It seems like everyone hangs out on social media nowadays. It’s the place we go to congratulate our friends on job promotions and to share our glee over the newest viral cat GIF (don’t pretend like you don’t).
It’s also the place that a majority of businesses go to advertise their services and connect with their audience. As an attorney, it’s easy to see social media as a double-edged sword, potentially helpful as a marketing tool and equally as harmful. We’ve all witnessed an online exchange or two between a customer and business go sour.
Even still, social media for lawyers has many benefits, from helping you connect with potential clients to advertising your legal services. By following these best practices and creating a strategy to stick to, you can harness the power of social media for your firm.
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Should Lawyers Use Social Media?
Absolutely, lawyers should use social media—and for many reasons. Your clients are spending some serious time on social media. Around 3.8 billion people currently use social media. These people spend an average of 2 hours and 24 minutes on social every single day.
Plus, around 54% of consumers use social media to perform research prior to making a purchase. Before a potential client decides to reach out to you, they’re looking at your social media.
Furthermore, 71% of consumers who have a positive experience with a business on social media will recommend the business to friends and family. Talk about the positive effects of word of mouth.
These stats communicate one message: if you don’t have a social media presence, you’re missing out on critical leads and referrals for your firm. It’s time to get on board.
How Not to Use Social Media for Lawyers
One of the most important lessons you can learn from this guide is how not to use social media as an attorney. You must practice good social media hygiene to reap its benefits and protect your reputation. Here are some things you shouldn’t do.
- Be fake. To communicate your law firm’s brand effectively, you need to be authentic. There’s no need to force a voice or tone on social that isn’t you. If you aren’t known for being funny, avoid it. Stay true to yourself.
- Feed the trolls. You may receive comments from people who simply want to stir up trouble. In the social media world, we call these trolls, and it’s best to ignore them. Remember, don’t argue or fight online. Should you need to have a conversation, do so behind the scenes and in a civil manner.
- Forget to apologize quickly and completely. Should you say something you shouldn’t or post something controversial, apologize quickly and completely. Mistakes are human and owning up to them will build trust between you and your audience.
- Try to build a presence on every social media platform. You don’t need a presence on every platform. This is a surefire way to experience burnout. Choose the platforms your ideal clients use. As a beginner, it’s okay to start with one channel and build up over time.
- Use social media as a billboard instead of a place to connect. Your social media accounts shouldn’t be a billboard of promotional content. Instead, use your platforms to chat and connect with your audience. Answer their questions and alleviate their fears.
- Post every once in a while. Social media isn’t a post once a month game. You must be consistent to make waves. If you can’t make it happen, consider outsourcing your social media efforts to an agency or working with a contractor who can help.
Should Your Personal Account Be Public?
That’s a million-dollar question. The answer is—just like everything in law—it depends. If your personal account reflects your brand, then yes. If you’re the face of your law firm, share it. People will end up googling you instead of your firm, anyway.
Insider Andrew Garcia saw an incredible benefit to having his personal Facebook account tied to his business. He got the idea when a former client messaged him directly on Facebook, offering a referral. He realized that other clients might find it easier to jot off a note to him there. Since then, he’s racked up $1mil in profit because he uses his personal Facebook strategically and consistently.
However, if you have a small law firm with other attorneys besides yourself, we recommend creating a separate account for your firm.
How to Promote Your Firm Using Social Media for Lawyers
There are many benefits to promoting your law firm on social media. For example, by showing up on social, you can:
- Position yourself as an expert
- Reach potential clients
- Increase networking opportunities
- Stay hip and up-to-date to a range of generations
To take advantage of these benefits, there are a few steps to take to properly promote your law firm in a way that stays true to your brand and makes the most of your platform.
1. Research Your Target Client
Just like every solid marketing initiative, you must start using social media with your target client in mind. Posting content for the sake of posting won’t work. Your content should resonate with your audience. Take the time to get to know them, do your research, and create a unique plan that works.
If this is your first time using social media for lawyers, start with the one or two social accounts your audience uses the most. This is where your research should start. Consider your target client’s demographics and refer to recent social media usage studies to find accounts that fit.
Next, research your target client on those accounts. Look at other professional firms and businesses to see how they engage their audiences. Pay attention to what those firms and individuals post. What posts receive the most interaction (likes, shares, comments) from your target client?
2. Position Yourself as an Expert
Being seen as an expert in your niche builds trust between you and your potential clients. When clients can trust you, they’re more likely to reach out. Social media makes positioning yourself as an expert easier.
For example, link to resources relevant to your practice area from reputable sources that bring value to your audience. Link to and comment on your own blog posts. When clients ask questions on your posts, answer them. It’s about showcasing what you know and your dedication to sharing it with others.
3. Interact With Your Audience
Interaction is one of the main reasons why people use social media. It isn’t enough to have a social media account for your firm—you must be actively interacting with your audience. Answer their questions, thank them for their client reviews, like their posts, and share their successes (within client-attorney privilege, of course).
Remember, as you interact, do so respectfully and in a way that makes sense. For example, it’s probably not a great idea to comment Gordon-Ramsay-style on your follower’s photo of last night’s dinner. Yet, thanking them publicly after they gush about your services is a great way to solidify your dedication to their experience.
4. Join Social Media Groups
People often use social media to search for recommendations, nearby businesses, and local services inside groups found on different platforms. Join these groups to ensure your law firm is suggested. For example, join Facebook and NextDoor groups for your specific location or practice area.
5. Consider Paid Social Media Advertising
Social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn offer paid advertising options for businesses. Just like Google PPC ads, you can pay to have an ad campaign displayed to your target clients who use the social platform. You’re able to target your ads to very specific audiences, which is perfect for attorneys in unique niches.
6. Record Your Social Media Process and Policies
Once you decide what platforms you’re going to use, the type of content you’re going to post, and the methods you’ll use to promote your firm, there are a few more things to consider. For example:
- Who will be responsible for posting content?
- Who will be responsible for reacting to content?
- When will you post?
- How will you deal with negative posts or backlash?
Record your new social media processes and policies inside a social media manual that’s easily accessible by your staff.
7. Think About Social Media Tools
We understand that social media is a large undertaking in addition to your other responsibilities. Tools exist to help you manage your social media accounts. For example, tools like Buffer and Hootsuite allow you to schedule and automate your social media posts ahead of time. You could easily block an hour each week to schedule posts eliminating the need to do so each day.
A quick word of caution: be careful if you do choose to use an automation tool. We don’t want you to be the firm that says, “our services are going to blow you away” and then a tornado decimates your town the next day. Think about your message before you send it out into the world.
Best Law Firm Social Media Accounts
There are hundreds of social media platforms out there. Yet, there are only a select few that are best for attorneys looking to grow their firms.
Facebook for Lawyers
Facebook is one of the largest lawyer social media platforms out there with 2.5 billion active users each month. Regardless of your niche, you can absolutely connect with your target client on Facebook.
Due to the fact that the social media giant collects so much information, Facebook for lawyers is beneficial on a few different fronts from being able to share your own content to crafting laser-targeted ads.
The Benefits of Facebook
While you have the option to use Facebook ads to target your clients, you can also join Facebook groups to connect with your ideal audience. Other benefits include using Facebook Messenger chatbots to interact with potential clients and built-in Facebook Live video as another method of communication.
Facebook is a great place to start for attorneys who haven’t yet ventured into marketing. It takes minutes to set up your profile and seconds to post regular updates.
If you’re going to leverage Facebook for lawyers the right way, be consistent. Don’t overload yourself with a task every single day- see if you can plan out a consistency schedule for engagement a few times a week. If you create the content, you can hire a virtual legal assistant to help you post it.
Instagram for Lawyers
Instagram is another major player in the social media industry, with 1 billion active users. Plus, should you choose to target the younger generations, 63% of Instagram users are between the ages of 18 to 34.
The Benefits of Instagram
Instagram is mainly photo-based, making it a great place to find some inspiration. It’s also often used by those who wish to give their consumers a “behind-the-scenes” look into their business. Instagram Stories makes it easy to share clips, while your feed is a great place to answer legal questions and share insights visually.
Twitter for Lawyers
With approximately 330 million active users, most businesses use Twitter as part of their social media strategy.
The Benefits of Twitter
Twitter is a great choice for attorneys and those in the professional service niche. There’s no need to create long-form posts here, as Twitter is the home of the small insight or update. Plus, Twitter hashtags make it easy for businesses to share their thoughts on relevant and trending topics, resulting in more exposure.
Some businesses create their own Twitter hashtags, so they can keep up with updates from clients and colleagues that use the hashtag in their posts. This makes interaction incredibly simple.
LinkedIn for Lawyers
Finally, LinkedIn is one of the most common social platforms used by businesses in all industries. It’s built for professionals, showcasing your experience, content, and more. LinkedIn currently has approximately 660 million active users.
The Benefits of LinkedIn
LinkedIn is all about the connection. For example, you have the opportunity to connect with current clients, potential clients, and potential referral sources, all in one place. LinkedIn also helps you build your credibility by allowing others to give you endorsements and recommendations on your profile.
By sharing your blog posts or other content on LinkedIn, others in your industry can read and react, boosting your thought leadership. Plus, LinkedIn is a great place to stay up-to-date on legal news and updates.
Want to Get In Front of Potential Clients? Get Social.
If you want to showcase your legal services to potential clients, it’s time to get social. As an attorney, it’s understandable to have your doubts about social media. It may also seem a bit overwhelming at first. But, with a bit of planning and by focusing on one platform at a time, you can use social media to your firm’s advantage.
Whether you’re just getting started in law or need help digging your firm out of a slump, we can help. We offer a 10-week online course and group coaching program that features Lawyerist’s philosophies and resources. Interested? Let’s talk.