We’ve had the pleasure of working with a number of law firms on their social media and there are a number of great tactics to use to generate sales and leads as well as build their networks. Law firms generally build important networks amongst other professional service providers and social media can certainly play a role in this.
Let’s take a look at how you can utilise social platforms for a legal firm or professional.
Social media marketing for law firms
How exactly can a legal firm use social media to market their services? Well, social platforms will be used for a number of things rather than just ‘marketing’. Building a network and collaborator base will be equally important from a business perspective as generating web traffic and growing the number of Twitter followers!
Starting with content, you should always be looking to add value to your audience by making them laugh, surprising them or interesting them. Keeping them up to date with legal developments that might interest them is also useful. This enables you to portray your brand positively and create a personality for your brand making you more approachable.
Sharing your own content from a well-maintained blog is a great way to show off your expertise and passion for law as well as generating traffic to your site from potential customers and collaborators. There are also many ways to utilise the search functions on platforms such as Twitter and LinkedIn and we’ve run many campaigns to find certain individuals within companies who are useful to our legal firm clients.
Key social networks for lawyers
It may not be practical for law firms to try and manage their online presence across all social networks so which are the main platforms to focus on?
Twitter is still a powerful network, particularly for brands looking to get involved in conversations, stay on top of industry news and distribute key information. Professional services businesses thrive on Twitter so law firms with a B2B interest should likely have an active presence. Consistent effort on the platform towards a specific goal will help you build a valuable following.
LinkedIn is arguably the most important social network for any B2B business. The platform can be used to boost the profile of the law firm but also the key individuals within the company. Individual profiles are just as important on LinkedIn which is usually in contrast to Twitter and Facebook. Personal networks can be leveraged to increase reach and start conversations.
Facebook is the largest social network with users across every demographic. For this reason, it can be used to reach potential customers that are both commercial and consumers. One of the downsides of Facebook is the degree to which the platform has restricted the organic reach of business pages, meaning brands generally need to invest in Facebook ads to get their content in front of their audience. However, even in these circumstances, Facebook still represents huge opportunities.
Avoiding the pitfalls
Like many professional service providers, legal firms have a number of guidelines they must follow when it comes to marketing and using social media. You’ve probably read the common disclaimer “all opinions my own”, particularly by lawyers on their Twitter accounts. The truth is, these have little meaning, “even with these disclaimers,” Caroline Hill says, “the more senior the lawyer, the more likely their view will be seen as part and parcel of the company they work for.” (LegalWeek.com)
Distancing oneself from a law firm is difficult, and ultimately anything said, even on a personal account, can lead back to the firm. Controversial topics trend regularly on social media platforms so it is important to steer clear and if in doubt, don’t comment! Even retweeting, favouriting or liking posts can be seen as endorsements so be conscious of your actions.
Legal firms should never offer legal advice online.
Solicitor-client relationships should be built through the firm’s regular procedures so that they avoid ethical problems and any other conflict. This is the one-time social media is not to be used to create relationships with clients. Remember that mentioning any case you are working on is a breach of client confidentiality. Never discuss any case, past or present on social media sites. Working in the legal sector, you should be aware of laws surrounding case discussion, the same applies to social media.
Always think twice before you share a post, picture, video or comment that involves a client, lawyer or staff member on any sort of social media platform. If you decide you do want to mention any of these people, you must obtain their written approval prior to doing so. Like on all social media platforms, always err on the side of caution before you hit send.
Making the most of social media
Avoiding the pitfalls associated with managing a law firm’s social presence is a simple case of using common sense. This is why we’ve been able to develop important relationships with our clients and build strong social media presences without any problems. As a modern business in the legal sector, you should be proactive about using LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook but have in place company guidelines for personal and professional use. If you’d like to see more return from your marketing endeavours, consider social media training or outsourcing your social media management.
In our last post, we discussed the opportunity and implications of social media for financial services.