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Social Media for Law Firms
Do lawyers belong on social media? Is it really possible for attorneys to get quality leads from Facebook?
The reason so many law firms have been slow to embrace social media in their marketing is because they don't know how to use it. When put in the hands of an experienced legal marketing consultant, popular social networking channels can become powerful tools for building up your online reputation, running targeted paid advertising campaigns, and connecting with prospective clients.
The Benefits of Social Media for Law Firms
Can you honestly expect serious business results from the trendiest social media platforms? Yes, but only with a lot of effort and realistic expectations. There are many benefits to using social media for your law firm, but you should know that these benefits may be more nuanced than bringing in a bunch of new cases.
Why is social media important for law firms? These channels allow your firm to communicate with real people and serve as:
- Relationship-building tools
- Educational tools
- Advertising platforms
- SEO ranking factors
Social Media as a Relationship-Building Tool
Individuals use social media to connect with other people. Why shouldn't law firms do the same?
By building out a strong social media presence, you make yourself and your firm more accessible to individual social media users and to community partners. You can use social media to interact with people who are considering hiring an attorney as well as organizations within your community that you want to get involved with or support.
Today's clients want more than a success record from their attorneys. They want to get a feel for who you are as a person, whether they can trust you, and how you will treat them if they become a client. The best social media strategies for law firms let your strengths and your personality shine through for prospective clients to see.
Your social media posts offer a glimpse into what you value and the culture of your law firm. When you share (other peoples') articles about important issues, it's clear that you care. When you post photos of officewide celebrations, it humanizes your firm and drives connection in a way you won't accomplish through sales letters, billboards, or press releases.
When prospective clients connect with you and your firm on a personal level, they're more likely to choose you over your competitors. Who knew all this can come from social media?
Social Media as an Educational Tool
As an attorney, part of your role is to advocate for clients - and, often, that means educating them. The average layperson has little knowledge of the law or their legal rights, a fact that lawyers often lament.
If you have ever found yourself wishing you could share your knowledge with a limitless audience, here's your chance. Social media affords you an opportunity to spread messages far and wide, to people you have never met.
Social Media as an Advertising Platform
Although you can and should include organic posting in your social media strategy, many attorneys find the targeted advertising options available through Facebook intriguing.
Did you know that you can create Facebook ads that target users based on location, age, gender, level of education, personal interests, and even household income? Suddenly you can really plan for who will see your ad - and what message you want to share with those users.
Social Media and SEO Ranking Factors
If you're doing search engine optimization, or SEO - and you should be - then having an active social media presence can only help you. Although Google does not consider social media as a direct ranking factor in search engine results, "social signals," including likes and shares, have historically been known to give content a boost in organic SEO.
The more people like and share your content on social media, the more people are seeing that content. That means more visits to your website, more backlinks from high-value sites, and ultimately, more evidence in Google's eyes that your website deserves to be ranked highly among search results.
The Best Social Media Platforms for Law Firms
Which social media platforms should your law firm be using? New social networking sites are constantly evolving, so the most important thing is to be aware of what sites people are actively using and for what purpose.
Just as new sites develop, old ones fall out of favor. There was a time early on in the growth of social media when MySpace might have been a contender, but now - even with a complete redesign and celebrity investor Justin Timberlake standing behind the site - it hasn't seen that earlier popularity return.
Some of the most popular social media platforms among today's attorneys include Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Twitter.
Facebook for Lawyers
One social media site that is a perennial favorite among law firms that use social media is Facebook. With more than two billion users globally, Facebook is the largest social media channel in the world.
It's also the most popular social media site among most age groups, which makes it great for reaching a diverse audience, and more importantly, an audience that includes potential clients. (You don't want to waste your valuable time targeting social media platforms used primarily by teenagers, who wouldn't be the ones searching for an attorney even if they needed one.)
On Facebook, lawyers can find success with both paid and non-paid campaigns - but only with the right strategies and flawless implementation.
Law Firms on LinkedIn
Professional networking site LinkedIn is surprisingly valuable for law firms. In fact, many law firms are now bringing in profitable cases through LinkedIn.
Although this social media channel is particularly valuable for attorneys who work with corporations, it can prove valuable for any kind of law. If you practice real estate law, use the site to network with realtors. Trademark and copyright lawyers can connect with small business owners on LinkedIn.
If you take advantage of LinkedIn's features that allow you to publish original content that add value in your area of law, you might just find that other professionals using the site come across your articles and become convinced that you are the one they should choose to represent them. A short article that thoroughly answers a common question about family law, personal injury law, or criminal defense law can impress prospective clients.
After all, individuals dealing with complicated family situations, accidents, and criminal accusations are real people with multidimensional lives. For many of them, their career is such a central part of that life that they visit LinkedIn frequently.
Attorneys on YouTube
You might not think of YouTube as a social media channel, but the Google-owned video site is both a social media site _and_ a major search engine. That makes it doubly important that you get your law firm's name out there on the platform.
Becoming active on YouTube requires a bit more planning, because you need to create a video. That's no easy feat when you and everyone in your practice are already busy handling cases and representing clients. You need to come up with a script, rehearse, and purchase and use professional-grade video and lighting equipment.
Don't be tempted to cut corners, either. Putting up a poorly-made video in a public space like YouTube is way worse than not having videos at all. A video that looks bad can undermine your law firm's reputation for professionalism. If you decide to get in front of the camera and "wing it" instead of carefully planning and practicing what you want to say, you could end up using words that are inaccurate and could even get you or your firm in trouble.
Although a handful of attorneys have made a name for themselves with simple webcam videos, these are few and far between. Hiring experts to create real, professional-quality videos that you can use on your own website and on YouTube is crucial to making the best possible impression on behalf of your law firm.
Twitter for Lawyers
You might not think there's much you can say in just 140 characters that will matter, but making a big impact with a short post is part of the art of tweeting. Using Twitter can benefit law firms in many ways.
The use of hashtags and the public format of Twitter - as opposed to Facebook's different levels of privacy settings - allows you to "listen in" on conversations about topics that are relevant to your firm. This can give you valuable insight into what your potential clients are thinking and what information they are seeking. For example, a user who tweets about a car accident may ask questions you hadn't thought of - questions that can guide your other marketing efforts, including the content on your website and your advertising campaigns.
Twitter can potentially bring you leads directly, but it's important that your firm's posts on the social media platform follow attorney advertising guidelines. That's why it is so important that someone who knows the legal marketing industry inside and out - not just any marketing "guru" - manages your law firm's social media efforts.
Why Should I Outsource My Law Firm's Social Media Management?
These days, everyone has a Facebook. Finding videos on YouTube is so easy that - literally - a toddler can do it. The prevalence of social media channels makes it seem so simple. Why would you pay someone else to do something that you can do yourself?
The difference between managing your law firm's social media yourself and having it professionally managed is the difference between getting it done and getting it done right.
Your Time Is Too Valuable to Waste
Like other aspects of marketing, what you get out of social media depends on what you put into it. To see real results, you need to invest time and effort into developing social media strategies and content that align with current best practices.
That means you need time - a lot of it:
- Time for research
- Time for brainstorming
- Time for creating compelling posts and graphics
- Time for scheduling posts
Companies in less complex industries can easily spend several hours per day on social media. For law firms, the more rigorous demands can eat up even more of your time.
Do you have extra hours every day to commit to social media? Most attorneys don't. They're busy to the point of burning out, juggling not only the needs of every one of their clients but the onerous responsibilities of leading a law firm. The last thing they need is one more thing to manage - even something as seemingly simple as social media.
The reality is that you don't have time to run your firm's social media accounts yourself. You certainly don't have time to develop the expertise you need to turn social networking into an effective channel for branding and lead generation. Fortunately, NextLevel does.
You're Not a Social Media Expert
You spent years studying law to become an attorney. You've devoted your professional life to the practice of law. You're an authority in the legal industry, and you have the credentials and work history to prove it.
What you're not is an expert on social media marketing. In fact, many lawyers rarely use social media personally and admit that they just don't "get" social media. Why do people feel a need to turn to Twitter to share their every thought with strangers? What makes Facebook such a popular phenomenon? Especially if you have ever had clients of yours make foolish posts on social media that hurt their cases, you might find social media exasperating and downright not worth the effort.
If this sounds like you, then trying to manage a social media presence for your firm just because you're "supposed to" will be an exercise in both futility and frustration. You're not a social media expert, and you don't have time to become one when you have so many other demands on you.
Attorneys often hope that they will luck into making a post that will "go viral," but in a serious industry like law, the odds are slim. Even if you do stumble upon a viral idea, it may not bring you the leads or brand recognition you seek.
You could waste a lot of time and money coming up with campaigns by trial and error, and still accomplish nothing. Or you could make a meaningful investment in getting social media results by hiring NextLevel's experienced legal marketing consultants to manage your firm's social media presence for you.
You Can Avoid the Most Common Mistakes Lawyers Make on Social Media
Just as a layperson would make a lot of mistakes trying to represent themselves in a court of law, attorneys often make some big mistakes when it comes to social media marketing.
If you're doing any of the following, then you're likely wasting time and resources on unsuccessful social media efforts.
Not using social media sites for their intended purposes.
Too many lawyers hear that they need a certain social media channel, but they have no real plans to use it effectively. Don't expect results from creating a law firm YouTube account if you have no videos to post and no intention to make videos. There's little point in making an Instagram account if you and your colleagues don't want any pictures of the firm published online. Just having a social media account won't magically improve your marketing efforts.
Promoting yourself excessively.
Unlike individuals who use social media just for fun and entertainment, your law firm is using social media for a purpose. If you want to bring in leads, then you need to promote yourself, right?
Unfortunately, constant posts about yourself, your firm, and your accomplishments don't attract clients on social media. If anything, excessive self-promotion alienates your audience of potential clients. When you meet a new client in person, you don't monopolize the conversation. You express genuine concern for this person and their troubles. Your social media activities reflect who you are, so they need to show the same level of sensitivity.
Using social media inconsistently.
This one's so common. You resolve to really work on your social media presence until you get results (this time). You make sacrifices to set aside several hours throughout the week. You come up with some really great ideas, and you post several times a day, every day, all week.
Then the next week starts. You can't keep pushing off more important obligations. What started out as an exciting new endeavor now feels like a chore. You're out of things to post about, and you just can't find that enthusiasm for social media marketing that you had last week. So you stop posting.
We hate to tell you this, but those occasionally frenzies of social media excitement won't bring you success. To see real results, you can't just throw a couple of posts up on social media whenever you feel like it and then go weeks or months without posting anything. Only with a strong strategy and consistent posting will you be able to network with community members and potential clients and build out a robust brand profile.
It's natural for attorneys to make these mistakes, because social media marketing is outside their realm of professional experience. You're approaching the task as an attorney, not a marketing professional or even an enthusiastic user of social media, and that makes it so difficult to see your efforts from the perspective of your audience.
The single most effective way to avoid these pitfalls is to have an experienced professional service like NextLevel handle your law firm's social media.
- You won't be slowed down by a learning curve
- You won't have to keep sacrificing your legal practice to make time for social media
- You'll have the benefit of an entire team of skilled legal marketing consultants developing a tailored social media strategy that's perfect for your firm
NextLevel's Social Media Management for Law Firms
Admittedly, there's no exact equivalent to law school or the Bar Exam in the realm of social media marketing. Instead, attorneys considering a law firm social media service need to look at the agency's experience, reputation, and references. By every benchmark, NextLevel impresses.
Our agency has been marketing for law firms exclusively since 2012. Each of our senior-level marketing consultants has extensive experience - on average, more than 10 years of experience - in the legal industry.
What's even more important than the quantity of experience is the quality of our work. Our stellar reputation for getting results for law firms through social media marketing didn't happen on its own. We put all of our team's experience and creative energy into developing and implementing the very best strategies for success. We've taken the time to truly become experts in attorney digital marketing - and we have the track record to approve it.
We gladly invite you to check out our references and find out why so many lawyers continue to trust us with the future of their business.
Why wait any longer to launch a results-driven social media marketing campaign? Contact us today for your free custom price quote.