Jump on the social media bandwagon and innovate or face the risk of being out of business. Skeptical attorneys may view social media as a fad, but the latest statistic proves otherwise. According to the American Bar Association 2017 survey1, an astounding 77% of legal firms maintain a social media presence online. In the context of digital marketing, having a presence on social media is mandatory to survive, even for law firms.
How to use social media for legal firms? As a professional service provider and just like doctors, legal practitioners are bound by a code of ethics to fulfill their professional responsibilities at all times. As such, legal firms can use social media to build awareness about the services offer, share corporate social responsibility events that they have participated and other content relevant to the service provided, without comprising client confidentiality or divulging sensitive information on cases handled.
Employing best social media strategies will help legal firms learn more about clients, acquire new clients and network among industry key figures relevant to your practice. A robust social media strategy for attorneys is imperative to achieve business development goals. Read on to discover 5 tips on how legal firms use social media to build their business as we reveal some of the best case studies.
Define Your Social Media Goals
Start off by defining your social media goals and align them with your business objectives.
Ask yourself if your business social media goals strive to achieve the following.
- Increase brand awareness and education
- Improve reputation
- Acquire new clients and foster relationships with them
- Establish thought leadership
- Grow your professional network
- Discover industry trends and news
- Promote an upcoming event
Did you know that the most popular reason lawyers used social media was for career development and networking (67%), followed by client development (56%), education and creating awareness (39%), and finally case investigation (21%). These statistics from the American Bar Association 20171 survey points towards a growing importance of social media for legal firms.
Once you have defined your business’s social media goals, you are now ready to determine which social media platform to leverage.
Determine The Social Media Platform Where Your Audience Is
Having a social media profile on every available social media platform is akin to going shopping without a shopping list. Being on every social media platform will not guarantee success to your firm. Bound by constraints of time, resources and manpower, law firms should be selective in the platforms they chose to partake. Here are the top social media platforms legal firms around the world are seen on.
With 500 million members, 61 million senior-level influencers, and 40 million decision-makers using LinkedIn, this platform is ideal for creating awareness among key decision makers. Legal firms specializing in conveyancing can take advantage of LinkedIn to connect with bankers and property developers. Similarly, legal firms focusing on corporate conveyancing can improve their visibility among senior management in financial institutions abound with M&A activities. Baker and McKenzie, the number one law firm in the world is known to showcase their authority in handling mergers and acquisitions on LinkedIn.
According to the Attorney at Work’s 2017 Social Media Marketing Survey2, 48% of the lawyers cited spending more time on Facebook, compared with 27% who said they spend more time on LinkedIn. In the same survey, the majority of the attorneys at 31% mentioned that Facebook was the most effective platform for bringing new business.
With Facebook’s new algorithm favoring meaningful interactions and content from friends, family and groups, legal firms can build on their own network of friends and reach out to a wider audience for new client acquisition. Organizing webinars on Facebook is another tactic that will not only help to demonstrate your expertise on a legal matters, it will in fact also help you to garner new clients when viewers pre-register to join the webinar.
In addition, the more engagement and followers a Facebook page has, the better the SEO ranking is, translating into better visibility on the internet, as long as your page is indexed by search engines.
If you are looking to expedite your business growth in a short time, Facebook advertising will allow you to reach your target audience 10X faster. Dynamic targeting on Facebook allows you to choose your audience based on location, demographic and various psychographic dimensions. As such, Facebook advertising helps to increase reach and impressions at rapid speed unrivalled by organic growth. Immigration Lawyers PLLC used Facebook advertising to increase awareness of their expertise with regards to immigration law.
With 26% of lawyers reportedly using Twitter, Twitter ranks as the third most used social media platform among lawyers, just behind Facebook. Instead of merely tweeting, listen and respond to queries posed, reply tweets promptly and start discussions to drive more referral, traffic and re-tweets. Sharing content and responding will yield better results than solely posting content. You can also share links to other people’s content, blog to create original content and even mix in some personal stuff to humanize the legal service and give it a warm persona. Take heed from leading international law firm, Crowell Morning on how it uses podcasts to facilitate easy sharing of their expertise in an easily accessible audio format.
With more than 23.1K followers on Twitter, Clifford Chance demonstrates effective usage of Twitter to showcase relevant content on their investment in human capital, industry news, company updates and legal matters.
Other platforms law firms can use to increase online visibility includes Google My Business (which combines Google+ and Google Maps) and YouTube. Bear in mind that to have sufficient and capable manpower to manage these digital platforms are paramount, as a badly managed social media site can be more damaging than not being present on the platform altogether.
Develop Your Content Strategy
Content is king, and developing content that connects to your audience will help build followers. Producing voluminous load of content will not work – what you should strive for is to create new and creative types of content. Mix your content delivery of by using info graphics, podcast, visual content, webinars and videos to keep your audience coming back for more. According to the ABA Journal3, 1/3 of prospective legal clients start their search for a lawyer using online resources.
To give you examples, legal firm specializing in conveyancing can then blog about the conveyance process for home buyers that will interest your clients. Litigation lawyers who go to court can showcase your case victories out of court ethically, as long as there are no lock-down restrictions and that you strictly abide to client’s need for confidentiality.
Publications and blogging are good avenues to showcase your services and improve your websites SERP (search engine ranking page) visibility. When writing, avoid legal jargon and use simple language as your audience is most likely the man on the street. Post regularly and at least once a week as fresh content will keep visitors coming back and search engines “crawling” back to your website. Most leading legal firms in the world publish fresh content every week and use various social media platforms to drive traffic back to their website. Take a look at the example below by Linklaters.
Implement. Adjust. Repeat.
Now that your end goals are set, social media platforms are chosen and your content strategy has been mapped out, it’s time to start posting.
Plan your content at least one month ahead, and write ahead of schedule to buffer against unexpected scenarios that robs you off your time. Post bi-weekly as scheduled, and curate trending content as it unfolds. As you post, you will notice an increase in engagement, referrals and acquire new followers. Do reach out to your viewers directly and begin a conversation outside of the content updates. What you want to create are lasting impressions, so that when the need for a solicitor arises, they have your name at the top of their mind.
Be patient with social media posts as it will not bring in astronomically more new clients overnight. Over the next 4 to 6 months, being consistent with your social media strategy and content will enable you to foster professional online relationships and hopefully convert them into loyal followers and clients.
Use analytics to track your progress
Digital marketing provides great ability to quantify and track the activity of your users through analytics. Study the number of impressions, click through, engagement on post and other metrics available on social media platforms to measure your efforts. Remember to include Google Analytics on your business website or blog, to learn more about user behavior on your site.
Let us revisit your business’s social media goals and outline the corresponding key performance indicators to track.
|Social Media Goal||Performance Metric To Track|
|Increase brand awareness and education||Audience reach for each post|
|Improve reputation||Positive comments or engagement|
|Acquire new clients and foster relationships with them||Number of new online conversations and contact form submission|
|Establish thought leadership||New followers or connections with your page|
|Discover industry trends and news||Groups, connections, and industry leaders that you follow|
|Grow your professional network||New followers or connections with your page|
|Promoting an upcoming event||Number of registered attendees|
With 70% of law firms confessing to using social media as part of their marketing strategy, the remaining 30% must innovate to stay abreast with today’s digitally demanding consumer. Viewers today rely heavily on Twitter and Facebook for recommendations for legal services. To move forward, it is timely for legal firms to disrupt the conventional way of doing business by integrating social media marketing with traditional marketing strategies for business continuity.
What type of social media post do people want to see from law firms?
The type of post, tone and manner that people want to see from law firms defer depending on the social media platform used. On Linked, keep the post professional, ranging from services provided, professional views and trends related to the economic development, implications of changes in law jurisdiction and general advice related to law. While Instagram may not rank as the number platform for legal firms, it has enjoyed a meteoric rise on popularity over the years. Posting on Instagram helps to build an approachable persona of your legal firm. Content that work well on Instagram for law firms includes employee-centric post, post showcasing company events such as family days, or associates attending a baseball game over summer generates good engagement. An exemplary way how legal firms can use Instagram effectively is demonstrated by @dlapiper, whereby it successfully generates 100 likes for each post on average.
How should I handle negative comments on social media?
When responding to someone who is upset, compassion and empathy will help to sooth their anger. Most importantly, recognize that they are unhappy and courteously advise them to message you privately via Facebook, or offer a phone number or email address. Moving the conversation out of the public forum is the best way to handle such situations.
If negative comments are posted, you can “Hide” the negative comment or opt to utterly delete it. It is in the owners’ best interest to protect the integrity of the business and there is nothing wrong with hiding the comment from public view. Do ensure that the complainants’ views are acknowledged, the problem is fixed and a sincere apology is issued. A properly handled dissatisfied client may be a golden opportunity proof your worth again, and delight the client by handling his dissatisfaction carefully and professionally.