Did you know that the number of worldwide users on social media will hit 3.02 billion active users per month in 2021 – that’s one-third of the world’s entire population!
If you are a law firm, you should see this as a glorious opportunity to expand your business.
Traditionally, people have viewed a marriage between law firms and social media as a dicey proposition, due to concerns over potential value and the possibility of data and security breaches.
According to a recent study, 81 per cent of lawyers already use social media for professional purposes. But is it being used to its full potential? In a 2020 survey, less than half of law firms of all sizes reported having a marketing budget.
The merits of a strong social presence are undeniable. Do you want to establish your firm as a thought leader in the sector you serve? Share relevant content, updates and news on your social channels, so that whenever people do need legal services, you’ll be top of mind.
Looking to connect and build strong relationships with prospective clients? Social media lets you create direct and genuine interactions with your audience at no additional cost. If you’re a smaller firm, with only a handful of lawyers and a limited marketing budget, you couldn’t ask for more.
By not having a social media presence, you’re passing up on a golden opportunity to gain new clients that your competitors will gladly scoop up.
However, having an effective social media presence requires some thought. Whether you’re focusing on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Instagram, there are strategies for law firm social media on each platform as well as general best practices you need to follow to maximize your outreach.
Here are eight things your law firm should be doing on social media to build a killer presence that generate more leads and increases your ROI.
1. Optimize your law firm’s social media presence
Before you can take your social media marketing efforts to the next level and see results, you need to make sure your law firm is covering all the basics.
First and foremost, you need to define your target audience from the get-go, as all your social media efforts will pivot around this. Consider all the key demographics such as age and gender, so that you can fine-tune your content and make sure it speaks to them.
Then you’ll want to select social media channels where your target audience is most active and most likely to engage with you.
Once you’ve done all that, you need to make sure your law firm social media profiles are up to par. Each platform provides a space to input contact information – use it! If you want to build valuable connections with your current and potential clients on social media, they need to be able to reach you with their requests. Make sure you input the correct details to avoid user frustration and questions about your legitimacy.
Here’s a helpful hint to improve your SEO: Make sure your address and business name are consistent across all channels. Don’t confuse search engines. Consistency is a key, but often overlooked, element when inputting your business details on social channels.
You should also have a call-to-action (CTA) button. Each platform offers unique profile features to guide users to a next step, so you’ll need to figure out your goal (i.e., more newsletter subscribers, more website visits, sharing content).
If the platform doesn’t offer any specific tool for engagement, at the very least, include a link in your bio. Don’t forget to tell people why they should click and what they’ll find there.
While you’re at it, it’s important to define some SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Time bound) goals and develop metrics to track them, so that you’re making the most of your efforts.
2. Incorporate paid social media advertising
Using paid advertising to supplement your organic (unpaid) efforts is a great way to create a more holistic social media strategy. This step will largely depend on the size and marketing budget of your law firm. If you’re a smaller firm, it may not less feasible to include this in your marketing plan.
But if you do have the resources, incorporating pay-per-click (PPC) marketing will allow you to drive clicks and leads even faster, especially if you’re targeting very specific niches.
From LinkedIn to Facebook Ads, there are several different options at your disposal. In each case, you’ll need to understand who your audience is and what they care about. If this is an area you are struggling with, consider reaching out to social media experts, such as the team at the Mike Agency. We’ll schedule a free consultation and pinpoint the best strategy for you.
3. Take advantage of video
Did you know that video content accounts for over 74 per cent of all online traffic and is one of the leading drivers of organic reach on social media?
With so much content competing for their attention, it can be difficult to engage social media users. That’s why it is imperative that you incorporate video content into your law firm’s social media marketing strategy. This type of content conveys your message to the audience at a glance. In fact, algorithms have evolved to prefer videos over text and images.
Most lawyers are not comfortable “starring” in their own videos, so if you can find the motivation or find someone in your firm willing to take the leap, the benefits can be tremendous giving you a serious leg up on your closest competitors. Only 24 per cent of lawyers at law firms report that their law firm uses video as part of their marketing strategy!
If you’re not comfortable speaking directly into the camera, try an interview style video where you answer some questions and chat with a partner at your firm. Or have an animated video produced for your law firm.
But don’t just post for the sake of posting. Make sure your videos are high quality and authentic for maximum engagement. If you’re scratching your head for ideas, try creating clear and accessible content around complex legal topics, that don’t necessarily require a legal degree to understand.
If you really want to provide utility to prospective clients, focus the topics on areas in which they will be interested and for which they are potentially searching. For example, a real estate lawyer may want to opine on how a new relevant legislation could impact the housing market for first time buyers.
While you’re at it, you can develop “how to” videos around your firm’s services, that inject some personality into your brand, build trust and drive your target audience back to your website. A great example of this are the instructional videos from Y Law Group’s Leena Yousefi, explaining how to properly fill out and file your Notice of Family Claim.
All of this can be the difference between someone choosing your law firm over a competitor!
4. Use your social media platforms to listen in
Just starting out and unsure of how to connect with your audience on social media? Try listening.
Monitor social conversations on relevant topics to understand what your target market cares about and issues they’re following. You can do this manually by searching your channels for mentions of your brand or automate the process by enlisting a tool like Hootsuite or Talkwalker.
This will uncover hidden pain points that you can address in videos or blogs, the tone and language used by your audience (for improved communications) and help drive engagement. It will also help you understand how your services are being perceived and fill in any gaps with great content. Your goal as always is to educate, influence and facilitate interaction.
Struggling to receive any social chatter whatsoever? If you’re not already, make sure your law firm is posting consistently. You may need to revise your content strategy too towards something that leaves a better impression on your target audience (see the video discussion above).
Consider tracking your competition. It’s always good to have a pulse on the latest marketing tactics and practices – if other law firms are using them and succeeding, you should incorporate them into your social media marketing strategy and improve your approach and remain competitive. Identify opportunities where you can chime in on conversations and show your expertise in the legal space.
5. Develop your social media strategy around content
People love to buy things but don’t necessarily like being sold to. Instead of bombarding your audience with ads on their social feeds, which they already get enough of, your law firm can provide them with free content that solves their problems and show that you care and understand them. It builds loyalty, as they will turn to you for information on relevant legal topics and be more inclined to reach out to you in the future.
When you’re building out your social media marketing strategy, there are a few best practices to keep in mind:
- Create informative and engaging content – use stories, updates and interviews that reference key events, anniversaries and award recipients to build an emotional connection. If you have a blog post, client testimonial or successful case results, post these on your social channels and invite people to share it with their community. Done correctly, this content can be a lead-generation magnet, funneling traffic to your firm’s website.
- Follow the 70/30 rule – 30 per cent of your own content, 70 per cent focused on interesting updates in the sector you serve. The key is to balance creating valuable content that addresses your audience’s challenges and promoting your legal services with an actionable CTA, so you don’t sound overly ‘salesy.’
- Leverage hashtags and keywords. It’s no good creating great social media posts if no one can find it. Some people follow certain categories – if they find your content and enjoy it, you can gain followers and be able to reach an even broader audience.
Feeling audacious? You can up your social media game by training and empowering your colleagues and employees to share relevant and approved content to their own audiences. You’re creating advocates for your firm. This will help broaden your reach and exposure.
And if you want to improve your content efforts, there are plenty of social media tools out there, such as Google Analytics, that can give you further insight into what is working and what isn’t.
6. Build up your firm’s brand awareness & authority
Everyone loves a good story, as it taps into our emotional centre and connects us with others. According to scientific analysis, when you hear a story unfold, your brain waves actually start to synchronize with those of the storyteller.
To get people on the same wavelength with your brand on social networks, you need to tell your firm’s story in an engaging and compelling manner. Let your audience form their own perceptions.
What you need to focus on is delivering quality content that fits the platform you are using – something that works on Instagram might not necessarily be suitable for Twitter. Consider your demographics, content type and the timing (when to post).
To build brand awareness, use your space on social media to showcase your expertise and engage your followers. Focus on positioning your firm as a thought leader in the sector you serve who’s ready and willing to help. This will help you stand out from the competition.
The more active you are online, the more you verify your credibility to potential clients – no small thing, as trust plays a huge role when people are deciding which firm to use.
Always try striking a good balance between posts centered around your business and shareable content, so that your audience knows what services your law firm offers.
7. Create an incentive
If you want to get people’s information and build your database with leads, you need to give people a compelling reason to share contact details with your law firm. Offering an incentive through social media is one of the best ways to do so.
The type of incentive you should offer depends on the type of lead you want to garner. Here are three of the most common:
- Contests/sweepstakes: These require users to enter their information to participate. You can broaden the scope of these initiatives by collaborating with an influencer or brand partners.
- Discount code: This is an excellent way to encourage customers to make a return visit to your site and eventually make use of your legal services.
- Gated content: This includes whitepapers, webinars, podcasts and so on. It’s a perfect opportunity to not only ask for email addresses from your audience but more detailed information like job titles.
8. Adhere to social media etiquette for law firms
While the social media landscape can seem like a wild west frontier, lawyers and by extension the firms they represent, do not have free reign to do anything they want. There are certain rules and etiquettes for every social media platform they must follow to avoid risks and potential legal issues.
Policies and regulations are constantly changing, so it’s important for your law firm to stay up to date. Schedule time to review and update your policy on a regular basis. Here are some essential guidelines for social media compliance when it comes to case-related topics:
- Ethical rules: Avoid engaging with other lawyers and law firms. This can be taken as a conflict of interest if you ever end up on opposite ends of a case.
- Client confidentiality: Always be careful to avoid discussing information related to a case online that would violate the client attorney privilege such as financial information, official documentation or any conversations with the client.
- Online business regulations: Your law firm needs to comply with all rules for online business on social media regarding marketing strategy, content, employment practices and so forth. Failure to do so can lead to costly fines.
Make sure everyone on your legal team is aware of social media guidelines. The last thing you want is to be sucked into an online war over negative comments from a former client that could damage your law firm’s reputation. Whenever in doubt, always take your case matters offline with potential clients, into a one-on-one discussion.
►How do lawyers use social media?
Social media is a powerful tool that, when used correctly, many lawyers and law firms use to help grow their business. Whether it’s advertising their services and employment opportunities, networking or communicating with existing and prospective clients, there are many things that can be accomplished.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach, but you should always strive to be authentic, consistent and avoid engaging with trolls – purposely negative comments.
►Does social media work for lawyers?
With over 3 billion social media users, each spending on average two hours and 24 minutes per week browsing their channels, there is a vast potential audience for law firms. In the United States alone, the American Bar Association found that 35 per cent of lawyers who use social media professionally successfully brought on new clients. Moreover, if a person has a positive experience with your law firm on social media, 71 per cent of them will recommend it to family and friends.
►What can lawyers post on social media?
There are certain restrictions governing what lawyers can and cannot do on social media platforms. They are legally allowed to review publicly available social media content of unrepresented and represented persons.
However, when it comes to restricted content, lawyers must properly identify themselves and ask permission to review the material from a represented person’s lawyer. Unsolicited attempts to access classified information is unethical and can lead to repercussions such as sanctions or license suspension. Every social media platform has different guidelines, so make sure to review the specifics.
►Why do law firms use social media?
When it comes to social media, there are several inherent advantages to maintaining a strong presence, including:
- A space to answer questions from your audience
- An opportunity to share informative articles or reshare posts
- Connect with other lawyers and law firms
- Establish communication with new clients
- Maintain or improve communication with previous or existing clients
All these little things add up and boost the online authority of your brand. By not being on there, you’re passing up on a golden opportunity that your competitors will gladly scoop up without much effort.
Do you have further questions or just need a boost to your law firm’s social media strategy? Contact the Mike Agency today to speak to our team of legal marketing experts and schedule a free consultation! We’ve helped numerous legal clients over the years with their online presence.