A huge part of our role as lawyers is to be excellent communicators, but often this skill is lost when it comes to social media. Many lawyers overlook the power of social media when it comes to growing their profile, taking on more clients and engaging with the legal community.
We understand that the idea of constantly tweeting, writing articles, crafting insightful posts and even finding photos and graphics can seem all-consuming, but ignoring social media completely can mean you miss out on some excellent opportunities.
Why should lawyers use social media?
While social media can be light entertainment, it can bring several benefits to your professional life when used correctly.
Social media can bring in new clients.
No matter which platform you choose to use, you can bring in new clients. The beauty of social media is that it provides you with exposure to a huge audience, either for free or for very little cost. It’s not just for the big guys either. The American Bar Association found that 42% of small firms gained new clients through effective use of social media.
Social media allows you to engage with opportunities.
When we talk about social media marketing, you might think this can only benefit the firm as a whole. However, individual lawyers have so much to gain from proper use of social media. In particular, you can build your profile within the legal sector and seek new and interesting opportunities outside of conventional practice. Social media is a great place to network because it feels less formal, and you can gain a good understanding of someone’s interests and expertise from their social media profile. When you participate in social media with your fellow members of the legal profession, you can learn, stay up-to-date and offer your insight and commentary into trending issues.
How to use social media as a lawyer
While the value of using social media is clear, there are several things to understand and learn to make the most of your time online.
Know the ‘rules’ and be appropriate
While social media is conducted in your own time, you must be sure that what you share doesn’t breach any Law Society, platform, or community rules. Your firm may also have rules and guidance around social media use.
Find your why
What do you want to get out of social media? More clients? Bigger professional network? Thought leadership? Influencer status? You should set clear and attainable short term goals which can help you know what to post, share and create.
Check out the competition.
Take a look at what your competitors are doing. Maybe those prominent in your practice area or lawyers with a big social media following. Look at their posts and note the content that resonates most with their audience. Could you share similar things? You also want to follow and engage with legal influencers – it is called ‘social’ media after all. Share their content, comment on their posts and join any online communities that are relevant to you.
You don’t need to go all-in.
You can start small on social media and still see progress. Perhaps choose one platform and decide how many posts you will commit to each week. Once you begin to see engagement and growth, you will likely want to keep going.
Create considered content.
Don’t just share for the sake of posting. Consider what you are trying to achieve and what will be of value to your audience before every post. You might even want to plan the content you will create or share to keep it consistent.
A huge part of social media growth and development is engaging. Don’t ‘post and ghost’. If people take the time to comment on your posts, leave a considered reply and engage with their content too. If time is a factor, set aside 30 minutes to reply and engage with others content.
What social networks should I use?
There are so many social media platforms to choose from; it can seem overwhelming to decide which is right for you. Each platform has its nuances, and it is essential to have at least a basic understanding of the type of content that works. The best platform for you will depend on your practice area, the type of content you want to post and your target audience. Here’s a quick overview:
Facebook has 2.38-billion monthly active users, making it the largest and most popular social media platform. The potential reach on Facebook is great, but getting in front of your target audience can be challenging. It would be best to create content people want to share, such as tips, guides or aspirational advice.
LinkedIn is the most popular social media platform among lawyers, and for a good reason. LinkedIn is designed for business and growing your professional profile. You can build connections, become a thought leader, join professional groups and gain clients through referrals. You should connect with those sharing similar interests and join groups that are relevant to you.
Twitter offers some unique benefits for lawyers as it is current and concise. Twitter allows you to consume and share massive amounts of information through headlines and quick summaries, keeping you up to date. It is also easy to curate information for your followers, which can be great for building your profile.
YouTube allows you the opportunity to communicate clearly with your target audience by sharing video content. It can be useful to give in-depth insight into your practice area or to allow clients to ‘get to know you’ a little before they instruct you. Creating Youtube content, however, can be difficult. To give a good impression, you must ensure:
- The production is high-quality – it should look professional and well-lit
- You have a good camera presence and feel comfortable speaking in front of a camera
- The substance of the video is of value to your audience.
Instagram is an image-and video-centred platform; however, many accounts find success through sharing infographics. Instagram is about connection, and as a lawyer, it can be a great way to demonstrate your other interest and share content relating to causes you care about.
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Members of the Hey Team have been in the business of managing, structuring and creating create content for more than a decade. We believe the legal sector can be different. Truly innovative, engaging, exciting and creative.