Bare Bone Basics Of Social Media For Lawyers

Your law firm should be on social media according to, well, everyone.

Your kids tell you that your law firm needs to be on Facebook. Your junior associates are already using Instagram to promote their personal brand. Your peers have robust LinkedIn pages where they publish blog posts and share their expertise. And you went to a legal conference where some speaker told the crowd how he got client referrals through Twitter. 

At first, it seems simple. Set up a profile for your law firm on various social media sites, then begin posting. You went to law school. You passed the bar. You should be able to figure out how to use social media, right?

But what is at first blush a seemingly simple task is actually not so simple. For one, it takes a substantial amount of time to manage multiple social media accounts. Posting regularly can take a big bite out of the time that would be better spent working on your caseload and meeting with clients. You may also find that finding quality content to post is difficult. And what works for Instagram probably won’t work for Twitter, and what is appropriate on Facebook may be unprofessional on LinkedIn.

Social media is a powerful business development tool that your law firm should be using. However, the platforms you focus on and the content you share must be in line with your firm’s branding, mission and business objectives.  Ethan Wall, a practicing attorney and social media marketing consultant for lawyers, recommends focusing on one or two social media profiles to maximize effectiveness and efficiency. 

Wall writes:

“By focusing your energy on one or two social media sites, you can more effectively develop and execute your marketing strategy and stay more engaged with your followers. Just as its better to specialize in one or two areas of law instead of being a generalist in five or six different areas, concentrating your efforts on a smaller number of social media sites will enable you to better develop relationships, engage your audience, and ultimately convert followers into clients.”

When wading into the social media pool, Facebook and Twitter are obvious starting points. Consider these two platforms as the shallow end. It’s easy to get started, and there are hundreds of resources that you can fall back on to make sure you are doing it right.

To help you take that first step, here is a short introduction to how your law firm can benefit from Facebook and Twitter.

 

Facebook For Law Firms

Almost every discussion about social media for law firms start with Facebook. There are over 2 billion active monthly users, making Facebook the largest social media site. Users spend an average of 50 minutes on the site every day, and Facebook accounts for up to 22 percent of Internet time Americans spend on mobile devices.

Facebook can be used to build brand awareness, promote your practice areas and find new clients. Setting up a Facebook page for your law firm is simple. Use high quality background photo and logo to brand the page, and include as much information as possible about your firm and practice areas in your profile. From there, you can begin sharing images, timely news, your latest blog posts and short videos that promote your practice.

Aside from setting up a free Facebook profile for your law firm, you can also use Facebook to advertise to potential clients. The benefits of doing so are tremendous. A Facebook ad only takes minutes to set up. You are in complete control of your budget. Above all else, you can control who sees your ad.  You can set parameters that target Facebook users in a specific location. You can further define this group by age, gender and education. Even a user’s behavior can be leveraged to make smarter ad decisions.

Although Facebook can be a powerful business development tool, the last thing you want to do is hit your followers and connections with constant advertising messages (you can screen your connections from your Facebook ads). Instead, use your Facebook profile to provide value and entertainment for your community.

Share photos from your weekend. Start a lively discussion about a recent local news event. Promote community events. Revealing a bit of your personal life will help you develop authentic connections to your followers and prospective clients. Not every picture needs to be of you in a power suit from your desk.

 

Twitter For Law Firms

With over 300 million daily users, Twitter presents another great opportunity to connect with other legal professionals, your local community and potential clients. Like Facebook, you should determine whether or not your Twitter efforts will be a good fit for your business objectives. 

Twitter works for lawyers who have potential clients active on Twitter, who want to network with other lawyers with similar law practices and who want to obtain helpful news and information for their practice areas.  Twitter can be a great way to interact with other lawyers online, helping you build your professional network and fueling your referral engine.  Likewise, Twitter is a great place to see what other legal professionals are reading and spending time online.

Twitter is best suited for individual lawyers, however, not law firms. People like to follow and interact with other people, not impersonal business entities. So if you do decide to use Twitter, set up an account with your name (not your law firm’s name) and your headshot (not your law firm’s logo).  

After your account is set up, you can use the Twitter biography to mention your law firm and provide a link to your firm’s website. However, don’t miss this opportunity to showcase some of your unique interests. Do you love legal tech? Are you a world explorer? Do you like to play sports? If so, say so. This is a chance to set yourself apart from all the other “suits.”

The next step is to start following people. Try finding local lawyers that you’ve worked with in the past. Look up your old law school classmates. Start following your favorite legal news site. As you follow more people, people will begin to follow you back. You may not have hundreds of followers over night, but, hey, it’s a start. 

(If you want to follow me @wtylerroberts, I’ll be sure to follow back.) 

You’ve got a profile and you’ve got followers. Now, it’s time to start tweeting. You can provide links to your law firm’s latest blog posts, interesting news stories and begin engaging other users in conversation. You could also begin re-tweeting other Tweets that you find interesting. Or, you could share fun facts about your practice area, new statistics you learned about, or your professional opinion on a recent case.

How does tweeting get you more clients, though? Like Facebook, your Twitter account should not be used to spam your followers with advertising messages. Rather, offer your followers information of value. Build relationships. Position yourself as a leader in a specific practice area. As your Twitter network grows, so too will your referral network.

Facebook and Twitter are great platforms to build your personal brand, target potential clients and connect with other lawyers in your practice area. While paid advertising on these platforms is helpful, you should use your profile pages as they were intended: to connect with your community. 

The key to success is starting small, posting regularly just a couple of times a week. As you get learn more about how each social media platform operates, you will discover more opportunities to position your law firm’s brand on social media.

 

Related articles: 

A Quick Intro To Online Reviews For Lawyers

Why Lawyers Need To Claim Their Avvo Profiles

Choosing The Right Legal Tech For Your Firm

 


Tyler Roberts is an editor for The National Jurist. You can follow him on Twitter at @wtylerroberts


 

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