Managing your law firm’s social media platforms comes with a whole spectrum of challenges. That’s because each platform is uniquely suited for different purposes and attracts different demographics. As much as you might want to use social media to grow your practice, you may be wondering, how can you both reach your target audience and maintain your professional reputation? Which platforms should you use, and how?
There’s no one size fits all social media strategy. Some law firms might thrive on Twitter and Facebook, while others will find their sweet spot on Quora and Reddit. We’ve compiled some tips to help you approach your social media strategy with confidence.
1. Find where to tell your story.
With each social media platform, lawyers can reach an audience, curate your law firm's image, and tell your story in a different way. To determine what kind of story you might want to tell, think about what platforms are most appealing to you.
- YouTube: YouTube is the second most popular search engine behind Google. This is because many people prefer to learn about something through videos instead of written articles. Utilize this platform to demonstrate your expert knowledge while showing some personality to retain your audience’s attention and interest.
- Facebook: Create a page for your law firm, and share news articles and blogs from your website for your followers to stay abreast of your newest updates. Post things both you and your prospective clients might be interested in. Videos and images always help grab attention, too.
- Twitter: This platform is all about the “now.” What’s happening now in your field? Show your followers that you’re staying up to date on the latest news and cases, which proves to prospects that you’re passionate and knowledgeable about your field. Post regularly, otherwise you won’t appear in your followers’ feeds. Follow interesting accounts and influencers in your field, retweet them, and interact with your followers.
- LinkedIn: Showcase your full professional profile here, including years of experience and highlighted cases. Just like Facebook, you should continually post updates to inform your connections that you’re active. Eighty percent of your posts should be helpful to your audience, and you can feel free to use the other 20% to share interesting updates about your firm or major case results that you were involved in.
- Instagram: Use images to show what you do at your firm, including behind the scenes office posts that humanize your practice, and images of events you’ve organized that benefited your community. Additionally, having an active, a quality Instagram account can help create a professional image of your firm, which can encourage prospects that you’re the real deal.
- Snapchat: Yes, you can use Snapchat, too. Post fleeting images and messages about your practice area and broadcast location-based information like local events using Geo-filters. This might not be the best platform for Senior law, but if you’re open to using your creativity to target millennials, Snapchat is a strong option.
- Quora: This is a Q&A platform, in which users can post questions and other users can pose answers. It creates a database of growing information, which you can use to respond directly to questions people are asking about legal issues. Flaunt your knowledge, gain reputability, and meet prospects.
- Reddit: Sometimes referred to as “the homepage of the internet,” Reddit’s front page features top stories, discoveries, and entertainment. It’s a social news aggregation run by user ratings and comments on every post. Here, you’ll want to comment on Law-related subreddits and make posts of your own providing helpful answers, with an explanation that is based on your legal experience. This will help you get queries from prospects without going through a traditional marketing trajectory.
2. Research User Demographics and Platform Statistics
No matter which platforms you decide to focus on, you’ll want to know who’s using them. That way, you can cater to the right audience. For example, Snapchat and Instagram are used most often by millennials, while Reddit’s dominant users are college-educated men in their mid-20s. You’ll also want to consider what type of content performs best and for what types of audiences. For instance, 45% of LinkedIn article readers are people in upper-level positions, and how-to and list posts perform the best. These data points will help you strategize who to target and how.
3. Create a plan, and stick to your schedule
It might feel overwhelming to start using a new social media platform for your law firm, and even more so when you don’t have a plan for how you’re going to maximize your reach while not wasting hours on posts that go nowhere. You can avoid headaches by first outlining what your goals are on each platform. Do you want to increase Twitter reach and engagement, or increase your Facebook presence? What image do you want to create for yourself? What kind of tone will you take in your posts?
Next, create a calendar where you will schedule the release of content. Prepare images, tweets, blogs, and videos to release over the next weeks and months. Plan your posts according to how you imagine your prospective clients might be feeling during the day or week. Monday might be a good day to post a blog with helpful information; Wednesday you could post a long-form article about a particular topic; on Friday, you can post something humorous to appeal to prospects who might be tired from a long work week. Of course, you can also just talk to Custom Legal Marketing and let them put together a comprehensive social strategy for your firm.
4. Run Ads strategically.
Facebook and Instagram keep track of their users’ significant life events, such as new jobs, getting engaged, and buying a house. Life Events Targeting parameters can help you target users whose life events match your client profile. Your ads will reach individuals who might be in need of your services.
5. Use visuals and attractive titles
It’s essential to capture your audience’s attention within the first few seconds of seeing your post. With each platform, be savvy with your words and appeal to users’ habits by using high-quality photographs and headlines that stand out above the rest. While you do want to ensure that your law firm's brand is consistent, you should avoid putting your logo on everything. This will only make your posts appear unnatural and overly corporate.
For example, you might use the “stories” feature on Instagram to engage users with your news and updates. Since stories allow you to post pictures, videos, animations, and polls that last only for 24 hours, it naturally encourages your users to interact with your account more than the traditional post.
6. Check out the competition. Learn from them. Make them your friends.
Competitor monitoring is standard practice for lawyer SEO. Likewise, it’s fair game to see what other law firms are doing on social media, and to learn from their successes. What tone are they using in their content? What kinds of headlines are they using? How are they engaging with their followers? Are they doing something that you think will work well for your practice? If so, take note, and adopt some of their strategies to your own.
One easy way to start gleaning inspiration from others is to follow Twitter lists and YouTube playlists, and follow accounts on Avvo, Bloomberg Law, the American Bar Association, and Above the Law. This will help you avoid the tedium of populating your own list of users from scratch.
Once that’s done, you’ll be able to see which accounts are the most influential, and which ones you might want to model in your own approach. You’ll want to follow them and build online relationships with them. Once you’ve established a connection, they can promote your firm and help you attract followers. Suddenly, you’ll be influential too, and begin reeling in referrals and prospects in a way that you can’t with traditional marketing alone.
7. Keywords, and Hashtags seriously
The first 48 hours are the most important when you post new content. After that, your post stops being as relevant. This is why you’ll want to do everything you can to establish as much reach as possible right away. Promote your YouTube video or blog post across all your social media accounts and website. Utilize SEO practices by incorporating keywords in your post like “divorce attorney Los Angeles,” in your description, tags, and headlines, and adding links to your site.
Also consider the power of hashtags, which you can broaden your exposure to users following the topic you’re posting about. Using a mix of general hashtags -- like #personalinjurylawyers -- and location hashtags -- like #miami -- will help you narrow your reach to potential clients near you (instead of those in another state or country).
Want to learn more? Download Hashtags for Lawyers, a free ebook from Custom Legal Marketing.
9. Don’t be afraid to be creative and show some personality
Breathe some fresh air into your firm’s image by featuring humanizing posts about your team. If prospects come across your Instagram or YouTube account and find both professionalism and personality, they’ll likely think you stand out above your competitors.
Post behind the scenes stories about your workday at the office, or your role in organizing community events. Use language that shows your personality in your LinkedIn blogs and Tweets. Make sure anything you post is relevant to your practice, of course, but don’t be afraid of being playful and creative. This strategy will capture your audience’s attention and build stronger interest. You’ll be more memorable, and when they’re ready to call a lawyer, they’ll be more likely to call you.
9. Take social media with you to your real-world events
Building social media into your real world events will help you generate new content that help your audience feel that you and the attorneys at your firm are real people that are passionate about taking real action in your practice area.
When you host an event, be sure to ask your team to be involved in documenting it for social media. Live-tweet quotes that highlight the main points of the speeches to generate interest. Post videos to your Instagram Story or Snapchat feed. Encourage attendees to post about the event online, too. When you attend a conference, you can use your social media network to connect with the organizers, speakers, and attendees.
10. Engage with your users!
A huge part of your success in generating new leads depends on your relationships with those interacting with your accounts, who might recommend your firm. So, don’t forget to engage with your users!
Always respond promptly to comments, retweets, and messages. Social media algorithms boost the reach of posts with a high interaction rate, which includes your responses to comments. Your comments should reflect your professionalism and expert knowledge, while coming across as friendly. Just as you’ll want to avoid coming across as stiff and overly formal, you should avoid giving out legal advice, but instead, encourage users to contact you directly. Follow people back, comment on and react to their posts, and always respond promptly to people interacting with your accounts by tagging them with an “@” symbol.
Creating a robust social media presence can do more than just complement your traditional marketing efforts. It can give you a stronger reputation in your community, show the world that you truly are an expert in your field, and help you bring in new cases.
Talk to the team at Custom Legal Marketing today to get a free consultation and a plan to move your law firm forward in search, social media, and beyond.
Cristina Fríes is a MA in English/Creative Writing from UC Davis (2019), and is a legal marketing strategist and content developer for CLM. Her interests include creating compelling marketing content, writing books, and traveling the world.