It’s important for lawyers to be active on social media. With nearly half of the world’s population using social media platforms, they’re a natural place to reach and influence prospective clients. On the other hand, misusing social media channels can do damage to your reputation or chip away at credibility you’ve worked hard to establish. We recommend compiling a social media guide to help lawyers understand the approved ways to use social media platforms – and be sure to include these 15 common mistakes that we see lawyers make.
15 Mistakes Lawyers Make on Social Media
1. Not Responding to Comments
Social media isn’t just about putting posts out there, it’s about joining ongoing conversations and starting your own. Think of your posts as the beginning of a conversation and all your comments as the next stage. Like any real life conversation, you would naturally respond back to those who respond to you. Make sure to reply to all comments and try to do so in a timely manner as this will help you get boosted in the algorithm.
2. Posting from the Wrong Account
If you are an avid social media user and have several personal accounts, you could run into the problem of forgetting to switch between accounts before posting. It would look poorly for you and your firm if personal photos and posts were inadvertently sent on behalf of your business. If you’re a solo practitioner, then your LinkedIn profile may also act like a business profile, but you must treat it as such and not employ it for personal use. Remember, personal profiles can have personal touches like personal photos from non-work related events, but company pages should stay professional and relevant to the work you do.
3. Lack of Consistency; Posting Only When You Feel Inspired
You’re not always going to feel creative or motivated, but it’s still important to post often in order to build your brand and grow your practice. This is where creating a content calendar and scheduling posts in advance can help. There are several tools that can help you manage this process effectively.
4. Too Much Self-promotion
While providing useful, informative content is a must, don’t just post information about yourself, your website, your clients, or your services. Post links to educational and helpful content that is relevant to your clients and target audience. Specifically, content that can help solve some of their pain points. And of course, provide valuable information about other topics to build yourself as an authority.
In our annual study of the top law firms, The Social Law Firm Index, we found that the law firms that performed the poorest suffered from being too self-promotional on social media. Make sure content is mostly educational.
5. Not Having a Strategy in Place
It may seem simple, but many lawyers go into social media marketing without a proper plan in place. You must have a well thought out strategy based on research, then update that strategy accordingly over time. Start by reviewing this eBook, Advanced Social Media Strategies, in order to build out a robust strategy.
6. Ignoring the Best Network for You
Facebook and Twitter are great for communicating with potential clients, but if your target audience is on LinkedIn, you are wasting time. Do the right research to determine where your potential clients or referral sources are and be there. Figure out your target audience’s demographics in relation to each platform. It’s important that you have a presence across platforms, but you should dedicate the majority of your time to the platform that most of our audience is on and uses often.
7. Ignoring Photos and Videos
Graphics are more attention-grabbing than text, and video is increasingly important in search results. Furthermore, video marketing is a great lead generation channel. Research shows that marketers who use video obtain 66% more qualified leads per year. Integrate pictures, videos, or infographics when appropriate. On the other hand, remember that the information you want to get across is the essential part of your posts. Even if you have stellar videos or graphics, you still need to put thought into your verbiage.
8. Not Understanding What Your Target Audience Wants
If you notice that your posts aren’t resonating or generating interest, you might need to look closer at who you’re targeting and how you can help them. Take a close look at the lifestyle, personality, needs, and challenges of the people who follow you. While focusing on creating value, also make sure you provide a variety of post types so that followers don’t get fatigued.
9. Not Aligning Content with the Channel
Many people are on every single social channel, but chances are they use each of the different platforms for different purposes. Simply posting the same content across multiple channels is a pretty common social media mistake. Understand what each channel offers and how people use it, and post accordingly. For more information, refer to our guide on the type of content that works best on each major social media platform.
10. Hashtag Use and Misuse
Hashtags originated on Twitter, but have since expanded to other social media platforms. They are a great way to reach a wider audience and join popular conversations online. However, hashtag use can easily backfire if you aren’t careful. Some posters overuse hashtags which can make content look unprofessional and deter readers, as well as lead to spam followers. You should ideally use 2-3 appropriate and relevant hashtags for each post on your firm’s social media page.
Also, using hashtags that are too broad or even too niche can hurt performance. Aim to use hashtags that have a good amount of followers but are still specific to your profession and practice area.
11. Being Spamm-y
Just as not posting enough is a problem, so is posting too often. In fact, a lot of social media algorithms will even shadow ban users who appear as spam (not pushing any of their posts through for a period of time.) Posting 1-2 times a day is enough for most platforms.
12. Not Acknowledging Mentions
Use a social tracking tool like HubSpot or make sure to check your notifications every day across platforms. If someone tags or mentions you, make sure to give a thoughtful response as soon as possible and like/ share the post.
13. Not Using Automation
Automation is a huge life saver when it comes to social media management. Many automation tools, like HubSpot, can assist you in scheduling your social media posts in advance so you can set it and forget it. This is helpful as you plan out a more long term strategy. And you can even plan to post at the most optimal times.
14. Lack of Employee Advocacy
If you have employees or coworkers then you have an important network you can and should be leveraging! When you post, send your post out to colleagues so that they can like and engage with it.
15. Not Tracking Metrics
Just as we mentioned having a strategy in place is important, it’s also equally as important to leverage analytics so that you can determine how your strategy should change. You should be tracking key metrics every week and comparing month to month performance so you can determine how you’ll change your strategy for the next month. Use tools like HubSpot or Google Analytics to get this done.
The legal industry relies on strong relationships and referrals, and today’s word-of-mouth is social media. Social media offers so many ways to get your message out, but there is plenty of room for error if you don’t take the time to perform research and focus on an intentional strategy. Don’t fall into any of the bad practices described above.
If you need help developing a strategy for delivering the right message in the right way on social media, contact us today for help. We have vast experience helping lawyers and law firms achieve measurable success through social media.