Social Media Marketing in Law | Is it really for you?

As a marketing and business development coach, one of the most common questions I get from attorneys is regarding the value of posting on social media. Opinions vary on this subject to such a great extent that I thought I would create a social media test for you to better understand if it’s a worthwhile endeavor. It’s important to be honest with yourself to ensure you make the right decisions with your time moving forward.

Social Media Assessment |Rate yourself on a scale of 1-5:
1= Not at All & 5= Definitely Yes

  1. Do you have something of value to offer a given audience?
  2. Do you enjoy writing and speaking?
  3. Are you looking to grow your brand in the marketplace?
  4. Are referrals important to your practice?
  5. Do you understand the value of using social media?

Okay, now that you have your score, it’s important to share the reasons I asked you these questions and how this may help you move forward to set social media aside for the time being.

Let’s start with the first question. Do you have something of value to offer a given audience? This is critical because social media for lawyers is primarily about education and updating your audience on the law and how it may impact them. If you are not sure who your audience is or what you would even share with them, what would you even say on Twitter? As an attorney, you have to be an expert on your subject matter and speak intelligently on the subject in order to get value from using social media. If people aren’t drawn into your content, or fully understand what you’re saying, then they won’t give your account a second glance. And if this happens, you will find it increasingly difficult to grow your brand, unless of course, you use a growth service like nitreo to give you a helping hand. If people see that you have a large follower base, they will come to the conclusion that your account must be worth following, and they will contribute to the success that you’ll have going forward. But you need to be confident with your social media if you want to make it work. Start there and then let’s come back to discuss.

The second question relates to your enjoyment of speaking and writing on your practice area or industry. If you are not passionate about what you do, there’s little chance that you’re going to invest time speaking and writing on the subject. Some of the best social marketers are reading, writing and speaking on their subject, weekly, and it’s impacting how they are viewed as an expert in the marketplace.

I’d love our third point to include everyone but let’s be realistic with each other. Building your brand in the marketplace is hard work! What type of effort are you really making? Approximately 80 percent of attorneys are worker bees focusing only on the work. While doing great work helps to build your brand, it’s not even close to where it could be. Becoming recognized first as “THE” person to call for a legal problem is the epitome of success as a practitioner. Social media may be the best way to accomplish this, outside of kicking butt in court or making your client happy.

The fourth question asked related to referrals and their importance to you and growing your practice. This relates directly to the point made above, while also leveraging social media to get in front of new referral sources that don’t know you but read your posts. Being regularly in front of your audience will lead to referrals from places and people you never expected to hear from.

The last point might be the most important of all. It’s nearly impossible to get value from social media if you don’t understand it’s purpose and how to effectively use it. There are so many moving parts, it can be confusing to anyone looking to leverage it effectively. LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter are very different platforms. To help with this, let’s talk about the big three and the key focus points associated with each.

LinkedIn: The most used business-to-business social media platform. Most business professionals are now on this site, so let’s look at the key terminology as it related to posting and brand building.

The main way to get the word out on LinkedIn is through posting updates or an article. This is a great way to share wins, new laws and your business point of view on your subject matter expertise. Since you can’t say you’re an expert, you might as well demonstrate it in your writing and posting of content. Be sure to find and use a dynamic picture and headline with your posts. The best posts are the ones that get seen, read, liked and inspire comments. Become a stalker by following and reading the posts of other successful attorneys. This will provide ideas and proven methodologies that you can spin into your own unique posting style.

Facebook: While this social network might be better for consumer-focused attorneys, let’s not abandon the value of using it. CEOs, GCs and various referral sources are all on Facebook daily. Building followers and fans can lead to new business if you stay with it and post interesting and valuable content. Developing fan pages for example, can allow you to communicate directly with your well-connected friends and clients alike. Like with LinkedIn, it’s important to utilize images and video to engage your audience and get discussions going with your base.

Twitter: You’re either a part of the conversation or you’re not. Twitter allows you to have a voice in the marketplace that you can control. Are you going to share humorous observations or broadcast industry information that’s educational or thoughtful? While posting comments is helpful to get your brand out there, most experts agree that Twitter is best used to engage your clients and potential strategic partners in a dialogue. Again, you are controlling the conversation or oblivious that there’s even one to be had?

As you can imagine, it’s difficult to write on a subject and summarize it down to a law bulletin article. My hope is that it helped you think more strategically about social media and whether you should be using it or not. Don’t get overwhelmed, as there are outlets to outsource social media if you want help or don’t have time to get directly involved. Many lawyers and law firms outsource to companies like mine to help take the pressure off, but we still need direction and engagement from you to make it work.

My next article will continue from where we leave off today to ensure that you have a tactical approach to using social media. In the meantime, check out your direct competitors in the marketplace to see what they are up to. Right now, content is king. This means that you’re either visible and growing or hidden and shrinking. Think of the world and how it’s changed in the past two years. As an attorney, growing your brand and driving originations has never been more important. Based on your score, it might be time to get educated on social media to take it to the next level.