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A strong social media presence has become the new normal for businesses across every industry, and the legal field is no different. From Harvard Law School to DLA Piper to that law firm on Main Street around the corner, many in the legal industry have already begun to try presenting themselves on social media.
These social media tips from One Legal’s own social media guru can help your law firm get started, or provide ways to be more strategic about what you post online.
#1 Understand your objective
What do you most want to get out of your social media interactions? Are you looking to attract potential employees? To raise the profile of your firm in the industry? Will you primarily be looking for clients? Determine your primary objectives in order to best focus your campaigns toward those ends.
#2 Explore multiple channels
LinkedIn used to be the go-to place for legal professionals to connect and share about their firm. And while it remains a prominent social media site, interaction inside LinkedIn groups has declined in the last few years, so that it makes less sense for it to be a primary presence.
Facebook recently announced that it has reached 2 billion monthly users from all around the world. Twitter, too, is used by millions of people around the world, companies and individuals both. “So if your firm is looking for more clients, chances are they are already on social media,” Lisa says. “You just need to find the right channel.”
#3 Customize your page
Don’t settle for just having a page when you could create a true representation of your firm. Infuse each social media presence with as much heart as you would any other form of marketing by adding images, following influencers, voicing your thoughts, describing your philosophy, and clearly describing your firm’s unique offerings.
#4 Boost your first impression
Facebook’s new Recommendations feature allows friends to ask each other when they are searching for a professional, a new dentist, best restaurants in certain city—or a lawyer. So if a former client wants to recommend you to a friend in need of an attorney, your Facebook page cab be an additional way to connect—and will be their first impression.
#5 Be social
It’s the first and most important part of social media: engaging with other users in a personal, unique way. Actively comment on and share articles that you find interesting. When people comment on your post, reply in a professional and friendly way—no matter the tone of their comment.
You can also make your social media presence a more personal one. “You and your team aren’t robots,” Lisa reminds. “Show people your firm, share its stories, what makes it successful behind the scenes.” Post pictures of members of your firm as they go about their daily business. Does your law firm have a phrase or motivation that you like to share? Make a picture quote and share it around; people love pictures and they love quotes.
#6 Become a thought leader
Share and comment on latest news in your industry, or post about recent changes to the law, especially as they pertain to your practice area. In a general way, note cases of importance happening around the country and how people can follow the cases for themselves.
#7 Use #hashtags
Hashtags (designated with a # sign before a group of words) group social posts into categories, so readers can see all conversations related to a topic that they are interested in. There is a hashtag for every company, industry, pop culture mention, event, news story, or idea you can imagine. By ending your posts with #legaltech or #futurelawyers, for instance, you can expand your reach and connect with others interested in those topics.
#8 Develop a policy
As you continue to progress in your social media ventures, it may become worth it to decide on a social media policy, a set of standards for what you share, especially once multiple members of your firm are contributing. Know the standard of ethics for lawyers in your state, and come up with a litmus test or rule of thumb for what you want to post. Would you say it in a conference to a crowd of people? Would you show it to a potential client in your office?
What not to do on social media
As social media becomes more prominent, the rules become clearer on what law firms should and shouldn’t do. The American Bar Association has a more in-depth explanation of attorney ethics and social media, but here are a few of the most common things to avoid.
- Don’t call yourself a “specialist” or “expert” in any type of law unless you are formally certified by a state or local authority, no matter your level of experience.
- Don’t treat your page as a personal profile. Make your firm more personable, focusing on the business and professional topics
- Don’t use any specifics when discussing examples of recent successes: keep everything anonymous and vague on details
- Don’t solicit clients directly. You can post general statements alluding to high accident rates on weekends and ask about the need for a lawyer, but don’t respond to specific posts
- Don’t engage in heated debates or disagreements with other users
- Don’t send any confidential information through any social media site
Check your jurisdiction for specific rules and regulations surrounding social media.
Social media can be a powerful tool for law firms to market themselves, as well as a great way to connect with past and future clients. Consider what you want to present to the world and start to plan how to present your firm on social media in ways that are unique to you. When you’re ready to take things to the next step, determine how you will measure your social media ROI, and use that information to improve upon your strategies.
How does your law firm interact on social media? Share your stories in the comments.