Law Quill | #013 - Social Media Marketing For Lawyers

#013 – Social Media Marketing For Lawyers


Social media for lawyers definitely needs to be used wisely, and there are some practices to avoid, but the benefits may outweigh any potential drawbacks. If you are examining social media marketing, review the following to discover how you can use social media to advance your law firm’s goals. .


SHOW NOTES

Some of the resources I visited about in today’s episode include the following:

SmarterQueue

Repurposing Content Course

Jump on my calendar to visit about your content marketing needs here!

Note: Link to websites may include affiliate links, in which I would receive a small fee or reward for the referral. However, please know I only provide referrals for companies and services I either use myself or believe in strongly.


TRANSCRIPT

Hello, welcome back. I am really excited for you to be here, because today we are talking about one of the things that I get asked about all the time, which is social media marketing for law firms. Today, we are going to be talking about why it is so important that you as a small or solo law firm are on social media. And we’re going to try to take away some of the overwhelm today because …. I know. I get it. It’s overwhelming.

There are so many social media platforms, how do you develop a content strategy? What do you even post about? How do you keep that going? It’s a lot. So if you are interested in either starting to develop a social media strategy and get on social media as your law firm, or if you are trying to create a more effective social media strategy, or frankly, you’re just trying to figure out exactly where you should show up on social media, is it Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, all the things, you have made a very good choice by listening to this podcast today, because this one is for you.

Law firms have a little bit of an extra thing they need to think about because they are not like other companies, law firms have very specific guidelines that they need to follow regarding advertising. So it’s important to just have that in the back of your mind as we’re going through all of this information today.

But before we get into all of the details, let’s just talk about seriously, how overwhelming is it to think about putting your law firm on social media, the idea, just the sheer idea of keeping up with posts, your own posts, other people’s posts, sending likes tweeting your comments. It’s not only overwhelming, it feels tedious, it feels just almost impossible, it feels like it might be another full time job. So you really need to consider where you want to be, and what your strategy is going to be to get to those places so that you are making the best use of your social media time.

Now, I think I need to say this at the beginning, although I think you probably already know. And if you’re listening to this podcast today, I probably don’t need to convince you. But that said, I want to let you know that 4 billion people are using social media, and they’re on it an average of two hours a day. That’s probably on the low side. But more importantly, 69% of adults use at least one social media platform in the United States every day. And 85% of law firms are already using some form of social media as part of their social media plan.

So that means that if you are doing nothing on social media, then you need to at least take some baby steps to start doing that because the truth is your competitors are out there. And they are doing this. So social media for lawyers does need to be used wisely because there are some practices to avoid. You can’t ever offer legal advice. You can’t go against any bar marketing guidelines. But the truth is the benefits of being on social media are going to outweigh any potential drawbacks. So if you are examining social media marketing, you are again in the right place.

Using Social Media to Your Advantage

The first part of what we’re going to talk about today is how you can use social media to your advantage as a law firm. The second part of what we’re going to talk about today is the actual strategy of taking content and getting it out there in a way that is not going to be overwhelming. So let’s start the first part is why social media can help your law firm.

First off social media is essentially a way to connect with people with businesses with anyone. You need to be thinking as a law firm, not only with connecting with potential clients, but you also need to be thinking about connecting with other experts in your industry, so that you can get potential referrals, it is a very powerful referral system, it sends a message to other law firms, if you are putting out a lot of very valuable content on social media often that you are a really great resource for them to send referrals to.

Getting Potential Clients

This is a great way to get leads that are not actually direct potential clients, but rather, law firms that will be sending you leads that in practice areas that they don’t do. So since your colleagues and your competitors are already using social media, they’re already they’re spending some time there serious time on social media is going to be a way that you can reap the benefits and the rewards of connecting not only with potential clients, but with that very powerful referral system. Social media is going to give you a web of new contact.

And as you begin to build a following. And when I say following, I mean a real falling organic following not paid followers like Instagram influencers, right? I’m talking about a real following of people who are interested in the content that you are posting, you are going to be building a network of potential clients not only with the actual clients, but then again, also with law firms that might be referring potential clients to you.

Every time you put valuable content on social media or start interesting and valuable discussions. You are getting your name, your story, your law firm, your services, your expertise out there to be viewed. It is free real estate, for you to talk and advertise about why people should contact you if they need whatever law service you provide. As you continue to grow your social media accounts, it only grows exponentially, your name will continue to be established and grow within all of the different legal communities and within all the different social media platforms.

And frankly, by interacting with other legal professionals in social media, you can stay informed on what is trending in legal arenas that you might not otherwise know about. And this also gives you the opportunity to come up with even more ideas for you to post about on your own website and then disseminate that information back on social media. It just gives you more and more opportunities to voice your thoughts as an authority in your field.

Building Your Law Firm’s Brand

Being on social media also will help you build your law firm’s brand. I hope you have a brand for your law firm. I hope that you do not look like every single other law firm out there. I hope that your law firm has taken the time to find a voice and a niche. Because at the end of the day, being a law firm is being a brand people do business with people. And the more memorable that you are as a person on social media and as a brand on social media, the more likely they are to contact you before another law firm and planting your presence in social media by creating a recognizable brand, a fantastic profile. It is only going to show prospective clients as well as other law firms exactly what you do, and then understand how you can help them. Being on social media also provides another way for people to find your law firm.

Everyone knows that being on Google having a Google My Business Page. Trying to get in that three-pack of Google getting in local business searches for law firms is exceptionally important. I will not argue that. But being on social media provides another way for potential clients and other law firms to find a road to you. People are already on social media. And if your law firm is also active on social media, it’s going to provide another channel to introduce yourself and hopefully drive individuals to your law firm website through the very valuable content you are providing.

Better Website Rankings

Being on social media also boosts your website rankings. Here’s how the more your law firm is visible online in Google My Business on social media platforms the more you are sharing the links to content from your website that you’ve created the more your name is circulated the more likely it is that more people are going to be going back to your website which then organically will be boosting your search engine rankings, your SEO, your search engine optimization, and more.

Search engines favor social media indicators in their algorithms so it really is essential to continue to build a positive social media presence and grow that organically. Also social media will allow you to gather important information.

If you are on social media and you are in not only your own groups but in other groups that are related to yours you can find out a lot about your competition and you can find out how they are crushing it on social media and then emulate that.

You can’t plagiarize but flattery – you know is what you know what they say about flattery! So look and see what your competition is doing on social media and gather that information, gather those insights to help you improve your future marketing strategies.

Social Media Tips for Lawyers

Now we’re going to talk about social media tips for lawyers. This is kind of where the rubber hits the road. Now you understand why it is so valuable if you didn’t understand it before, but now we’re going to be talking about the actual strategies that you can use on social media to get yourself more visible.

Know Your Target Client

The first thing you need to do is to examine your target client. You really need to know who your ideal client is when you are creating posts and you are creating content. The information you offer should relate to your very specific audience so get to know them figure out where they are on social media, what other facebook groups, what other what instagram people they follow, what linkedin groups they are in, so that you can then develop your own social media strategy.

I’m going to give you a great example of this. There was a personal injury attorney who obviously did car accident cases, slip and fall, all the things. He also personally was a very huge motorcycle enthusiast. He rode motorcycles and he was very active in the motorcycle community in his area. He created a facebook page that was for motorcycle enthusiasts in his geographical area where they could talk about where are the best shops to take your motorcycle, what rallies are coming up, what is something cool on television that they saw that related to motorcycles, and it was just an organic group of people talking about their passion.

Well, guess who they all call when they ended up having an accident? It was because he knew his target client! Frankly he was his own target client!

Let’s say you are an immigration attorney. You have your own law firm’s immigration page – but you could also have a separate page for people in your geographical community that are either immigrants or interested in immigrating to the United States, where you can offer advice or cultural experiences that may be coming to the area things that would be of interest and value to them.

Frankly, this can work for almost any law firm, so really understanding your target client can help you not only choose the right social media platform, but can also help you develop a strategy that is even better than your competitors.

Certain demographics just tend to huddle in distinct social media areas. For example, Instagram has a demographic that is skewed younger, twitter has a demographic that skews more towards business, etc. So it is important to know your target audience and where they are and what they want to be talking about.

Show up as an Expert

The next social media tip I have for you is to stand up as an expert. Wherever you are on social media, you should be seen as an authority in your field. You should be building trust with potential clients by offering really good value to them, however, you cannot offer legal advice. So this is where there is a very narrow path that lawyers need to follow that other businesses don’t.

You need to be very careful regarding what you say on social media and just make sure that everything you say could not be construed as actual legal advice. But that still does not mean that you can’t offer opinions about different areas of the law, or services that you offer, or how certain court cases will work or types of compensation that might be available.

In certain cases, you can still provide a ton of valuable information in your content. You can be commenting on other social media posts with valuable content. You really just need to be showcasing what you know who you are, and that you are an expert in this particular area of law.

Interactive Engagement

The third tip I have is to interact with your target client and your audience. So it’s not enough to just create a blog post on your website and then go link it once on your Facebook page and once on your Instagram and once on your LinkedIn and be done.

Because gaining a social media account is just not the end goal here. The purpose of social media for lawyers specifically is to interact with their potential clients and also with other law firms that may be a source of referrals at some point in the future. You want to interact with every single person that engages with your post.

For example, answer questions from any visitors and thank them for commenting or leaving you a review, then go and like their posts as well go find the communities where they are hanging out on social media and interact with them organically just become a part of those groups. And eventually, they will see you as the expert.

Join Relevant Social Media Groups

The next thing you should do (and this dovetails quite nicely with this) is to join other social media groups that relate to your area of the law. Just like the example that I gave of the motorcycle accident attorney, maybe you don’t want to create your own separate Facebook group. That’s okay. There are probably other already created Facebook groups that exist. So just go join those.

If you are an immigration attorney, go join groups of people on Facebook in their groups to offer advice or expertise. So individuals are using social media to not only connect with friends and family, but they’re using it to learn about specific topics and services within social media groups. So find those groups and join them. And joining these groups is going to allow you to make sure that your law firm’s name is included organically in a large array of different social media platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, all of them.

Social Media Advertising

My next tip is to just take a peek at paid social media advertising. This is not for everyone. It depends on your financial ability. However, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram do offer paid advertising options. And as a law firm, you can target your ads to a specific audience. And this is a topic that deserves its entirely own podcast of paid social media advertising. But just simply because we’re talking about social media, I think it’s important for you to understand that this is an option for you.

But this is the part you should underline and highlight that I’m going to say next. It does not replace organic social media conversations that you have with potential clients and colleagues. It just doesn’t. So they are really two separate roads that will get you hopefully to the same path of additional clients. They’re just very different roads.

Strategising Your Content

The next thing I’m going to talk about is the big one. This is really where it all comes together. You need need to have a social media strategy. I know at this point you may already feel overwhelmed. Deep breaths!

You are going to want to take a hot minute to create a plan of action for your social media strategy. You want to be able to answer questions such as …Who is going to be posting content? Is this going to be you? Is it going to be a virtual assistant that you hire? Is it a paralegal? Is it a law student who is going to be posting your content? What are they going to be posting? Are they going to be posting content from your website? Are they going to be creating new content that is aligned with your brand? Who is going to be commenting back once you post something on social media? Who is going to be commenting back on the people that actually respond to your social media posts? How often are you going to be posting content and frankly how are you going to handle any negative comments that you may receive?

Social Media Strategy

This is the very foundational step that you need to think about. I’m going to be going over every single one of the platforms in just a moment but before we even get there I want to assuage your fears. I want to calm you down a little bit because there is a way that you can schedule out a ton of social media content both from your own website and then organic content. Just asking questions, being relevant, maybe being funny, maybe being quirky on social media for your law firm – it can be done in a very easy way.

While starting a journey into social media can seem like a daunting task (…you know, along with your other responsibilities – like i don’t know practicing the law!!!) I understand it’s a daunting task, however, there are social media scheduling tools that you can use to make this process so easy!

The one that I am a huge fan of and I will drop a link in the show notes and the show notes can be found on the website lawquill.com if you look in the podcast area one of my very favorite social media scheduling tools is
called SmarterQueue.

SmarterQueue

SmarterQueue can help you take one piece of content and then disseminate it among several social media platforms all at once so you don’t have to choose between LinkedIn or Facebook or start with just one and then grow to another one. You can basically launch into almost all of them at once.

I will tell you that i do have a course that I created called Repurposing Content and again if you go to lawquill.com and you look at the Law Quill Academy tab that is where I have all of my courses. There is a repurposing content course there and it’s very inexpensive. It talks about how you can take one piece of content and spread it among social media in dozens and dozens of different ways.

There are videos that show you step by step how to do this. I was just asked frankly so many times how to do this that I ended up creating a course on it!! So, I just want to let you know that that is out there, but you can go yourself to SmarterQueue and see how that social media scheduling tool works.

So now you know why you need to be on social media and the benefits that are there, and you have some digital marketing tips in order to best help you get there.

What are the Best Platforms?

The next question I always get asked is….where should I be? What social media platforms should I be on? Let’s take them step by step.

Facebook

The first one is Facebook. So, Facebook is one of the leading social media platforms for everyone, right. Families, friends, businesses, lawyers, everyone! You can connect with your target clients here and you can join other groups that are where your target audience will be. You can utilize the messaging feature and you can create videos. You can create ads, and it’s a great platform. It’s really a foundational platform and your law firm should have a Facebook page. Then, you should also join other Facebook groups that are not yours where your people are hanging out – where you can offer yourself as an expert regarding comments or questions they might have.

Instagram

The second place is Instagram. And a lot of lawyers are having a great deal of success on Instagram. If you are choosing to target a younger audience, Instagram really might be an excellent platform for you. 63% of its users are between the ages of 18 and 34. So if you are an entertainment lawyer, intellectual property lawyer, business lawyer, this is a great platform for you. But I can tell you that I personally know other lawyers, estate planning attorneys, personal injury attorneys that are crushing it on Instagram. Instagram is very image-based. And it is a great place for you to showcase your law firm. If you are doing video with your law firm, it’s great. Just take that video and put it on Instagram as well. If you take pictures as part of your law firm’s marketing plan, Instagram is a great place for you to be as well.

Twitter

The next social media platform is Twitter. Now, most businesses do use Twitter as part of their strategy. So it is an excellent place for you as a law firm to be to provide value and commentary regarding your professional services. There’s not a lot of a need to create wordy content here. And frankly, Twitter is just a really great spot for some brief insights updates and to connect with other professionals.

LinkedIn

The next social media platform is LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a great social media platform for businesses, you may find as a law firm that you don’t find a lot of your potential clients there unless you are a business attorney, intellectual property attorney, you know, but if you are a personal injury attorney, you may not find your target audience there. However, don’t just abandon LinkedIn, because you think your target audience of potential clients is not there. Because LinkedIn is a solid neighborhood to showcase your professional experience to other law firms so that you can get referrals from them and clients from them in practice areas that they just don’t offer those services. And LinkedIn users really thrive because of the connections that they make with other associates, and other potential referral sources. So LinkedIn also offers the ability of a law firm to build up their credibility, because potential clients may go on LinkedIn to see who you are as a law firm on this professional platform. It is also a place for other lawyers to give you recommendations and endorsements, as well as potential clients, can give you recommendations and endorsements on LinkedIn.

It’s important to know that you can also share blog posts and website content on LinkedIn. And it is another way as I said earlier to stay informed of current legal chatter. So in your particular practice area, so I definitely encourage lawyers to be active on LinkedIn for all of those reasons.

TikTok

Let’s talk about TikTok. TikTok is a social media platform that uses very short videos. It is very skewed towards a younger audience, but I feel a need to at least address it because so many lawyers are using it to their advantage. TikTok works really well if you are creative, not afraid of video and have insightful things to say. In short snippets. If TikTok is where you find yourself or you find yourself following other professionals, then this could be a real advantage for you because the truth of the matter is while some lawyers are on TikTok, it is a wide open space for the legal community right now. And if that’s something that you think your law firm would gravitate towards, I would highly encourage you to consider using it.

Clubhouse

The next social media platform is Clubhouse. And if you haven’t heard about Clubhouse yet, it is in beta form right now. But it is huge. It
has been around for about a year. Only Apple iPhone users can access the Clubhouse app. But this social media app is amazing. Think of it as a radio show that is on the exact topic you want to listen to, or a podcast just like this one, that you could just hop in, at any point and start talking on and add to the conversation, or ask questions. It’s incredible. It is a place for you to connect not only with your target audience, but with others in your industry. And you can be providing value to potential clients literally every day.

And the people that are in your Clubhouse rooms that you create are ones that genuinely want to be there. And they will be asking you questions. It’s like being handed potential clients on his silver platter. So I highly recommend you looking into Clubhouse. My personal opinion is it is not a fad. It is not going to go away anytime soon. And it’s absolutely growing exponentially. So if you can be in on what is essentially the ground floor of this incredibly innovative social media platform, I recommend it I’m there you can follow me at @annettechoti on Clubhouse and I actually have my own Clubhouse club now called Legal Marketing Lounge, just like this podcast! And I am live in there a lot. So if you ever see me pop in and join and chit chat with me, that is the beauty of Clubhouse.

What not to do on Social Media?

Let’s just spend one minute now talking about what to avoid on social media as a lawyer, because social media can be really effective for lawyers, but there are some pitfalls to avoid. Here they are:

Don’t be fake! Stay true to yourself and your brand. (I think we are all getting a little bit worn out with the Instagram influencers that are clearly fake and not genuine and authentic. People are craving authenticity. So look at who you are as a person and what your law firm brand is. And make sure to just stay true to that.)

Another thing to avoid is to don’t engage in arguments. There are just social media trolls that want to stir up trouble don’t feed into their efforts, I know that it can be tempting, and that you are probably right regarding whatever legal opinion or advice that you give, just don’t feed into the social media trolls.

The next thing is to apologize. If you make a mistake, make it write quickly and thoroughly because that will actually help you build trust. We all have been to an establishment or a restaurant or a business where some aspect of customer service failed. And what brought us back and kept us as a loyal customer was the genuine and sincere apology that we received so so if you find yourself maybe in an argument with a troll or getting into a heated discussion, or if you make a mistake, just be professional in your response, but make sure to respond and not neglect to apologize.

The next thing is to not overpromote yourself. Don’t be spammy. Social media platforms are used to connect and chat with your audience. But don’t become that annoying, busy billboard that people just want to scroll past. Every time they see you in a post. Or if they see your post from your law firm. They just scroll past it. Really take the time to create meaningful connections. They will serve you well in the long run on social media.

The next thing to avoid is sporadic posting. The truth is that in order to make social media work for your law firm, you must post consistently the algorithms of Facebook and LinkedIn and Instagram, all of them, reward consistency, and frankly, punish those who post sporadically if you post sporadically. I’m talking once a week or just twice a week frankly your audience just may think you don’t have much to say and they may not see the benefit of following you so it is very important to create a social media strategy.

The next thing is the most important – lawyers do not offer legal advice on any social media platform. You don’t want to be violating any bar marketing rules at all so that is probably the most important thing that lawyers need to think about versus other law firms.

I think we’ve covered a lot here today right? We’ve covered why it’s so important to have social media, how you can connect with not only your potential clients, but others in your industry that might give you referrals. We’ve talked about how to create a social media strategy and the fact that I have a course on how to repurpose content in order to do that.

Then we’ve talked about all of the different social media platforms you can be on and then finally what to avoid! So this is a lot!

I told you that today was going to be good if you really want to start or up your game in social media! Because social media for lawyers is really an ideal way to showcase your law firm for free! It is free real estate! It just takes time to do it, and even though the journey may seem overwhelming if you plan your strategy and focus on developing a slow and steady growth on the social media platforms where your clients and your colleagues are, your law firm can begin gathering the exposure and benefits that social media offers.

So I hope that this was a great, informative, and entertaining podcast for you today and I really appreciate you guys being here! And remember just click that subscribe button and then you will always be notified when a new episode drops! Thank you again so much everyone for your support. I really appreciate it and I will see you next time in the Legal Marketing Lounge!