Every business operating today should have a presence on social media—and that includes lawyers and law firms. Social media is easy to set up and free to use, although you can choose to pay for ads, and it offers access to a vast audience of potential clients. So, why wouldn’t you use it?
One barrier might be a lack of understanding of how to use social media so that you get results. Let’s look at eight strategies for doing just that.
Go Where the Clients Are
The best way to figure out which social media sites to use is to figure out where your potential clients are, then go there. A good indicator may be the sites your clients and competitors’ clients are using. You can also look for users that are similar to your clients in their lifestyle, interests, demographics and other characteristics.
You should also make sure the platform is relevant to you, but don’t be afraid to think beyond professional sites like LinkedIn. The big four you should consider as a lawyer are LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, but others could bring benefits, as well.
Get the Right Mix of Content
You don’t want to spam your followers with promotional content on social media, but you also don’t want all of your posts to be jokes and photos from your personal life. Having an effective social media presence requires that you put out the right mix of content.
The generally accepted recipe for that mix is 60% curated content, 30% owned content and 10% self-promotional content. That means 60% of your posts should be content shared from sites relevant to your practice, while 30% should be content you create. For example, you could share a blog post you wrote. With the remaining 10%, you can promote your services.
Make Yourself Easy to Find
The easier it is for people to find you, the more likely it is that people will follow and engage with you online. Use your real name or the name of your firm in your profile, as well as relevant terms in your bio. For instance, if you focus on criminal law, mention that. If you’re also a public notary, you can leverage social media to market this service, too.
Hashtags are another technique for helping people find you. If you hashtag relevant terms like #CriminalLaw, #NotaryPublic or #PhiladelphiaLawyer, then your posts or profile will come up when people search for them.
Create a Calendar
Getting that perfect mix can be a challenge if you’re posting on the fly. It’s also easy to forget to post for a few days if you’re using that strategy. To avoid these situations, create a social content calendar.
Use your content calendar to map out what you plan to post a month ahead of time. Include the text of your posts and any links, images or hashtags you plan to use. Of course, you can make tweaks to your posts before they go live, but having a calendar on hand will help you stay on track.
You may also want to use a scheduling tool, which will post your content for you at times you specify.
Strengthen Your Brand
Your social profiles are an excellent way to strengthen your brand. Use the same picture across all of your social media, incorporate your brand’s colors and give a helpful description of who you are and what you do in your bios. Also, make sure you write posts with a consistent voice that fits with the image you want to create for yourself.
Engage With Your Followers
Engaging with your followers and others on social sites can help more people see your posts and allow you to build relationships with your current and future clients. A great way to encourage engagement is to ask questions in your posts. You can also start the conversation by commenting on others’ posts.
If someone mentions you or leaves a comment on one of your posts, you should always respond. If it’s a positive comment, leave a thank you or another friendly note. If it’s negative, apologize and offer to resolve the issue via a private message to show people you’re taking care of the problem. However, you don’t necessarily need to respond if the comment comes from a bot or a troll who is only trying to get a reaction out of you.
Using images in your posts helps you get people’s attention and encourages them to engage with you. In fact, tweets that include images are 150% more likely to get retweets, and LinkedIn posts with pictures get 200% more engagement.
Make sure you only use photos you have the rights to in your posts. Pictures you took yourself or ones you downloaded from a free stock photo site are typically safe bets—just make you check the copyright status of the images you plan to use. As a lawyer, you probably have a leg up on other users on understanding this issue.
Social media isn’t just for selfies or vacation pictures. It can also be a powerful promotional tool for your law firm, especially if you follow these eight best practices.