Social media is changing how legal professionals recruit, job hunt, locate and investigate witnesses, manage their careers, connect with industry influencers, and interact with prospects as well as clients. However, many legal professionals aren’t sure exactly how they should pursue this new way of practice law.
According to a 2017 survey by the American Bar Association, only 23 percent of lawyers who responded do not maintain a presence on any form of social media.
Here are the most popular platforms they use, along with practical tips for making the most of them:
Professional in tone, LinkedIn is very interactive when used as intended. Yet, most lawyers use it primarily as an online resume and to monitor the news and noteworthy events in the lives of their “connections,” mostly squandering the power of the platform to grow their business and develop their brand.
Here are some practical ways for lawyers to use LinkedIn:
- Create an engaging profile with a recent photo, informative heading, and a conversational summary that will inspire legal consumers to contact you.
- Take time to connect with all your professional contacts, past and current – classmates, professors, colleagues, clients, and referral sources.
- Configure your feed so that it reflects your interests as well as those of your network. Consider joining LinkedIn Groups that provide access to valuable connections, information, and news.
- Post and share meaningful, relevant content that showcases your legal expertise and promotes your firm.
- Publish your own articles through the LinkedIn Pulse platform and share presentations on SlideShare.
- Think like a client – what words would they use to research a particular skill or topic. Add keywords to your profile that will improve your search results, but avoid “keyword stuffing.”
Used properly, LinkedIn provides attorneys with the ability to share useful content and build a reputation as a “go-to source” of expertise that can lead to new referrals.
Although many lawyers think Facebook is only for personal networking, 31 percent of those responding to one Attorney at Work survey said that Facebook is the social platform that brings them the most new business.
Some ways to build meaningful connections with potential clients on Facebook include:
- Customize your Facebook page’s web address to make it more professional.
- Post photos of legal staff members that will help “humanize the firm
- Share interesting content, including links to your firm’s blog posts, relevant articles written by others, and even humorous posts to increase engagement
- Use Facebook Insights to obtain a significant amount of user data to reach your target audience.
Experts say that the best way for law firms and lawyers to interact on LinkedIn is to inject personality and approach the platform with a human touch, not a corporate spin.
Twitter is a free online platform that limits posts (tweets) to 280 characters plus photos. This restriction might seem insufficient for many lawyers, who rely on words (often lots of them) to conduct business.
But with more than 300 million daily users, Twitter can be a great use of time for attorneys who:
- Need to navigate the often unwieldy Internet more efficiently
- Have clients who regularly use Twitter
- Want to position their firm as an authoritative resource that provides valuable information
- Have an interest in connecting with local and national media to promote their firm
- Are looking for a source of fresh, timely legal news updates
All you need to do to make Twitter the perfect place to grow your law firm is create an account, choose a user name (handle), draft a biography, and look for people and organizations you want to follow.
According to Law Practice Today, even if you do nothing more than “follow, listen, and learn,” Twitter can expand your insight regarding the clients and industries you serve.
Video is more popular than ever. According to an infographic compiled by San Diego networking firm Mushroom Networks:
- Nearly 3 billion searches are performed on YouTube each month.
- Almost half of all Internet users are on YouTube.
- Each month six billion hours of video are watched on YouTube, making it the fastest-growing video sharing website on the globe.
So why do lawyers underutilize YouTube and video in general? While writing is not usually a challenge for a qualified attorney, putting together a well-crafted video can be.
Law firms face some unique challenges when it comes to video marketing, but when people come to YouTube for answers to legal questions; lawyers are their best sources of information.
When creating a promotional video for YouTube, legal professionals need to create value by answering the questions that your firm is most frequently asked, regularly uploading new content, and finding unique ways to tell your law firm’s story.
Do you know of other social media platforms where lawyers need to have a presence? Tell us about them in the comments!