Social networks can be a good way to give your law firm exposure and establish expertise within your practice area. Attorneys can comment on news items that are of particular relevance to their area of practice, and they can use social media to convey positive press about their firm. But social networks can also be a good way to make your firm look unprofessional or out of touch. Attorneys and firms that participate in social networks must do so with a targeted strategy.
Before beginning the process of setting up accounts and profiles, take the time to put some thought into your brand. In social media situations, developing a personal brand is particularly important. Personal branding is simply the method by which you market yourself to the world. The concept has received a lot of attention in reference to celebrities, but personal branding is not just for high-profile public figures. Everyone needs a personal brand.
Think about how you would like yourself – and by extension your firm – to be perceived. Brainstorm on some words and phrases that you would like people to use to describe you. Consider your target audience and what they are likely to be looking for in an attorney. Narrow that down to a few keywords and then reaffirm those words with everything you do. Pick appropriate profile pictures and always use the same avatar. Different networks allow different levels of profile customization; take advantage of sites like Twitter and YouTube that give you more leeway to style your pages. Make sure color choices, images and descriptions are consistent across all accounts.
Once you have reaffirmed your brand strategy, take care to control your message. It does not matter if you are a large firm with many attorneys or a sole practitioner, everything you put out across social media channels should appear as though it is coming from the same source. This is easier if you alone are responsible for social media outreach, simply be conscious of your audience and the keywords you established with your personal brand and stick to them. If you are a large firm with multiple attorneys participating in social media outlets, make sure the attorneys are collaborating on their message. Take the time to meet and discuss social media participation and review each attorney’s role. Do not just leave it to chance and assume everyone is on the same page.
This is not to say that your individual attorneys cannot have any personality whatsoever. They should. In fact, connecting with clients emotionally is key to bringing in new business. But it is also important that your firm is not coming across as corporate and conservative on Facebook but impulsive and casual on Twitter. Your attorneys need to be using a consistent tone.
Different social media platforms offer attorneys unique ways to promote their firms and build business. Use the tools each provides to take advantage of them in the optimum way. But always remember that everything you do, from videos on YouTube to articles on your blog to links shared on Twitter must reflect a consistent marketing and branding strategy.