Social media can be an important part of your law firm’s marketing strategy. But to be part of your marketing strategy, you need to approach social media strategically, too. We know that traditional advertising methods don’t reach potential clients anymore, and much of that has to do with a change in how potential clients consume information, research their problems and find an attorney. Search engines are the major way that potential clients find lawyers, but social media is another way that potential clients discover and interact with brands. Here are several strategies for social media advertising that can help market your law firm.
Choose Your Social Media Wisely
There are many social media platforms for attorneys to choose from, but that doesn’t mean you should choose your platform(s) indiscriminately.
On one end of the extreme is having no social media presence. Your firm’s absence can be troubling for potential clients who may be less comfortable with law firms that can’t be found on the social media platforms they often use to interact with other brands.
Social media has become so normalized that we expect to find just about anything (person, product, or business) on the platforms we use. Your potential clients want to be able to find you, whether that’s on your website or blog, being able to interact with you on Facebook or tagging you in a recommendation to someone else on Twitter. You should make it as easy as possible for your clients to find you and engage you.
On the other end is being present on every available social media platform, from Facebook to Instagram to Snapchat. This approach is problematic, as well. Your potential clients want to find you, but you’ll be spreading your efforts too thin if you try to be present on every platform. You’ll put in more energy than necessary for a strategy that may not produce results. Some platforms are simply more useful than others for attorneys. (For example, as an attorney, you’re unlikely to get much use out of Snapchat or Instagram, but much more likely to benefit from Facebook and Twitter.)
Not all law firms are the same, but based on how useful a social medium is to both attorneys and potential clients, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are three good places to start. Just as there are many online legal directories, not all of them are equally beneficial to attorneys. Each platform has its own culture and guidelines — Twitter promotes brevity (140 characters); LinkedIn tends to be best for peer-to-peer contact and referrals. Consider how you want to use the platform in question and what benefit it may provide your law firm — and your potential clients — before you sign up.
Use Your Social Media To Drive Website Traffic
The right social media platforms used wisely can help drive traffic to your law firm’s website and blog. You can use platforms like Facebook and Twitter to promote recent blog posts that you’ve written. Instead of copying and pasting the text of your blog into a new post on Facebook, you should instead link to the original blog post. Don’t forget to write a catchy title and add a relevant picture to increase engagement. If you’re short on time, using a system like LawLytics — which allows you to update all of your relevant social media with just a few clicks — can help you promote your work quickly.
Just as you should be blogging on a regular basis, you should be adding to your social media presence regularly, too.
Promoting your blogs on social media help drive traffic to your website, but it also helps others on social media share your message within that platform, driving even more traffic to your site. By writing pieces that provide useful information — especially when that information is new, surprising, or shocking — you increase the likelihood that such a piece will be shared by others who find it relevant to their interests. Where shareable pieces are concerned, you may want to try creating and sharing infographics on your law firm’s social media. Infographics provide lots of information without having to commit to a lengthy read, and they’re ideal for sharing with others online.
Use Your Social Media To Generate Discussions
Promoting your blog posts is a good way to increase your visibility, but social media is also a good place to generate discussions and interest in your work outside your blog’s comment section. Social media is not a one-way street, and in order to increase interactions with your potential clients and referral sources, it’s important to think about your own interactions, too. You can use your social media to ask questions, create polls, and gather information that may even help you write better blogs that answer your potential clients’ questions. Tagging others in posts and tweets can both improve your networking and heighten your visibility.
Control Your Marketing (That Includes Your Social Media)
If you’re thinking about hiring someone to broadcast on social media who isn’t a lawyer and doesn’t understand legal ethics, it can be risky. The average social media expert may not know what words can or can’t be used and may not understand legal ethics. There are all kinds of dangers that can cause you lots of headaches. If you’re not controlling your social media in your firm or have someone who understands all the needs of your firm and understand legal ethics, then the potential upside of having someone to handle your social media for you is far outweighed by the real, potential downside of the problems that can be caused by having a non-lawyer handle your social media presence.
Above all, make sure that, whether you’re participating in social media, online legal directories, or anywhere else on the web, your focus stays on marketing that you own and control. Social media can be a helpful supplementary tool, but it is important for attorneys to focus their efforts on their own law firm’s blog and website, as well as other marketing you own, such as email newsletters. Social media can help you attract potential clients from places other than search engines, but to keep their attention, you’ll want to provide them with the most relevant and useful information that answers the questions that they have.