If you are not engaging in social media marketing for your law firm, you are likely missing out on an entire audience. In fact, 85 percent of the world’s population who own mobile phones use social media platforms. In the United States, that means as many as 302 million people use social media tools every day, with millions of potential clients on social platforms every day. If you are not reaching out to them with a strong social media presence, you are missing out on a vast audience.
Of course, your law firm is focused on practicing law. You likely are not an expert on making social media posts or concocting a social media marketing strategy. You are not alone in needing some assistance with your social media management and social media marketing efforts. Bringing in a professional digital marketing agency to help you build brand awareness, create a content strategy, and manage your social media campaigns can save you a great deal of time while helping you get the most out of your law firm’s social media.
When the time comes to take your law firm marketing efforts to the next level, hire Array Digital, and let us take care of it. We will help build your brand so you can focus on providing legal services to your prospective clients.
There are two key takeaways you will want to remember from this chapter. First, you’ll learn which social media platforms are most popular and best for law firms, as not every social media service, even though it may be popular, may be right for your firm. So which social networks meet the dual requirements of popularity and utility for you?
Second, you will learn the benefits of using social media for lawyers, the type of content you need to target the right demographic for your area of law, and how to ensure that your social platforms remain ethical in the eyes of the American Bar Association.
Strong metrics support the use of social media for law firms. According to the American Bar Association’s 2021 Tech Report, 81 percent of all law firms used social media in 2020, and the numbers continue to rise. While your law firm’s website is important for providing information about the legal services you provide, potential clients can be found all over the internet, and most access social media in combination with using a search engine.
Legal professionals use social media accounts for a wide variety of reasons. According to the ABA, 67 percent use it for career development and networking, 49 percent use it for the development of new clients, 43 percent use it for raising awareness of legal issues and educating clients, 22 percent use it for investigating cases, and three percent use it for a wide range of other reasons.
Overall, LinkedIn is the most popular among the social media channels used by law firms. This is because LinkedIn focuses on professional networking. The ABA report indicates that 57 percent of attorneys surveyed maintain social media profiles on LinkedIn, 73 percent had personal LinkedIn profiles in addition to those held by their firm, and 31 percent of attorneys use the service for other personal reasons.
As law firms get larger, the percentage rises as well. In fact, 82 percent of law firms with at least 100 lawyers have a LinkedIn presence. Meanwhile, 47 percent of solo firms, 45 percent of midsized law firms, and 45 percent of smaller firms also reported using LinkedIn as part of their social media strategy. The downside of LinkedIn, however, is that it is not the most populated site for targeting clients.
Next up is Facebook as the second-most popular. Reports find that 54 percent of lawyers confirmed that their law firms had a Facebook page while 39 percent of attorneys surveyed used Facebook for individual professional networking, and 86 percent had a Facebook profile for personal reasons. Facebook is second only to email in terms of being a primary marketing tool for social media strategy.
Small law firms are most likely to use Facebook, with 65 percent of firms that had between two and nine attorneys making use of the platform, while 51 percent of both midsized firms and large firms use Facebook. Facebook is still the leading social media site among all users, with the greatest potential for building your brand through tools like Facebook Ads.
|Want to know more about how Facebook advertising can help you? Please head to Chapter Two: Facebook For Your Law Firm to read about its importance and how Array Digital can help your firm grow.|
Least popular among social networks is Twitter. Only 28 percent of surveyed attorneys reported using Twitter for professional reasons, and only 21 percent of lawyers have a presence there. In this case, the larger the firm, the more likely one is to see tweets and hashtags. Furthermore, 45 percent of large firms with at least 100 attorneys reported using the platform, while 23 percent of midsized firms and only 13 percent of small firms used Twitter.
Despite offering plenty of tools, such as the aforementioned hashtags and trending topics, Twitter tends to move so quickly that it can be difficult to effectively utilize as a marketing tool. This is partially why it is among the least popular social networks.
Blogging is quickly rising as a digital marketing channel, though it may still be underutilized. As of 2020, blogging was only used by about 30 percent of law firms, though this was up by 4 percentage points from four years prior. What is important to note, however, is that blogs work, as 49 percent of attorneys who blog reported that they had gained new clients as the direct result of their blogs or from referrals based on a blog post, while only 31 percent gained clients directly through social media channels.
This could be due to the fact that valuable content directed at a target audience through a blog can make strong use of search engine optimization (SEO), which takes advantage of Google’s search algorithm to direct people to the law firm’s website. While social media posts certainly can be optimized in this way, they are shorter than blog posts. The long-form content of a blog makes it easier to utilize SEO tools effectively. Posting content through a blog also helps you present yourself as a notable, knowledgeable figure in the legal industry. It helps you stand out from the competition that has similar practice areas.
Social media offers law firms numerous benefits. These include the ability to engage wider audiences, build and grow your firm’s brand, and create a sense of authority surrounding your attorneys. Lawyers who make proper use of social media can establish a reputation as thought leaders among their peers, which can lead to referrals and direct contacts. Let us take a look at these benefits in greater detail.
Your social media channels allow you to not just continue to engage with your existing customers but also to engage and attract new followers. The more you engage with followers, the more you will grow your presence. People respect having real-time or near-real-time access to professionals in a wide variety of sectors, including the legal profession. This ability to continue to engage potential clients allows you to build your client base organically, and it costs less than, say, television advertising.
Facebook, for example, allows you to link several different types of platforms together, including YouTube videos and Instagram posts. Over 74 percent of online traffic these days is video content, and it is a leading driver of what constitutes effective content on Facebook. Using video content in your feed can be a powerful tool.
A recent survey from 2019 showed that 44 percent of consumers continue to increase social media usage. More people than ever use social media, and the numbers are only going to continue to rise. It presents a wide range of opportunities to build your brand as a result. By carefully cultivating your content, you can create a brand that is instantly recognizable to those who see it. It is the new method of making your brand a “household name.”
You do this by linking all of your content back to a central hub — often, your law firm’s website — and by centering your content around valuable information related to your practice areas and answering common questions from your users. Keep it informative and entertaining, and mix up text with video content, making sure to strategically place contact information, logos, and branding throughout.
Trust is essential to every law firm. Using social media branding can establish thought leadership and present you as an authority in your practice areas. If, for example, you are a personal injury lawyer, you can post content about how to prove liability, what to do after an accident, what the risks are of filing a lawsuit, the difference between economic and non-economic damages, and other information that is important to your potential clients.
Such information presented through blogs on your website, podcast episodes, or brief YouTube videos can present you as a helpful and knowledgeable authority in your area of legal practice. This builds a sense of trust before you even speak to a prospective client and gets you off on the right foot out of the gate.
When it comes to social media strategies, you may take several different approaches depending on the social network you use. Each offers its own benefits, drawbacks, and the ability to target different audiences. Here are a few of the most common and influential social networks, each popular among law firms to varying degrees.
Note, however, that just because LinkedIn, for example, is the most popular channel among law firms, this does not mean you should eschew Facebook and Instagram. You may get better results using Facebook due to its marketing tools and greater user base.
Instagram is owned by Facebook’s parent company, Meta. This platform is image and video-centric. It may, as a result, be less than ideal as a primary platform for a law firm’s marketing strategy. If nothing else, you cannot post links within Instagram posts, which makes it problematic to link out from a post. Still, if you have a consumer-focused practice area, you may find it useful for interpersonal connections.
This platform helps to humanize your firm and showcase your lifestyle, highlight community work, and promote a positive image. It is also easy to cross-post between Instagram and Facebook, which makes it useful for building a connected web among your social media platforms and website.
While lawyers may more broadly use LinkedIn, Facebook is the most popular social media platform in the world overall, with nearly 3 billion active users every month. Its popularity among legal professionals is growing, and almost half of all law firms indicate that they maintain a presence there.
Facebook can be highly effective as a marketing tool, but its algorithms make it difficult to properly leverage it if you do not know how to work it. The algorithm prioritizes posts it thinks are valuable to each user based on those with whom they interact the most. That means the challenge of Facebook advertising is to get people to interact with your posts.
Content on this platform must be high-quality, and you must be willing to respond to comments, post engaging content, and put effort into building your brand. Only then will your Facebook efforts be fruitful. Simply posting Facebook ads and hoping for the best is rarely helpful. However, Array Digital can help you build a proven, solid, and strong Facebook marketing campaign that will help you develop and grow your brand.
LinkedIn is the most popular social media platform among lawyers in the U.S., primarily because of its focus on professional interaction. It is built from top to bottom to promote a professional image and connect with others in the industry. However, this means that while it is excellent for building relationships with other legal professionals and can be useful for referrals, it may not be the best for direct connections with potential clients.
When it comes to your LinkedIn profile, keep it professional, clear, concise, and compelling. Keep content relevant and, if possible, evergreen. Remember that it has its place but should not be the end-all, be-all of your social media marketing.
TikTok is undoubtedly one of the most popular social media platforms, with millions of users accessing it daily. It has become the home of many social media influencers and created internet celebrities. It does, however, have its problems and, as such, may not be beneficial for law firms to use as a social media marketing tool at the moment. It has been at the center of a media firestorm due to accusations of potential data leaks to foreign governments. It is also populated mainly by younger audiences, who are unlikely to hire attorneys. As such, you are less likely to find a solid target audience on this platform.
The point of social media marketing is to promote yourself. Even if you do not use paid advertising tools like Facebook Ads, you still want to use your presence to build awareness of who you are, what you do, and why you are a good choice for those seeking legal representation. To that end, it’s essential to take the proper steps.
Know your target audience. This cannot be overstated. If you do not know who you are trying to reach, you will not be able to build a follower base effectively. You cannot simply post content for the sake of doing so and hope your audience will find you. You need to target the audience that will benefit your firm.
Research the demographics that use services like yours. Look at your competitors’ sites and see who follows them. Build lookalike audiences to the most effective competitors you can find. Create a unique strategy that goes after the specific followers and referrals you want.
Law firms never like to use the term “expert” for ethical reasons, but still: it is crucial that your clients see you as an expert, even if you never use the term to describe yourself. The more you are seen as an authority and thought leader, the more trust you will build with your clients. Social media makes it easy to do this if you are careful about the kind of content you post.
Social media is all about engagement. If you rarely post content, your engagement will remain stagnant. People come to social media for the chance to talk with those they follow. It’s a chance for them to ask questions and get answers and for you to create a public persona that is likable and trustworthy. When someone comments on one of your posts, respond to them. Use chat tools to allow clients to contact you directly. The more active you are, the more effective your marketing will be.
Evergreen content is always a good thing, but so is current content. Keep your social media updated with all the latest news and developments in the areas of law you practice. Use analytics and continued research to find out what topics will most likely get continued engagement. Post regularly, several times a day, and keep your content enticing, entertaining, and valuable to your existing and potential clients.
Using social media tools can help you to enhance your content in many ways. Some tools allow you to create a more interactive experience with clickable links inside of videos, fill-in contact forms, and even chatbots. Others provide analytics that let you analyze where your interactions are most successful and which areas need work. Here are a few suitable types of social media tools.
Canva is a free platform that allows you to create professional-looking posts if you are not a design professional. It uses templates to work up posts for various platforms that will spruce up your images and give them a more polished look.
MeetEdgar lets you choose topics and schedule posts based on these topics. It’s an automated way to ensure that you do not miss a post, and it can be helpful to avoid social content lulls. It also adds a bit of fun and whimsy to your feed.
Hootsuite is an analytics source and hub for various social media networks. It lets you integrate over 150 social media apps into one spot, so you can easily coordinate your posts across platforms. It also offers a range of special features, including multiple languages.
Regarding video content, Animoto allows you to create high-quality, professional videos without spending thousands on professional video production teams. What Canva does for images, Animoto does for videos.
Later offers insights, analytics, suggestions for hashtags, and post scheduling to ensure maximum coverage from your social media posts. It also allows your customers to preview your website quickly.
Now that we know how exciting it is to put your firm on social media, it’s essential to consider the ethics involved with social media. According to the American Bar Association, you must follow specific ethical guidelines when navigating your social media marketing.
Be careful how you present yourself. For example, you may want your viewers to see you as an expert but never actually call yourself an expert. The ABA’s rules are clear that you may not make any false or misleading communications about you or your services. Everything you say should be a provable fact. You should also always include your name and contact information. Be public, be honest, and be accountable.
Understand that these ethics do not just apply to you. Any staff who uses your social media accounts is also accountable. If you have a receptionist monitor and post on your social media, they must abide by the same rules as you. If they do not, you could find your firm in a great deal of trouble.
Never leave room for doubt. Anyone who consults with you about possibly working with you must be treated as a prospective client. Never use language that could form an attorney-client relationship, and never unintentionally provide legal advice. Be careful to state expressly, whenever there is the slightest doubt, where you are licensed and that you are not forming an attorney-client relationship by the information you offer.
Confidentiality is almost everything when it comes to attorneys. ABA rules state that no lawyer may reveal information regarding a client’s representation without informed consent given by the client. This includes any blog entries or social media posts you make, even if the information you discuss is a matter of public record. If it is not information you would share with another person or a reporter, do not share it on social media, even hypothetically.
If you are ready to take a deep dive into the effective use of a social media marketing strategy for your law firm, Array Digital is here to help. We have decades of experience and proven effective methods of using Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, and other platforms in ways that work. We can help you grow your business so you can focus on providing legal services. Contact us at 757-333-3021 or use our online contact form to speak with our team today.