Why Social Media Matters for Growing Your Law Practice
The first place your next client is going to look for a lawyer is online.
As part of their research, potential clients are checking you out everywhere – including on social media. As a result, these platforms have become some of the most effective digital marketing channels for lawyers.
Social media isn’t just selfies and oft reposted memes of a lawyer stuck behind a cat filter. Social media has become the place online for law practices to effectively reach more of their ideal clients.
The American Bar Association reports 35% of lawyers who have a social media presence gained new clients from their social media outreach efforts.
By using social media the right way and by increasing your visibility on the right platforms, you will likely push that percentage much higher. Taking the right approach to social media as part of your legal marketing strategy will have you easily converting prospects into new clients.
Benefits of a Social Media Strategy for Your Law Practice
1) Monitoring Your Reputation In Real-Time
Before you make your first social media post, it’s wise to run a quick check on your reputation out in the real world. Do a search of your name or your firm’s name on the various platforms. What are people saying about you? Are there any issues you need to address?
When there are current controversies in the legal space, keeping abreast of social conversations can position you to get in front of being on the receiving end of negative PR or you can set yourself up to speak effectively on a trending topic that’s related to your practice area or specialization.
Pro Tip: While it can be tempting, save arguing for the courtroom. A better approach online – for most firms – is to keep your posts mostly factual and to showcase your expertise on the subject. Rise above trolls and flame wars. The smartest place to post opinions is when you curate content and offer your take on the legal news of the day.
2) Building Brand Awareness
Believe it or not, your legal practice is a brand. Maybe you’re not Nike or Coke, but you want to control how you are presented and perceived in the marketplace.
Law offices can use social media to tell their brand story to potential clients. Using social media this way is especially effective for humanizing your brand and helping you form an emotional connection with the people who need the legal help you provide.
When people see you in the more relaxed social media space, you’ll find you have a much easier time winning their trust and loyalty and earning their business.
Brand awareness posts can highlight your firm’s achievements, and you can also share stories about your community involvement. Put the attorneys and support staff in the spotlight to put a real face on your branding efforts.
3) Engaging in a Little “Social Listening”
Great marketers (and smart lawyers) know it’s easier to sell your services when you enter the conversation your ideal client is already having on the subject. Social listening can give you insights into challenges, pain points, and most importantly, the actual words your prospective clients use to describe their legal issues.
It can be tempting to rely on legalese and jargon, but if you want to connect with clients on social media, you need to speak like your potential clients speak.
Everything you can discover about what your ideal clients say when they are hanging out online will help you market your services more effectively. Use these insights to further perfect your core messaging and make your content marketing and paid advertisements even more powerful.
4) Attracting Prospective Clients
You want to focus your social media marketing efforts where they will be the most effective. And that means putting in your time on the platforms where your target audience hangs out.
After building your ideal client persona, you’ve got a pretty good idea of the social networks where your ideal clients hang out online. When you’re on those platforms, remember that people aren’t just on social to be social. Most people see social media as a place to consume different types of content and engage with brands they like or are interested in learning more about.
This is your opportunity to engage with your target audience and turn them into prospects and clients. By providing them with engaging content, like blog posts that answer the most frequent legal questions you’re asked, you’ll soon find you’re attracting a steady flow of qualified prospective clients.
5) Establishing Your Authority and Thought Leadership
Most people who engage with a law firm on social media are facing a legal issue are hoping to find answers and reassurance. Obviously, you can’t provide legal advice outside of an established attorney-client relationship, but you can use social media channels to establish yourself as an authority in your practice area to gain the trust of potential clients.
Making an effort to consistently share useful information that will be of interest to your ideal clients will establish your authority and help you prove your credibility and ability to help people who find themselves in the midst of a legal situation.
By positioning yourself as a local thought leader in your specialty, you will build a following and become a go-to resource for clients and for traditional media connections. By establishing your authority in this way, you have the chance to reach a wider audience and maybe even earn powerful backlinks from locally respected sites.
6) Improving Your SEO Efforts
Social isn’t a direct ranking factor when it comes to search engines, it’s hard to ignore the correlation between your activity on social and your law firm’s search engine ranking.
With Google always looking to improve their user experience, they are increasing their use of dynamic content – like social feeds – to the search engine results page (SERP).
Search Engine Journal reports that Google has changed its story “multiple times regarding whether website links shared on Facebook and Twitter are used as ranking signals”.
But where social really helps is by giving you greater control over where and how your firm’s name is being used in the online space. Strategic development of your practice’s social presence tends to equal overall improvements in online traffic and visibility.
With search engine optimization (SEO) being the most important component of any effective law firm marketing strategy, it makes sense to do anything that assists those efforts with even just a potential benefit in ranking, reach, and traffic.
7) Making Connections to Strengthen Your Referral Network
Social channels aren’t just a place to meet your potential clients online. A secondary benefit can be using social media to connect with other attorneys in related practice areas or with professionals who serve the same clients or types of clients you would like to work with.
Setting aside just a few minutes a day to have online chats with other professionals can be the bread and butter of a powerful referral network. Comment on other attorney’s social posts. Seek out accountants. Connect with real estate agents or insurance agents. You might be surprised who can send an ideal client your way.
Another benefit to expanding your referral network is the potential to be a “guest blogger” on their site. If you see a local professional who shares information that could be beneficial to your clients and vice versa, a blog exchange can be a great way to get in front of a new audience as a trusted expert.
8) Showcasing Your Office Culture
For most people facing a legal challenge, it’s stressful. One way to lower their stress around coming into your office is to showcase your office culture. By introducing the lawyers, the professional support staff, or any other key people, you humanize the practice and that serves to soothe potential anxiety.
Another benefit to sharing your office culture openly is that it’s a great recruiting tool. New associates want to see beyond the interview and get a sense of what it’s like to be a member of your firm. “Getting to know you” content can be the differentiator between them signing with your firm or finding yourself across the aisle from them in court.
People love to see who is making it happen behind the scenes. Don’t be afraid to share office celebrations, pictures of you attending conferences or a CE event, or pitching in at a community event.
Used correctly, social media can be a powerful way to promote your people, your culture, and your values to your potential clients.
As you can see, there are real benefits when you effectively leverage social media to market your legal services, answer questions, and attract new clients. There’s no getting around it, if your colleagues and competitors are using social media, it’s a marketing tool you need to use.
Social media is an essential component of effective marketing for law firms.
Are you currently using social media platforms to build your practice? We’d love to connect. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.