Social media marketing is table stakes these days. Everyone is doing it, so the only way to stand out is to do a better job than your competition. Growing your audience is important, but not enough. You must engage your followers, and constantly find new ones. Organic growth takes time and effort, but it’s possible if you know the right tactics. Here are 10 methods that legal marketers can use to find, engage, and grow their audience across the major social media networks.
1. Understand your target audience
Before developing any programs or campaigns, you should take the time to research your potential following. If you don’t know your audience, you won’t know what channels they use or what resonates with them. You can use data from the channels themselves, or outside data sources like Pew Research Center. You might also try some advanced third-party tools for deeper insights.
2. Leverage influencers
Partnering with influencers or thought leaders has become one of the most effective ways to organically grow an audience. It’s essentially the best form of social proof, or very positive word-of-mouth. By engaging in influencer marketing, your law firm can use relationships with industry experts to leverage their own influence and be heard by a new audience. You can hire influencers for targeted, strategic campaigns, or you can just share their content and tag them on your platform. One agency found that influencers with 1,000 followers made more of an impact than bigger “names” – it’s a case of quality over quantity. The most important aspects for success are audience trust and reach.
3. Gain ideas from your competitors
Consistently monitoring your competitors gives you a good idea of what’s being talked about and what’s resonating. You can see what industry leaders are saying, which platforms they’re using, the latest trends, and who is following firms like yours. Most platforms will allow you to follow competitors directly, such as using Twitter lists or adding them to “Pages to Watch” on Facebook. There are also tools available to help you with efficient social listening.
4. Handle complaints and negative comments with poise
Whenever you get a complaint or a negative comment on your social media channels, make sure that you take them seriously. Try to respond to a user’s concerns as soon as possible, and in a professional manner. Do your best to steer clear of automated responses like, “Email us if you have any questions.” Instead, take the time to think about their concerns and answer each complaint in a personalized fashion. Even if people are not polite with their feedback, ensure that you remain that way.
5. Find out the best times to post
The best time to post is going to depend on your unique audience, and likely requires testing to discover. Timing also varies based on medium. For example, on LinkedIn engagement is highest Tuesday – Thursday; while on Facebook most people get the best results posting between noon and 3pm on any weekday. Try posting at a variety of times and monitoring your results over time, as well as researching best practices for each social media platform.
6. Use hashtags to get found
It’s crucial to utilize hashtags effectively if you want your content to be found. Doing so helps your posts to break through the saturation and expands your reach, including to those who do not follow your firm directly. Use hashtags on each platform except Facebook. For ideas, check out what’s trending on Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. You can also take advantage of hashtag holidays and challenges, trending topics, and important movements. Remember that less is more, though. We recommend no more than three hashtags per post, and less is more when it comes to engagement.
7. Engage with questions and polls
Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram allow you to post specific polls and questions. Doing so provides a way to engage with your followers, gauge their interests, and add variety to your usual posting cadence.
8. Collaborate with PR
PR and social media marketers must work together to get the right messaging to the right people. Legal marketers can use social media to get in front of writers, journalists, and website managers. It’s also important to share any media mentions across social media, and sharing these placements will help to build relationships with industry leaders. Many people get their news from social media, so placements are a great way to get in front of your audience.
9. Incorporate social icons into your emails
Emails are a great way to spread the word about your social media accounts. You are likely already sending out multiple emails to your database every month and if your icons are present in your emails, your readers may be prompted to check them out. This can get you some valuable eyeballs and more followers.
10. Never forget the basics: helpful and educational content
Content is at the heart of social media. No matter which tactics you try, if you don’t have valuable content to share with your audience, it will be hard to grow in a natural way. People enjoy posts that teach them something or entertain, and video and photos are much more likely to engage. Focus on sharing real insights, thought leadership, or entertaining breaks for your audience if you want to grow organically.
11. Try out paid social media
To ensure that your firm’s social media content gets the screen time it deserves and to really move the needle, consider paid social media strategies. Nearly every social media platform has the option to run advertisements. Using these advertisements, you can reach a highly targeted audience on social networks. While organic promotion of your law firm’s content on social media was once enough to gain brand awareness and generate leads, the saturation of businesses in the digital space has increased the need for social media advertising for law firms.
Related: A Legal Marketer’s Guide to Writing for Social Media
Growing your law firm’s social media presence may seem like a daunting task. However, if you follow these tips consistently and put in effort daily, you’ll be successful. It’s important to engage with your audience often and speak to their pain points. Additionally, be proactive and always look to develop new strategies and campaigns to grow your social media presence.
Do you need help driving real business results through social media? Our social media offerings can be customized to your law firm’s needs and realities. In addition to social media management, we offer social media consulting and training for our clients. Contact us today for a free consultation.