Social Media for Lawyers: How to be Social as a Law Firm
Working with law firm clients on their digital media strategies, the question always eventually comes up:
“How should we post on our social channels?”
A great question, especially considering that law isn’t exactly a “sexy” social media topic. So normally the question turns from how should we post on social channels to what should we be posting to get the most out of our social channels? Let me give you some guidelines as to what type of things you should be posting and how often you should have self promotion posts.
Having the “Social” Mindset
Before we dig into what you should be posting I want to be clear on the mentality to achieve success on social media channels. Social media has many uses but one that isn’t effective for anything but big brands is the soapbox method.
Too often we see companies only doing self promotion on social channels. We refer to this as the “soapbox” method. This isn’t being social, but rather just making regular announcements, which for some companies is all they want to use their channels for and that’s fine, but you most likely will not increase followers or engagement on your posts taking this approach.
The mindset you will want to adopt to help create a working social presence on any channel is to be social with your topics. So not just using your own promotion, but instead contributing to other discussions/posts outside of your own.
What I mean by “being social” is picking topics that you are interested in and can contribute either a unique thought or fuel a discussion with your followers. This is the most effective way for a company to find their place in the social landscape, and the success of this will help direct your social strategy with what your followers want to see.
Balancing social posts with promotions
Now that you have a social mindset, let’s introduce balancing your social posts with targeted promotion for your firm.
Normally my recommendation for most companies are to have 70% of your posts be informative, entertaining social posts to stir discussion and 30% promotion. I normally encourage a certain amount of tact when doing self promotion for lawyers especially, because in many cases their services are used strictly out of need and talking about things like bankruptcy, car accidents, or civil litigation aren’t always the best social posts.
Most people don’t like to advertise their personal issues on social channels so the self promotions have much less engagement than other topics like case discussions or legal issues. After posting regularly for a while you will just find a more natural balance to talk directly about the firm and still maintain social topics to gain followers and regular engagement on your social channels.
Speaking of social channels, sadly they are not all created equal. What you post on Facebook may not engage as many users on Google+ or Twitter, so conquer one channel effectively with your followers and tailor your discussions to your followers on each channel. I know this sounds like a lot of work and IT IS, but to be most effective with your marketing especially socially, you need to take the time to consider your audience’s demands first.
Tips for Lawyer Posts
Now for the good part, actually posting. Common questions I get are how often should I be posting or since I’m supposed to be posting more than just law firm news what types of posts should I have? All great questions and if you have a social media director, they should be able to answer these quickly. I went ahead and broke down both of these topics for you giving you both suggestions for posts and the best time/frequency to make these postings.
How Often Should I Post?
This is a very tough question to ask because it really depends on a bigger question: How many quality social posts can you create? Don’t concern yourself with how often you are posting. The important part is that you are being effective with the posts you are making and taking time to create them.
Some companies can be content machines and put out many good posts weekly and even daily. However, I also do not want to discourage you from posting so if you have something to say to your followers or an interesting topic others might enjoy post it; these are often the best posts. After all, if you find the topic/post engaging and interesting most likely so will your followers/peers.
What are the best times to post?
Statistically there are two ideal times to post content for followers: In the afternoon and in the morning depending on your target audience. As a rule of thumb, if you are targeting your peers or professionals networks post in the morning (7am-11am). If you are targeting customers or using more entertainment oriented networks do these in the afternoon(1pm-4pm). This will help to maximize your exposure to your follower engagement, below is a table with the information per channel you are sharing, but these are just guidelines for posting. To be most effective with your post times run some tests on different channels, days of the week and times to see what your particular followers are most receptive to.
What should I be posting?
Obviously I can’t tell you exactly what you need to be posting, but after talking about how your posts shouldn’t be entirely about promoting the firm you might be wondering what you should be posting 70% of on your social channels. Here are some suggestions to help guide social postings for your law firm:
- Post/share legal topics or cases that you have something to contribute or find interesting. If you can find some in the news trending you might be able to increase your exposure to potential client because they will need less back story to contribute to the discussion or agree with your contribution.
- You can post community events or activities around you locale. This helps to target your followers around your law firm that may eventually need your services, while showing your community involvement.
- Posting holiday or date themed posts curbed toward entertainment like “lawyers in costume pictures” or “bad lawyer costumes” for Halloween. Other good posts I’ve seen engaged well are legal awareness/safety during holidays such as for New Year’s Eve “don’t call me in the new year, call a cab first”.
- Don’t be afraid to share good content even if it isn’t yours, if it is good share it. Finding entertaining memes in your niche or good infographics are good to share both for all of your followers. After all everyone can use a good laugh and this is a great way to make your brand resonate.
- Share topics the engage your peers and showcase your expertise, dissect cases or share legal information that will be more targeted toward your peers. This can lead to offline relationships and even potential referrals for one another.
These are just a few places to help guide your posts and shares, but the bottom line is to be SOCIAL, if you are genuinely interested in what you’re posting, most likely so are your followers.
As I said earlier this can be a lot of work to be genuinely social, but it is important to build a community and followers who are engaging with your posts otherwise you might be just wasting your time on your social channels. I also wanted to give a quick mention to Bryan Townsend for giving me a reason to create this post and being proactive about socially posting as a lawyer.
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