At fSquared Marketing, we hear on a daily basis how social media is a foreign concept to many lawyers. Some articles have mentioned how marketing agencies will scam lawyers into thinking social media is necessary for the success of their firm when in reality social media is not a place for law firms to focus their attention. The reasoning behind this view is that they believe the content that lawyers have to share is private, and very “black and white,” compared to what is trending on every news feed. My initial reaction to this is…
So instead of testing out an aspect of digital that could potentially drive traffic to a law firm’s website, generate leads, and ultimately bring in new clients, some would rather remain blissfully ignorant of the fact that more and more firms are turning to social media for brand exposure?
The benefits of optimizing your social media channels are clear, however, many firms are unsure of how to do it right. “Do it right.” Easier said than done, right? Maybe! The first step in branding your law firm on social media is to first choose the channels you wish to work with. I have prepared a brief description of four social media channels for your law firm to consider, and depending on the practice of your firm, you may choose one over another. Factors that will affect your decision-making process include:
- which audiences you are targeting and where you will find them online;
- how your firm’s primary practice areas will influence who you are targeting; and
- how the content that you will post will be received by the users on each social media site.
Although some view it as a tool solely for networking, LinkedIn is a professional resource used for listening and engaging with like-minded business professionals. It is a resource for potential clients to research your firm and its lawyers. Your firm should share mostly original content in the form of blog posts, case studies, firm news articles and other publications. Share relevant industry news or articles that you think your clients will be interested in from credible online sources.
Individual lawyers on LinkedIn should showcase their knowledge of current and relevant industry news and events by sharing and communicating with professionals in LinkedIn groups. A lawyer profile must honestly display their experience and level of expertise they hold in their legal specialization, and ensure they are following their law society or bar guidelines if applicable. To impress potential clients, create and post original content to LinkedIn pulse, or share your opinion on articles that you or your connections post to the news feed.
Facebook is an informational channel used for increasing your firm’s brand awareness. It also allows your firm to play an integral part in its local community. Content that is shared on Facebook should display your firm’s personality and voice, knowledge of current events and thought-leadership. Consider sharing articles from respected and non-competing sources, photos taken from the office, tutorial videos, the firm’s blog posts, case studies and other publications, and status updates to inform current followers of changes, promotions, events, and opportunities within the firm.
While it is especially important for Family and Personal Injury lawyers and law firms to create a strong presence on Facebook, as this channel currently has more than one billion active users each month, all law firms should aspire to have a Facebook company page with a consistent content schedule.
Twitter is a listening and engaging tool used for providing descriptions of firm updates, and links to original publications and relevant sources from around the web. Connect followers to your website, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Google+ pages by adding links to your posts. You can form valuable connections in the legal community by sharing industry related news. Ask questions to followers, and encourage and reciprocate user engagement.
Lawyers and law firms should strive to be thought-leaders on Twitter. Business lawyers should provide insight on trending technology advancements, business deals or legal updates, for example, to connect with business leaders and major influencers on Twitter.
It is common knowledge that Google+ is a failed social network. However, while it still remains available to businesses, it is a resource to tell your story. Your content should fill the gaps between existing social media profiles, and be readily available for anyone who searches your firm online. It is a resource to maximize visibility on Google search pages. This site encourages you to speak to strangers and to customize the information that is available to them. This is a place to make new connections, not just engage with current ones. Deliver information and foster conversation between users all over the world by posting either original content or sharing opinions on relevant industry news and events. Display images that encompass your brand image. These will be the first things people see when they search your firm’s name.
Many lawyers perceive Instagram as an irrelevant tool for business development. At the moment, there are very few law firms who are actively posting content on this channel, and these firms tend to be very large with more resources to create and post original content. So why should your firm be an early adopter of this channel? The answer: branding. Differentiating yourself from competitors is essential, and as more firms dive into the world of digital, maintaining a consistent brand image online will get you a step ahead. Post images of the office culture, client events, as well as images related to new blog posts, and snapshots from within the community in which your law firm is located. It takes a substantial amount of time to generate a strong following, but with over 400 million monthly users on Instagram, it is possible to find users within your target audience. For example, upcoming technology entrepreneurs and start-ups are on Instagram. You can send direct messages to accounts with links to new blog posts or services.
Now you are aware of the benefits of using these social media accounts at your law firm. It’s time to decide which ones will create the greatest value for you. Remember to focus on the overall social media strategy and how the combination of specific social media accounts will allow your firm to target specific audiences, and how it will also allow your firm to distribute original content that will direct traffic to your firm website and services.
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