According to the ABA’s 2021 Legal Technology Survey Report, 86 percent of law firms are on social media, but only 37 percent have a blog. If you are looking to start marketing for your law firm, you may be wondering which method is the most effective. Read on to learn about the differences between content marketing and social media marketing, the benefits of each, and how combining the two can improve the success of both.
What is content marketing?
Content marketing is a marketing strategy that focuses on the process of developing written digital media to attract new clients. This is a core component of most digital marketing strategies because it provides a way to build brand awareness, meet search engine optimization (SEO) goals, and increase traffic to your website.
A well-defined content marketing strategy boosts SEO while also helping to provide valuable information that your target audience (the people you hope to turn into clients) needs to make the decision to connect with you. Content marketing mainly focuses on creating blogs which target particular keywords your ideal clientele will type into a search engine.
For lawyers, content marketing is useful for both SEO and thought leadership, which means that it requires extensive research and a comprehensive understanding of your target audience and business goals. Content creation is far more than just writing about what you believe is needed, valuable, or what your readers want.
What is social media marketing?
Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are valuable tools for lawyers to reach their clients. Social media marketing focuses on using these networks and platforms to build your law firm’s brand. You can use them to promote content, drive engagement with users, increase brand awareness, and drive new traffic to your website. Again, this is not necessarily a quick post here and there but high-quality, well-designed marketing campaigns with very specific goals and strategies in place.
Different social media platforms have various formats of marketing best suited to them.
- LinkedIn: LinkedIn is an excellent choice for professional networking. Here, long-form content works well, such as thought leadership, that helps to build trust and expertise in your practice area.
- Facebook: A more versatile social media platform, Facebook is a good option for long-form content as well as short-form content, videos, and infographics. Facebook tends to be one of the most important marketing channels for engaging with potential clients.
- Instagram: This is a less in-depth social media platform that focuses on image-heavy content, like videos, photos, and infographics. There’s limited room for actual writing here, but you can still build trust with quality content.
- Twitter: This is a short-form content platform allowing no more than 10,000 characters for Blue subscribers and 280 characters for basic accounts. It allows for linking to images and videos and can prove to be a good option for networking with other legal professionals who may need professional insight. However, it’s a volatile platform where current events and legal news are commonly hot topics.
The difference between content marketing and social media marketing
What’s the difference between these two components of your marketing plan? The primary difference is that content marketing is substance, and social media marketing is medium. That is, content is what you produce, and social media is the platform where the marketing takes place.
As a business owner in any industry, you need to develop a marketing plan that typically includes both of these areas, not one or the other. Typically, you will create the content first and then repurpose it across all of your social media channels in a way that works for that platform.
Also important is defining the consumer relationship in each area. Content marketing is very one-sided. You will not have much interaction with users of that content. Rather, you put it out there and hope people use content like this to make decisions about working with you. It provides information.
By comparison, social media content is about interactive engagement. It encourages dialogue and engagement with potential customers. Social media posts are not just about posting it and moving on but rather posting it to start a conversation.
As you explore the various types of content and marketing you plan to do, consider the actual goals you have within each campaign. In content marketing, the goal is to drive traffic to the website, inform the readers of the legal topics they are interested in, build trust, and generate leads. You expect your content distribution to bring people to your site so they can become new customers and clients.
Social media marketing focuses more so on driving engagement. You want to ensure that you build your network, create conversations, and get people to interact with you. The primary goal is often to increase brand awareness, which ultimately drives traffic to your website through click-through links.
Content marketing and social media marketing both aim to grow your practice, but there are various ways to do that.
In all cases, you are creating valuable content. However, the type of content you are creating differs based on the content distribution method. For example, with social media, you are likely to incorporate short posts that are image heavy. You are capturing someone’s attention here.
With content marketing, you want to provide them with more information. That includes longer-form content that is informative and in-depth. It typically offers more variety in terms of format, like videos, blogs, eBooks, podcasts, and so on.
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Which digital marketing strategy is more effective?
Should you put time into building social media networks or flesh out your content marketing efforts? There isn’t one answer that fits every situation. It depends on your law firm’s goals and the preferred method of creating content. It also is important to factor in how quickly you want to see results.
Benefits of content marketing
There are many reasons to put time and money into content marketing. Of course, you will likely need to create content to use on social media platforms, so the two go hand-in-hand. Yet, the focus on content marketing offers several benefits:
- High-quality leads: When you create content, you are creating a valuable resource that people can use to achieve their specific needs and goals. You are educating, supporting, and giving them a reason to contact you.
It improves your position in search engines: When you incorporate SEO into your content creation, you will likely see your rankings in the search engines improve significantly. That can prove to be a very valuable resource in itself.
- It builds trust: When prospective customers get to your website to read your content, they either believe in your company and contact you, or they move on. If your web pages have the support of exceptional content, that’s going to build their trust in you.
- A higher ROI: Most of the time, the ROI on content marketing is higher than just about any other technique you offer. That is because, whether you are a small business or a big law firm, you will get continuous benefits from that content for years to come.
Benefits of social media marketing
That’s not to say that social media marketing isn’t valuable, as it can prove to be one of the most important ways to find new clients. Building your presence on social platforms isn’t really an optional step anymore with digital marketing. Consider why:
- Grow your audience: With a quality social media marketing strategy, you are able to build your target audience and potential client pool. You are reaching people that you cannot reach any other way.
- Audience engagement: Social media marketing creates opportunities to engage with your prospective clients. This builds your brand and enables you to become the expert resource on the topic you are discussing.
- Cost-effective solutions: Social media is effective at drawing in new clients and tends to be more affordable than traditional TV and radio ads or billboards on the side of the highway.
Networking grows referral sources: When you use thought leadership to build your network on Twitter and LinkedIn, that creates another referral avenue where people who learn about you can refer their clients to you.
- Posting testimonials builds trust: A component of your social media marketing is to post engaging client testimonials, which can help to build trust. When potential clients review what others have to say, they can evaluate a law firm effectively and decide whether to work with it or not.
- Quicker results: When it comes to attracting prospective customers, you’ll get faster results from social media.
How to combine methods to get more from your marketing
Integrated marketing is using various types of marketing – including those listed here, like social media campaigns, email marketing, white papers, and much more to reach your audience. You do not want to limit yourself to just one method of building your brand. However, you need to create a cohesive brand across all of those platforms.
To be successful in reaching people in all of these areas, start with creating a consistent brand and tone that is the same and used across all of the platforms you plan to use. This helps people to recognize your law firm. Your online presence needs to be consistent to encourage brand awareness. A scattered marketing plan doesn’t reach people in the same effective manner. You want readers to think, “Oh, this is ABC law firm, a company I recognize and know,” no matter where they come across the content you publish.
Cross-promote content on social media. Create small bite-sized, attention-grabbing pieces of content that you can use across all your platforms. This helps to drive users to your website to get more of what you offer. One way to do that is through videos that you can then share across multiple platforms. For many law firms, that could include creating a video for your blog that answers a common question and then sharing a link to it on your social media platforms.
Don’t overlook the value of repurposing content to fit the channel you are working on. For example, you can create infographics based on the content that you have on your blog and then use that infographic on imagine-friendly social media platforms to draw people to your site. You can also write short introductions with links to your blog on social media.
How can a digital marketing agency help?
At Array Digital, we work with our clients to support their needs across all of these marketing platforms. We know how to do legal content marketing and social media marketing specifically for law firms, which allows us to specifically engage in providing high-quality resources that get attention.
We can create a cohesive brand image and tone across all of your platforms, building content and social media campaigns that resonate with your prospective clients. This ensures you have a consistent tone and brand image that people recognize and relate to your company.
Working with a digital marketing campaign can also help you do what you do best – focusing on helping your clients – while we do the work of marketing your law firm. That saves you time and ensures you have a truly experienced team working on your side. Our expertise will help to grow your business as a direct result.
Make your mark with the right marketing
When you are ready to empower your law firm to master both social media and content marketing, work with a company that’s leading the path forward. Set up a free consultation for an assessment of your current campaign now. Contact us by filling out our form online or call 757-333-3021 now.