinkedIn & YouTube. Want to display more of your personality? Turn to Instagram.
Of course, don’t forget to consider the laws of your state or country relating to issues of your posts resembling “in-person” and “live telephone” contact, which might be subject to liability in some cases.
The Final Word: Get Social
Are you interested in getting more people to learn about your practice? Get social.
There is no doubt that lawyers and law firms can greatly benefit from a solid online presence.
Social media has the ability to project an image of professionalism and humanity at the same time. Take the time to seize these opportunities to connect, inform, and grow as a lawyer and law firm.
Yes, it will require some initial planning and smart execution, but with focus and dedication you will see the fruition of your efforts. There has literally never been an easier time to get your face, brand & message in front of people than with the tools and platforms we have now. Don’t ignore it!