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Social Media for Lawyers: A Complete Guide to Building Your Online Presence

updated
May 30, 2022
19 min
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As an attorney, the majority of your attention likely goes into how you can help your clients in the most effective and professional way possible. But as the competition gets stiffer and you build your marketing strategy for your law firm, you might be curious as to whether social media is worth your time and energy. Is the power of social media something that lawyers, regardless of the firm size or practice area, should explore?

While social media might not be the first place that a potential client turns to in order to find a lawyer, they still want to see what you and your firm are up to. It can seem daunting to continuously send tweets, post images to Instagram, or engage with your audience through Facebook videos and posts, skipping these avenues could be a detrimental mistake to your law firm. Let’s explore how your social media marketing efforts can help you generate more business.

Why Social Media Is Important for Lawyers?

First and foremost, social media is an entertaining tool, and that’s a key component you have to realize in order to understand how social media works.  However, it’s still worth paying attention to. Did you know that over 53% of the world’s population is on some sort of social media platform? On top of that, 73% of lawyers and law firms utilize LinkedIn to help them get more business. Here are only some benefits of social media marketing.

Find New Clients

Let’s be honest. There is very little possibility that a person who is facing serious charges right now, happens to scroll Facebook posts and ads. Still, according to a study conducted by the American Bar Association, 29% of lawyers report that they get new clients through social media profiles. That means that lawyers find their potential clients not through selling their services, but through branding. You never know who is going to see your social media platforms and send an interesting quote to a friend or family member. Considering the sheer volume of people who are active on social media channels, there is a high chance that potential leads from your target audience will come in contact with your social media accounts.

Become a Recognizable Brand

Your practice is more than just a law firm. By tapping into different social media tools and platforms, you help to establish yourself as more than a group of lawyers, but as a respected brand in the community. Although you might not currently think of your law firm as a brand, the more consistently that you post on social media, the more you begin to build a brand in the eyes of your audience. The top law firms in the world don’t need to sell potential clients a service; instead, they use a tailored marketing strategy as a way to establish brand recognition and consistency. Make sure that all of your posts maintain some level of consistency in terms of image style, colors, and overall aesthetic.

Let New Clients Find You

As social media is meant for entertaining people, keep in mind this important concept: people are neither looking nor searching for help on social media. They use Google for that. Therefore, social media ads turn out to be a double-edged sword: on social media, you pay for impressions, not for clicks, but at the same time social media presence keeps the audience’s awareness and reminds them about you. Hashtags and posting, engaging and shareable video content are designed specially to attract your audience to your profiles. The more time and effort you put into building your social media presence, the higher the chances that you will build an audience that engages with your posts and shares them with friends or family members. Remember, just because you are in the legal industry doesn’t mean that you can’t post informative and engaging content online.

Get to know your audience

Social media is meant for sharing emotions and participating in people’s lives. Event-based advertising and community-focused marketing are the elements that help both to take part in the audience’s life and promote your services

Keep in mind that not every type of lawyer should aim to attract new clients through the same social media advertising strategy. For example, maybe you’re a personal injury lawyer who wants to come up with a marketing strategy to attract and educate more prospective clients on slip and fall accidents in the winter. You shouldn’t use the same types of social media posts as a family lawyer who works on custody battles and divorce hearings. You might need to try posting different types of content on your pages to see what performs the best. Maybe your audience gravitates toward educational social media posts or maybe they prefer a more emotional marketing approach. By posting different types of content, you can better understand what your audience prefers to see on their feed.

Improve Your SEO

You might not think of social media as a way to improve your search engine optimization (SEO), but in reality, it is a huge help for SEO optimization. SEO services for law firms are made up of different facets to improve your organic rankings with social media being one of them. While your social profiles alone won’t improve your rankings, you can share links across your platforms to increase brand exposure to your potential clients. The more people who share your content on their social media profiles, the more social signals that indicate that your posts are interesting and useful to your audience. Another way that you can use your profiles to improve SEO is by leading your audience to informative content such as your blogs or service pages.

Connect through content

Feelings and emotions play an important role in connecting people. Feel free to post emotional content, share your opinion on different situations, and demonstrate your expertise as that builds a real connection and trust between you and your audience.

Use your social media accounts to create valuable content that appeals to different audiences as well. For example, if you are building your LinkedIn marketing strategy, you might want to make your own content that helps to educate your audience in a more professional way. If you are hoping to be a bit more creative and appeal to a younger audience, you can turn to platforms such as Instagram or Twitter to interact with your law firm's content.

Best Social Media Platforms for Lawyers

law firm social media promotion

Social media marketers are the most successful when they're using the right platforms. As different people prefer different types of content, it's important to tap into different social channels to create content that resonates with different audiences. Here are some platforms for your law firm to consider.

LinkedIn

One of the most popular and successful social media platforms for many law firms is LinkedIn. According to a report conducted by the ABA in 2018, more law firms use LinkedIn than any other social media platform, including Facebook. Many lawyers use the business-centric platform to answer legal questions and build brand awareness. It's common to use LinkedIn to build relationships with others in the legal space, a tactic for gaining referrals in the future.

Here are some tips for producing effective LinkedIn social media content:

  • Keep posts professional and always use professional photos
  • Be compelling and meaningful when portraying your professional image
  • Stay relevant to your practice area so your target client can learn more through your posts

In addition to using your personal account to post updates and initiate social conversations on LinkedIn, you can also create a page specifically for your law firm.

Facebook

Facebook has roughly 2.38 billion monthly active users. If you’re not posting to your law firm’s Facebook page, you’re missing out on all of these users! It’s the most popular social media platform in the world and another popular platform for legal professionals. You can even consider creating a Facebook group that’s tailored to your practice areas. There is a huge potential to reach a large group of people on this platform, but you should be aware of how the algorithm may impact your efforts. The algorithm naturally prioritizes posts from friends and family, meaning it can be difficult for your posts to reach the right audience and attract followers. The less your posts are seen by your target audience, the more resources that your firm is wasting.

Twitter

Although Twitter isn’t a go-to platform to discuss legal issues or legal topics, it’s still an avenue worth exploring. Other firms may use Twitter to promote their business as it offers distinct benefits over other platforms such as:

  • It has a concise character count. Twitter limits your Tweets to 280 characters or less, meaning you’ll need to get directly to the point when composing your Tweets
  • It’s easier and more efficient for your audience to consume the content on their feed, increasing the chances of them engaging with your posts
  • It’s a great place to provide timely updates on firm news or updates

Make sure that you are posting content from other relevant or influential people in your industry as well. This helps you become almost a new source for your audience and builds trust with your followers.

YouTube

Despite YouTube being a less popular platform for law firms and lawyers, creating a channel is an opportunity to share video-based content with your audience. While other social accounts can help you distribute your videos, having one location where your audience can stay up to date on your firm is an integral part to your content strategy. Use video content to showcase your firm’s personality and to help them get to know you on a more personal level. The better they know who you are, the more comfortable they’ll feel when using your services.

Here are some tips for effective YouTube videos:

  • Make high-quality content that’s professional. Make sure that your production quality, videos, lighting, and titles are clean and professional
  • Always have a strong on-camera presence. Feel free to practice as much as you need to feel comfortable on camera
  • Convey authority while still making sure that your content is interesting

Instagram

Instagram isn’t the most popular platform for lawyers, but it can help connect with former clients or future clients on a more personal level. If you are a larger firm that’s more focused on attracting business clients, you can use Instagram and Instagram stories to market your firm as a great place to work. Many firms also use Instagram to humanize themselves and post content that’s related to community work, lifestyle, and building your overall persona. Always use hashtags and locations on Instagram to target local followers and ensure that your photos are high-quality and professional. Compliance responsibilities are another aspect of Instagram to keep in mind, and you should always prioritize client confidentiality if you’re using a real-world example.

Should Your Personal Account Be Public?

This is a common question that lawyers have but there isn’t a clear-cut answer. If you have personal social accounts that give off a professional persona, the answer is yes. If you are the face of your law firm, it’s a good idea to build personal profiles that show off the information that you want your audience to see. Remember that people will end up Googling you or your law firm anyway, so you may as well curate the content accordingly.

How to Promote a Law Firm on Social Media

It's clear that social media for law firms is a great way to grow your firm, but what are the strategies to achieve success? Here are some tactics to consider when promoting your firm.

Set Out Your Aims

The first thing to consider is to outline what your goals are by posting to your profiles. Different law firms will have different goals for their profiles; some will want to gain more clients, some may want to work on building brand awareness, and others may want to gain more website visitors. Before you dive head-first into a social media strategy, make sure to sit down and list out your goals. They should be both short-term and long-term goals that are measurable so you know how much progress you’re making. Once you have a baseline of how your profiles are performing, you can adjust your goals accordingly and use them to drive your future campaigns.

Learn the Rules

Always make sure to consider ethics regulations and other bar rules before you begin posting to your accounts. Lawyers have specific rules and responsibilities they must follow online. It’s worth taking the time to learn and understand these rules before you start posting. For example, each platform has its own set of regulations, especially when it comes to personal content that could be shared by other lawyers. Some states also prohibit lawyers from using language such as “expert” or “specialist” to describe themselves. If you have any doubts about what you can and cannot say, it’s always best to conduct your research accordingly.

Think About Paid Social Media Advertising

law firm paid social media advertising

Keep in mind that you pay not for clicks, but for impressions. That means no matter if somebody goes to your website or not, you will pay for the ad.

And still, did you know that more than 7 million businesses have used Facebook ads to target a specific audience at one point or another? Putting some money behind your social media ads allows you to target specific audiences and cater your ads directly to them. When executed properly, paid campaigns can be an incredibly lucrative approach to your efforts. One thing to be mindful of is the technical ins and outs of Facebook ads as they can be challenging to optimize if you’re not sure what you’re doing. It’s always recommended to use a professional marketing team to oversee your campaigns and ensure they aren’t eating up too much of your budget.

Stick to SMART Goals

If you have never heard of SMART goals, they can be an incredibly helpful part of your approach. While we already discussed the importance of goal setting when it comes to your social profiles, SMART goals take this idea one step further. Regardless of the specific platform, all of your marketing goals should be:

  • Specific: Outline exactly what you need to do in order to hit your goal. Always use action words.
  • Measurable: What makes a goal successful and what makes it fail? Make sure that you’ve outlined the metrics necessary to determine success.
  • Achievable: It’s always nice to set lofty goals, but make sure they are attainable.
  • Relevant: How will this goal improve your law firm and does it align with your overall strategy?
  • Time-bound: At what point will you meet the goal? Outline any targeted deadlines to keep yourself on track.

For example, maybe you want to hit a certain number of followers on your Facebook group by the end of the month. In this case, outline exactly how many posts you’ll create per week and how much engagement you’ll need to help you reach this goal.

Get to Know Your Client

Now that you’ve set your goals, you need to figure out how you can achieve them. This starts by identifying who your client persona is. A client persona is a fictional representation of the key traits that you look for in your audience. It’s typical to develop a client persona using the data that you have on web analytics and user research. For example, maybe you’re a criminal defense attorney and you’ve collected data that shows your typical client is a male in his 40s from a certain area of the state. By determining who your clientele is, it's easier to create social media posts that resonate with them. This helps to attract a larger group of clients who will increase your ROI.

Keep Up with Your Competitors

Once you’ve built out your client persona, the next step is to look into your competitors. Although it sounds simple and obvious, one major way to improve your online presence is to understand the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors. This allows you to position yourself in a more pointed way to offer your audience things that your competitors do not. Comb through their different social media platforms and see what is working and what isn’t. Take note of what their weak spots are so you can fill in the gaps with your own original content. Maybe you have a huge competitor in the area who isn’t currently posting to Facebook. Take this opportunity to curate a Facebook strategy to tap into this audience. A simple way to see how others are performing is to simply Google some of your keywords to see who is popping up.

Make a Schedule

social media for lawyers post schedule

Posting on any given channel at any given time might be the easiest approach, but it is undoubtedly the most chaotic. Instead of a disorganized approach, make sure to create a schedule that you’ll stick to. Detailed content plans make it easy to map out your strategy for weeks or even months at a time. Use this content calendar to plan what posts will go on what platforms at any given time. It may be more work up front, but a calendar provides you with a clear roadmap for the foreseeable future to ensure you’re not scrambling to post things at the last minute. You will also have more time to double-check ethical rules.

One Bit At a Time

If you don’t currently have profiles set up on the above platforms, you don’t need to rush into posting to every platform at once. In fact, doing so could cause you to become overwhelmed and could end up being a waste of time and money. Instead, start by focusing on one or two accounts at a time to stay in touch with your audience. You can focus more of your energy on curating thoughtful content that will have more of an impact on your audience.

Make a Proper Profile

Nobody wants to see a profile that isn’t fully filled out. Make sure to upload a high-quality profile photo that is representative of your law firm. You should also include a well-written description of who you are and what your firm is about so newcomers can immediately understand the basics about your firm. Including a link to your website or any specific Facebook groups can help consumers learn more about your brand identity. Simply filling out your profile information is an easy way to make a positive first impression on your audience.

Measure the Results

There’s no point in posting to your accounts if you aren’t closely measuring how your posts are performing. Every account provides you with invaluable statistics that are built in to help you better understand how your audience is engaging with the information. This makes it easy to see what types of content are performing the best and which aren’t as appealing to your followers.

How NOT to Promote a Law Firm on Social Media

Now that we've discussed all of the dos, let's delve into what not to post on your profiles.

Ignore Your Audience

Don't forget that social media is a two-way street. Even though you are the one posting to your profiles, you can't forget to engage with your audience as well. If someone makes a comment or asks a question on a linked blog post, don't forget to respond to them and answer their questions. Engaging with your target audience helps to build your community.

Share Unoriginal Content

Resonating with your audience starts by creating video content and other types of content that is original, not simply a replica of another law firm. Your followers will immediately see through your unoriginal marketing efforts and likely become disinterested in what you're posting.

Spamming

Spamming on your social media accounts comes in many different forms. Common examples include bulk messaging, clickbaiting, fraudulent reviews, spreading malicious links, or sharing excessive or undesired content. If you regularly post spammy content, you can expect to lose followers quickly.

Best Social Media Tools to Use

social media tools for lawyers

Keeping track of all of your profiles simultaneously can be daunting, but there are many available tools at your disposal to make the process more manageable. Here are some helpful tools that you can consider using.

Hootsuite

Hootsuite is an ideal platform if you’re going to be managing more than one social account at a time. Use it to schedule your posts in advance or view multiple streams at once. You’ll be able to stay active on all of your accounts through one straightforward dashboard. Hootsuite offers in-depth analytics that make it easy to see your top-performing posts.

Later

Later is similar to Hootsuite in the sense that it allows you to manage more than one profile at a time, but it stands out for its advanced Instagram features. If you are active on Instagram, Later could be an ideal platform for you. It gives you advanced analytics, analyzes your hashtags, and has a helpful drag-and-drop scheduling tool to make planning easy.

Canva

Canva is a design-heavy platform that is a great substitute for when you don’t have access to a Photoshop expert. This is a free design platform that makes it easy to create professional-grade graphics without a ton of design experience. Tap into the hundreds of free templates or upgrade your plan for even more available options. In no time, you’ll be posting branded content that accurately represents your law firm.

Animoto

Even though you’re posting about legal services, it’s still important to incorporate videos into your strategy. In fact, roughly 85% of social media users prefer to see more video content from brands that they follow. Animoto makes it easy to make impressive videos without spending hundreds or thousands of dollars to work with a professional videographer.

Start Building Your Profiles Today with the Grow Law Firm

Now that you have a better idea of how to represent your firm life on your social profiles, it's time to get started! We hope that this guide to social media for lawyers has been helpful. If you still have additional questions on posting content, our law firm marketing agency team is happy to help. Not only are we an agency, but we are an academy for lawyers that makes it easier for them to build successful businesses.

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