Law firms are increasing their investment in social media — but not always wisely. Nancy Rapp has five tips for more effective social media campaigns.
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Use Social Media Like a Pro
A few years ago, convincing attorneys to create a social media marketing campaign was a tough sell. Many dismissed it as “fluff” marketing that wouldn’t increase their client base. Today, many law firms are not only creating accounts on more social media platforms, but they’re also posting more often and exploring new types of posts.
Though I’m pleased to see the transition, unfortunately, I see many mistakes. Social media will offer very few gains when done improperly and attorney and staff time is often wasted on these accounts.
I offer the following tips for using social media marketing more effectively.
1. Set Realistic Marketing Goals
Social media will not necessarily bring in droves of clients per post. Sure, a particularly informative FAQ post or a convincing testimonial can draw in a client or two, but the bigger goals are increased traffic and visibility (branding).
Social media reaches potential clients who typically have less of an urgent need for a lawyer than those targeted by search engine optimization and paid ads. That said, having a large list of followers ensures that these clients will consider you when their need arises. And if you have made enough of an impression, they may recommend you to friends and family who need your services.
2. Vary Your Post Style
Law firms tend to fall into some common traps with their social media presence. For example, relying heavily on firm news as their main content source for posts. Yes, that can help B2B firms on LinkedIn, but there is truth to the expression “too much of a good thing.” Constantly posting about your firm’s successes will lead potential clients to tune you out. Social media feeds that function as PR platforms won’t gain many followers, and soon your target audience won’t pay close attention to your posts.
On the flip side, law firms fall into the “friendly” post trap — saturating their feeds with humorous or informal posts such as “Fri-yay” or “Happy National Dog Day.” Posts like these interject some fun and personality into your social media presence and are suitable for occasional cheer. Nevertheless, too many posts like these can also cause followers to start ignoring or unfollowing your posts.
Instead, use a variety of post styles to ensure your feed doesn’t become tired.
3. Educate and Engage Your Followers
In the same vein, you have to understand why potential clients would be reading your social media posts. For law firms, your main priority for social media content is to provide insights that demonstrate your expertise and establish your thought leadership.
Alerting potential clients to legal issues, answering FAQs, and providing legal commentary are the kinds of posts that should be the majority of a law firm’s social media campaign. Some examples include:
- Alerting clients to changes in law or common legal practices.
- Answering questions that people in your target audience would appreciate. For example: “How can I prepare my finances for long-term care?” or “Are part-time workers entitled to disability benefits?”
- Commenting on events in the community — such as a need for a traffic light — or even offering commentary on cases in the news and popular culture.
I’m sorry to say I rarely see law firms creating this kind of relevant or local content. These are topics lawyers know best, and there’s no reason why more lawyers’ social media posts don’t address these topics.
Posts that shed light are also more likely to get shared by your followers, furthering the true goals of social media marketing.
4. Create Visually Appealing Posts
According to AdWeek, 84% of Americans “double screen.” This means the vast majority of your potential clients may be perusing social media while watching television. When you factor in that statistic with the sheer number of other social media posts in a person’s feed, it becomes imperative that you add visuals to better capture a potential follower’s attention.
Stock images are better than nothing, but it’s worth considering more unique options.
- Hire a professional photographer to take photos of your staff and office and to document your participation in local events. Note: When using photographs, be sure to have branded templates or frames that make your firm’s name stand out.
- Use design tools such as Canva that allow you to create your own graphics and incorporate your brand identity (logo, colors and so on). These tools are fairly easy to use but do have a learning curve. Practice and get critiques from colleagues and loved ones before posting. A rudimentary image can cause more harm than good.
- Add charts, tables or other infographics.
5. Encourage Engagement in Social Media Campaigns
Unless you’re posting an ad, social media campaigns for law firms require your interaction to make an impact. Of course, you should refrain from answering law-related questions on these platforms or revealing client information, but there’s no harm in writing your followers back with feedback. The goal is to show that you appreciate their contribution. Anything from “Thank you for sharing” to “I’m sorry to hear of your situation” is enough to offer some form of emotional connection.
Similarly, to draw attention to social media campaigns, you need to demonstrate your presence elsewhere on the platforms. Follow community organizations and businesses you’re happy to be associated with and provide comments. Interact with the posts of your favorite restaurants, your child’s school or other professionals in your region. Not only will you achieve exposure, but your posts may also open the door to partnerships, and these organizations may be inclined to return the favor with comments and shares of your firm’s posts.
Final Thoughts on Social Media Campaigns
Social media is not typically a major money-maker for law firms — they offer about the same marketing power as a television or magazine ad. But social media does help keep your firm on a potential client’s radar for longer periods of time and allows for more frequent exposure.
Typically, I suggest social media as a second phase of marketing — after content marketing or search engine optimization. But if you have the time and resources to implement social media’s best practices, then it’s certainly a worthwhile marketing strategy.
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