At first, it may have been easy to ignore social media. You simply deleted all those invitations to connect to LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter. But now, well let's just say, it's time to change your mind. According to Pew Research center, more than 80% of 18 to 29 year olds actively use social media, and more than 50% of adults aged 35 to 44 do too. From a marketing point of view, socializing on the social media websites can substantially increase branding, offer better search engine placement of a website and offer the personal interaction you need with future clients. Still, there are a few basic guidelines to working with social media websites that you should follow:
1. Divide It Up
Separate social contacts into different networks. Keep personal and business contacts separate. Actually, you may even want to use different social media platforms for different categories of contacts
- Use LinkedIn for high-quality contacts rather than a large number of connections. Add contacts you've met and feel comfortable in associating with. Introduce contacts to each other when you are confident that these won't damage your legal reputation
- Use Facebook for more personal contacts, customer service or for answering questions from existing customers. Add 'friends' that you truly know
- Twitter is a more public space so it's an ideal location to attract new clients and engaging with people you don't really know.
When you use any of the social media platforms to market your law firm, be sure to take the time to become familiar with the social platform's privacy policies. You can also become familiar with privacy settings and adjust them as you need.
2. Business Common Sense
Use common sense when socializing. Being social online is about using common sense, but still, many businesses make the same mistakes over and over again. They are often pushy, and try to sell-sell-sell. This gets you into trouble because social media is not about the 'sale, ' it's about creating rapport with your clients. It's about gently guiding contacts towards your services.
Asking for too many likes is another frequently made mistake. Asking for likes on every Facebook post is even more counterproductive than the hard seller. You want your social media marketing to naturally make your prospects like you.
You also want to make sure your posts remain relevant to your law field. When Tweeting and posting keep one question in mind, "What does this have to do with my law firm?" If the answer is nothing, then it might not be a good idea to post it.
3. Keep it Professional
Remember that you are an attorney, and this means you have to be professional at all times, but especially so online. Be truthful in what you post, in your abilities and your practice. Be careful with what you post in your profiles too, and don't pretend to be someone or something you aren't.
Being professional also means you need to stay away from calling people names online. As comical as it may be to poke fun at one of your peers or a judge, this can cause future litigation problems.
4. Be Conscious of Quality Social Interactions (quality is more important than size).
Social media platforms offer legal professionals either a great marketing opportunity, or a minefields full of potential danger. What you get depends on the way you interact with people while on these platforms. Be thoughtful of who you connect with, and be careful of things you might say on social networks. Avoid using social networks to befriend someone with the sole purpose of investigating that person, or to gain access to restricted information he has.
Do not delude yourself into thinking social platforms offer you anonymity. Many legal professionals have had issues come back to haunt them, all because they thought they were posting anonymously.
5. Be Aware of the Fine Line between Socializing And Soliciting.
Many states have ethics rules or guides when it comes to solicitation in the digital world. Lawyers sometimes walk a fine line between speaking their mind and soliciting clients. Even so, they have a professional responsibility to refrain from hard selling online.
Social media can be an asset to a law firm's online marketing efforts. But participating on these platforms requires caution and thought; otherwise, you may experience repercussions in the court room.
How has social media played a role your law firms online marketing efforts?
If you have any additional questions or want more information on how social media can help your law firm just hit me up on twitter!