As an attorney, you might believe that social media is just something a bunch of millennials are into. But it’s so much more than that. Having an active social media presence can go a long way toward building and enhancing your online brand.
In working with attorneys over the last few years, I’ve heard two different lines of thinking from those who chose to forego any type of social media presence:
“I don’t understand it so I don’t want it.”
“It’s a waste of time because it doesn’t generate leads.”
In this article, I want to explain the purpose of social media and hopefully answer some lingering questions you might have about this incredible tool.
Why Is Social Media Important?
Social media is a key branding tool because it’s an easy way to expose your business to your community with the push of a button. If you’re doing an e-newsletter or any kind of direct mail campaign, you can look at social media as a small, daily version of that kind of marketing. Where social media has an advantage, however, is that you can reach your entire community (or the entire country if that’s your target market) with your social media content.
If your email or physical address list is pretty small, social media allows you to reach the rest of your market. Whether you live in a city of 500,000, or a smaller town of 60,000, social media allows you to reach the people you serve for a fraction of the cost of other forms of marketing.
Even though Facebook, social media’s biggest platform, has recently curbed the influence advertisers like you can have on everyone’s timelines, there are still ways you can reach thousands of people in your community every month, and it’s something we have continued to do successfully despite Facebook’s changes.
Beyond Facebook, regularly making posts on Twitter and LinkedIn can enhance your brand and give you influencer authority and credibility as the expert in your city. From there, the referrals can grow. If a personal injury attorney needs to send you a family law case, a strong social media presence only increases the chances that attorney will think of you first because they’ve seen your content posted across social media.
Can Social Media Generate Leads?
Sure it can. But you could also generate leads by standing on the side of the highway and holding a sign with your logo on it. In other words, social media isn’t necessarily going to be a big lead magnet for you.
The more beneficial approach to social media is to use it as a way to reach people in your community and create a consistent touchpoint with those people, making you a truly unforgettable figure in their lives. You can promote your website and the things you’re doing outside of the office to show people that you’re not only an expert and the go-to attorney for your practice area, but that you’re committed to actually helping people rather than chasing down a big pay day.
What Channels Should You Use?
At Spotlight Branding, we push our clients’ content to Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. While some have more users than others, these outlets provide the most value for an attorney because chances are all but a small percentage of your market is on one of these sites.
Other services, such as Instagram, are becoming more and more appropriate for businesses, including law firms. But when it comes to Instagram, it’s best to use it as a “behind the scenes” platform to show people what you’re doing in the community and in the office.
Another visual platform, Pinterest, is also gaining steam. And while some businesses are seeing great results with both Pinterest and Instagram, it’s coming from industries that provide a physical product, such as clothiers or food service providers. As an attorney, your sweet spot is on the bigger networks that we focus on.
What Should You Post?
It’s okay to promote yourself on social media. After all, how else will people know what you do and how you can help them? But you need to provide a balance of other content.
Constantly promoting yourself and telling people to call your office every single day is just going to turn them off and contribute to the stereotype that attorneys are just about the money. It’s all about providing value and becoming a source of solid, relevant, and authoritative content to your audience.
Along with promoting your website’s blogs or videos, you can also mix in relevant articles from outside sources and inspirational quotes. People on social media really love quotes, and it’s a great way to spark engagement with people on your page.
How Is Social Media Different from Other Marketing?
Think of it like this: Social media is a digital version of every kind of print and physical advertising you have ever done. Where social media has the advantage, however, is that you can change up the message on a daily basis for a fraction of the cost. If you’ve been running your law firm for years, you’ve likely bought ad space in a newspaper, phone book, or even a billboard. These advertisements cost thousands of dollars for a static advertisement that is seen only by the people who subscribe to that publication or drive along that particular road where the billboard is located.
Social media, on the other hand, can transmit a different message every day to a custom audience based on the demographics of your ideal client. If you’re a business attorney, you can target people who have interests in business and entrepreneurship, and even narrow it down to people whose job titles include things like “Founder,” “Owner,” etc. Whereas a billboard along the interstate could cost you up to five figures for a month and reach an unknown number of qualified people, a finely tuned social media audience can target thousands of people in your market.
As you can see, social media is more than just a time-wasting diversion that your kids stare at all day. It can be a helpful tool to grow your referral base and establish your credibility and authority as THE legal expert in your community.