When asked about social media for legal professionals, some will tell you to avoid social media and blogging altogether but with a strategy, plan, and resources, you can reach your target audience and grow your law firm. Begin by identifying your target market. Then market where they are spending time, and then be sure you’re sharing information that is relevant and within industry and legal standards. Remember that social media isn’t a sprint. It is a marathon so it will take focused time and focused effort to develop business relationships.
Choose Social Media for Client Development
SPOILER ALERT: They may not be spending time where you like spending time.
In the digital marketing world, we call client development marketing to your target client. Whatever you call it, it’s the same strategy. You need to market where your prospects are spending time.
Begin by identifying who your target client, you can begin to develop a strategy and can then focus on the social media platform that’s right for your firm.
- Facebook tends to be some B2B (business to business) and more B2C (business to consumer). This would be ideal for connecting in local communities, with networking partners and groups, and prospective clients.
- LinkedIn is B2B and tends to be social media for legal professionals seeking connections with other professionals. This may be financial advisors looking for estate planning attorneys with whom they can refer business, for example.
- Twitter is for those who are seeking to connect with a community and are likely creating video or written content to share.
It’s worth noting that while there are other social media sites, these are the ones that are the most impactful for Minneapolis, Las Vegas, or Chicago legal professionals.
Know the professional standards.
Understanding what constitutes legal advertising in your state is crucial to social media success. For those in non-legal professions like financial planning, insurance, or direct sales, make sure you understand the industry, firm, and company standards for social media and online content.
- Do you need to send content to compliance before posting?
- Are there topics or phrases to avoid so that content isn’t construed as advice?
- Is the information in the post a violation of confidentiality?
- Does the post or subsequent response(s) inadvertently create an attorney-client relationship? [source]
If you answer yes or maybe to these questions, consider changing what you’re posting to avoid any improprieties.
Develop brand standards.
Even if your law firm or court reporting firm doesn’t have to work with a compliance department, it’s important to develop brand standards so that whoever is working social media understands what they can and cannot post.
What is the voice of your brand? Are you the estate planning firm that helps families with kids or those looking toward retirement? Is your brand voice gentle and reassuring or strict and to the point? Either is fine as long as what is posted consistently matches the voice you’re developing.
What resources are approved? Many times social media involves reposting content from other websites in addition to posting content from your brand website. It helps to develop a list of approved or preferred websites that speak your brand message and are within legal bounds of what is acceptable.
Once your marketing team understands what is possible when it comes to social media for legal professionals, you can develop a strategy to meet your firm’s goals.