The “How-To” Guide
What a rollercoaster ride it has been the last few weeks.
All about social media – its benefits (Social Media For Lawyers Part I – Is it time to hop on the social media gravy train?) as well as its basics and practicalities (Social Media For Lawyers Part II – the “How to” Guide).
You see, AJS in an effort to fully grasp social media marketing itself, set out on a quest to help its readers better understand what the new digital marketing landscape not only looks like but what is expected of those who decide to delve deep into its sometimes murky and often times choppy waters.
So, is it safe to dive in?
With social media giant Facebook (and its subsidiaries) still under fire from regulators and lawmakers over its business practices, many of you my still have some uncertainties and concerns looming in the back of your mind about social media in general.
That’s completely understandable.
And, with Mark Zuckerberg (CEO of Facebook) perhaps looking to rebrand, start afresh and anew, it makes one wonder what possibilities lie ahead.
Reuters reported that –
“Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been talking up the metaverse, a digital world where people can move between different devices and communicate in a virtual environment, since July, and the group has invested heavily in virtual reality and augmented reality, developing hardware such as its Oculus VR headsets and working on AR glasses and wristband technologies.
Whilst the above rebranding has not, as yet, been confirmed or denied by Facebook, analyst James Cordwell of Atlantic Enquiries has said (in the same article) that rebranding Facebook –
“reflects the broadening out of the Facebook business”.
And doesn’t that make you – at the very least – curious?
Taking that leap of faith
Starting afresh and anew and trying something different is a notion we understand well. Something we agree with and have done ourselves. After all, if you do not change, rebrand and move with the times you will simply get left behind.
And with Facebook seemingly broadening its horizons, many businesses may already be thinking –
- How will my brand fit into this new advanced “metaverse” landscape?
- Why did we wait so long before getting in on the action from the get-go?
Remember- in order to remain ahead and be an early adopter of improved, advanced and complex technology (that will be attractive to your tech-savvy clientele), you need to do just that – be an early adopter and forward thinker.
And how do you do that if you are not yet mastering the basics?
It’s a quandary. Not one easily answered by simply getting on the horse and riding off into the digitally enhanced sunset.
As lawyers you are, by your very natures, risk adverse. So naturally you would look upon this new social media come “metaverse” landscape as something to be treaded on very carefully. Which is true – you need to be cautious with what you post. But, therein lies the crux of the matter. To move with the times, you need to keep up with it. You need to be at the very forefront of how people have evolved in doing business.
Let’s be honest, it took long enough for the legal profession to adopt legal tech in a way that would allow their practices to be flexible and able to work from anywhere. So convincing you to get on the socials and start selling yourselves may be a stretch. But believe us – its necessary.
Because by engaging and interacting, lawyers will be perceived as being approachable, easily accessible, amenable, witty, humorous and ultimately human. And that is the way the world is moving and what is needed. Not empty profiles that simply have your business hours and principal place of businesses.
The world wants to hear your ideas, your opinions, it wants to share in your successes, your achievements and your celebrations. It wants to see behind the mask and in so doing, it wants to do business in a way that is easy, quick and efficient with people that they know.
More stats to convince you
If the following research conducted by Attorneys at Work does not convince you to jump on social media platforms –
- 96% of those who participated in the survey use social media;
- 70% of those participants say that use of social media is part of their overall marketing strategy;
- 84% of participants are on LinkedIn;
- 31% say that Facebook has been most effective at attracting new business, and
- 42% say that social media is somewhat responsible for bringing in new business.
Then perhaps the youth of your future clientele will –
According to a survey conducted by GWI, millennials are now one of the biggest groups in the workforce. Whilst Deloitte has set out that Generation Z “will soon surpass Millennials as the most populous generation on earth, with more than one-third of the world’s population counting themselves as Gen Zers”.
To put this into perspective and according to Indeed –
“Millennials are people who were born between 1981 and 1996. The oldest millennials are approaching their 40s and the youngest are in their mid-twenties.
Gen Z is a demographic of people born between 1997 and 2015. The oldest Gen Zer is 24 and the youngest is 18. Having grown up with access to both cell phones and the internet, Gen Z is generally the most diverse and tech-savvy generation to date”.
With both Millennial’s and Gen Zer’s having increased spending power and more influence and involvement in the workplace – how they spend their money and on what they spend their money will become critically important to both big brands and small companies alike. Because demographic data is a key building block in defining your target audience. Especially when it is on social media, which is an ever growing medium for most generations in both doing business and interacting with brands.
To briefly illustrate both the importance and significance these generations have on businesses we turn to the SproutSocial survey which states that –
“every generation increased their social media use over the past year. Generation Z (also known as “Gen Z” or “Zoomers”) are extremely online. In fact, most of these digital natives have had some kind of social media presence for more than half their lives. This social-savvy generation represents a changing tide in social media usage. 66% of Gen Z consumers state that social media is an essential part of their lives. Gen Z is eager to interact with brands beyond the storefront. 76% say that social media enables them to interact with brands and companies, and 78% report using social media to learn about new brands. They’re bringing the awareness stage to social, and they expect brands to keep up.
72% of Millenials state that social media is an essential part of their lives, the highest of all age groups. Millennials use social media to connect with their peers and with the world around them, and that’s not slowing down. 63% have increased their usage over the past year, and 46% expect it to continue to increase over the next three years. 75% of Millennials say that social media enables them to interact with brands and companies. That interaction opens the door to connections with other fans across the world”.
In addition, with social-media moguls like Gary Vaynerchuk admonishing business owners to stay on top of social media trends and the shifting digital landscape—or risk becoming irrelevant, it doesn’t take a whole lot of imagination (or reasoning) to realise that getting on social media platforms and marketing yourself as much as you can is no longer “a nice to have” but a necessity. In the article Digital Marketing Tactics That Will Grow Your Law Firm, the importance of social media marketing was once again highlighted –
“Social media marketing is the spot where digital marketing and social media meet. More and more of your law firm’s target audience uses social media, and these platforms have become part of their buying journey.
Your law firm can utilise many social media platforms (e.g., Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn) to create and share content. Your social media marketing should connect with potential leads and inform your users about your legal services and your law firm’s mission”.
And with all the above in mind, it should be abundantly clear that being present on social media is a necessity. And we are going to go ahead and accept that as a proven fact.
Next – the lowdown on social media platforms
You need to choose your social media channels wisely. Big Brands with millions of followers have a presence across multiple social media platforms. Because they have the budget to do that. But for law firms that do not have that kind of budget, this may not be an option.
So decisions will need to be made as to which platforms will make the most sense to you –
And no it is not just for “stay-at-home moms” writing about their children’s first day at school (no judgement here – there is nothing wrong with that).
In an article published in August 2021 – Why Blogging is Essential for Your Law Firm’s Content Marketing, they say that –
“In today’s busy digital world, it’s hard for a law firm to stand out among the competition. While there are many marketing tactics your law firm can utilize, a content marketing strategy is vital.
Potential clients can connect with your business through your content, and blogging is a significant first step toward successfully marketing your law practice”.
So make yourself stand out and don’t be afraid to blog.
- Blogging allows you to keep your audience engaged whilst visiting your law firm’s website, especially when your website is frequently updated with new information, and
- Blogging allows you to show-off your knowledge without sounding too “salesy” or “boasty” whilst at the same time providing your audience with helpful information that a potential client can discover while visiting your website (more often).
A great way to make the most of your blog posts is to take some frequently asked questions or prominent legal issues circulating in the news and write about them. You could provide context, recommendations, commentary and even some possible outcomes. Writing in this way is kind of a win-win situation – you would be showcasing your expertise and your audience will have gained valuable insights. Then all you have to do is take essential comments and/or pieces of info from that blog post, pop it into a social media post and hook that social media post back to the blog (and therefore your website).
But your blogs need to be strategic – enough to gain interest, be informative and engaging whilst very subtly showcasing who you are and how well you do what you do. Importantly (and over time), creating interactive and engaging blog content will drive steady traffic to your law firm’s website, improving your SEO, boosting your brand awareness and be a driving force for your content marketing strategy.
But don’t forget – personality is everything.
So don’t be afraid to show who you are.
Instagram for Lawyers
Ok, we know a social media presence is essential and will gain followers, a wider audience and even an influx of potential clients. But Instagram?
Let’s be honest, the first thing we think of when we think “Instagram” is duck faced, pouty teen influencers (remember we covered influencers in Social Media For Lawyers Part I – Is it time to hop on the social media gravy train?) pushing make-up trends or work-out videos.
But how does that help lawyers?
In an article found on Nivan Content, they also asked Why lawyers should be on Instagram?
Firstly, let’s remember that we are talking about social media here. The key word being “social”.
And as social media goes, Instagram is arguably one of the most influential social media platforms, especially where a particular, recognisable brand or business is concerned.
According to Omni Core Agency, the following stats (all updated on in June 2021) apply –
- Total Number of Monthly Active Instagram Users: 1.074 billion+
- Total Number of Daily Active Instagram Users: 500 million+
- Instagram Stories Daily Active Users: 500 million+
- Number of Businesses on Instagram: 200 million+
- An estimated 71% of U.S businesses claim to use Instagram for Business
- Annual Instagram advertising revenue is projected to be at 18.16 billion USD in 2021
- 200 million+ Instagrammers visit at least one business profile daily
- 70% of shopping enthusiasts turn to Instagram for product discovery
Let’s repeat that – 200+ million Instagrammers visit at least one business profile a day!
And with 55% of marketers planning to use Instagram for influencer marketing in 2021 and 18% of marketers believing that Instagram offers the best influencer marketing ROI, it definitely makes one stand up and take notice.
And as we have established, your audience, clients and potential clients want to interact with you before they appoint you. They want to put a face to your name and your CV. So, it’s about a little more than just your legal expertise. Of course that’s important. But they want to see behind the veil. See that you are just people working alongside other people. Having fun, taking the well-being of your employees seriously. They want to see that you are at the forefront of technology and are always trying to better yourself. They want you to be relevant. ‘Trendy” and the kind of firm they want to associate with. In short, they want to see what you’re really like, where you work, and what services you offer.
To achieve a significant Instagram following –
- Scheduling your content posting is important – post a few times a week in order to keep your profile current;
- Scope out your content – remember your posts need to be insightful and interesting, avoiding consistent self-promotion;
- Use “Stories” during events or to introduce team members;
- Use as many hashtags as you can because by doing so, it will be easier for potential new clients to discover you;
- Be interactive – use the live Q&A feature on your stories to answer questions on video demonstrating your knowledge and allowing your followers to become more familiar with you. You can also interact with people using live video, and
- Be genuine, friendly, smile and make things a little fun.
Importantly, if your clients are Millennials or Gen-Zers, it is even more important to be on Instagram as 71% of Instagram users are under the age of 35.
At the end of the day, you want to be where your clients are, and they are all on Instagram.
Facebook – ahh ok we know!
Despite its continuous scrutiny, Facebook is still a highly popular social media network with an extremely varied audience. With roughly 2.89 billion monthly active users as of the second quarter of 2021, Facebook is still the biggest social network worldwide.
According to stats found on Oberlo –
“There are more than 200 million small businesses around the world using Facebook’s tools (Facebook, 2021).
One of its most popular tools is the Facebook Page, where businesses can publish and share their business information like address, contact details, and a description of the products or services that they offer. With this, brands can greatly increase their online presence”.
When used correctly, a Facebook page can be an invaluable resource to a small business. You can use Facebook to share everything from photos to important company updates and milestones. With a business account, you have access to powerful advertising tools and in-depth analytics. Business pages also have a lot of customisation options and are “basically” free.
To get started –
- Set up a Facebook page for your law firm (which is different from your personal profile), and
- Create your first Facebook post/ad for your law firm – a good place to start is to write a blog post thereafter linking your post on Facebook to your blog post on your website – a win-win. You get website traffic and Facebook followers, shares and likes. All good!
Simple as that.
According to the article Facebook Advertising for Law Firms: A Step-By-Step Guide (there are other very useful tips, so check out the page), this is called “content marketing”. By doing this you are able to distribute valuable, relevant content thereby positioning your law firm as a subject matter expert. For example, say someone is looking to hire an attorney who deals with wills and estates – they will be more likely to read a blog post titled “10 Things to know about Wills” and will therefore be more likely to remember your post, blog and your website and therefore more likely to contact you over your competitors.
However, it is crucial to always keep at the back of your mind Emma Sadleir Berkowitz’s “Billboard test” –
“If you would not place the content in your feed on a physical billboard with your face, name and your company’s logo attached to it, then delete it or disassociate yourself from it. Immediately”.
The world is your oyster in terms of what you can post on Facebook Business. And this freedom can really help you reach audiences in new ways. If done the right way.
Twitter – what’s a tweet?
- To “Tweet” is to post a short update on the social media platform Twitter.
With 206 million monetisable daily active users worldwide (as of the second quarter of 2021) – a curated Twitter presence can be used for real-time organic advertising, a source of legal news and almost your main networking platform. But the key to success on Twitter is remaining constant, active, relevant and timely.
Keep in mind that Twitter only allows you to share a 280 character limit tweet, videos, images, links, polls and more, so you need to be witty and use short but punchy “summaries” in order to garner interest and once again get users to your website. It’s also easy to interact with your audience on Twitter by mentioning users in your posts along with liking and retweeting tweets. Hashtags also help boost posts, and if a user with a lot of followers retweets you, your content could go viral (which is golden).
Twitter is also a great platform to handle customer service because customers who are active on the platform will seek out companies to express concerns or share praise, so you may want to get busy on Twitter as soon as possible.
And remember – don’t just share your links or media, be sure to also share interesting and relevant content from other Twitter users. Share and share alike we say.
LinkedIn – how linked in are you?
LinkedIn has over 740 million active users over 200 countries and 55 million listed companies – it is the best platform for professional networking. It’s a great place to find top talent, position yourself as an industry leader and promote your business.
LinkedIn users create profiles that are similar to resumes, and companies can create pages that showcase their business. Because LinkedIn is a professional platform, it’s the best place to post job openings and information about your company culture.
But LinkedIn is designed to be more professional than other social media platforms and is geared towards businesses and professionals. So how you post on LinkedIn will be different to how you post on other social media platforms. Taking a more professional stance is key.
You can join industry-specific LinkedIn Groups to join Q&A sessions which will then help you establish brand recognition and bring users to your company page and website.
Like with the other platforms, it is best to have a mix of original and shared content on your page, so commit to creating polished, professional content related to your business.
To sort of conclude…..
There is a lot to think about. But no matter where you are posting, remember to be responsible, cautious and respectful.
Do not post anything derogatory or defamatory and always remember that your law firm’s reputation is at stake with everything that you post.
As Dave Willis has said –
“Don’t use social media to impress people; use it to impact people’.
So make an impact. But always in the right way.
Next week we will discuss some other social media platforms that you probably have not considered (or heard of yet). But should. So be sure to check back with us!
Written by Alicia Koch on behalf of AJS