In a world where social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook is increasingly driving popular discourse, it no longer makes any business sense for lawyers to not have a social media presence. However with that being said, we recognise that establishing a social media footprint for a industry that is traditionally conservative presents a number of challenges. Lawyers like exercising a certain amount of control, and due to the unfiltered nature of the internet, some lawyers may be reluctant to delve into social media but that would be a huge mistake. The potential benefits far outweigh the risks if your firm follows a few simple rules from the beginning to ensure the best chance for success.
Have a social media plan for your firm
Before embarking on your firm’s social media adventure, it is essential that all of the important details are ironed out – such as the tone your firm wishes to set, and perhaps most importantly, who will be responsible for control of the accounts. All these matters need to be dealt with because at the end of the day, whatever is posted on social media will have a bearing on your firm’s reputation – the good, and especially the bad.
Keep it professional
Let us state for the record that we don’t think that the law is full of unprofessional luddites. We also definitely don’t mean to treat lawyers like dullards because we know that many of you will be extremely adept at using social media in your private lives. However, there is a distinct difference between how social media should be used privately, versus how it should be used professionally. Therefore, that “hilariously” inappropriate meme that you shared on your social media account may attract many likes or retweets (RT), but is probably best left off your firm’s page.
We aren’t saying for one moment that you shouldn’t display any personality on your social media accounts, but at the same time, always keep in mind the professional reputation of your firm as well.
Social media isn’t the place for the hard sell
We all crave authenticity, and clients are looking for the exact same thing from their lawyer. Therefore, avoid the hard sell when using social media because that may turn off potential clients. Just think about the types of businesses that you may follow or like on your personal social media pages and ask yourself, why do you follow such accounts? It’s probably because they’re relaying valuable information that you’re interested in. If you really wish to engage with overt self promotion for your firm, it may be a better idea to advertise via traditional media instead.
Show your social media accounts lots of love
Keep in mind that it is ‘social’ media, and that consistent engagement is the key. Ensure that your page is updated often with the ultimate aim of building your firm’s brand, and to win new business via thought leadership. Your firm isn’t going to achieve either goal by being inconsistent with your social media engagement. The ability for your content to be shared widely and quickly should be motivation enough for your firm to regularly post on social media.
Be responsive to your followers
If your firm is posting quality content that attracts attention, comments and genuine engagement, then you should always respond where appropriate. It may be hard to believe, but many clients find dealing with lawyers intimidating, and any opportunity to present your firm in a warm light should not be underestimated. Keep in mind that if you’re not willing to engage with your followers when they have reached out to your firm, why should they return the favour?
Social media offers lawyers an unprecedented opportunity to spread their message far and wide in a manner that was previously impossible. If used correctly, social media can be an unbelievable lead generation tool that can do wonders for the profile of your firm.