Law firms have a complicated relationship with social media. On the one hand, they know they should “engage” with it, but they’re not entirely sure how, or why, or how often. And so many of the social media “rules” they hear are unworkable and unrealistic for law firms, particularly small law firms with few marketing resources.
But having a meaningful social media presence — even for the smallest law firms with the tiniest marketing budget — doesn’t have to be overwhelming.
Just make sure you know why you’re doing it.
Need help refreshing (or launching) your social media presence? That’s why we’re here! Muse Communications was named one of Dallas’ best legal public relations firms by the readers of Texas Lawyer (although we represent clients all over Texas). Just drop us a line.
Why Should My Law Firm Have a Social Media Presence?
It would seem like the main reason to have a social media presence is to gain a large following and get your firm news and brilliant blog posts in front of as many people as possible. But the reality is that most small-to-mid-size law firms have small social media followings. There’s very little motivation for the average person to follow a law firm on social media.
After all, why do you follow certain people on social media? For me, it’s usually because they’re funny or smart or share great recipes I’ll save but probably never make. Your reasons may vary. But whatever your reason is, you likely don’t follow many law firms.
But there are still some excellent reasons to create and, more importantly, maintain an active social media presence:
- Vetting by prospective clients. After they’ve been referred to you, potential clients are likely to do an internet search for your name and see what comes up. Then, they’ll check out your website (including your blog/news page), and then they’ll probably visit the social media icons you most likely feature somewhere on your site. But what if they click on your LinkedIn button, for instance, and they see … nothing. No followers, no posts, no “about” text — nothing. I see it all the time, and it makes a terrible impression.
- Vetting by the media. When reporters are looking for sources, or they’re considering writing about your law firm, one of the first places they’ll visit is your social media. If your social media promotes all your meaty blog posts and highlights the lawyers in your firm who are leaders in their field, that reporter is one step closer to finding their expert source.
- Vetting by prospective recruits. One of the best uses of a firm’s social media channel is to highlight their lawyers and staff, e.g., photos from company gatherings, volunteer days, awards, etc. If someone who is considering working at your firm sees that you regularly promote the people who work there, that’s a check on the “pro” side of the ledger.
How Often Should a Law Firm Post on Its Social Media?
Very few small law firms have significant marketing budgets, so they can’t afford to have someone dedicated to posting. Also, most small-to-midsize firms are inconsistent about creating new content, so they don’t have a steady stream of blog posts and firm news to promote. So daily posting is probably unrealistic.
But weekly, or even every other week, is largely doable. Monthly is a bare minimum. Any less than that, and the social media page starts to look neglected. If your social media page hasn’t been updated in several months, either take it down (because it’s causing you more harm than good) or make a plan to revive it.
What Should We Post on Our Law Firm’s Social Media Page?
If you’re wondering what on earth you can post weekly on your social media page, here are some ideas:
Blog posts: Obviously. You took all that time to write and publish a thoughtful article on an important topic relevant to your clients and prospective clients, so promote it!
Firm news: New lawyers, pro bono work, results on behalf of clients (that you’re allowed to publicize), “best lawyer” awards, photos from firm gatherings and volunteer events, firm sponsorships — basically anything you want the world to know.
Practice areas: Remember how long it took you to hammer out every word on your practice area pages? Don’t let all that sweat equity go to waste. Instead, post some teaser text on your social channels and link to that page on your site.
Client results and testimonials: Within the confines of State Bar ad rules (and with client permission, of course), promote the results you’ve achieved for your clients and the nice things they say about your team.
Meet the lawyer/staff promos: Highlight the people who make your firm a great place to work and link to their bio pages if they have one.
General firm promotion: Remind people of your mission and whatever bona fides you’re most proud of, and then link to your home page.
Newsletter subscription link: If your firm has a regular email newsletter (which of course you do!), do a quarterly post reminding people to subscribe. People who voluntarily opt in to receive more email from you are worth their weight in dark chocolate.
Holiday wishes: Your social channels are a good place to share your firm’s holiday greetings, but feel free to branch out from the usual suspects (Thanksgiving, 4th of July, etc.). Administrative Professionals Day (April 27) is worth noting, as most firms would be smoldering heaps without them. Does your firm have a sponsorship spot on your local public radio station? If so, you could commemorate Public Radio Broadcasting Day (Jan. 22) and highlight your support of public radio. There are countless “official days” each year, so pick one that intersects with your practice or is relevant to your firm and highlight it on your firm’s social media.
Whatever you’re posting, you’ll want to include a complementary graphic. Otherwise, the social media program will just pull through an image from the linked page, and those are often either sized wrong or not relevant to the content you’re promoting. We use Canva to create social media graphics.
Remember, you can post the same thing to social media more than once. Because social media is so ephemeral, nobody will remember what you posted 3-6 months ago. So, your social media calendar can make use of plenty of recycled content. Social media managers such as Buffer and Hootsuite make it easy to re-post previous content, although it’s always nice to freshen up the text and maybe even the accompanying artwork.
Which Social Media Channels Should Our Law Firm Use?
There are several social media channels that a law firm could conceivably use, but there are only two that I recommend for all my clients. The others are optional or inadvisable:
LinkedIn: It’s not glitzy or fun, but it’s one of the first places people (including those in a position to hire a law firm) go to vet potential lawyers or law firms beyond the firm’s website and personal references. Every law firm should have a LinkedIn company page and post there on a regular basis.
Google My Business: Most people don’t think of GMB as “social media,” and it’s probably not since it doesn’t make any of us feel bad about ourselves or, hopefully, spread misinformation that we’ll tiptoe around at Thanksgiving. But your firm’s GMB page is prominently featured when someone searches for your law firm, so make sure you’re creating regular posts there as well.
Facebook: This is an ideal platform if you have a consumer-facing practice, e.g., family law, personal injury, personal bankruptcy, trust & estates, etc. If you’re a B2B law firm, Facebook may not get you much traction. The major exception to this is if the person who is the public face of the law firm has a robust personal Facebook following. In that case, that person’s personal Facebook following can greatly help amplify the firm’s presence.
Twitter: It’s hard for a smallish business to get much traction on Twitter unless they have a unique angle and aren’t afraid to get snarky (which few law firms are). Or, in the case of Philadelphia’s Four Seasons Total Landscaping, they’re inadvertently swept up in a contentious presidential campaign and make the most of their 15 minutes. Plenty of lawyers have robust Twitter presences (two of my faves are Houston’s Zach Wolfe and Dallas’ Jason Steed), but they personally post several times a day and — unlike most lawyers and law firms — are willing to be very opinionated.
Instagram: I don’t have any clients on Instagram, and I’ve seen very few law firms with what I would consider effective Instagram presences. It’s a unique practice that would benefit from an Insta presence.
YouTube: A YouTube channel is nice if you have a fair amount of video content, which most small-to-midsize law firms don’t.
All the rest: Leave TikTok, Snapchat, and all the rest to the kids whose neural networks are still elastic enough to grasp them.
What Do We Do After We Post on Our Social Media Page?
I know I said that getting lots of eyes on your posts is a secondary consideration to making sure that those who are vetting your firm find a well-maintained garden. BUT if you’ve gone to the trouble of posting there, you might as well ask your firm’s best ambassadors (your lawyers and staff) to help you spread the word. (I wrote a whole blog post about this.)
That’s why, particularly when we post something major or meaty to a client’s social media channel, we email those links to the firm’s lawyers and staff (or ask someone within the firm to email them) and ask them to share those posts on their own social channels.
Even a few shares/comments/likes can mean exponentially more eyeballs on a piece of content. After all, most small-to-midsize law firms have a few dozen, maybe 100 or so, followers. But most individuals have several hundred connections. So put those connections to use.
In short, it’s very likely that your firm already has a wealth of content that can be used to create informative and helpful social media posts starting today. The key is making sure you choose the right platform, setting up and following a regular posting schedule, and delivering new content that will benefit your preferred audiences.
Amy Boardman Hunt is all about helping lawyers find their voice and showcase their expertise. She has written, edited, and distributed more press releases than you’ve had cheeseburgers. When she’s not doing that, she’s trying to find great hiking spots in Dallas. If you know of any – or you need a legal marketing muse – drop her a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.