Social media has become a core way for us to communicate with each other on a daily basis. In many ways, it has taken over more traditional professional and interpersonal communications channels. As such, it’s a crucial digital marketing tool for any law firm looking to increase awareness, build leads, and gain new clients.
Of course, the mere popularity of social media is not enough. You can’t just create an account on your favorite network, make a few posts, and hope for the best. Instead, as with any other marketing opportunities, you need a comprehensive strategy.
But where do you start? How can you make sure that your efforts will actually lead to effective client generation? The answer differs slightly depending on the type of law you practice. At the same time, any law firm can take advantage of these 8 ways to optimize their social media presence.
1) Find the Right Channel For Your Audience
No social media strategy can be successful if it happens in a vacuum. Regardless of the type of clients you target, you have to find a network your audience actually uses to communicate with each other personally and professionally.
The exact network of choice differs depending on the type of law you practice. Corporate law, for example, might best be served with an active LinkedIn presence. Medicare and other law, on the other hand, tend to thrive with the older population of Facebook.
Know your audience, and study the demographics of major social media networks to find the channel that works best for you.
2) Build a Content Strategy
Once you’ve found your ideal network, it’s time to build a strategy designed for that channel and your audience.
Never go into any social media marketing initiative without a plan. Instead, carefully plan out your efforts to account for user behaviors, network algorithms, and the type of content you want to post.
For instance, the amount of times you should post per week on social media differs drastically depending on the network you choose.
Similarly, choosing video over still images may influence your ideal posting strategy. Know the environment, then build a strategy that matches both that environment and the goals you are looking to accomplish through social media.
3) Analyze Current Issues in Your Area of Expertise
Social media marketing is at its best when it is educational rather than promotional.
If you continually post about your services and expertise, you will not build a follower base large enough to actually grow your client list and business on a sustainable basis. You can, however, get the same message across in more subtle ways.
For instance, it makes sense to actively discuss current issues, studies, trends, and news in your law firm’s area of expertise. If you practice immigration law, discuss new regulations that might affect potential clients.
If you focus on criminal law, new studies on the subject may be more relevant to your audience. Through this analysis, you can build credibility while establishing your firm as a valuable resource for anyone who might need your services in the future.
4) Offer a ‘Peak Behind the Curtain’
In addition to building your law firm’s credibility, social media also offers the opportunity to personalize your practice to potential clients.
In the field of law, personal relationships matter almost as much as expertise; your clients have to be able to trust you in order to seek your services. You can build that personal trust by offering regular ‘peaks behind the curtain’.
In other words, introduce the professionals who work at the firm, and will work with clients. Film short snippets of them answering both professional and personal questions. Tour your offices to offer potential clients a sense of what it’s like behind the doors. Give them an insider’s perspective, and they’ll become more likely to seek out your services.
5) Focus on Visual Content for Maximum Success
One universal truth about social media and digital media, in general, applies to law firms as well: to be successful, your content has to be visual. Videos and images get significantly more likes, comments, and shares than any other type of content. Infographics are similarly successful.
To be successful, and establish a thriving social media presence, take advantage of our natural visual tendencies. Even when you share links, attach videos or still pictures. When expressing statistics, consider using infographics. The more visual your social media gets, the higher its potential for success will become.
6) Engage With Your Audience
Especially for law firms, it’s tempting to either ignore or delete comments that are not necessarily productive or ask pertinent questions. In reality, though, it makes more sense to engage with them. Thoughtfully and professionally answering these comments can actually boost your credibility and turn doubters into potential clients.
This guide to responding to social media comments applies for law firms, as well. Always remain professional, and be sure not to engage in personal attacks. Stay factual, and share relevant information that supports any potential argument you make. Only obvious spam, insults, or other overtly negative comments and replies should be deleted.
7) Integrate Social Media With Other Communications
Don’t isolate your social media presence. Instead, take the opportunity to spread the word about your active platforms on all communications with current and potential clients. Include social media icons and addresses for your active networks on printed and email communication, as well as your website.
Once you’ve built a successful presence, you can even highlight it in conversations with current and prospective clients. If you’ve shared a relevant study or analysis of current regulations on LinkedIn, for example, it might be relevant to a client looking for information in that area. Gently point them in the right direction, regardless of how you’re communicating with them.
8) Measure and Optimize Your Presence Over Time
Finally, don’t ever assume that your law firm social media efforts will eventually become a finished product. Instead, treat them as a continual opportunity to test messaging, evaluate results, analyze your audience, and improve your marketing.
Most social networks have internal analytics platforms with immense potential. Facebook Insights, for instance, helps you analyze anything your audience demographics and the times they’re most likely to be online to the success of your individual posts. Use that data to determine what works, what doesn’t, and make optimizations over time.
Done right, social media has the potential to become the heart of your digital marketing efforts. It helps your law firm build credibility and trust, while directing your audience to your website and getting them one step closer to becoming clients. The above 8 tactics help you get to that point. The more strategic you are about your social media presence, the more likely it will become to actually make a difference in your law firm’s client growth and retention.