Social Media for Law Firms: 6 Ideas to Try

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(Ad) For law firms, social media can be one of the most effective ways of organically reaching more clients and establishing your firm as the leading expert in your area of practice.

Unfortunately, however, it’s often one of the most neglected avenues for marketing and advertising, with many firms put off by the apparent time investment and ever-changing rules.

If your firm isn’t utilizing social media, you may be losing out on some of the most effective, low-cost opportunities to generate more high-quality leads.

Why Should Law Firms Embrace Social Media?

Over the last few decades, social media has evolved from something akin to a personal journal to a true digital “town square,” where businesses and individuals can interact with their communities anytime and anywhere.

This means that “hanging a shingle” in the digital world is just as important, if not more important, than hanging one on your actual main street. You may immediately think, “I already have a website, so my digital presence is taken care of.”

But building a website is the equivalent of renting an office inside a building with a million offices, all offering the same service. On the other hand, social media is like being invited into your potential client’s homes with the opportunity to tell them how and why you can solve their most pressing legal problems.

And all of this direct exposure can be done with little to no up-front investment. You can utilize social media to boost your exposure, develop trust, and establish yourself as a thought leader online. All you need is the right strategy.

How to Build a Social Media Strategy

Building a social media strategy requires a few key steps. You can go as basic or as in-depth as your want with each; the critical thing is to follow these steps in order so you can make the maximum possible impact.

#1: Identify Your Goals

The biggest mistake that most businesses make when creating a social media presence is not identifying exactly what they want to achieve from their pages.

For example, most people think that building a “following” is the ultimate goal. Still, in reality, a small following that clicks on your links and visits your page is way more valuable than a large following that just “likes” your posts and does nothing else.

An example of good goals to set for your social media strategy include:

Goals like this can help you tailor your content to direct followers and page visitors to valuable “next steps” they can take with your brand.

#2: Research Your Target Audience/Client

It would help if you did a deep dive into who you want to reach on social media. So much of the content on these sites is relational, meaning that if you can make it feel like you understand your target audience and their needs, you’re much more likely to have them stick around your social media and convert them into clients.

#3: Consider Your Content for Social Media and Position Yourself as an Expert

Now that you understand both what you want to achieve and what your audience needs, it’s time to build a content strategy that satisfies both goals. For law firms, content that positions yourself as an expert in whatever area of law you practice is often the best place to start.

Your target clients want to work with a law firm that can demonstrate a firm grasp on the problems they want to solve. So creating content that answers common questions and explains certain elements of your specific area of practice can help you establish valuable trust with your audience and help you build a relationship with them.

#4: Interact With Your Audience

Social media as a platform is, well, social. Unlike traditional forms of advertising and marketing that talk “at” the audience, social media allows you to talk with your audience, answer questions, and build a rapport.

Interaction is another crucial element of social media that too many businesses and brands under-utilize. Spending a little time interacting with your audience can make your firm feel more approachable, making you more likely to convert a reader or a viewer into a client.

#5: Consider Paid Social Media Advertising

One of the best features of social media is organic growth, the ability to reach a wider audience without a financial investment. However, you may find it challenging to get that initial “boost” you need to get your page off the ground, even after following all the steps above, which is why most platforms allow you to pay for sponsored placement on the app.

Social media advertising can be highly targeted, so it consistently gets some of the best ROI of any advertising option. Since you’ve already identified what type of client you want to attract, you can target your sponsored posts directly at that demographic and direct them wherever you want them to go (to your page, website, newsletter, etc.)

#6: Measure Your Results

Almost any social media strategy will require some tweaking to get it fully optimized, which is why it’s important to measure and track your results to see if you’re making progress towards your goals. Most social media sites include an analytics platform that will tell you how many people saw and interacted with your posts. You can compare these analytics against other metrics like website traffic to get a complete overview of whether or not your social media presence is driving the results you want.

If it’s not, you can always experiment with new content and tactics and see if they get you closer to your goals.

Social Media Channels to Consider

There are a ton of social media platforms to choose from, but which ones you use will depend heavily on what audience you want to reach and what your ultimate goals are.

Here we give you a brief overview of the most popular platforms, who uses them, and what business goals they’re best at helping achieve.

Facebook

Facebook is one of the original social media platforms, and as such most businesses have at least some presence on Facebook. You can create a dedicated page for your business where you can share links, photos, videos, and text to connect with your audience.

  • Typical Audience Age: 30+
  • Typical: Post Format: Text, Links, Images, Videos (short and long)

The Sam Bernstein Law Firm is a great example of a law firm that’s been able to amass a large following on its Facebook page by regularly engaging with its audience and providing high-value content.

Source: The Sam Bernstein Law Firm

Twitter

Twitter is the reigning king of short-form text content and is a great tool for reaching a wide audience with short-form, text-based content. It also works well for linking people to other content on other sites.

  • Typical Audience Age: 16-45
  • Post Format: Text, Links, Images, Videos

International law firm Allens has a fantastic Twitter presence that takes advantage of Twitter’s short-form content format to share articles and other relevant information about the firm.

Source: Allens Legal

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is an excellent social media website for B2B communication and networking, and regularly creating content for this site can help boost your firm’s professional reputation.

  • Typical Audience Age: 30+
  • Typical Post Format: Text, Links

Baker McKenzie’s LinkedIn page was voted #1 in Good2BSocial’s 2019 Social Law Firm Index. They secured that spot by posting regular, high-quality content about topics ranging from technology to government and how they impact their areas of practice and the legal industry as a whole.

Source: Baker McKenzie

Instagram

Instagram is an ever-evolving platform adored by brands trying to reach the Millennial demographic but is also being used by a wide range of people and offers some of the best advertising opportunities of any social media site.

Relying initially on image-based content and now branching more heavily into short-form video, this is a great place to grab your audience’s attention with visually interesting infographics and thought-provoking video content.

  • Typical Audience Age: 25+
  • Typical Post Format: Images, Videos

Global law firm DLA Piper has a beautifully designed Instagram that features regular updates on their attorneys to help current and future clients better understand who they are and what they represent as a firm. They also highlight common questions and information that their clients and other site visitors may need by utilizing Instagram’s “Story Highlights” feature.

Source: DLA Piper

YouTube

YouTube is still the number one source of user-generated long-form video content, and it can be an incredible place to build authority in your area of practice. Long-form video is one of the most time-consuming content formats to produce, but it can also yield the most significant rewards for firms trying to stand out from the competition. Additionally, short-form videos can be created with the purpose of answering questions to common or uncommon legal questions or even questions pertaining to your law firm’s processes.

  • Typical Audience Age: 18+ (YouTube has one of the most sophisticated algorithms for separating content for children from that for adults)
  • Typical Post Format: Video (short form and long form)

Jones Day law firm has over 1 thousand followers and regularly publishes high-quality content that addresses pressing or controversial legal issues. They also publish information about their firm, attorneys, and values to help clients get a holistic idea of who they are as a firm.

Source: Jones Day

Six Social Media Ideas to Try

#1: Create a series of infographics answering FAQs and Other Topics

Creating visuals such as infographics is a great way to kick off your social media presence because it can be cross-posted to as many platforms as you’d like. It is also a great way to immediately hone in on your target audience by helping them solve their most common questions.

Whether you are highlighting new state laws or comparing lease clauses, creating visual content can increase thought leadership and encourage downloads.

#2: Create a short video series explaining simple law topics

Short-form video is on the rise, and it requires much less time and effort than typical long-form content. With a simple ring light and a phone, you can create a series of 30-60 second videos explaining simple topics in your area of practice to your audience (for example, “What is a retainer?”,  “What qualifies as force majeure?”, or “When should I hire a family law lawyer?”).

#3: Ask your audience questions

Twitter and Instagram Stories are great places to interact directly with your audience and gain insight into what’s important to them. Consider creating a series of tweets asking your audience questions relevant to your firm/goals, such as “What’s something you wish you knew about hiring a lawyer?”

#4: Create polls

Platforms like Instagram and Twitter allow you to create polls that make it easy to collect information from your audience while keeping them engaged. For example, try posting a poll each morning asking your audience about topics with easy answer choices like “How confident do you feel when hiring a lawyer” or “What’s your biggest concern when choosing a law firm?”

#5: Highlight audience comments

The comment section can be a great place to find inspiration for new content. Browse through your comments and look for user comments that you can address and create high-value content for your other followers that shows you care about addressing their problems individually.

#6: Showcase Your Employees and Events

Highlighting your legal team is a creative way to show the humanistic side of your law firm and increase engagement. You can honor lawyers that have won awards, the new paralegal that just joined the team, and even feature employees enjoying hobbies and interests outside of the office.

Another option is to share moments of the team enjoying a lunch or group outing, at speaking events and industry conferences, and celebrating individual and team accomplishments. 

Social Media Compliance for Law Firms

One critical thing you need to be aware of is how to remain compliant with laws and regulations governing the advertisement of legal services on social media platforms. It can be a challenge to keep up with local and federal laws governing the content on these platforms and the guidelines put down by the platform itself.

Therefore, we recommend thoroughly researching all these different levels of compliance before you start posting and/or consulting with legal marketing experts that can help guide you through the ever-changing compliance landscape.

Social Media for Law Firms: Key Takeaways

A strong grasp of social media marketing is one of the best ways law firms can set themselves apart from the competition and future-proof their marketing strategy as the world shifts into more digital-first communities.

To be successful on social media, you need to think outside of the typical rules and best practices of traditional marketing and advertising and gear your content towards creating an authentic connection with your potential clients.

The best strategies show that your firm is an expert in your practice area yet still approachable and easy to work with.

One thing social media does consistently is move fast, so if you’re feeling overwhelmed by the idea of creating and posting content every day, we highly recommend you reach out to advertising and marketing experts that understand your needs.

Working with an experienced social media marketing team allows you to benefit from their deep knowledge of these ever-changing platforms and their audiences. They’ll then use this knowledge to give you a tailor-made approach to content creation to help you reach your goals.

So whether you bring work with a legal marketing agency, hire in-house staff, or decide to dive in solo, hopefully, this guide will help give you the confidence you need to begin building a strong online presence that opens up new ways for you to engage with your current and future clients.

If your law firm needs help with social media or other aspects of legal marketing, contact us to learn how Hearst Bay Area can help you grow your firm by generating more potential clients.